China’s Radical New Vision of Globalization

While the world was distracted by the drama of the U.S. presidential election, Xi quietly unveiled an economic strategy fit for a new Cold War.

Back in August, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with a group of economists in Beijing. “In the coming period, we will face more and more headwinds,” he explained, using unusually blunt language. Without naming names, Xi talked about China’s worsening trade and technology war with the United States under President Donald Trump, set against a backdrop of growing certainty in Beijing that America is bent on containing his nation’s geopolitical rise.

But then came the interesting part. “Since the beginning of this year, I have said on many occasions that we must promote the formation of a new development pattern, in which domestic and international cycles are the mainstay, and the domestic and international dual cycles promote each other,” Xi said. To an outsider, this might seem unremarkable, cloaked as it is in the elliptical phraseology that often marks Chinese economic ideas. But the “dual circulation” strategy Xi outlined actually represents a radical new understanding of globalization and of China’s place within it.

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