A review of Martin Jacques' "When China Rules the World"
Thanks Branko, a thoughtful review. Regarding China's inability to comprehend “the other” or lack of interest in “others”, I think these descriptions are not as nuanced as they could be. One does not be a continuous civilization for 5000+ years without knowing the other. One does not be one-fifth of the human race and directly influencing and being influenced by other populous civilizations and nations in Asia - themselves having a good third of humankind - without comprehending the other. China's position and self-described identity necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the other. If there is no larger world Under Heaven, there can be no Middle Kingdom at its center.
The critical thing is there's a sense of limit, or one might call a sense of propriety, and the Chinese feel this way. It is an instinctive awareness of differences, a respect in recognizing differences and a respect for differences. What one might call an inability to comprehend, the Chinese would call an ability to respect differences. What one might call a lack of interest, the Chinese would call a respectful curiosity. I think descriptions of China's worldview should not be based on what the Chinese lack or are unable to provide but rather what they do see in their own capacity.
Pax Sinica will be a relatively more peaceful world because of a paradox. Paradoxically, while Western societies are free and individualistic within, they see a very conformist international order that often requires intervention or even salvation in a Judeo-Christian tradition. While internal Chinese society is a deeply Confucian conformist society, outside of its borders China sees an international environment of nations or pan-national civilizations where all can pursue self-determination in a Taoist-Buddhist cosmology.
"a deeply ingrained racism, inability to comprehend “the other”, ingrained sense of superiority"??
Says who? I have seen a quiet and growing confidence in Chinese governance/civilization (inextricable), nothing more.