What determined a nation’s ranking as a superpower in the 20th century was whether or not it had a nuclear arsenal. However, with the turn of the next century that brought the fall of the Soviet Union and much wider availability of nuclear technology, it is arguable that new determining factors are necessary. In this brave new world, it is economic power that makes a country a competitor to the uber-successful United States. After it’s surpassing of Japan in terms of reach size and scope, China has met the criteria and then some. China’s journey from third world nation to industrial society and then its reclaiming of imperial power was probably the most impressive modern feature of economic genius. How d they do this? By playing the trade game better than anyone else.
China has roots going back thousands of years, but the modern People’s Republic formed itself after the revolution of Mao Zedong. Before Mao, China was a nation suffering under the boot of Western and Japanese imperialism. After liberating themselves in a successful revolution, a civil war erupted between Communists and Nationalists sides that ended with Mao’s Red Army being victorious and pushing the Nationalists into Taiwan, where they remain to this very day. Mao then instituted multiple reforms meant to transform China into an agricultural society in his “Great Leap Forward.” While spreading literacy and making revolutionary land reforms, millions died from centralized mismanagement of resources. Nonetheless, his Communist Party remained in power and held a tight grip over its people. It was not until the end of the 20th century that the party relented and allowed capitalist to enter its ranks and institute the free trade agreements that made China the powerhouse it is today.
After building its own capital and infrastructure, China, rode the wave of globalization to the very top. It’s $900 billion New Silk Road initiative saw it’s investing in the economies of countries such as India, Russia, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, the Philippines, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Laos, and Thailand. All for the sole reason of building new trade routes that lead back to China. The Beijing government details its multiple trade agreements with these countries whose terms personally enrich them. For one, China will obviously benefit from these new trade routes; they will also stand to gain from the interest on the loans they dole out to each country to develop themselves, which will successfully spread their influence. Finally, the most impressive part of these trade deals is that every country involved must not only use Chinese companies for the development of their infrastructure project but must also relinquish all trade secrets so that China may use them as well.
With such innovative plans in place to strengthen China from every angle and its investment that Western companies put into its factories for the production of their goods, China has the best chance of replacing the United States as the top dog.