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Fareed speaks with Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and David M. Lampton, the director of China studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, about nationalism in China.
There’s no question there's been a rise in sort of nationalist rhetoric. And as I point out, all these attempts to really subvert the old international order, alternatives to The Asian Development Bank, to the IMF, to the World Bank, to the various security frameworks. Do you think this is Xi or is this a long-term Chinese strategy?
Lampton: What we're seeing is China, not just Xi. We're seeing a China that sees itself in great historic terms. And this isn't so much a new status for China, it's a sort of restoration of national greatness.
And I think we're going to face a China that, on one hand, is cooperative, increasingly cooperative on some economic and global issues, like climate change. But on the other hand, I just was speaking with military people in China last week and they are clearly going to continue to push China's sovereignty, and he's not going to give on that set of issues.
So he's walking a fine line by trying to seem a good global citizen on the one hand, but assuage this nationalistic drive on the other.
What about the nationalism?
Economy: No, I agree. I guess I see the nationalism, though, in sort of two different respects. You know, one is, as Mike was alluding to, sort of the nationalism that emanates from strength, right? China is the second largest economy in the world, wants to expand its influence, sort of be at the center of the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
But at the same time, I think there’s a much more insidious form of nationalism, and that's the nationalism that doesn't tolerate a diversity of opinion. And that's where we see Xi Jinping clamping down on the artist and the intellectuals and talking about colluding with foreigners within the Chinese Academy of Social Scientists and really putting a chill, I think, on the kind of creativity and innovation that he actually wants to support.
And so when I look at these two forms of nationalism, I think to myself this second insidious form really undermines his efforts to put China out in front as a global leader with a shared vision for the Asia-Pacific. So I think he faces that kind of challenge, as well.