0

China Crosses the Rubicon

LONDON – For two decades, Chinese diplomacy has been guided by the concept of the country’s “peaceful rise.” Today, however, China needs a new strategic doctrine, because the most remarkable aspect of Sri Lanka’s recent victory over the Tamil Tigers is not its overwhelming nature, but the fact that China provided President Mahinda Rajapaska with both the military supplies and diplomatic cover he needed to prosecute the war.

Without that Chinese backing, Rajapaska’s government would have had neither the wherewithal nor the will to ignore world opinion in its offensive against the Tigers. So, not only has China become central to every aspect of the global financial and economic system, it has now demonstrated its strategic effectiveness in a region traditionally outside its orbit. On Sri Lanka’s beachfront battlefields, China’s “peaceful rise” was completed.

What will this change mean in practice in the world’s hot spots like North Korea, Pakistan, and Central Asia?

Before the global financial crisis hit, China benefited mightily from the long boom along its eastern and southern rim, with only Burma and North Korea causing instability. China’s west and south, however, have become sources of increasing worry.