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The Changes in World Order
Professor Yan Xuetong
Organized by
The Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDI...
The Changes in World Order
by Professor Yan Xuetong
Organized by
The Institute of Diplomacy and Internati...
The Changes in World Order
Professor Yan Xuetong
Dean of the Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua Universi...
international leading power with Russia, the inherited country of the Soviet Union. So senior
Bush suggested the ter...
institution and ideology. We will use the post-Cold War order as an example. After the Cold
War, liberalism dominate...
they take their kids to the zoo, the park, or to any public places, and there are three genders of
toilets, which on...
on 22 Jan. (actually he has said like this several times before.) that nation matters. No
international body can sta...
Trends of the international order in the next five years
After describing the changing of the international order, I...
 Human Resources
The third thing is about the flow of the human resources and the anti-immigration
trends that gain...
Strongman Leadership
And the last one is about political changes. The political change has already
happened. You fou...
Peace in East Asia
The peace in East Asia will be guaranteed by 2 factors.
Nuclear Peace
First, the nuclear weapon. ...
diplomacy leads to summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un. And now I think they’re going
to have another one and very...
become more peaceful. Negatively, it may cause some unpleasant things. I don’t know. From
the Europeans’ eyes, our ...
will last for…I’m not sure how long it would last for because if you see today. We see that
the US often infringe o...
Trump administration doesn’t think cooperation is the right solution for American national
interest. And in that wa...
Question 4: In your lecture, you state that technology which has like AI, like robots [that]
play important role in...
need to open the country as wider as possible. So my answer to you and your suggestion, I
think it’s good but I’m n...
change and the society is changing and they always face new things. You know reform can
never stop when our product...
The Public forum is organized by Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS)
College of Government, Ran...
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Transcript: The Changes in World Order by Prof. Yan Xuetong at Rangsit University

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This public lecture given by Professor Yan Xuetong on February 1, 2019 from 2.30 PM – 5.00 PM at Auditorium 1st Floor, Rattanakunakorn Building, Rangsit University, Thailand.

Organized by
The Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS), Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Klangpanya Institute of National Strategies.

Publicado en: Noticias y política
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Transcript: The Changes in World Order by Prof. Yan Xuetong at Rangsit University

  1. 1. The Changes in World Order by Professor Yan Xuetong Organized by The Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS), College of Government, RSU Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing and Klangpanya Institute of National Strategies February 2019
  2. 2.       Transcript The Changes in World Order by Professor Yan Xuetong Organized by The Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS), Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Klangpanya Institute of National Strategies. Friday of 1 February 2019 from 2.30 PM – 5.00 PM Auditorium 1st Floor, Rattanakunakorn Building, Rangsit University. Advisor: Prof. Anek Laothamatas Editor: Yuwadee Kardkarnklai Editorial Board: Panat Thongpoung, Sopanit Angsusingha, Khobtham Neelapaichit, Tosaporn Mungkrobglang, Nuttida Yenbumrung, and Thitirat Rusangiam. Published: February 2019. Address Klangpanya Institute of National Strategies, Promphan 1 Building 4th Floor, 637/1 Ladprao Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900. Tel. 02-983-8826 Fax. 02-938-8864
  3. 3.   1   The Changes in World Order Professor Yan Xuetong Dean of the Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua University They expected me to talk something about Chinese foreign policy. I will certainly do. But I want more to talk about the international order. Because this is a new trend. A new change. A new situation. And I think both faculties and students want to know what is coming to us. International Order and Global Governance Actually in the class, I always raise questions to my students. I ask them “Can you tell me the different between an established international new order and a global governance.” In most cases, my students failed to response to this question. For most of them, they regarded global governance suggesting new order for our age. The new order could have different contents in different historical periods. But global governance is the content of the new order of our age. And then I said to my students that this is the popular understanding about global governance and new order. Actually, this is a misunderstanding more than the right one. What does global governance mean? Global governance means a distribution of international responsibility. For instance, we require every country to undertake some responsibility to reduce the CO2, to clean the air. Actually, no individual country can keep its own country with clear air, if its neighbor ruins the air. So that’s why we need global governance to make the world coming together to deal with global-wide threat to our lives. So global governance is a distribution of responsibility. International order is different. Actually “order” in international politics means distribution of power. Human is selfish: everyone wants power but do not want to have responsibility. So then we will find that every country competes for power but they are reluctant to undertake responsibility. So because the word “order” in terms of politics refers to distribution of power, in the 1970s developing countries said that “Oh, the order is imbalanced. We want the North and the South to share power and to have equal or balanced power”. So during the 1970s, developing countries encourage to establish a new economic international order. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a bipolar system was ended and was replaced by unipolar configuration. And the US has become the only superpower. So the US said “wait a minute, we need to change the distribution of world order during the Cold War. And the world power should not be divided between the US and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union no longer had the capability to compete with the US. So the US would not share                                                               an editor-in-chief of the Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vice chairman of both the China Association of International Relations Studies and the China Association of American Studies, and a member of the Consultation Committee of China’s Ministry of Commerce. This public lecture given by Professor Yan Xuetong on February 1, 2019 from 2.30 PM – 5.00 PM at Auditorium 1st Floor, Rattanakunakorn Building, Rangsit University, Thailand.  
