Washington D.C. [US], June 5 (ANI): As the United States falters and the world spins into coronavirus crisis, Chinese President Xi Jinping is swiftly carrying out a campaign to take over the international institutions like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN), said India's former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
In an opinion piece in The New York Times, Gokhale, who is also a former Indian ambassador to China, writes that Chinese officials are in fire fighting mode to salvage the country's reputation, which is under fire for their part in the pandemic and reproached for their move to assert control over Hong Kong.
Gokhale said that President Xi has left this battle to his subordinates as he is occupied in a bigger campaign "taking over the international institutions like the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, that manage the world."
"Contrary to speculation, China has always said it is not seeking to overthrow the global order. We should listen. Why would China go to the trouble of capsizing the global order when it can simply take it over, whole and intact?," pointed out Gokhale.
He opined that China is the biggest beneficiary of globalisation. It has systematically used Western-led multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to advance its interests and influence.
"Though still fighting for greater control of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it has determinedly captured the leadership of four key United Nations agencies that set international rules and standards. (It almost claimed a fifth, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, this year.)," he noted.
The diplomat is of the view that China has steadily been building up its influence in international institutions for years by funding them. He said China's message to the world is clear that "China is ready to pick up the slack, as the United States retreats from its global responsibilities."
"For a world exhausted and impoverished by the pandemic, it's a seductive proposition. Anybody who takes the reins will be good enough; few will ponder its significance for the global order. Development and stability, not China's ambitions to lead, are the priorities for most countries," he said.
Gokhale said that China had stumbled at the start of the pandemic but the West appears to be "losing the moral high ground."
"The world needs balance at the moment, no country other than the United States has the means to ensure it. At a practical level, its leadership is indispensable," he stated.
Gokhale said that the world needs American leadership to remind it that respect for freedom and human dignity provides the best path to a shared future of humankind.
"The Beijing model -- where an authoritarian party-state single-mindedly exalts economic betterment over a free political choice -- may look attractive to some. But it cannot be widely emulated. Dependent on China's unique culture and history, the method can work only there. Democracy, by contrast, is based on universal principles that can be followed everywhere, by everyone," he said. (ANI)