- Gordon Dumoulin
'Non-Alliance'... a cross-cultural elusiveness for the West ?
𝗡𝗼𝗻-𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲, 𝘢 𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴-𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘭 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩.... ?
This period of time is a geopolitical era of change and tension. Not the least by an immense growth of cross-cultural misunderstandings and differences which are floating to the surface.
The Western world, lead by the USA, is striving for a grand alliance to secure the "liberal international order", lately referred to as the rules-based international order (by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken), while others call it the "Western hegemony". More straightforward, the US unambiguously expresses the urgent need of the grand alliance to withstand the ‘China threat' challenge as it is called.
Along this development, we see regularly media headlines or politicians talking that ‘China has no allies left and is self-isolating’. Seen in the West as a weakness and a consequence of China’s policies or governance, these perceptions certainly miss the point, both cross-culturally and geopolitically.
China’s non-alliance approach originates mainly from differences in social cultural concepts and historic consciousness. The West predominantly views the world order from the perspective of binary opposition, forming alliances to assimilate allies through clear ‘rigid’ structures to distinguish from non-allies. We can also see this binary thinking back inside western societies; in social expectations and contrasts between different social groups. You either belong with us or them, the label is clear with comfort and protection of belonging.
In Chinese society, whether in diplomacy but also for example in business, relations are more focused on directional thoughts about constant considerations of actual mutual benefits and compatibility in the growth of a relation with a wide pallet of pragmatic 'grey' considerations between black and white to move forward constructively.
Or as Erji Gao, Vice-President of Caixin Global simply puts it :
Actually we Chinese do not see the people as "our allies" or "non-allies". We see everyone equal and independent. When we have mutual benefit, we work together; when not, we go our own respectively. Everybody has their own right to select partners anytime, so do we. So a split and fragile world, caused by the "allies" are not good enough for human beings, as we can make her better. (see linkedin source)
China does not desire to be part of alliances which might limit their own sovereignty (historic consciousness) or jeopardize friendships or partnerships. China certainly does not desire to be part of any geopolitical military alliance as it does not seek hegemonic power to police the world.
China’s non-alliance strategy comes from historic consciousness and social concepts, striving for partnership diplomacy instead of alliance diplomacy. While China does not have allies, China does certainly not lack partners and friends (as some might claim), being world's largest trading nation, and its non-alliance stance in recent decades significantly contributed to reduce global confrontation.
While Western alliances 'adhere' the 'virtues of the liberal world order' through alliance structures, the 'opposite' non-allies have suffered tens of millions of deaths by alliance wars with complete destruction of social, health care and economic systems.
The value of non-alliance in comparison with alliance policies; maybe worth a deeper cross-cultural understanding ?
#geopolitics #diplomacy #uschinarelations