  4. 4.   2   international leading power with Russia, the inherited country of the Soviet Union. So senior Bush suggested the term “establish a New World Order”. So at that time, in the early 1990s the term “new world order” referred to US monopoly of the international leading power. No longer that the power was divided between the two superpowers. Now we come to the new age or the new situation which people are talking again about change in international order. So everyone understands that the change in order means redistribution of power, mainly redistribution of leading powers. So you will find that no matter China, US, Kissinger or any politician, when they talk about the change of world order, none of them is talking about global governance. Global governance is not a redistribution of power but responsibility. We found that we moved into a new age. The rising power and the status quo power are competing for international influence but no one competes for international responsibility. Trump clearly tells the world that the US does not want to continue the responsibility for the world. That means the US does not want to undertake leadership. Leadership, on the one hand, means you have power, on the other hand you have to undertake some responsibility. So for the Trump administration, they conceived the responsibility too high and that the US should not pay for that. The New International Order Well, now we move into the age that people [are] talking about what kind of order will it be? Everyone is making [his] own prediction and political scientists, technicians, economists, journalists [are] all making up prediction about the new order. Some people perhaps understand the new order from the perspective of technology that the new order will be decided by AI, robots or 5G. While some economists said we moved into the age of knowledge economy. The new order will be divided by the knowledge class and the people without knowledge, not divided between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. So people have different concepts about the debate of the new order. Actually, if we want to know what the new order will be, do not only look at policies adopted by major powers, also you have to see what components of the order are. And then you can know what is changing. First, we have to define what is order? International order means countries settling down conflicts or disputes peacefully according to international norms. That means you can maintain peace and regulations within a normal behavior without going into war or major clash. Since the end of the Cold War, the world order has been there especially for East Asia and we have enjoyed peaceful order for several decades. Since the end of the war in Cambodia in 1991, this region has been so peaceful. There were a lot of tension and conflicts, but there was no war. We have a better security environment than the Europeans. The Europeans cannot enjoy peace like us. They have experienced wars in Kosovo, Turkey and Georgia, for instance. The Europeans people conceive their land, their hometown, Europe, more peaceful than us. Actually, that is not true. East Asia is much more peaceful than Europe. Components of the International Order What people think the world order will be? If we are talking about the international order, there are two things. First, we are talking about peace and war. Second, we are talking about norm, liberalism or non-liberalism. Order is composed of three elements; norm,
  5. 5.   3   institution and ideology. We will use the post-Cold War order as an example. After the Cold War, liberalism dominated the world, like Fukuyama said “it is the end of history.” Democracy becomes the dominating ideology over the world and rules out that history is over. Based on this ideology, liberalism is... Then the American took leadership [and] established a lot of international norms. Most countries behave themselves according to these norms to settle their disputes. And that’s maintaining the order. Meanwhile, some countries do not. Like Iraq and some countries in the Middle East. They do not behave according to liberalism norms. So there is violence. And the American said “we have to punish those countries who violate international norms.” What happened was that the US took leadership, launched wars or took sanctions against some countries violating liberalism norms. Institutions are international organizations. International organizations were carried out to give out the use of their resources and their capabilities to maintain the order according to liberalism norms. Now we find that in these three components, an ideology establishes norms and an institution maintains the world according to the norms. Now things are changing so dramatically. First, the dominating ideology, liberalism, is no longer that influential. Liberalism is not only losing influence in some developing countries, but liberalism faces challenges domestically in the US and the EU. The challenging ideology is the anti-establishmentism. Anti-establishmentism in the United States is not to oppose nationalism, communism, or not against socialism. Anti-establishmentism in the US targeted liberalism, they [are] against the so-called liberalist establishment. In Europe, the challenging or the competing ideology is populism. Populism is getting a new momentum in Europe. And it is also against liberalism. Because during the post-Cold War period, liberalism has become the dominating ideology based on the support from leading powers in Europe and the United States. Today these two leading powers are no longer supporting liberalism. In these countries, liberalism is no longer an absolutely welcomed ideology. More and more people dislike liberalism. More and more people criticize liberalism. They say liberalism is wrong. Even Blair, who is a very typical liberalist politician still questioned why democracy cannot effectively save Western countries from the financial crisis of 2008 better than those non-democratic countries. Fukuyama published a book talking about the end of history and it has become so popular. Now Fukuyama published another article to criticize democracy. He said democracy is wrong. Democracy undermines America’s capabilities. Recently, even John Mearsheimer published a new book saying that liberalism undermines American hegemony and leadership. Why these well-known western scholars and politicians suddenly become not that positive toward democracy? Why they suddenly become critical to liberalism? My understanding is because liberalism has gone too far. Liberalism has become extremism. Any ideology that goes extreme will go to the opposite direction and will become harmful to the society. For instance, in the US, liberalism emphasizes political correctness. Political correctness means being inclusive and tolerant. How tolerant we should be? We should be tolerant to others [who are] different from us. We should be tolerant to everyone [who is] different from us and [who] has the same equal rights. It is very difficult. And then we have to tolerate gay marriage. The gay said that they should enjoy the same social welfare including delivering baby. And they also said that because the gay are physically male gender but mentally, they are in a different gender from male and female. So these people said that they feel uncomfortable to go to the toilet based on a physical gender. In California, third gender toilets are established. So they have three gender toilets: the male, the female and the neutral. Well, certainly this is very tolerated [and] politically correct. Then traditional or conservative people said that they [could] tolerate this no longer. Because they said that if
