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America First among key causes for 'subversive changes' in world structure in 2018


Source: Global Times    Published: 2018-12-09

US President Donald Trump's America First policy and his ongoing trade friction with China were likely two key reasons for the "obvious and subversive changes in world structure" acknowledged by respondents to a 2018 Global Times survey, said experts on Sunday.

Some 81.1 percent of respondents to the annual survey released on Saturday agreed that the structure of the world had changed in 2018, and 52.8 percent believed that change "obvious and even subversive."

The perceived change resulted from complex reasons, a German political scientist from the Free University in Berlin who asked for anonymity, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Causes included the America First policy, the global trade friction started by US President Donald Trump, the accelerated decline of the EU after the refugee crisis and China's rapid development, according to the political scientist.

"Positively speaking, the world is increasingly multilateral, but it is also becoming more unstable and unpredictable," he said.

The annual survey was conducted by the Global Times Global Poll Center and released at a forum on China-US ties and world structure held by the Global Times on Saturday.

The 16,924 survey respondents came from 17 countries and five continents including China, Russia, Kenya, South Korea, Japan and the US.

The proportion of Chinese respondents who identified an "obvious or subversive change in world structure in 2018" was 42.9 percent.

"Chinese people's comparatively stable recognition of world change showcases China's confidence as they always believe the country can overcome challenges and solve problems," Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Nearly half of the respondents agreed that trade friction between China and the US would make the world suffer, the survey found.

Some 38.9 percent - not including the Chinese and the US respondents - agreed that the main responsibility for China-US trade friction was with the US.

Meanwhile, 68.2 percent of those from South Korea agreed that the friction has hurt South Korea.

Among US respondents, 40.6 percent agreed that America First does more harm than good to the world.

Also, 33.7 percent of the US respondents agreed that protectionism is dragging down the US economy.

The result demonstrated a divide in US society, especially among US elites, Zhang said.

Zhang also commented that such US policies represented a threat to world development.

Although 73 percent of the respondents agreed it is usual for the US to interfere in other countries' domestic affairs, 29.7 percent still believed the US should be the world leader, followed by Germany and the UK.

China ranked fifth as a possible world leader in global governance with the most supporters from Russia.

As to the development of China, 56.5 percent of the respondents agreed that China is continuing to reform, open up and improve.

In total, 29.1 percent of the respondents expressed a negative outlook for world stability within the next three years.

At the same time, 25.3 percent agreed the development of the Chinese military was of benefit to world peace and stability.

Many US elites have been worried about China's rapid development in the past decade, Steven M. Suranovic, a professor of international relations at George Washington University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

When a proposed informal special relationship between China and the US - Group of Two - was proposed in 2005, the US wanted to include China in a world dominated by Washington, Suranovic said.

"But now US elites worry that China will replace the US to dominate the global system," he said.

Zhang Yiwu is a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Rnmin University of China.

Key Words: survey   world structure   great power politicis   Zhang Yiwu  

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