Even as China and the United States are locking horns over disputes in the South China Seas, and trade regulations regarding solar panels, the two countries find themselves in yet another diplomatic dispute. This time around, the two countries are trading barbs over the Tiananmen Square massacres, which occurred twenty five years ago.
The White House recently called China out on the break up of the Tiananmen Square protests all those years ago. China used arguably excessive amounts of force and it is believed that hundreds of protesters were killed. The White House urged China to account for and to acknowledge this.
China was deeply offended by the White House’s statements and unsurprisingly demanded an immediate apology.
Tiananmen Square: China Not Willing to Face Up to History?
One of the largest sources of tension between China and neighboring Japan remains the lack of an apology or acknowledgment on the part of the Japanese over the atrocities committed in the second Would War. It’s fair to ask, however, if the Chinese could be making the same mistake in regards to their people.
Perhaps the government really did act within its bounds. The government did declare martial law, and did warn the protesters then of what would happen. The protestors stayed on the streets regardless. Still, hundreds of people, at the very least, were killed while staging peaceful protests.
Either way, a full account and objective analysis of Tiananmen Square could demonstrate the China’s government is maturing, which in turn would lend legitimacy to its right to rule.
Does America Really Have a Right to Talk?
On the other hand, the United States would appear to have little room to talk. The country is just now finishing up two wars that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. The war on Afghanistan may have been permissible under international law. The war in Iraq, however, appears to have been in direct violation of international standings.
This forces one to ask if the United States really has a right to criticize China over a domestic disturbance that likely cost 100’s of lives, while America itself seems unable to face up to its wars which have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
The Multipolar World Might Be an Uncomfortable One
Most analysts agree that the age of the American hegemony is slowly coming to an end. Have lasted already nearly thirty years, America’s dominance of the world stage is occurring as the country slowly declines and other rise up. Before the “hegemony” the world was caught in a bi-polar battle between the United States and Soviet Union.
During this period of dominance the United States of accused of throwing its weight around. Many assumed that in the multi-polar world, the United States would no longer be able to do so. As more countries step onto the world stage, however, it may be possible that there will simply be more big countries pushes their own interests and point of view, and often at the expense of smaller nations.
Not only will clashes become more frequent between world powers, such as the United States, Russia, European Union, and China, but these world powers could increasingly trample on the interests of smaller nations, such as those found in ASEAN. Indeed, a review of the major political events over the past year suggests just that.
So as the world evolves into a multi-polar one, it’s fair to wonder if these confrontations and tensions will only become more prominent and powerful. While war seems unlikely in an era of massively deadly weapons and closely interlinked trade ties, the potential for future turbulence appears to be very high.