The Dragon and the ElephantIssue: May-June 2007
THERE IS a near-pathological obsession in China with the question of what defines a "rising power" (da guo jue qi). Last year, China's Central Television created and broadcasted a twelve-episode series ("Da Guo Jue Qi") that analyzed the rise of nine of the great powers of the modern era, from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century through to Great Britain, the United States and Japan. The implications of this program were clear: China wants to achieve its long-held aspiration of becoming a global power, and it is consciously taking as its models the developed states of the West. But the other rising power of the 21st century, India, is rarely discussed as a model for China's own rise. For some of China's strategic thinkers, India is not China's peer as a major power in today's world or as a potential great power of the future.