Second, we have more money, so you should be friends with us instead (or, by the way, you'll be sorry).
The Global Times manages to evoke insecurity and arrogance all at once. In a series of opinion pieces, the newspaper both boasts of China's strength and threatens those who don't see things China's way.
- "The momentum of U.S. returning to Asia seems fierce...A question must
be answered: What should China do? ...observe calmly and secure our
position. China should decode the nature of the U.S. encirclement and
the strategic threats it will bring...The U.S. does not have the strength
to encircle China now...Facing a weak economic recovery, the U.S. can do
nothing but make some strategic mobilization as self-consolation. China
will not confront the U.S. strategically or militarily. At present,
China has the upper hand in the Sino-U.S. competition and the U.S.
return to Asia cannot change the situation. A growing China will
possibly change the choice of some countries and China's development
will simplify many problems."
- "As long as China is patient, there will be no room for those who
choose to depend economically on China while looking to the U.S. to
guarantee their security."
- "Australia surely cannot play China for a fool. It is impossible for
China to remain detached no matter what Australia does to undermine its
security. There is a real worry in the Chinese society concerning
Australia's acceptance of an increased U.S. military presence. Such
psychology will influence the long-term development of the
Neither of these arguments is likely to be compelling to regional
actors. Both miss the point that you don't win friends by bad-mouthing
others or paying for their friendship. The real argument Beijing should
make is one espoused by Tsinghua professor Yan Xuetong in his recent New York Times opinion piece:
the "battle for people's hearts and minds" between the United States
and China will be "won by the country that displays more humane
authority." Unfortunately, in trying to define how to get to a more
humane authority, Yan falls short, doing little more than suggesting
Beijing should choose more virtuous and wise leaders, as well as open
its doors to leaders from abroad. Good luck with that. Instead, he
should listen to his neighbor at Peking University Zhu Feng, who calls it straight
when he says that in order for China to lead, it needs to respect the
rule of law and human rights as well as promote economic growth. Until
all of those are Beijing's top political priorities, Chinese leaders
will never be voted most popular--they'll just keep paying people to hang
around with them for a while.
This article originally appeared at CFR.org, an Atlantic partner site.