O problema dos Estados Unidos com a China

WASHINGTON, DC – Xi Jinping, o recente sagrado Presidente da China, fez a sua primeira visita aos Estados Unidos em Maio de 1980. Era um oficial subalterno de 27 anos de idade que acompanhava Geng Biao, na altura vice-primeiro-ministro e líder militar da China. Geng foi meu anfitrião em Janeiro desse ano, quando fui o primeiro secretário da Defesa dos EUA a visitar a China, agindo como interlocutor para a administração do presidente Jimmy Carter.

Nessa altura, os norte-americanos tinham poucas razões para prestarem atenção em Xi, mas os seus superiores viram claramente o seu potencial. Nos 32 anos que se seguiram, a importância de Xi aumentou, juntamente com a força económica e militar da China. A ascensão da sua coorte ao topo do poder marca a reforma da última geração de líderes designada por Deng Xiaoping (embora se mantenham influentes).

Apesar do grande peso que a China tem no mundo dos negócios, Xi enfrenta tensões internas que tornam a China mais frágil do que geralmente é interpretada. O modelo de crescimento económico da China induzido pelas exportações atingiu os seus limites e a transição para o crescimento impulsionado por factores internos está a intensificar os atritos nacionais. Gerir conflitos através da repressão é mais difícil do que no passado, visto que a rápida urbanização, a reforma económica e a mudança social incomodam um país com 1,3 mil milhões de pessoas. Os conflitos étnicos nas regiões periféricas também irão testar o controlo político de Xi.

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