  6. 6.   4   they take their kids to the zoo, the park, or to any public places, and there are three genders of toilets, which one they should tell their kids to go to? They said that they do not want their kids from the very young age to develop that kind of sexual orientation. So they said that they do not like this. I do not mean which ideology is good or bad. I mean any kind of ideology going too extreme is bad. So when we talk about the Islamic fundamentalists, it does not mean that the Islam religion has a problem. I come from China, if I’m really loyal to the ideology of socialism, I do not think it is bad. But if socialism goes too extreme, it will cause a lot of harm to society. So you will find that one thing is changed: the dominating ideology. Liberalism is no longer that influential or no longer that welcomed like during the post-Cold War period. Because the Europeans and the Americans are no longer advocating liberalism as much as before. The government’s behaviors will be different from before. They do no longer obey liberal norms as much as before. There is another academic difference: anti-globalization and counter-globalization. While anti-globalization comes from ordinary people who suffer from globalization. [This is] because globalization makes the society become polarized both in international level and domestic level. Internationally, you will find that G20 countries account for 85% of the world’s GDP. While the rest only share less than 25%. And in another 5 or 7 years, G20 countries will account for 90% of the GDP of the world. And the non-G20 countries, more than 160 countries, will only share less than 10% of the world’s GDP. So polarization will become worse and worse at the global level. Domestically, no matter Thailand, China, US, Japan or Germany, in every country polarization becomes worse and worse. That is why low- class people [or] people in the grassroots dislike globalization. They say that globalization only benefits those people working for international corporations. But how about them? How about the wanderers in the street? How about people that only own small restaurants? We call this anti-globalization. Now situation changes a little bit. We call it counter-globalization. This is not from the people. It comes from the governments. Governments said that they do not like globalization. The UK took leadership on this. They said they do not want to stay in the EU. They want to withdraw from it. Then the US under the Trump administration says that globalization is a bad concept. That it is no good. That it is not in favor of American interest. That America must come first. So Americans say they do not want globalization. So the American government no longer supports globalization. The US says that globalization means America has to undertake more and more international responsibilities. All industrialized countries; UK, Germany etc. realized that if they participate in globalization, it means they have to undertake more responsibilities, but not more power. No one likes responsibility, we only like power. So Americans say “let’s quit.” So America quit from the Paris Agreement. They do not want to undertake the responsibility to reduce the CO2. Meanwhile, someone also said that the responsibility for human rights is also a problem. It means high price. The US says “OK. Let’s withdraw from the human rights commission of the UN.” And about education, Americans say UNESCO is nonsense, let’s quit. So the institution is changing. We have talked about the three elements. First, ideology is changing. Second, the institution is changing. The Americans, while withdrawing from the institutions, say that they want to establish new institutions. Pompeo said very clearly to the world that American foreign policy is to protect American sovereignty, not to protect the world order. Pompeo said
  7. 7.   5   on 22 Jan. (actually he has said like this several times before.) that nation matters. No international body can stand up for the people as well as their own leader. That strong borders are key to strong nation. That this is how we keep our people safe and protect our sovereignty. Not only Pompeo, the state secretary, but also Pence, vice president, and Trump, President of the United States. All are talking about how to protect American sovereignty at the UN congress. So you see that Americans dislike the current international institutions. Pompeo gave a very clear statement at the Marshall Institution in Europe. He said that “these institutions were established by the United States. They worked well before. But now they are no longer suitable for American interests. We need to establish new international institutions.” Well. What is the new institutions? I do not know. Then he said that “look at what China did. China has established the AIIB. AIIB is a new institution. This institution has its own norms. China uses these kinds of new institutions to redistribute international financial power. So for the Trump administration and European countries, they’re all concerned that what kind of new institutions they need. Germany and France said that they should establish their own financial system, getting independence from the dollar system. And they will do their financial transactions through their own Euro system, instead of American dollar system, to prevent American intervention and constraint. The typical case is Iran. Americans gave sanction on Iran. American said that anyone not following American suit, conducting business with Iran then the US will punish those countries’ companies even when they belong to US allied countries. So European countries said they want to maintain trade with Iran. So they will establish their own financial system so all European companies can do business with Iran through their own financial system. So now the first element, the ideology is changing. But it is not clear what direction it is changing to. Liberalism is still the strongest one. And all of other competing ideologies are not as thrived as liberalism. But they are undermining liberalism’s influence. Meanwhile, major powers start to establish new international institution. So the second factor, institution, is changing. The third factor is norms, international norms. Most of the norms are based on liberalism ideology, but when European countries and the US [are] no longer advocating liberalism, then these norms have to be changed. That means reform in the current international norms. Certainly, there are some sections or domains that have no norm or no popular norm like in the issue of digital economy and cyber security. Digital Economy and Cybersecurity The digital economy and the cybersecurity are new issues to the human society. We do not know how to manage these things. And that’s why 70 countries are concerned about negotiating at Davos for global norms or regulations to govern the digital economy, technological invention, and the cybersecurity. It depends on the negotiation. I don’t know what kind of new ideology will replace liberalism. And the United Nations is the most dominating international institution. But now there are strong requirements for reforming the institution. There are all kinds of ideas, all kinds of conflicting requirements and all kinds of conflicting suggestions on how to reform the United Nations, how to reform WTO, how to reform World Bank, how to reform the IMF. I do not know. I only know no country is a captain of any of these institutions, whether China, the US, and Germany. They said, “if you do not reform, I’m going to establish a new one.” And Japan also does the same. The US withdraw from the TPP. Japan said “OK. If you withdraw, I will do it. So, Japan establishes the new TPP. That is the general situation.
