Have you noticed? (Careful, you were not supposed to!) Increasingly, China’s relationship to the outside world is not defined by reliance on political-cultural diplomacy. Nor do appeals to allegedly common interests served by cooperation dominate. Of late, regarding the outside world, the ascendant instrument applied to shape these is weight and military force. Some old hopes and pious expectations, such as that economic success civilizes foreign policy and democratizes the internal order, appear to be invalidated. The playful panda is transmuting into an assertive grizzly. The big bear emerging from its cover likes to stroll beyond the limits of its marked territory.
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