June 8th, 2013
09:33 PM ET

China can't set global agenda

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

China has tremendous assets. It is the world’s second-largest economy and, because of its size, will one day become the largest.

But power is defined along many dimensions, and by most political, military, strategic and cultural measures, China is a great power but not a global power. Its military spending, for example, is not even a quarter of America's.

Perhaps most crucially, it lacks – for now – the intellectual ambition to set the global agenda.

For more on this, read the Washington Post column

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. sand

    there is and there will always be only one superpower in this universe and thats bashar al assad thats why the USA got its a s s handed to it this is what happends when you mess with the wrong rooster all your mothers die.

    June 9, 2013 at 5:23 am | Reply
  2. Luqman

    Fareed, your position on China sounds very interesting but unfortunately, it is not looking at the issues the way they are now and the way they would be in future regarding China. There is no doubt that China is not yet a Military Power, but surely would be in the very near future, now that it is an economic power. If China could negotiate from a point of strength when it's economy was that bad, I just imagine from what point it would be negotiating with America at the moment. America is not the model that all of you would want us to believe through your CNN and other media through which you disseminate your perceptions, the world is wiser and it would get wiser. America does not go to where its interest would not be served, hence the current romance with China is nothing but to position itself and further it's interest. Examples abound all over the world. Unfortunately, as you know, China is also smart. Surely and steadily, China is rising in all ramifications and would one day become a super power. We know what is going on- Politics of USA-RUSSIA-CHINA.

    June 9, 2013 at 7:26 am | Reply
  3. rightospeak

    China is not a global power because it does not spend a lot on its military ?? Am I reading this right ? China IS a global power-he who has the money ,has power because money=power. They are not stupid like we are to squander money on useless wars, overblown military to defend us from Martians ( others would not dare to attack). Economic strength is POWER, global power . All any country needs is a good financial position-look at Swiss. China with atomic weapons, surplus money calls the shots and we will become insignificant on the world's stage with time because we are broke . Time to face reality. Obama can not tell his banker what to do. If the Chinese refused to buy our bonds (another bubble ) and converted all surplus dollars to gold ( if possible) the US government would collapse. They are probably looking at our farms and a possibility of dumping their access population on our shores because maybe it was already planned by the Big Money Globalists-American people are not important to them. Time to ring the wake-up call bells.

    June 9, 2013 at 10:06 am | Reply
  4. Abdullah Alduais

    Its not that China is stronger now but USA gets weak.

    June 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  5. Pro-active

    Unfortunately for China, even though it has the wealth and military/technological power, it is now going through what the Western powers went through following industrialisation as cost of labour has skyrocketed and the manufacturing base has shifted to places like Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and most recently Myanmar. China desperately needs new infrastructures to cope with the surge in population in the cities/urban centres together with issues of overcrowding, pollution & corruption in govt, which they are having to deal with.

    June 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  6. annabelhertz

    This segment I kept thinking, "The 1990s called and they want their foreign policy discourse back." I found the comments about China's lack of leadership in global governance ironic, given it's track record on energy efficiency versus the US non record on climate leadership. And if superpower status hinges on invasions like Iraq, the US will continue to lose out: the new currency and legitimacy is social inclusion in the global economy. Further, China and the US are also experiencing convergences, not just rivalries (http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=6618). PS. How do we get Fareed to include women panelists on his show? The gender imbalance was another throwback to an earlier era.

    June 9, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Reply
  7. annabelhertz

    PS. That word was "its" —not "it's"—and "throughout" is missing from the beginning of the paragraph...how does one edit around here?

    June 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  8. j. von hettlingen

    China throughout history had seen itself as a cultural epicentre. Unlike the Ottomans, Persians and the Mongols, who embarked on military forays outside their borders, the Chinese stayed mostly at home and defended their country.

    June 10, 2013 at 9:42 am | Reply
  9. joe anon 1

    a shame the u.s. doesn't mind its own business but is a violent, lying, thug.

    china invests as a partner in other countries.

    the u.s. destroys and steals.

    June 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  10. john

    Hi Fareed,
    Here is what I think about china. It’s most conservative country in the world. Global terrorism is an issue for the whole world. USA is borrowing money to fight wars. China is investing on wars. Small countries like Georgia it contributing as part of its share in war on terrorism. Money is power.. that is right. Now china has at least 3 to 4 trillion dollars of trade surplus. We have 16.5 trillion $'s of Debt in 10 years. I really don't understand why china is part of 5 permanent members of UNO. 80% of time It always veto’s against other three permanent member countries. I think it is time raise the permanent member council to 7. In fact china is root cause of nuclear proliferation. China to pakistan to iran to North korea. Unfortunately now China has Russian support. Why do we see russian and chineese arms in the militants hand around the world? China has occupied 50% of all mines in Africa reason money! Every military support to pakistan is free knowledge transfer to china. Every drone that goes down in middle east, iraq, afghanistan is free knowledge transfer to china. We have 45 mil people on food stamps. We don't want to talk about hard questions like these. Why do we have so many thousands of people coming to US on assaylam. This part of the immigration is fully exploited by the Middle Eastern countries like egypy and many other countries. These people get 100% assistance once they enter into US and also get green card in 6 to 1 year. And poeple who work hard and pay taxes have to wait for min 10 years. "If we milk the cow ‘system’ too hard you get blood". How many examples of shooting rampage do we have to go through? We don't know how many Einstein’s, Edison’s we have lost at earlier age. We have to make some sincere and dare decisions for our public safety and well being. That's what china is doing along with technology stealing. The current system in USA has become burden on the society. I came to US 12 years back I see so many changes now and then.

    June 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply

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