  8. 8.   6   Trends of the international order in the next five years After describing the changing of the international order, I will talk about what will happen to the trend of the order in the next five years. In difference sectors the change will be different. The domains of security, military, economy, trade, and finance all the field won’t be in the same direction. Because at this moment I can’t see any countries to provide the unique global leadership. The US does not want to do it. China does not have capability to do it. I can’t see any country has the capability to do it by itself. Second, I can’t see any two or three major powers will want to take a joint effort to provide a character of leadership.  Security In term of security, generally speaking nuclear weapon will guarantee the world peace. And Jack Ma said that “the new technology will bring the third world war to the human being.” But 100% sure within five or ten years, that won’t happen. Nuclear weapon can guarantee the global general peace for the Cold War and it will play the function to continue to guarantee the general peace of the world. That means nuclear weapon can prevent world war III in 9 or 10 years. The military competition will speed up the military modernization. Not only the US, but also China and Russia will have a huge increase in military in 2019. China has a key power that improves its military capability for several years. So, from my understanding, the military competition in the next of five years will be illustrated by the modernization of a military equipment. While the weapon modernization will be enough, unfortunately this kind of military modernization will cause some military or security tension among the major power. Many people are talking about the South China Sea. The competition between China and the US is continued and may become a war. Third, no major powers want to go to war. I don’t think China and the US want a war in the South China Sea in the next five years. Then the economy: liberalism order can survive that means the free trade norms can survive despite the tension of trade relationship between China and the US. Through the negotiation China promise that “I am going to protect more from the US.” The EU and Japan reach an agreement to establish the large free trade soon. Meanwhile, China talked with ASEAN to upgrade ASEAN+1 dialogue which means reducing the tax. And Trump is labeled as a protectionist. He set up taxes and tariffs on Chinese exports to the US. The result is that the US imports more from Canada and Mexico. This is the current war based on the idea of protectionism but the result of the war will continue the free trade principle. That means the general level of the tariff would decrease rather than increase. So, I think that is an objective of a standard or reference to get the norm or the trade order or the free trade  Finance In terms of finance the situation would be different. The countries will control the flow of the capital. It is different from the trade. The control of the flow of capital is because this country wants to prevent the financial crisis. The 2008 financial crisis cause problems to everyone. That is why this time more and more country are prepared for that and also most people believe the next financial crisis or economic crisis will come either this year or next year.
  9. 9.   7    Human Resources The third thing is about the flow of the human resources and the anti-immigration trends that gain new momentum. The government will tighten the border control. The border can be any kind of border, electric border, trade border, or information border. I mean the border of a human resource movement and it does not only happen in Europe. The border control will become tightened. The reason is that that is the government’s instrument to counter the globalization of a stranger. Actually from my understanding, no government likes globalization because it undermines every country’s sovereignty. Before that, there were governments so effectively controlling the country. There was no passport and no visas. Human being can travel anyway and they do not need passport, and they do not need visa. And today Thailand is doing better without visa requirements for many countries. But not every country is like you. Many countries have a visa control even the European countries and US. They become serious about the illegal immigration in domestic politics. So, that is a trend from globalization.  Technology The last thing is a situation about technology. This will be very serious and the world has moved into the age of knowledge and economy. The knowledge is a major resource to generate wealth, to produce the country’s power and to cultivate the national capability. And the smart people who can manage the digital technology they can cumulate wealth very fast. The Tsinghua University produces a lot of engineers and specialists. We have a lot of young people who can accumulate the wealth. The world changes the human being’s mentality. And the change is not only political, but also social. Do our politicians understand that our children are going to create the world so different you can never know what it is? So, in the next of five years the technology will play a really important role probably to divide the world according to technology. The world will be divided according to technology. I remember four years ago the society would be divided, the classes would be divided no longer by proletariats and bourgeoisies but by people possessing knowledge and people without norms. And now possibly the country would be divided into the digital economic countries and non-digital economic countries. Now, in China and Thailand more and more people use a WeChat to pay. In Hong Kong, the mayor tried to produce a first non-cash city. Most people in that city no longer use cash they pay with the WeChat or other electric payments. That means even the farmers who never possess a credit card suddenly jump from cash to WeChat. Well, the story like this and the key is the WeChat, because WeChat has already been used for several years. In Shenzhen, paying with the WeChat is their life. When the parents go to some foreign countries as tourists they will see they use people to pay for goods. They have no concept of money or bill. This kind of change won’t make the world move in a good direction. Very possibly combined with globalization, this trend will make polarization even worse. Both at international level and domestic level, the polarization becomes worse and worse because some people have knowledge of digital economy, some people don’t. This gap will be enlarged by knowledge. So, education becomes very important. I am not sure any government is prepared to provide education that makes every citizen possess knowledge of the digital economy.
