No need to learn from old alliance system that already burdens Washington

By Wang Xiangsui Source:Global Times Published: 2014-9-9 18:38:02

China's peaceful rise is encountering obstacles from US-led alliances. In China's peripheries, there exist both bilateral and multilateral security alliances, such as the one among the US, Japan and South Korea and the one between the US and the Philippines. Some countries seek to exert pressure on China by making use of their alliances with the US and seek to exploit benefits from this.

This not only makes China feel bullied, but also makes some US strategists worried, as US scholar Christopher Layne noted, "The true cause of American insecurity is not an imminent encroachment on its territory but the risk that US alliances - especially with Japan - will draw it into a regional conflict."

Alliances are the basis of US dominance of the world, but they have also become a burden for Washington.

The peak of US alliances came during the presidency of Harry Truman. The alliances helped the US dominate the global order, and enabled it to divide the world with the Soviet Union.

After the Cold War, the world economy has entered a new phase of globalization, but the security framework has lingered from the past.

In the past couple of years, with the support of its allies, the US has won a few wars, but at the cost of world peace.  The recent Diaoyu Islands disputes, South China Sea disputes and the Ukrainian crisis have shown that the US alliance system has destroyed regional stability and the balance of power, and led the world to the edge of conflict.

The fundamental reason is that US-led alliances can hardly tolerate the security demands of emerging powers and developing countries. What should China do when facing such outdated traditional alliances?

As the exclusive old alliance system does no good to global security and development, it should be abandoned. China should create a new international security framework that more suits the world trend.

In recent years, China has been promoting the construction of communities of common interest and common destiny, and has established close ties of strategic cooperation with many countries. Many are established through legal documents with clarified rights and obligations.

In the sense of international law, such communities are a new type of alliance that stresses equality, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. This is an innovation on international security and development and a grand strategy to create future world patterns.

Such a new type of alliance has played a positive role in international politics and resolved some conflicts.

In the Ukrainian crisis, the strategic partnership between China and Russia has helped maintain the balance of power and prevented the crisis from spiraling out of control.

China's aim is not to confront the US-led alliances, but to keep the absolutism of the old alliance system in check and maintain world peace.

The positive aspects of the community of common destiny promoted by China, such as cooperation and inclusiveness, have started to dilute the negative elements within the traditional alliance system like confrontation and exclusiveness.

Although a small step in constructing a new international order, this is enough to make us feel proud. On the stage of international politics, China can walk its own way.

The author is a professor at the Center for Strategic Studies, Beihang University.

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