Rise to power echoes back 100 years | Financial Times | 01.18.11

From Mr Clark S. Judge.

Sir, Philip Stephens (“The perils of mutual miscalculation”, January 14) notes the rising power of China’s military and its recent challenges to the US.

Modern China bears an unsettling resemblance to Germany before the first world war. Like China in our time, Germany enjoyed rapid industrialisation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Growing military capacity, the emergence of a commercial and industrial leadership class, and limited democratisation followed. While suffering in comparative status to the new class, the military class and the king who was part of it remained constitutionally unconstrained on national security questions. They chafed under the international system that emerged from the 19th century.

Often misinterpreting the actions and resolve of the UK and other powers, they sought to challenge the system, first at the edges, later, of course, directly. These challenges also confirmed their place atop the national order.

In that ultimately horrific history, substituting the words “China” for “Germany” and “America” for “Britain” gives a good gloss of today’s dynamics. As Mr Stephens suggests, our time’s task is to write a different ending to the tale.

Clark S. Judge,

Managing Director,

White House Writers Group,

Washington, DC, US

To view the original Financial Time publication, please click here.

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