Historically in the West, the path to great power was achieved mainly through wars, conquest, aggression, destruction, exploitation, enslavement, executions, looting & such like evils.
Starting with Portugal in the 15th Century, the first great global seaborne power with an empire stretching from Brazil, across the Atlantic, to both West and East Africa, through to the Indian Ocean with an outpost in Goa and thence to the Western Pacific in Macau. Following Portugal, the rise of the next eight great powers: Spain, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan and the United States.
The US, the most voluble critic & the self-acclaimed champion of democracy, has surpassed all others in its pursuit of greatness . . . but at what costs to humanity! By all reckoning, history shows atrocious policies of slavery, the genocide of native American Indians, wars and territorial acquisitions (notably from Mexico), the control of neighbouring countries in the Caribbean through the expulsion of other powers, the imposition of the Monroe Doctrine declaring Latin America a US sphere of influence, culminating in the Spanish-American war whereby Washington acquired Puerto Rico (as well as Guam and the Philippines) and expelling Spain from Cuba.
Till US of today, nothing positive emerged from its interference in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Ukraine . . . not forgetting the wars in Korea & Vietnam. It boasts of hundreds or thousands of military bases the world over.
British diplomacy & so-called intervention are most exemplary in their quest for power. I can never forget studying in my school days about British intervention in Malaya (present day Malaysia) & India. But the worst crime committed by the British was swarming China with opium addiction through its commercial vehicle the East India Company.
China has never been more humiliated by the conglomeration of foreign powers as during the waning years of Qing Dynasty. It was a free-for-all encroachment & territorial grab. China was literally on its knees. In the words of Sun Yat-sen, China was a “poly-colony” with multiple countries helping themselves to bits and pieces of Chinese territory in what were called “spheres of influence”.
The way of the western powers, Japan included, was (and still is) essentially to cause chaos & disorder before seeking to impose their order. This is indeed bellicose, brutal & horrifically barbaric. No way can the western powers hold up their heads & to responsibly advise China what to do.
“China’s peaceful rise to great power status”, a term coined by Chinese thought leader Zheng Bijian in 2005 will be by the way of peace & prosperity for all humanity. Meritoriously, China has achieved its success that has never been known before.
China does not & will not follow the Western path. It has a success formula all its own – political, economic or social. It’s building ties & friendship all over from Asia, Europe, Russia, Africa right to South America, Canada & US included.
China does not have to feel ashamed of its historical humiliation. The Chinese dragon is a benevolent creature & revered as such. There will be showers of blessings & rain of prosperity for all.
China’s claim to greatness will rest on its ethics & will continue to astonish the world by the speed & scale of its economic growth & power. It owes no apology to any nation. In fact, the aforesaid countries, Japan no exception, owe apologies to China.
History cannot be changed, not by legislation nor any means.
China has always been & always will be on making friends rather than enemies
with foreign powers.
The righteous shall rise
Evil shall fall.