China may not become the political and economic superpower that many expected in the next two decades, due to developing relations between India and the United States, said Daniel Twining, Senior Fellow for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
At The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law speaker series, Twining said policy and economic similarities between India and the United States will form a bridge for countries in Asia towards economic progress, reduce China’s communist influences on those who live nearby and secure the United States’ place as a global power.
“The liberal order that we built around our friends and allies in our sphere has gone global,” Twining said. “The liberal order was built upon the idea of representative government and global free markets that resulted in the rise of Asian nations such as India.”
Twining said the idea that the rise of market democracies around the world is somehow bad for the United States is somewhat contorted and bad logic.
“Power is not bleeding out of Washington and reconcentrating itself in Bejing,” Twining said.
Twining said that a breakthrough in U.S. relations with India five years ago caught the attention of China and other Asian nations because it helped break down barriers to the economic growth that is now skyrocketing in India. Twining predicts India will become even more economically relevant in the coming years and believes that development will depend on U.S. international relations in the region.
“There is a great demand for our leadership in Asia,” Twining said. “Countries are watching our domestic debates about debt and spending with the greatest interests and concern because the infrastructure we and our friends have built begins to wither away if we aren’t here. Countries are trying to remind us that we need to be there, and trying to facilitate that in our domestic debate.”
Twining said China looks like an outlier in economic policy as its neighbors see that economic growth alone isn’t appealing without policy changes that allow growth, and many countries shy away from mirroring China’s oppressive state-run model.
“Making people richer, a little better off, doesn’t resolve issues,” Twining said. “How do you move beyond the business of manufacturing cheap toys and exposing widgets to the West? How can people produce the next Steve Jobs when people can’t use Google or Facebook?”
As nations such as India continue to grow and seek alliances with Western nations, Twining said he is advising people to look to Asian countries often overshadowed by China’s prominence in the global market.
“Ten years ago, I was telling friends to study Mandarin, now I am telling them to study Hindi,” he said.
Advertising freshman Dillion Wardian said he often reads about theories that an alliance with the United States would help Asian nations move away from China’s communist shadow in order to adopt a free-market economy and representative government policy, but he has not seen this issue discussed in other mainstream lectures on Asia.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic that we brought in India and addressed the idea of Asian plurality [at this talk],” Wardian said. “It’s often overlooked. It’s not just China anymore.”
Aaron Tinjum, a public affairs graduate student, said he was a bit surprised by the enormity of the liberal order’s rise in Asia.
“I’ve heard of the idea of pluralistic world, but the idea that India or South Korea could help completely contain China was kind of a new idea.”