As China and the U.S. increasingly compete for power in key areas of U.S. influence across the Middle East and African continent, competition has grown in linear succession, and is increasingly adversarial. Often cynical of Chinese involvement and intentions, the U.S. points to blunders of the Belt and Road initiative, fears of neocolonialism, and the support of nations of interest that might lead to the resurgence of terrorist groups, as justification for criticisms.
But are Beijing’s ambitions really so nefarious?
In her new book, “China’s Rise in the Global South: The Middle East, Africa, and Beijing’s Alternative World Order,” Dawn Murphy posits that China’s growth in Africa and the Middle East in the post-cold war era, should be understood as evidence of its desire to develop an alternative world order that will allow China to interact with these two regions on its own terms; and that China is mostly cooperative with the liberal order—particularly within the security and military realms.
In this podcast discussion with host Robert Amsterdam, Murphy highlights China’s record as a business competitor, its foreign policy approach (including divergence in norms around corruption and political meddling), how its foreign policy plays out in public perception across the globe, and why US policy towards the country seems to remain mostly unchanged across administrations, even when ideologies vary greatly between Democratic and Republican administrations.