The Negotiation

In this episode of The Negotiation, we speak with Joshua Eisenman, Associate Professor at the Keough School of Global Affairs @ the University of Notre Dame and Senior Fellow for China Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington DC. This show takes us deep into the relationship China has with both the developed world and the developing world. We look at the current state of affairs and try to explain the path it has taken over the last 40 years. I ask Joshua whether the PRC treats different areas of the developing world differently, and how the one belt one road initiative fits in with their global strategy. Joshua also talks about why we shouldn’t see China stretching their reach as necessarily worrisome to other countries or politicians and why. We end the discussion discussing what global organizations can learn from China’s efforts in bridging the divide between the developing and developed worlds. Enjoy.

Show Notes

Today on The Negotiation, Todd speaks with Joshua Eisenman, an Associate Professor of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame and a senior fellow for China studies at the American Foreign Policy Council.
Joshua goes over his four published books on the topic of China and the developing world: China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the Twenty-First Century (2007), China and Africa: A Century of Engagement (2012), China Steps Out: Beijing’s Major Power Engagement with the Developing World (2018), and Red China's Green Revolution: Technological Innovation, Institutional Change, and Economic Development Under the Commune (2018).
Joshua describes China’s relationship with the developing world as “emerging and reemerging.” In explaining these relations with African countries, as well as almost all developing countries (with the exception of India), Joshua uses the term “comprehensive asymmetry.”
Having an asymmetric advantage means that China has power over these developing countries on three measures: the international level (or comprehensive national strength), the state level, and the working (or human) level. Taken together, these three measures shed light on imbalances in trade, capital aid, and the resources available to policymakers. In a nutshell, the importance that China places on developing countries is evidenced by investing in their ability to rise as a major power in today’s world.
Another important factor is that China views its connections in terms of “relational power”. This means that China expands its network of contacts because, the larger and stronger that network is, the greater China’s influence is. The goal of the Communist Party of China is to develop relationships with as many high-quality parties as possible in order to enhance this relational power and, by extension, its comprehensive national strength.
The One Belt One Road initiative has evolved from a debt-driven finance strategy to enhance infrastructure development throughout the developing world, into a powerful means to push its overall power on the world stage. That is, One Belt One Road initially did not include countries such as Africa or Latin America as it was an entirely Asia-based strategy. Today, beyond the construction of roads and other lines of communication, the initiative now forwards the development of high-tech infrastructure to create Smart Cities. These include 5G networks, facial recognition software, security.
In short, One Belt One Road is China’s strategy for the developing world.

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