The fears that China is changing the United Nations from within seem if not overblown, at least premature. The U.N. can still be a force multiplier for the values and interests of the United States, but only if Washington now competes for influence rather than assume automatic U.N. deference.
China’s involvement in United Nations peacekeeping is one of its better-known investments in the multilateral system. But its contributions to blue helmet missions remain limited, and Beijing has taken a cautious approach to expanding its commitments.
Is the Chinese government’s greater engagement with international institutions a gain for the global human rights system? A close examination suggests not.
Chinese Communist Party policies towards Xinjiang have increased colonial development, further eroded Uyghur autonomy through force and ethnic assimilationism, and co-opted the “Global War on Terror” framing to portray all Uyghur resistance as “terrorism.”
Despite its rhetoric, Beijing has worked at the U.N. to marginalize women’s rights defenders — critical actors for promoting gender equality — and has consistently voted against measures to strengthen visibility and protection of LGBT people’s human rights.
A 2014 speech by Xi Jinping was the first signal of Beijing’s more focused effort to alter the security architecture supporting the Asia-Pacific regional order. To achieve this goal, China is seeking to contest the “network power” that has enabled American leadership in the Asia-Pacific.
If Washington’s China strategy is to effect its desired change — a world where America is secure and remains the preeminent power — it must include investments focused on winning the competition of political systems.
President Donald Trump pulled the plug on U.S.-China climate engagement. If former Vice President Joe Biden wins the election in November, it will be vital to again work effectively with China on climate change.
To understand how China fits into energy markets and how energy shapes its policy, examining the electricity and oil and gas industries separately is illustrative.
Much of the American concern with China’s role in the global economy is related to the partial integration of the country into the global economic institutions.