China’s new Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere

A few weeks ago, Chinese president Xi Jinping offered a Soviet-style five-year plan for China’s progress at the Communist Party congress in Beijing. Despite his talk of global cooperation, the themes were familiar socialist boilerplate about Chinese economic and military superiority to come.

Implicit in the 205-minute harangue were echoes of the themes of the 1930s: A rising new Asian power would protect the region and replace declining Western influence…

In the 1930s, Imperial Japan tried to square the same circle of importing Western technology while deriding the West. It deplored Western influence in Asia while claiming that its own influence in the region was more authentic…

China is currently following the Japanese model of the 1930s and early 1940s.

All the parallels are there: claims of Western decline, appeals to pan-Asian solidarity, the bullying of neighbors, visions of a Chinese-led trading and currency bloc, new westernized Chinese weapons, and boasts that Beijing has combined the best of both Western technology and superior Asian discipline to become the superpower of the future.
 

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