Date: June 16, 2014
Modern People's Republic of China (PRC) vs. Imperial China - Tributary System
Summary of Theory:
The PRC wants to return to Imperial China's tributary system but has little to offer in exchange for the allegiance of its subordinates.
Tributary System Under Imperial China:
Imperial China extended an umbrella of technological advancement, economic sophistication, and military protection around its subordinates.
Modern PRC Lacks Imperial China's Sophistication:
In addition to the spillover manufacturing jobs China's neighbors enjoy when Chinese wages rise, the PRC can offer its regional partners only trade and cash.
Technology and security alliances are coming from the West.
It is unlikely the PRC will rise to the level of Imperial China's sophistication anytime soon.
The PRC's land and maritime claims are perhaps invalidated if they are rooted in Imperial China's quid pro quo.