White-Coat Warriors: China's Heroic Fight against Ebola

June 18, 2015 Topic: Security Region: Africa Tags: ChinaEbolaAfrica

White-Coat Warriors: China's Heroic Fight against Ebola

Beijing has made a significant contribution in West Africa’s Ebola Crisis.

Readers of Dragon Eye may wonder why a column generally devoted to Chinese defense and security matters would focus on the Ebola crisis.  For that answer, let us turn to the classic article by Harvard Professor Iain Johnston evaluating “China’s New Assertiveness” from the spring 2013 issue of International Security. Explaining the widespread tendency to “select on the dependent variable,” he writes:  “A common problem in the new assertiveness analyses is that they consider only confirming evidence while ignoring disconfirming examples … The pundit and media world thus tended to miss a great deal of ongoing [Chinese] cooperative interaction.”

American diplomats and senior officials heading into discussions with Chinese counterparts at the annual Security and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington will hopefully not only think about alleged cyber intrusions and new structures in the South China Sea.  Taking a more holistic view of China’s rise and the country’s growing influence, they should also consider China’s response to the Ebola crisis, as well as the recent deployment of additional peacekeepers to Sudan, contributions to counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the destruction of Syrian chemical weaponry, deployment of police forces to stabilize the Upper Mekong, visits by China’s hospital ship all over the world, aid to Nepal earthquake victims, etc.  This list is hardly exhaustive, but does demonstrate the reasonable likelihood that China has actually internalized the goal of becoming a “responsible stakeholder” and therefore seeks to provide “公共产品” [public goods] to the global community.

Lyle J. Goldstein is Associate Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. The opinions expressed in this analysis are his own and do not represent the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. Government.

Editor’s Note: The following is a part of a new occasional series called Dragon Eye, which seeks insight and analysis from Chinese writings on world affairs. You can find all back articles in the series here.

Image: DFID - UK Department for International Development