CHINA AND THE IMPERIAL GERMANY ANALOGYDaniel Starr
discusses the recent comparisons made of " rising power " China with another " rising power" looking for a place in the sun a century ago, Imperial Germany
. This post is an extension of the ongoing discussion
at Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal
. Daniel writes:"Of course, Germany in 1914 chose war despite a prospering economy. But by then "war for glory" was an established tradition, even a custom, for German leaders: under the Prussian kings and under Bismarck, the Prussian/German state had expanded and secured itself over and over through deliberately chosen wars. By contrast, China has no tradition of "glorious" war: war is just a tool of statecraft for traditional Chinese foreign policy, and a second-class tool at that -- right now China's leaders tend to see America as much more war-prone than themselves. So if China's leaders can continue to hold power by giving their people rising incomes, they have no reason, and no tradition, to pull them toward war."
Historically, China going to war for reasons of " face", like the 1979 Punishment campaign, against Vietnam, differed significantly from the reasons that Bismarck fought the wars of German unification and the Franco-Prussian War. Even moreso the geopolitical reasoning of leading members of the Kaiser's Grossgeneralstab like von before the Great War which were eventually exemplified in the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Germany was angling for hegemonic domination of the s Eurasian landmass by military force and German leaders felt justified by the international protectionist trading regime that was, longitudinally speaking, going to strangle Germany if the situation did not change. China, despite their current avaricious hunger for petro-resources, does not need to overcome anything remotely like the structural economic disadvantages in terms of tariffs and raw materials facing Berlin in 1914.
Quite the opposite, I'd say.