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89 Foreign Aff. 142 (2010)
The Game Changer - Coping with China's Foreign Policy Revolution

handle is hein.journals/fora89 and id is 1036 raw text is: The Game Changer
Coping With China's Foreign Policy Revolution
Elizabeth C. Economy

After decades of following Deng Xiaoping's
dictum Hide brightness, cherish obscurity,
China's leaders have realized that main-
taining economic growth and political
stability on the home front will come
not from keeping their heads low but rather
from actively managing events outside
China's borders. As a result, Beijing has
launched a go out strategy designed
to remake global norms and institutions.
China is transforming the world as it
transforms itself. Never mind notions of a
responsible stakeholder; China has become
a revolutionary power.
China's leaders have spent most of the
country's recent history proclaiming a lack
of interest in shaping global affairs. Their
rhetoric has been distinctly supportive of
the status quo: China helping the world
by helping itself; China's peaceful rise; and
China's win-win policy are but a few ex-
amples. Beijing has been a reluctant host
for the six-party talks on North Korea, it
has tried to avoid negotiations over Iran's
potential as a nuclear power, and it has
generally not concerned itself with others'
military and political conflicts.

China's impact on the rest of the world
has, in many respects, been unintentional-
the result of revolutions within the country.
As the Chinese people have changed how
they live and how they manage their econ-
omy, they have had a profound impact on
the rest of the world. China's position
as the world's largest contributor to global
climate change is not by design; it is the
result of extraordinary economic growth
and 1.3 billion people relying on fossil fuels
for their energy needs.
Yet all this is about to change. China's
leaders once tried to insulate themselves
from greater engagement with the outside
world; they now realize that fulfilling their
domestic needs demands a more activist
global strategy. Rhetorically promoting a
peaceful international environment in
which to grow their economy while free-
riding on the tough diplomatic work of
others is no longer enough. Ensuring
their supply lines for natural resources
requires not only a well-organized trade
and development agenda but also an
expansive military strategy. The Chinese
no longer want to be passive recipients


ELIZABETH C. ECONOMY isC. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia
Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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