Indefinite article with country's name? The New York Times article has it

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The paragraph from the New York Times reads...

Rarely has any world leader come full circle the way Mr. Modi has: Denied a United States visa for nearly a decade as punishment for his handling of religious riots that broke out in the state he then led, Mr. Modi flies into New York as an immensely popular leader and a sought-after strategic partner, viewed as uniquely capable of balancing the might of a rising China.

I wonder this indefinite article. What am I missing?

Maulik V

Posted 2014-09-26T11:45:57.693

Reputation: 66 188

1Of course there's only one China, and it actually is rising. But using an indefinite article here creates a kind of distance (to that fact you would rather ignore, but you can't). – mic – 2014-09-26T12:06:32.013

has article to do anything with adjective when it actually refers to a proper noun? May I say myself a good Maulik? :) – Maulik V – 2014-09-26T12:18:16.773

1Yes, assuming there is a also bad Maulik. In this instance, you would be good. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2014-09-26T12:32:20.983

Answers

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"a sagging Euro", "a rising China", "an ideologically divided USA"

The indefinite article is correct usage in such locutions, where it means that the quality or property is "now | currently | at this moment in history" true or in effect for the noun in question (at other times, it might not be true).

Tᴚoɯɐuo

Posted 2014-09-26T11:45:57.693

Reputation: 116 610

May I say.. "A struggling Tim Romano?" – Maulik V – 2014-09-26T12:26:42.197

1Yes, locations like "a struggling US economy" and "a struggling {person-name|proper noun}" imply the same thing, the quality or feature is currently in effect for the noun in question. Newcaster: a struggling Chelsea side overcomes Manchester City in overtime. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2014-09-26T12:29:58.053

using that way with a noun is okay. I learned this thing used with proper noun. New to me! – Maulik V – 2014-09-26T12:46:41.447