CHINA, ANCIENT TO MODERN
China, the world's most populous nation with over 1.3 billion people, is also one of the world's oldest civilizations, one of the original river valley civilizations to emerge at the dawn of civilization. Centered around the Huang He River, the Chinese called themselves "The Middle Kingdom" because they were so remote from the rest of the world that it felt like they were the middle of the universe. Developing in isolation, the Chinese created one of the most glorious civilizations in human history. At the time Europe was recovering from the Middle Ages, China was the most advanced civilization on Earth. European appetite for all things China fueled trade and interaction that led to the fall of Chinese power and influence as European commercial and military power became supreme.
Today China has thrown off centuries of decay and deterioration, reclaimed her status as a great world power, and is actively challenging the United States for leadership of the world. Since 1980, when China embraced capitalist economic principles to grow the economy and opened up to the world for trade, China has now become the 2nd largest economy in the world after the United States and will soon overtake the US to be the dominant economic power in the world. China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty in 20 years, is home to more billionaires than the US, just hosted the Olympics and is an aggressive participant in global trade. In little more than 30 years China has morphed into the second most powerful nation on Earth. Now the question is, how will the US and the West deal with an expansive China in the 21st Century?