March 25, 2020
Since the Cold War, the Global South has become the basis of China’s political, economic, and military interests, as well as the major theater of China’s power competition with the United States. It is thus necessary to recognize how developing states have responded to changes in the international system brought on by China’s rise. Given the tide of nativism opposing trade and globalization, mostly studied through a Western lens, this study extends the analysis to the attitudes of the Global South. I outline the Western reaction to China’s rise to differentiate the factors that provoke backlash in the developed and developing world. Analyzing the relationship between China’s economic engagement and the degree of anti-China sentiment in a given region, as compared to the same relationships for the United States, I provide an amendment to Friedman’s “Golden Straitjacket” thesis to better understand China’s role in the processes of globalization and discuss the implications of the relationship between trade and domestic attitudes on the liberal theory of trade interdependence and conflict. I argue that since China’s “Jade Straitjacket” is a destabilizing force that provokes negative backlash stronger than reactions to American trade based on the findings of this study, policymakers must contend with the disconnect between elites who make the decision to don the straitjacket and domestic audiences who react adversely to the societal ramifications of these decisions.