The Truth About China

Martin Jacques’s just-released tome breathlessly informs us that China will soon rule the world. Its culture will dominate the West. Its military will threaten our own. Its authoritarian system will become an alternative to liberal democracy.

Issue: Jan-Feb 2010

Martin Jacques, When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. (New York: Penguin Press, 2009), 576 pp., $29.95.


[amazon 1594201854 full] WILL CHINA "rule the world"?

Despite his breathless title, Martin Jacques is not so sure. On the one hand, "China . . . is destined to become . . . ultimately the major global power." On the other hand, "the challenge posed by the rise of China is far more likely to be cultural in nature" than political or military. But on further consideration, "As China becomes a global power, and ultimately a superpower, probably in time the dominant superpower, then it, like every other previous major power, will view the world through the prism of its own history and will seek, subject to the prevailing constraints, to reshape that world in its own image." But then again, "For perhaps the next half-century, it seems unlikely that China will be particularly aggressive"; "for the next twenty years or so . . . it will remain an essentially status-quo power." But after all, yes: "China's mass will oblige the rest of the world largely to acquiesce in China's way of doing things."

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