China’s Priorities

* Amid all the talk of China overtaking the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy and becoming a key player in international development, there is one area that continues to hinder China’s progress. For all its hybrid, ethically-challenged economics–including cyber espionage and theft of technology and intellectual property–its military impact is not in sync with its growing economy. The military controls roughly 70 percent of airspace in China. Among other things, it restricts options for departure and arrival routing. It thus limits the number of takeoffs and landings that airports can handle. By comparison, the U.S. military controls 20 percent of America’s airspace.

* Speaking of China, I recall an insightful exchange I had with Chinese officials back in the early 1990s. I was the media relations manager at USF at the time, and the officials were visiting the College of Business as part of their nation’s outreach to capitalist countries. The subject of the recently devolved Soviet Union came up. (OK, I brought it up.) One of the Chinese visitors succinctly summed it up. China, he said, was only about a globally-pragmatic “economic revolution,” not a political one. The Soviets’ fatal mistake: They were experiencing “two revolutions” at the same time: economic and political. In short, the Chinese were no fans of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, the restructuring of economic AND political systems, or glasnost, societal and governmental openness.

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