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Interview: former French diplomat Hubert Védrine on China and a West 'in disarray'

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Q: Obviously, the rise of China concerns both Europe and the US, centrally.

A: China’s rise is unsettling. It was also foreseeable. Chinese energy, liberated by [Paramount leader] Deng Xiaoping and multiplied by the number of inhabitants, is very worrying. If there were 50 million Chinese people, we wouldn’t be discussing China’s rise. We should have anticipated that a long time ago. Jiang Zemin feared the West’s reaction to the point that he coined the expression ‘Pacific emergence.’ China is now in a position to say ‘No,’ which is evidence of the end of the West’s monopoly.

Also, let us not forget that the final compromise within the WTO [World Trade Organization] was blocked by India. This is a huge challenge for the West, and the different approaches taken by the West. The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld approach is not that different from the colonial powers’ approach in the 19th century, which was working at the time but is not working now. The neocon approach of bringing democracy everywhere, relayed in France by [Foreign Minister Bernard] Kouchner under the concept of democratic intervention, doesn’t work, either. We can’t even manage to change a dictatorship like Burma.

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