November 17th, 2014
03:28 PM ET

Facing up to the China challenge

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

By Fareed Zakaria

As Moscow continues to send its forces into Ukraine, it seems clear that Putin's Russia presents America and the West with a frontal challenge. But in the longer run, it is not Russia's overt military assault but China's patient and steady non-military moves that might prove the greater challenge.

Russia is a great power in decline. Its economy amounts to just 3.4 percent of global GDP. China's is nearly 16 percent and rising, now almost four times the size of Japan's and five times that of Germany's, according to the World Bank.

Presidents Obama and Xi deserve the accolades they are receiving for their historic agreement on climate change, and it seems to suggest that America and China are moving towards a new, productive relationship.

Except that, even while signing these accords, Xi Jinping's government has been taking steps that suggest it is developing a very different approach to its foreign policy – one that seeks to replace the American-built post-1945 international system with its own.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: China • Fareed's Take • GPS Show

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Banasy©

    3.4%? Well that's not good.

    November 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  2. palintwit

    Fake banasy @ 4:06p.m. she doesn't cap her "b"

    November 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
  3. It's just an opinion

    The expense of a standing army will bankrupt all those intent on pursuing them. Using their Armies comes from the former.

    November 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
  4. Blue Saffron

    Fareed, you again disappoint me. Really? Your analogy is fallacious. Everything is relative. China's population is 9X that of Russia. So using that multiplier your math does not work. Not saying that China is not important. From your math Russia is more productive on a per capita basis. Notwithstanding less carbon footprint, dependence on world resources et al. You grt the gist.

    Not let me enlighten you apples to apples.

    Comparing the progress of China with India always amazes me. About same number of people but different results. Chinese raise their kids to be entrepreneurs while Indian hindus as t hugs. Just a cultural difference I suppose. Different DNA.

    China 10% GDP...... India 2%
    China 38 Gold medals.... India 0 (2012 olympics).

    Nothing personal just math.

    November 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
  5. Gertrude

    Very interesting insights into global macroeconomics.

    November 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • Gertrude

      What is your take on China's strategy?

      November 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
      • Gertrude

        My prior two comments are for Mr. Saffron.

        November 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
  6. Blue Saffron☼

    @Gertrude, I have always been of the opinion that US embark on a new foreign policy that improves relations with China, Pakistan and Iran. The economic power of these countries is a thousand times greater than India's. as regards India, work on a strategy of a USSR type breakup that would yield maximum returns to world's elite nations, India's populace and neighbors. This is my prelude to the discussion that follows.

    November 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
    • Blue Saffron☼

      Over the years, China has played its cards well. It has built regional alliances and partnerships on a platform of mutual trust and respect. It has invested in these economies. Built infrastructure. Not just given them aid.

      November 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
      • Blue Saffron☼

        The Chinese model works: the economic model is proven, the political system clicks, social structure is progressive though not perfect. Let us give them a chance and see what they can do for us. The proof is in the pudding.

        Happy Thanksgiving!

        November 17, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
  7. Hagatha

    Blue Saffron, back in my day we were always told that children are starving in Red China. What do you think they did to come so far? Thank You sir,

    November 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
    • Blue Saffron☼

      Thank you for asking the question. Please clarify who is "we" and were advised by "whom"? That way I can respond to you substantively.

      November 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • Hagatha

        We would be the children of our day and our parents we're the whom. You are very kind to answer me young man.

        November 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
      • Blue Saffron☼

        I see. So Chinese advent was based more on moral and ideological vigors than physical except for defending their territorial integrity. A sense of place and determination. A vision for the future.

        They overcame the rigors of being surrounded by Americans and winning three wars with them, Russian challenges and putting India in its place.

        It wasn't easy but enjoy the shrimp lo mein.

        November 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
      • Tamarind

        Which three wars were with Americans? The one with India was pretty conclusive and messed up Indians pretty bad.

        November 18, 2014 at 3:17 am |
      • Blue Saffron☼

        The three proxy wars with America were Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan issue. Attempts to surround China.

        November 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
  8. It's just an opinion

    China does and has always believed in the long term. Long term culture and a long term vision. Americans are a recent evolution and have no form equal. America new relatively speaking is short term productive oriented. Ten years ago the foreign trade minister from china was on a late night talk show and said", we will get all the manufactoring because we can do it with cheap labor. We can wait longer than anyone else because we know about patience."

