(This article was written upon the visit of Hu Jintao to White House, however due to a reason can only publish at this time)
Don’t judge the book by its cover. There goes the old wise proverb suggesting people to avoid premature judgment over other persons. Thus, whether the saying applicable toward the international political stage or not, that remain unanswered. However, in the context of foreign policy, the proverb may be just not seemed wise enough.
One good example to prove that can be retracted from the current pessimism over the United States as the super power or world hegemonic state.
Thanks to the advance of information and technology and the rising of media as the fourth pillar of U.S. democracy, the world now sees United States through its drawbacks as projected from the unresolved economic problem over availability of jobs, unraveling painstaking bipartisan politics heated by both republicans and democrats, debatable “truth” of leaked confidential documents of State Department worldwide, non justify and, yet, unsuccessful transition toward democracy it handed over the Iraqis and the fact that U.S. democracy is proven to be not tolerant enough in responding early opinion of Sarah Pallin, and few others internal issues leaked out to damage the States political image as the super power.
Let alone the failure of internal processor of its political system, the setbacks of U.S. image overseas were even amplified relatively in respect to the rise of other powers in the world namely China, Brazil, and Turkey. It is come to a common sense that Fareed Zakaria called the era as the beginning of the “post-American world”.
The question entailed would be whether or not the rest of the human in the world perceive it as Fareed did. Therefore, the significant moment to find out the answer is near. And it would be the consequential response of the U.S. would portray to the world throughout the difficult time faced in domestic politics. If the U.S. through Obama administration able to make a foreign policy comeback by proving its leadership both within the American territory and across the globe, and it means working simultaneously in the fragile politics to make number of achievement in Israel-Palestine negotiation process, plummeting the threat pose by North Korean nuclear, bring the global war on terror to its end line, and the foremost important, addressing successfully its domestic politics and economics hardships.
One part of the answer can be drawn from the result of President China, Hu Jintao, visit to White House on Wednesday (US time). The cold-war like relation of the world hegemon (US) and the world most expansive economy (China) is constructed, especially, in the current war of currency and competition of influence all over the world.
The U.S. for example, needs to assertively convey the political message for China’s support in reducing its neighbor, namely North Korea, nuclear activity which will be unlikely to be considered by the world’s second biggest economy. In addition to that, China is in the upper hand economically with U.S. major corporations expecting to join the cheap labor market in the bamboo country for the efficiency but obstructed by the country’s centralistic and non-liberal approach of foreign direct investment, and the fact that the Chinese government is the party withholding the biggest amount of US trust funds.
In spite of these uncomfortable facts for the already internally shaken U.S., political imaging is seemed to be the main reliable option for the U.S. to bargain with the country with three decade stable in two digits economic growth. This, of course, is the case if we exclude the military head-to-head between them wherein Uncle Sam is still the strongest and the biggest budget.
The current image building ‘bestowed’ upon China in terms of the key behind China’s economic success by undervaluing its Renminbi, and its guilt over Tibet and the imprisonment of Nobel Peace laureate, the ‘gang’ of liberal democratic states would choir their antipathy toward China as portrayed.
Despite the warm welcome and on-the-same-page discussion in the State Dinner, the modest rhetoric declared to have been achieved during President Hu visit to Washington that Chinese government, can now openly, declare their recognition and respect towards the universality of human rights; despite the fact that speak otherwise, is not a good “cover” to camouflage the two economic giants bedeviled relations. The good cover, however, for both the US and China will be related to the follow up business deals related to Microsoft, Boeing, Motorola, Goldman Sachs, and General Electric whose respective executives are meeting with Hu in his schedule visit to the States. The U.S. companies are just can’t ignore the temptation of “cheap labor” and rare-mineral’s existence in the China soil.
Furthermore, the unexpectedly positive tone of President Hu in his visit may triggered a spark of misunderstanding within the Chinese Communist Party for too much welcome for U.S. major corporations that will lead to a bigger ‘concern’ of the US toward China internal politics adding to the fact that it is now the sole symbol of a success communist government worldwide. The inquiry and open debate for how long the iron law of Communist Party can sustain its power before the country shifted to the right will then consider as high priority in the party high official’s meeting.
By and large, in whatever ‘deal’ Obama build with Hu Jintao sketching for the new world order, it will be contested by other major actor in the world stage like the EU, Japan, Turkey, Brazil, and perhaps, Indonesia. One thing, though, the international stage would presumably agree is that the order of “unipolarity”, which is the single dominant state in world stage, may just exhaust by its own hegemony.
In regards of Indonesia, recalling the State visit by President Obama to Indonesia on November, thus the omitting of the word ‘agreement’ in the previously called Comprehensive Partnership Agreement, and the comparison of the visit to India before, we can be sure that the troubled United States were and are still looking for support for its reign that it cannot get from the world’s largest muslim population.
In the end, what the proverb in the beginning means for the international politics is that there are ubiquitous consequences and chain of network of activities under the cover of a superficially-media-lead-coverage for the event.