  10. 10.   8   Strongman Leadership And the last one is about political changes. The political change has already happened. You found that the “Strongman” is coming by. Trump is not alone. He’s not unique. There’re many similar leaders that make policy without consultation and assistance. They prefer to make these decisions by themselves. This kind of a strongman polity is coming by. I cannot understand why. But I notice that this kind of an international phenomenon just happened wave after wave. In the 1930s, you find that many countries’ national leaders wanted military and they would have WWII. Before that we have nationalist leaders who were popular in most of the European countries. Then we have World War I. And then in the 1930s we have military leaders then we have World War II. Then we have nationalist leaders again. Then we have independence movements prevailing over Latin America and Africa. And then in the 1990s we have a liberalist order and liberalist leaders in many countries. Then we witnessed the war in the Middle East, Somalia and in many places. This time we get another wave. We have a lot of strongman leaders. No one can find any single term to label them in the aspect of ideology. Maybe they have different ideologies but the style of their policymaking have some similarities. So people try to understand why suddenly the society, no matter in democratic society or non-democratic society, have this kind of national leaders. Some people contribute this to the financial crisis in 2008. Because people said that “now you see, without a strong leadership we cannot deal with the crisis. We need a strong government to have an efficient policy to save us from crisis.” And some people said “no, it is because of the decline of liberalism. And liberalism has gone too far that people dislike it. And people said “okay we prefer a traditional form.” Not only in China, many intellectuals discussed about the pre-Qin history and the pre- Qin philosophy. And also in the US and in Europe, they all resumed classical value. People said we need classical values: the values to prevent the divorce because the rate of divorce has increased too fast. In the UK, the rate of divorce increases faster than the rate of marriage. So people said they no longer like this kind of liberalist society. We want a conservative one. I don’t know. I cannot make any judgement about who is right or who is wrong. But one thing is clear. People are dissatisfied with the reality. People want to have change. Obama won the election based on one word “change.” He won the election with the word change but Americans were dissatisfied with his politics. They said you only change the colour of the skin, but you didn’t change anything else. So here we failed in the election. People said we no longer trust democrats because this time you will change the gender but not in policy. They want substantial change. Not only in the US, in many countries, people want to have substantial change. So this is a general trend. I’ll use the one term to describe this. It is “diversity.” The world politically diversified wide and wide. It can hardly make people find the common consensus. Finally, I’ll talk about the Eastern Asia. How about our region? And China’s rise makes a lot of people feel the fear. China’s rise will make this region become more prosperous? Or China’s rise will help bring war to us? People are uncertain about it. If China makes this region rich and prosperous, everyone will like it. If China fared into war with the US and coincidentally fight in not America, but fight in East Asia, that’s dangerous.
  11. 11.   9   Peace in East Asia The peace in East Asia will be guaranteed by 2 factors. Nuclear Peace First, the nuclear weapon. You can find that even in North Korea that possesses limited nuclear capability…very limited nuclear equipment, the US gave up the idea to attack North Korea with military force. That illustrates the theory: as long as two countries possess nuclear weapons and no matter how preemptive it is, these two countries will not fare into large scale wars. India possesses nuclear weapon and Pakistan follows India’s suit. And people are vulnerable about that. They said this is dangerous because they’re not superpowers. Not unlike the US and the Soviet Union. They’re not as rational as the superpowers. The history tells us that exact same rational as the superpowers when they possess nuclear weapons. Since these two countries possess nuclear capability, the major conflicts between these two countries dramatically decline. The war between these countries becomes less and less possible. So nuclear weapons can guarantee the general security in this region.  The Military Balance between China and the US The second factor is the military balance between the US and its clients. Actually the peace for Eastern Asia since 1991 is mainly, in my view, based on bipolar configuration. Today we’re talking about bipolarization is going to be global configuration. But for regional configuration, it is different. The Middle East – multipolar configuration. In Africa – multipolar configuration. But if you go to Latin America, that’s a unipolar configuration. Brazil dominates that region. For East Asia, for long time it has been bipolar configuration between China and the US. Just now that this has become more and more obvious. So this bipolarity in terms of military, not in economy. In terms of economy, Japan was the number one country in this region in the 1990s. China has surpassed Japan economically in the 21st century, not late 20th century. So this bipolar configuration in East Asia is in terms of military. This military bipolar configuration can guarantee that neither China nor the US dare to initiate the war in this region. That’s why we enjoy this longer peace. But in Europe, it’s the opposite. The balance between NATO, the US and Russia totally changed. The balance disappeared. Russia became weaker. The balance was broken and then they experienced three wars. This region was just opposite. The military gap between China and the US is decreased rather than increased. So I think the more balanced military between these 2 countries will save these countries from military crisis. Bipolar Diplomacy How about East Asia in terms of diplomacy? In terms of diplomacy, it seems to me bipolar diplomacy is gaining momentum. And the multilateral diplomacy is being undermined. Not only in the US that prefer bilateral talk with China but they prefer bilateral talks with everyone even with Japan and South Korea. The typical case is North Korea’s nuclear issue. Since the parties talk happened there for more than a decade. And the six-party talk cannot find any solution to settle down the nuclear peace treaty in the Korean Peninsula. The US talked with China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan individually. This bilateral
  12. 12.   10   diplomacy leads to summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un. And now I think they’re going to have another one and very soon. This is all through bilateral diplomacy. So you find that not only in terms of security and trade and now people talk about bilateral treaty in this region. The cooperation will become lesser negative part about the country. The cooperation and also the bilateral talk are gaining momentum. First, China’s One Belt One Road project. Most of them are bilateral projects. And you look at the student exchange program – bilateral. You can hardly find any multilateral in the student exchange program. I don’t know if it’s good or bad but obviously the government in this region find that we should be realistic. And bilateral diplomacy will help us to settle down the disputes and improve our cooperation in all fields. The reason is very simple. There’s no whole regional architecture. We have any international institutions for East Asia? No. We have one ASEAN for Southeast Asia only. Even Southeast Asia the ASEAN as organization seldom has any touch on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear issue. They do not want to be involved in the North Korea nuclear issue. So from my understanding, before