Former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew was interviewed on future U.S.-China relations by The Atlantic. I am a big fan of his 2000 book “From Third World to First“.
How should U.S. policies and actions adjust to deal with the rise of China?
For America to be displaced, not in the world, but only in the western Pacific, by an Asian people long despised and dismissed with contempt as decadent, feeble, corrupt, and inept is emotionally very difficult to accept. The sense of cultural supremacy of the Americans will make this adjustment most difficult. Americans believe their ideas are universal — the supremacy of the individual and free, unfettered expression. But they are not — never were. In fact, American society was so successful for so long not because of these ideas and principles, but because of a certain geopolitical good fortune: an abundance of resources and immigrant energy, a generous flow of capital and technology from Europe, and two wide oceans that kept conflicts of the world away from American shores.
The United States cannot stop China’s rise. It just has to live with a bigger China, which will be completely novel for the United States, as no country has ever been big enough to challenge its position. China will be able to do so in 20 or 30 years. Americans have to eventually share their preeminent position with China.
The size of China’s displacement of the world balance is such that the world must find a new balance. It is not possible to pretend that this is just another big player. This is the biggest player in the history of the world.
Excerpted from Lee Kuan Yew, The Future of U.S.- China Relations | Graham Allison, Robert Blackwill | March 5, 2013 | The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/03/interview-lee-kuan-yew-on-the-future-of-us-china-relations/273657/.