Too Powerful Too Soon
The current debate is taking place in the context of the People's Republic of China's steady advance. China is playing an important role in the struggle against the economic crisis, because it holds "the largest monetary reserves worldwide," assesses US billionaire George Soros. "China's decisions will have an affect on the future of the world's economy to the same extent as President Obama's." The People's Republic of China has become "too powerful too soon." The German EU think tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), is also pointing to China's rapidly growing importance: Particularly the USA is financially dependent on China and Chinese support is also needed to influence the Iranian nuclear program. China could not only use its veto power in the UN Security Council, but also its exclusive economic influence to intervene on the ground. And lastly, the Afghan-Pakistani war zone borders on China, therefore necessitating joint action.
Because China's ascension no longer can be ignored, former US President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, had submitted a proposal on the future relationship with China, already last January. In the 1970s, Brzezinski had played a leading role in the rapprochement between China and the USA, striking a serious blow against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski now explains that the fact that the USA today is largely depending on the People's Republic makes a corresponding institutionalization of the cooperation between the two countries necessary. It no longer suffices, to hold consultations within the framework of larger multinational meetings ("G14", "G16" or "G20"). The top leaders of both states should "therefore meet informally on a regular schedule for personal in-depth discussions" not only about bilateral issues but about "the world in general." Borrowing from the example of the conferences of the eight largest industrial countries ("G8"), Brzezinski promotes a "G2" ("Group of Two").
Though very controversial with many opponents inside the USA, Brzezinski's proposal provoked serious concern in Europe. The former US presidential advisor conceives of the "G2" as being on a par with US-European and US-Japanese relations. But one can imagine that with China's rapid growth in influence, the „G2" could, in the long run, play a decisive role. The prospect that the most focal global issues could no longer be regulated at a transatlantic but a transpacific level is setting off alarms in European capitals. The prospect of "G2", ECFR writes, "revives fears within Europe that it could be sidelined in a new world order that exploits its weakness." ECFR does not expect an imminent implementation of "G2". "No one in the Obama administration has yet used the term" and "it is seldom even mentioned" in China. But the basic apprehension is obviously there.
No Longer a Mediator
Berlin would particularly be hit by Chinese-US consultations. Special methods of German foreign policy always included positioning itself between opposing powers as "mediator" and making deals with one or the other side - a seesaw policy practiced exemplarily in Germany's relations to Russia and the United States. If the United States and the People's Republic of China would establish a cooperation framework, Germany could no longer play this role in relation to the coming decades' two central powers. For years, Berlin has been contemplating this possibility. The German government is therefore particularly interested to thwart regular consultations between Washington and Beijing.
The Xinjiang Campaign
The apparent global balance of power shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific has already been heightening the tone in traditional anti-Chinese agitation. This agitation finds its latest expression in the Xinjiang campaign, initiated in the West in the aftermath of the Uyghur massacre of nearly 140 non-Uyghur Chinese. This campaign, blaming the Chinese security forces for the massacre, rather than the Uyghur culprits, is patterned after last year's Tibet campaign both in being aimed at Beijing and in the use of falsifications and classical propaganda techniques. This campaign is aimed at weakening the Chinese rival in its strategically important Western regions. At the same time it is strengthening anti-Chinese forces in the USA involved in the subversive activities in Xinjiang as well as in Tibet, a coincidental and welcomed contribution toward thwarting special US-Chinese consultations à la "G2".