we have an East Asia regional institution. It’s difficult to make the multilateral diplomacy as the main approach for regional cooperation or settle down or solve the regional problems. The East Asia’s Values and Political Culture Finally, I’ll raise up the very academic issues. How about the East Asia value? I discuss about the competition between this and that ideology. Does Eastern Asia can provide any kind of ideology shared by the rest of the world? I don’t know. But in many countries including India they said the Western ideologies have dominated the world for 200 years. Our only inter-cultural [relations] including India, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN countries and China. They said look at this region. We have a very different history, culture, food. People even call us chopstick couple. We don’t use forks and knives. Actually people told me why we prefer chopsticks rather than forks and knives. They said it’s because forks and knives are very dangerous. At the dinner table, we may use them as weapons to kill them. Chopsticks are the same. No matter what, we have to admit that culturally this region, East Asia, has different cultures. The ideology – liberalism is so popular after the Cold War. And many countries and governments follow this liberalist ideology. But for Western countries, they still think “you are not the same like us. You’re backward from us. Your ideology is not so modern like us.” But now it seems to me that situation has changed. People in East Asia revalue our own ideology. I don’t mean the communist ideology. I don’t mean the official ideology. I mean our social culture. We call it political culture. This region has our own culture because this culture makes our region different. Some people believe this culture makes our economy grow faster than Europe because of the culture. It’s not because of the similarities but because of the differences. Because we’re not exactly the same as Europeans so we can make economics grow faster than Europe. That’s the reason. People also start to find that this region has a longer peace than other regions. So people from Malaysia told me “look at that, our religion is Muslim but we’re peaceful Muslims. Our Muslims are different from other Muslims.” I said “what’s the difference?” They said “we have a different culture from them. We have the same religion but different culture.” So you may have the same political system like Europe but you have a different culture from Europe. This specialty, this difference makes this region unique. Positively it makes economics grow faster, develop faster, and
  13. 13.   11   become more peaceful. Negatively, it may cause some unpleasant things. I don’t know. From the Europeans’ eyes, our culture is not modern and not that advanced. Finally, I’ll say East Asia will inevitably become the center of the world. No matter you like it or not. The world’s center already started to shift from Europe towards Eastern Asia – China, Japan and South Korea. These three countries’ GDP are already larger than EU. It surpassed ASEAN and much larger than EU plus Russia. Right? ASEAN’s GDP is much larger than Russia. So military part is the same. And this region’s military part is larger than Europe. The more money you have, the more military capability you have inevitably you have more influence than the other regions. It’s not necessary that you have more money is a good thing. And whenever we’re poor I never worried being robbed. I have nothing. When I was poor, I never worried about my children being kidnapped because no one will kidnap my children that are so poor. When we become the rich, you have problems. Security will become a big problem. The wealth…because this region accumulates the wealth faster, all the major powers will compete for this. They will compete for the dominant influence in this region. So being the world’s center means 2 things. First, it means you have more influence than other regions. Second, it means there’s more tension in this region because of the competition among the major powers. Okay can we open up the floor to the audience for questions. Thank you very much. Q&A Session Moderator: And now we have an opportunity for every one of us to ask questions because it has covered a lot of several fields according to globalization, economics and politics. Here’s an opportunity for anyone to ask questions. Please raise your hand and the microphone will be transferred to you. Question 1: Professor, first of all, thank you very much for your intriguing lecture today. I’m happy to have you and your colleagues here. I just would like to steal this opportunity because I believe there will be many more questions to come. So I’m from the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies as well. And I have a few questions for you. First of all, you were mentioning about the era in which the US have been retreating from taking responsibility as the world leader and in the era that the Western ideology like liberalism and democracy is on decline. In this kind of situation, do you think China is going to step up and take that kind of responsibility? And also talking about the ideology, what kind of ideology that China will bring upon as it takes up its responsibility? Would that be national interest? Or sovereignty integrity or what else I’m not sure. That’s the first question. Question 2: And the second question. I have a question about your talking about the world of bipolarity. And from your article in Foreign Affairs I found you mention also that the US remain in its own hemisphere. And China also remains in its own hemisphere. That’s why they can co-exist peacefully for the time being. But in the future I wonder how this situation
  14. 14.   12   will last for…I’m not sure how long it would last for because if you see today. We see that the US often infringe on the ideology that or… you kind of have the ideology clash. The US criticize China for the issue like human rights for example. So I’m not sure if this kind of peaceful coexistence can last for that long. Question 3: The last question. You’re talking about cultural relativism, which was mentioned in John Mearsheimer’s book “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.” And from his interpretation, he said it incorporates the concept of Confucianism. And based on this kind of cultural relativism means China will be a benevolent superpower. But anyway from his interpretation as well, Confucianism and cultural relativism doesn’t deny the use of force if any state is considered immoral. So the question is if any state infringes on China’s national interest or the case of South China Sea for example, will that state be considered as immoral? And what China will deal with this kind of situation? Thank you. Answer: Well I have three questions. First, whether China is ready to replace the US leadership. And from my understanding, the answer is very clear. It’s very simple. It’s no. First, it’s beyond China’s capability to undertake this leadership. Leadership requires capability. It’s not only wealth. That’s very important. Second, the Chinese government officials have repeated several times that China doesn’t want to challenge the US leadership. And even we don’t want to follow American leadership and we don’t want to challenge American leadership. Third, from a very practical perspective, China has to understand that and the US have to involve in lots of issues which are very costly and very dangerous and require leadership. That means that kind of leadership undermines American national capability. The typical case is Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan is the longest war that the US fought in history of the last 200 years. From 2001 until now, it’s 18 years – much longer than the war in Vietnam. The US have consulted with China about this issue. They said whether China would want to take over these military camps to send them purely into the country, to maintain the current government. China’s answer is very simple. The first is that “no.” This problem kicked out by yourself. You should take responsibility for it. Because the war