2008 was the last presidential election when voters didn’t know or care about the candidates views on China, argues political risk analyst Ian Bremmer.
Bremmer’s new book “The End of the Free Market” argues that the Chinese economic model — which he calls state capitalism — is so fundamentally different from Western free market capitalism that tensions and economic conflict are inevitable in the years ahead.
The main goal of China’s state-directed capitalism is to harness economic growth to ensure political stability and keep the Communist Party in power, Bremmer says. And since the financial crisis, China has seen the United States and the West as “less indispensable”.
Bremmer is not predicting a military confrontation, but an economic war, in which China reserves large parts of its domestic market to domestic firms, and elbows out Western multinationals — he explains Google’s withdrawal from China in terms of protecting China’s top internet search engine Baidu, which is already reaping the benefits.
The Obama administration, which often stresses the mutual interests of the two nations and talks in terms of partnership, sometimes underestimates some of the zero-sum games involved in the relationship, he says.