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China and the Greater Middle East: Globalization No Longer Equals Westernization

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

The reshaping of the domestic social, political, and economic structures all over East Asia takes place in the context of a restructuring of the international (security) order. Despite China's increasing acceptance of international institutions and regimes the divergence of vital security interests of the United States (US) and Japan vis-a-vis those of China has raised the specter of increased polarization. This article will seek to answer the question of whether China is about to consciously challenge the power of the US and its allies not only in Asia, but also in the Greater Middle East (GME), mainly through China's impact on the economics, political, and social structure of those countries rather than through rivalry in the field of military power. China's conceptualization of the current global order is also shaped by historical memories of an age in which China was merely an object of Great Power politics which also directly affected the wider region, including the heartland of Eurasia, Southeast Asia, and in particular Japan and the Korean peninsula with their direct impact on China's security equation. To some Chinese strategists the Indian Ocean and countries of the GME have acquired a vital importance not only with regard to the supply of raw materials (including those obtained from Africa). Continuing Western strategic dominance in this large area would also have an important negative impact on China's global strategic position. For the first time in its history, China has become critically dependent on the acquisition of foreign resources—raw materials, investment and technology, as well as earnings from exports. China's economic activities in near neighbors such as Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, ailand, and Iran are also strategically important due to the impact on domestic and international politics of these countries. The US tends to interpret such influence in terms of Chinese power projection. This article interprets the linkages between domestic events and international strategies on the network of global (security) relations in terms of neogeopolitics rather than mainstream US scholarship.

Affiliations: 1: International Institute of Asian Studies, The Netherlands


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