The US’s foreign policy “pivot” to Asia is designed to balance China’s influence in the region. However, it has so far caused more agitation than calm. Until the mid-2000s, the byword of US policy towards China was “engagement”. Even the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 and the end of the cold war did not change this policy. The expectation behind it was that China would “become more like us” if the country was brought into the international community.
After the 2008-09 financial crisis, the US suddenly found that it had to face a more confident – or in many Americans’ eyes, more arrogant – China. Beijing used to be a student of the American system; Chinese delegates used to be silent in international conferences. But after the crisis, China began to ask Americans this question: “Why have you, our teacher, done wrong?” Continue reading »