The real problem of China is not so-called "Thucydides trap" according to the logic that a growing power like China have to face an established power like the United States, like ancient Athens clashed with Sparta. Not Thucydides, and Lenin predicted the complicated task which now confronts the people's Republic, he called it imperialism, and said that he will lead to economic collapse and war.
Lenin defined imperialism as an attempt of capitalist countries to find markets and investment opportunities abroad when its domestic economy is saturated with surplus capital and production capacity. According to the reasoning of Lenin, if a capitalist powers will not be able to find new markets abroad to sell there surplus, their economy will collapse, millions will lose their jobs, thousands of companies will go bankrupt, and the financial system will collapse. This will give the revolutionary forces that would threaten their regimes.
In such circumstances, there is only one way of expansion. In the "age of imperialism" in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the European powers sought to acquire colonies or dependent territories, where they could sell surplus goods and invest surplus capital in massive infrastructure projects.
Ironically, it was in this situation and was now "Communist" China. Its home market is saturated with goods and building capacity resulting from decades of subsidies payments and uncontrolled lending. North America, Europe and Japan are less willing to buy steel, aluminium and concrete, produced in China. And China in turn can not find large enough other projects to occupy their bloated industrial infrastructure. Its rulers reacted to the situation attempt to create a "soft" Empire in Asia and Africa, putting forward an initiative called "One belt, one road".
Many analysts had hoped that when China's economy Matures, the country will be more like the US, Europe and Japan. A large and wealthy middle class would be buying enough goods and services to support the work of the industry. The government of the welfare state would facilitate the country's transition to the society of the middle class.
Key Chinese officials seem to believe that now such a future is unrealistic. Too many powerful groups are very interested in keeping the status quo policies of Beijing, and it will not give force to accelerate the painful changes in the Chinese economy. But in the absence of major reforms with the danger of severe economic shock is increasing.
The initiative "One belt, one road" was intended to support continued expansion in the absence of serious economic reforms. Chinese businessmen, bankers and diplomats are scouring the developing world for markets and infrastructure projects to support "Corporation China" in a solvent condition. In 2014 in an article in "South China morning Post" (South China Morning Post) Chinese official said that one of the goals of the "One belt, one road" is "transfer excess capacity abroad". You can call it "imperialism with Chinese characteristics" if you want.
But one hundred years ago, remarked Lenin, an attempt to export excess capacity, to avoid the chaos at home, may lead to conflict abroad. He predicted that rival the Empire will fight for the markets. But other features of this development make this strategy dangerous. Nationalist politicians of the world oppose such projects on the "development" that can put their country in debt to the imperialist power. As a result, the imperialism is the path to ruin.
Today's China's problems conform to this scheme. Pakistan, the largest recipient of funding under the initiative "One belt, one road", considers that the terms are unfair, and wants to resume negotiations. Malaysia, the second largest the goal of the initiative, wants to reduce its participation, since Pro-China policy was exhibited from the government. Myanmar and Nepal have canceled their projects in the framework of this initiative. After Sri Lanka had for 99 years to provide China to lease the port of Hambantota, to pay the debts, the countries of Asia and Africa began to re-read the fine print in their contracts and to grumble about unequal conditions.
Meanwhile, the mercantilist trade policies of China — subsidies, theft of intellectual property and coordinated a nationwide effort to identify new target industries and ensure them a dominant position China holds Europe and Japan into the arms of Washington, despite their dislike of the President Trump.
The main problem is China — not the US resistance to its growth. The problem is that the internal dynamics of economic growth forced the country's rulers to choose between the painful and destabilizing measures in the economic adjustment of China and the continued expansionist policy of development, which leads to conflict and isolation abroad. Lenin believed that capitalist countries in that situation, in what was China doomed to a series of wars and revolutions.
Fortunately, Lenin was wrong. 70 years of Western history since the Second world war has shown that with proper economic policies and the combination of rising purchasing power with international economic integration can break out of the imperialist scenario of development characteristic of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But if China does not learn lessons from these examples, it may well remain locked in this "trap of Lenin", and his strategy of the struggle for the further strengthening of the internal stability will lead to the creation of even more powerful an anti-China coalition around the world.
Materials the new York times contain estimates of the solely foreign media and do not reflect the views of the editorial Board of the new York times.
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