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Question: Is China's rise our downfall?

Richard Armitage: Well they would say it's the call to peaceful development because "rise" sounds a little militaristic. It is the case that when exist … historically, that when existing powers try to accommodate a rising power, there is some dislocations in the tectonic plates that undergird security and economic landscape. It is not necessarily the case that the peaceful development or rise of China will be to our detriment because the rising tide can raise all boats. The real question is whether China wants to join the United States on the world stage – and God knows there’s enough heavy lifting to go around – or whether China feels that it’s a zero sum game; and that for them to complete their peaceful development that the United States has to exit stage right. I don’t think China has made up their mind on that. I don’t think anyone knows. In the Middle East, … certainly very vulnerable in Asia, something that has given all our Asian friends something to think about. They’ve tried to make a lot of inroads into Africa and into South America recently. In the Middle East, they are not interested in pushing Iran very much harder because they have such a huge need and thirst for energy. They do have a special relationship with Pakistan, and we’re … responsible for the nuclear weapon. But they don’t have enormous, enormous influence on the other states of the Middle East.

Recorded on: 9/14/07

More from the Big Idea for Monday, September 26 2011


Is China's rise our downfall?

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