Of course, all nations’ foreign policies are rooted in their own particular historical experiences. But China’s modern history has been unusually turbulent and traumatic. Westad argues that this, together with the country’s Confucian heritage, its geography and its traditional veneration of the state, have bequeathed three big ideas that continue to shape China’s worldview. The first is the concept of justice as central to the international order. As Westad writes: “In the Chinese view today, the outside world over the past two hundred years has treated China unjustly, and this grievance remains a leitmotif.” The second idea is a search for “rules and rituals” – general principles – that can bring order to an otherwise chaotic international society. The third is “a sense of centrality” and a belief in China as “the indispensable nation for its region.”
more from Gideon Rachman at the FT here.