I am an American who has lived in China for three years. (And very much like living here.) My opinion is not as factual, and surely not as broadly informed, as many of the others so well-expressed here. But something I notice, from the inside, is that China usually plays “the long game.” They are bellicose when they see it serving their immediate interests. But they see little advantage in American- or Russian-style braggadocio. They are more likely to exert their influence quietly and economically.
As one example, China has invested heavily in the economy of Africa. All of the major universities I have visited in China have a noticeable and growing number of African students. Many of them are here to study Chinese. To advance their economic opportunities – back in Africa, where so much of the investment comes from China. (And they’re incredibly excited by this.)
China has made quiet, welcome inroads there, a part of the world that has largely been ignored by Western countries. They are happy without international acknowledgment, much of the time. They have a plan, they have a policy, and the money to invest in them.
I do not pretend to know what the long-term plan is. But I don’t think it involves showing off to other countries. (Beyond what is necessary to be taken seriously at a high level internationally.)
An amusing final note: If Chinese pop culture was embraced by American youth the way American pop culture is embraced by Chinese youth? You would be seeing Chinese characters on >50% of the clothing young people wear.
(My apologies for the extent to which my response overlaps with others. But I hoped that a personal perspective might useful.)
If you are an American, do you live in Alaska? If not, how come you don’t know that 400,000+ Chinese students are studying /living in America and each year they will spend about 20 billion us dollars in America . There is no any other single country that can contribute so much to America economy . Imagine how many teachers will lose their jobs if those Chinese students are not here?
You don’t see more than 1 million Chinese visitors each year coming to the US? You don’t see all major tourist sites and stores in the US have signs in Chinese language? Each Chinese tourist would spend $6,000-$7,000 in America, imagine how many jobs have been created by that. You don’t do any shopping and see how many goods are imported from China?
Do you know that China will purchase about 7,000 Boeing aircraft in next 20 years (China has already bought thousands of Boeing planes), is there any other country that contributes so much to America’s economies?
You don’t know, besides America and Russia, China is also able to send astronauts to space and has the ability to build a permanent space station?
You don’t know China built railroad and new trains in Africa which are better than rail / trains in America? You don’t know that LA, Boston, NYC all have ordered subway trains made in China and next month the first group of newly China built trains will be operated in Boston subway?
Do you know that China is the biggest oversea market for three major US automakers ? In 2017, Buick sold 1,229,804 cars in China, Ford sold 951,396 and Chevrolet sold 538,671. Is that the dream of any automaker in the world?
Do you know that China 2017 Box office : Hollywood movies grab 3.26 billions US dollars ? Is there any bigger oversea market for Hollywood ? Nope.
Do you know Chinese have bought many American icon businesses including :
Forbes Manazine , Chicago Stock Exchange, AMC (2.6 billions), Smith Foods ( 7.1 b), Legendary movie studio (3.5 b), GE Appliance division ( 5.4 b), The Waldorf-Astoia (2 b), Ingram Micro ( 6 b), Motorola (2.9 b), Ritz-Carlton (3.9b).
If you are an American, you don’t know that the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt is China, which owns more than $1.24 trillion? Without borrowed money from China, US government will be closed.
Do you know that without China’s vote, UN could not pass sanctions against N. Korea?
What Chinese influence you don’t see?