was launched by the US, not by others. So this issue kicked out by yourself. You should implement that job. So China strongly encouraged the US to stay there. Don’t gather your troops out. And stay there as long as possible. You can understand not only this. The US also understand that this kind of leadership is very costly and undermines the national resources. So from these three perspectives, I don’t think China is ready to undertake…to fill the vacuum like the US. That’s why my prediction in the next 5 years it’s very possible we’re going to witness a war without global leadership. That’s the new situation. The second question is about how long China and the US can keep this peaceful co- existence? My understanding, we are talking about the peaceful co-existence and that can be defined in two concepts. First, peaceful coexistence means there is no war. I think I can guarantee that and it’s almost no danger for China and the US to fare into the war in the next five years. But the second definition about the peaceful coexistence means cooperation. It means whether China and the US can cooperate with each other, provide a joint leadership, cooperate with each other, make the world safer, make the world economy grows faster and bring more prosperity for the whole world. I doubt about that. Counterintuitively, and it seems to me it’s very difficult for these two countries to develop cooperation. At least, the
  15. 15.   13   Trump administration doesn’t think cooperation is the right solution for American national interest. And in that way, I think this is difficult. Second problem comes from Chinese side. By now, our government denies the core of the Cominturn of the relationship of the China and the US. It’s a competition. Our government has formed a belief that the relationship between China and the US is cooperative. Cooperation is the core of our relationship, not competition. So American Harvard professor asked me how can we make China and the US to establish the mechanism or regimes to manage the competition between these two countries and prevent the competition as creating intermingling clashes. I think that it is the very right thinking but then I ask the team with the question. I said “if China do not admit that there’s a competition between China and the US, how can you establish the mechanism to manage that competition?” From China’s perspective, there is no competition – one that you manage. So from my understanding, if we want these countries to cooperate more, these two countries must, both sides of the metric, admit that the core of the relationship is a competition, not cooperation. If any side believes there is no competition, I doubt they can cooperate with each other. Only the metric…the competition is a core part of the relationship. They were considering how to manage the cooperation, how to manage competition, how to prevent the competition as leading to disaster. And they were considering to develop preventative cooperation. Preventative cooperation refers to the cooperation that prevents the disaster of military confrontation between the two countries. It’s opposite from the positive cooperation. So it also means negative cooperation. Positive cooperation means that like [countries] work together against the third party like the members of NATO. There is a positive cooperation against Russia. Preventative cooperation is not against the third party but against each other, against the partners of the cooperation. I think ASEAN countries kind of have a very clear mind about the preventative cooperation. It seems ARI is established and uses these confluences to build the buffer and to prevent conflicts among ASEAN countries. So this is called the cooperative cooperation. And this moment, as long as China and the US, as long as the US doesn’t think cooperation benefits the US and China does not admit that the competition is very serious - that is a core part of relationship - I doubt they can develop that kind of very substantial and widely preventative cooperation. So neither join the leadership. The last question is about Confucianism. Confucianism is worldly influential and not only in China, but also in Japan, South Korea and many ASEAN countries. Confucianism is a philosophy. And for the Europeans and the Americans and even the Africans, they regard Confucianism as a religion. Actually for Eastern Asian countries they said “No, this is no religion. This is philosophy. This is culture.” Ok. Confucianism is a world powerful. In China, Confucianism is still in our blood and a governor of family life. Right. We require the kids to be filial to the parents, but Confucianism is not an official ideology. Confucianism is not advocated by any Eastern Asian countries. In Eastern Asia, some countries, China and North Korea, their official ideology is Communism. It is totally different from Confucianism. Confucianism governs people’s lives but not the governor of policy. In Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore, Confucianism also governs family life but not governs your policy. Your policy is literally guided by Liberalism. So Confucianism is not an official ideology, only a social ideology shared by people. It is difficult for Confucianism to become a dominating or globally influential ideology in the coming years. That is my understanding and my response to this request.
  16. 16.   14   Question 4: In your lecture, you state that technology which has like AI, like robots [that] play important role in our lives. So I think the technology you mentioned should include applications like Facebook, Twitter and Google products. So my question is why our government doesn’t allow our Chinese people to use products like Google products and Facebook because in several months I will go back to China, I won’t have the chance to use them. If I want to use the products, I have to use the VPN. So we call it essential. So please answer my question with international politics knowledge. Thank you. Answer: Well. First, I think of a shared worldview. If we can use Twitter and the Google Scholar in mainland China, it is much more convenient for us to do the research right? So I really want that there is no such control about it. The second and this has already become a serious issue between China and the US during the negotiation of the trade war. And the US want to have China to allow Google and Twitter - this digital economy – to come to China, invest in China independently, not a shared, not a joint venture. The reason is very simple. It’s because the digital economy is growing bigger, and the bigger share of the whole China GDP is growing. So for the US, they said “Hey. You cannot cut off that big slice from investment, only allow the Americans invest in some of periphery area. I want to be invited in this prosperous few. So now I think that there is a negotiation.” The web block like you said is because of the Chinese government’s political concern about whether they can allow these companies to operate their companies, run their companies according to their will, according to the Chinese government’s requirement. Well, if you ask me why, I will tell you my personal understanding like your understanding. I think that there is a kind of fear. The fear about the…this fear has been there for decades and do you remember that? Oh. You cannot remember that because you were not born in the 1980s when we opened the door. You maybe the post-nineties. And when Deng Xiaoping opened the country, we adopted the policy called the “opening up and the reform” policy and many people opposed this idea. But wait a minute. If you open this country and many buy things and buy ideas that are welcomed… so Deng Xiaoping have to face with this situation. How can I tell to persuade people that I open the window and some flies and mosquitoes will come in to the room. That is true. Then Deng Xiaoping tell them “I know if we open the window, the mosquitoes and the flies will come in, but also we’ll get fresh air. The fresh air is a main thing. It is more important and brings more health to us and rather than the dynamic caused by the flies and mosquitoes. So