    November 18, 2014 at 1:03 am |
  9. Elena Chera

    While many Russians – excited spirit and uncompromising authoritarian Putin's relations with the West – are deluded with the idea that their country will return to great power status, Russia loses gradually just one of the arguments that could support this claim: demographic weight. Last year, Russia lost no less than 780,000 inhabitants – ie 0.5% of the population – and analysts estimate that the downward trend will continue for at least another decade. Moscow could claim so was the capital of the third state in population in the world, ahead of (something always mentioned) United States. Times of glory but quickly passed. Moscow displays present a lower gross domestic product that ranks 20th in a global ranking.

    November 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
  10. Blue Saffron☼

    Let us celebrate China's arrival and give them kudos for what they have achieved so far. Most importantly, let’s hope and pray they continue to bless us with their vision and passion.

    November 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  11. chri§§y

    Guess we should @ Blue Saffron...and after watching our government all freaking day talk, talk, talk (which is ALL they seem to do) about the Keystone Pipeline, i guess China deserves kudos. For actually DOING something! What i would really like to know from OUR WHEN are they gonna quit talkin...and FINISH something? Hows that Immigration Reform thing going? Still waitin for the POTUS to do that Executive Order thing y'all hate so much? Probably huh? That way you can throw another tantrum and shut down the government AGAIN and put MORE citizens outta work huh? Romper room brats! Just do ONE honest days work for a change already! That would be a novel idea!

    November 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
  12. chri§§y

    Policy Makers they are called! Oxy moron if ever there was one! Idiots! Just imagine how kids today are being influenced on work ethics by watching these clowns? Good grief!

    November 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
  13. Blue Saffron☼

    America is in dire straits. Ship lost at sea with no rudder. Taking water. Sailors down with scurvy aka politicians. The captain aka Obama with middle finger in the hole blocking water.... no pun intended. The other hand on a bottle of moonshine.

    Alas the Democrats... No more. Alas the Republicans ... No where. Alas the Tea Partiers ... Caffeinated. Said the Raven No More.

    November 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
  14. Blue Saffron☼

    @chrissy .... "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, [INSERT: TERROR WAR] testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure....."

    Mr. Zakaria is here now to write our epitaph.

    November 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
  15. chri§§y

    Maybe @ Blue Saffron...but im not quite so willing to give up just yet and neither are a great many ppl in this country, so that "epitagh" youre speaking of, might need to wait! And Congress should maybe be a little more concerned about a potential civil war of a different nature! People are getting fed up with how this group of idiots are spending our tax dollars on so many things that have nothing to do with THIS country, or its citizens!

    November 18, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
  16. chri§§y

    And maybe the US should take a page out of China's book about minding ones business! You notice China takes care of China's business and doesnt interfere in other countries governmental policies? And they are growing, not regressing...although they maybe should be taking care of their working class a little better.

    November 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
  17. Blue Saffron☼

    Every good thing has to come to an end. It is Darwinism at work. One can bury the head in the sand but reality is stark. It is the beginning of the end. Not a bad thing if you see it coming. Not in rear view. You can kick and gasp to reinvent. But policies have marginalized us. Capitalism is fractured. Democracy is tainted. All that is left are our bombs and drones. That is our scripture. That is our power. That is our cuneiform.

    Out of despair emerges hope. To only those who strive. Who change ways. Who repent and build bridges to the future.

    I come here to praise reality not to bury the have beens. I am the future. Follow me to salvation.

    November 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
  18. Blue Saffron☼

    We invented terrorism and we call others terrorists. We kill in the thousands and call others murderers who kill in the hundreds.
    We break laws and call others criminals.
    Are we the garden of eden, shangri la or nirvana? Hardly. We are the problem not the solution.

    November 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  19. Blue Saffron☼

    2008 the year capitalism died. The year that democracy had an abortion. I have come here to show the light not to bury the dead. I am not a messiah but the next best thing. I am not a legend in my own mind but in the making. I am as humble as a turkey in brine yet proud as a peacokk with its feathers spread out.

    November 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
  20. chri§§y

    Enjoy yourself! Lol gnite.

    November 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
  21. chri§§y

    Oh before i log off i need to make a correction...what Congress NEEDs to be concerned about isnt a civil war of a different nature. They NEED to be concerned about a REVOLUTION! Its comming....and im guessing...its going to be led by WOMEN! Cuz we are FED up! Theres your New World Order peeps! Cuz its women that really have the B A L L Z! Carry on @ Blue Saffron, Asta la vista!

    November 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  22. Thomas

    And to think of all the help China has done fighting Ebola in Africa , And stoping the drug cartels in Mexico ?

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ corruption stops here !

    November 19, 2014 at 1:32 am |
  23. chri§§y

    Lol @ Thomas...WHEN did China do all that?

    November 19, 2014 at 1:50 am |
  24. Blue Saffron☼

    If China can come up with a global strategy as good as Szechuan Cuisine, I am all for it. Extra hot, please.

    November 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
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