for him, he gives the analysis: open up the door can benefit China more than close the door. Today, the opening up policy is no longer say yes to the trade, investment, finance and education. These come through the cyber. Right. We can move into the age of knowledge and separate economy. It becomes the most important part. How much should we open up the Internet? That becomes the issue. So if you ask me why, I would say there is still that kind of very old traditional fear exists. They are worried about opening without the firewall and the negative evil measures will flee and then will cause some social unhealthy things. So from my understanding, this already caused a debate at home. Many people argue that, including me, we think the most effective strategy to win the war, I mean the trade war, is not to close the door. It’s not to make the country protected by the firewall. It’s just obvious. We should open the door because the last forty-year experience tells us. We become more prosperous than before, we are growing faster than before especially when we’re compared with India. You know? In the 1980s, our situation and India’s are quite similar, maybe even worse than India. How can we develop faster than India in the last forty years? Because we are more open than India. India is multi more democratic than China. No doubt. But India is closed society. They do not open as much as China. So for my understanding, our own experiences tell us that we
  17. 17.   15   need to open the country as wider as possible. So my answer to you and your suggestion, I think it’s good but I’m not so sure that your suggestion will become the policy. Thank you. Question 5: How China can become stronger than the United States and what positive things China can provide to Eastern Asian countries? Answer: First, I think of, according to my very limited knowledge and in our history. I was born in 1952 and just three years after the PRC had been established. As through my life, I think this country improved the fast in the period of the 1980s. The 1980s is much poorer than now. The 1980s is even less open than now but then what. In the 1980s, this whole country, every citizen, found that we’re moving in the right direction. We want to make the country rich. We want to make the country as advanced as these advanced countries. So this aspiration and help by everyone, so people work very hard, and then they make all of this progress. Today, how can we make china stronger than the US and the first, we must admit that we are weaker than the US. What does that mean? It means that we have a lot of defects. We have a lot of shortcomings and not as good as the US. Even the US is not that nice country to China. We also have to learn from the US their advantages and learn their strong points. So that is Confucianism. Confucians make the argument that you can learn from anyone when you work with other two people. He is very safe. He is not so sure about even you work with one person and you get to know something that you don’t know before, maybe he’s concerned maybe you’re smart like your wife, so two people do not make sense. So he said “with three people work together, there is definitely one of them that knows something you don’t know.” It means China first has to admit our shortcomings, our defects, our problems. Only we face this problem frankly and then we are looking for the master and the process to solve the problem and to improve ourselves. So at this moment, we cannot be too proud of ourselves. We do make progress faster than the others can. But then even that, we have to ask the question: why we cannot make the move faster of ourselves? Why we still cannot make this country as strong as the US? There must be something wrong. I think this is very important. In the Chinese, we say ...Chinese speaking... means you look into yourself to find your own shortcomings. Second, and how can we make this country stronger than the US? My understanding, we have to continue Deng Xiaoping’ strategy, opening up and then reform. Actually not only Chinese, every country including America they require social reform. That is why they use the term change…change US so they ask the government to take the initiative to change the country. That means reform. Then we have the question. We change the equation in what direction. We change our country according to what standard. We change the country with what kind of reference. That is a problem. So for my understanding, that is why Deng Xiaoping put two things together, opening up. Opening up means open the country to view the world. That, you can find some country that has something better than us then we just learn that point. And so opening up will make us understand what is wrong, what is right, what is progressive, what is re-progressive and what represents the future, what represents the peace. And so opening up, only when we open the country, we know what the direction for us to change the country is. Only when we open up this country then we can find the standard and the reference for us to make East Asians know how to change this country. So if you ask me how, I think every field, they have the special protests and now they cannot continue to do it. In general, we should open up the country and reform ourselves, continue, no stop. There is a wrong concept and the finish or implement the reform. This is a wrong concept. Reform never be ended, can never be ended because war is
  18. 18.   16   change and the society is changing and they always face new things. You know reform can never stop when our products just continue. Second, what positive thing we can bring to the world, I think that we can bring to the world two things. First, it is a lesson, which is the most important experiences. A lot of our experiences are not suitable for other countries. These countries have different cultures, different history, different mentalities and different customs. And I don’t think that there is any country that can copy China’s model very successfully. And even the Chinese government clearly stated that the precondition for the success of China’s economic development is a Chinese communist party’s rule. Without this precondition, we don’t think that you can copy our model and achieve the same success. And so for my understanding, our lesson is more important for other countries to learn. That means don’t repeat the mistake we have made. And then for instances, we suffer a lot and we suffer more than you from this maze. The haze and the smog is very serious in Beijing and in many cities and the reason is that we gather this further investment to China at the beginning. We’re never concerned what kind of pollution they will bring to this country. We’re only concerned how much money they can produce, then when along with the gross of the capability of production and then you find that environment to be undermined, not only air and also water polluted by these industries. So now we notice that we attract foreign investment. We must be concerned. We said we look through the check what is the result of the pollution whether they bring the so- called green technology or it’s a traditional technology. I think in the last forty years, we have a lot of lessons that can be learned by other countries. This is one and there’s the other thing. I think this is too simple. These countries say improvement or these countries prosper and make this country have a huge consumption capability. We can purchase things. We can consume thing. And many countries need a consuming market. They have to sell their things to China. And this is…will be very positive. ***
  19. 19.   17   The Public forum is organized by Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS) College of Government, Rangsit University, Ambassador Sompong Sanguanbun Dean of IDIS and moderated by Ajarn Nutteerata Vititwinyuchon. Distinguished guests: Asst. Prof. Nares Pantaratorn, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at Rangsit University, Ambassador Dr. Jitriya Pinthong, Vice-Rector for Foreign Affairs at Rangsit University, Dr. Anuson Chinvanno, and Assoc. Prof. Veera Somboon etc.