It is tempting to say that we are at a crossroads in US-China relations. Tempting but wrong.
We’ve passed a crossroads. Unfortunately, danger. We’re on the wrong track.
As Edward Luce pointed out in an in-depth column in economic conditionsWe are already effectively engaged in the Cold War with China. “The consensus,” he wrote, “is now so absurd that it tends to look at China as a weakness.” You might hear the consensus in the words of the intelligence chief. United States As they testified before Congress during the annual threat assessment hearing on Wednesday.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines cited the ruling Communist Party of China as a national security threat that Ignore the domestic extremism supported by one of the two major political parties. Don’t worry about global warming. Never mind that Russia is actively at war in Europe while spreading false information and aggressively promoting authoritarianism around the world.
No, even while acknowledging the threat of extremism in Russia and global warming. The consensus of the intelligence community, supported by leaders on both sides, is that China is the enemy we need to keep our eyes on.
Why, why is this a great threat even if this country has not had a history of conquest over its region in its 5,000 year history and is far from capable or likely to pose a direct threat to attack the United States, according to Haines. Focusing on China as the top priority of the Intel community is China. “Challenging the United States more in economic, technological, political and military areas worldwide,” she continued, asserting that China’s President Xi Jinping’s goal is to “continue to strive to achieve Xi’s vision of making China the dominant power in the world.” East Asia and a major power on the world stage.”
let’s destroy it
Is there something unusual or dangerous about China trying to challenge the United States economically, technologically or politically? Isn’t that what all nations do? Do we not believe in the inherent superiority of our system? We don’t believe in the benefits of competition? (I think that’s the basis of America’s national identity and values.)
Of course, challenging us militaryly is more worrisome. But if their main goal is the power in East Asia. if they had never projected forces in a meaningful way beyond their region And if every country tries to have enough power they won’t be persecuted by the hegemon. (And let’s be real, we’re the only hegemons in this conversation right now.) Their desire to have a military power in line with the size of the country. their economy And the national security interests are not what we expect from them? Is that an inherent threat to us?
It’s not that China doesn’t want to use that force against us. And Hines himself noted that China’s leadership believes “It is most profitable to prevent escalating tensions and maintain stability in relations with the United States.”
This does not mean that China is a kind performer. Not to diminish our deep and wide differences with that country and its leaders. Our principles and interests call upon us to challenge China’s human rights abuses among the Uyghurs in the Northwest or in Hong Kong. We should continue to actively oppose any assistance China provides, especially to Russia. To assist in that country’s brutal and illegal war against Ukraine. And we should use all means to prevent China from demonstrating its power in a dangerous or disruptive way in its region. especially This means we need a policy that supports Taiwan and other regional allies. in a way that we feel aligns with our interests
“Why is it such a great threat even though this country has not had a history of conquest over its region in its 5,000 year history and is far from capable or likely to pose a direct threat to attack the US?”
Does that mean going to war with China to protect Taiwan?
I can understand why we kept saying that it might be possible. Because preserving democracy in Taiwan is in our best interests. But we never talk about war for democracy when at risk in places like Hungary, Turkey, India or Mexico. What makes Taiwan so special? We have to ask ourselves whether this has more to do with our propensity to harness Chinese power than it has to do with US assessments of national interests. carefully or not (especially We are currently working to reduce our unhealthy dependence on Taiwan semiconductors.)
The problem with the current decision that clearly treats China as an enemy and a real threat is that It can lead to distorted views on certain issues, such as Taiwan (we should help Taiwan the way we help Ukraine). with military and financial assistance Training and Intelligence But not more.) Such a problem can become a red line or trigger a negative escalation.
We saw that when Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last year. is planning to welcome the President of Taiwan to the United States.
How can doing so help us? Do the benefits of standing shoulder to shoulder outweigh the increased risks? Do we think this clearly?
let’s be real for a moment
What really bothers us About China’s rise is that they are quite open about the fact that they want to challenge our influence in the world. We want to be number 1. We don’t like to be challenged.
But shouldn’t China need such influence? Throughout the history of the world until the beginning of the industrial revolution China has the largest economy in the world. And now China is returning to that role again. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to expand our influence. for more wealth To increase the safety and quality of life for all Americans. This means that we must overcome the idea that relations between the United States with China is a zero-sum conflict. as relations between the United States with the Soviet Union was
It’s not. Our economies are intertwined. More than 70,000 US companies operate in China. There is not a single major global problem that we can solve without cooperation with China. Our interests intersect in many areas. Some of them overlap.
In a world like this, it’s dangerous and against our best interests to choose an enemy against a sometimes important partner/sometimes powerful opponent. world economy We need to carefully weigh whether the Cold War and its bubbling military expenditures are the best way to balance our interests. It has been argued that overspending on national defense has and will cause us to lose influence and undermine the dynamics of our economy.
We should at least consider investing in personnel. infrastructure, schools, research facilities And is overall competitiveness a better choice? Shouldn’t we consider that strong growth from within should be our top priority right now? Cold War-style stance or detachment from the Chinese economy (Or to the extent of separating itself to the point of exacerbating the deep tensions between our economies) is the biggest mistake we could make?
And we also have to ask Are we interested in China growing more prosperous? In order to be able to draw on China’s industry and creativity to help drive progress.
But the hawk might ask, Isn’t China a more troubled country? That is reading several comments this week by both President Xi and by his Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Wall Street Journal Reportedly, Xi “issuing orders to condemn U.S. policy. unusually bluntly on Monday blaming what he called a Washington-led campaign to crack down on China for the latest challenge his country faces.” It is at the forefront of efforts to contain, besiege, and suppress China. He went on to say that Western efforts to cut off the supply of high-tech to China have led to the “An unprecedentedly serious challenge to the development of our country.”
The Chinese leadership’s demands may make the United States uncomfortable, but it happens. Everything Xi said is true.
China’s foreign minister said: “If the US does not step on the brakes but continues to slow down in the wrong direction, No number of railings can prevent derailment. And there will surely be conflicts and confrontations.” That also happened.
Indeed, it is a warning that we in the United States It should not be ignored like the words of the foreign minister who only works to pump up the lines of his own country.
as well as the greatest real threat to the United States. faced from within our own borders Some of the greatest threats we face are driven internationally or exacerbated by domestic factors.
China is a competitor China threatens many interests of the United States. We should believe in our hearts that our values and systems serve the world better than they do. And we should try to convince the world to do so.
“There is not a single major global problem that we can solve without cooperation with China. Our interests intersect in many areas. Some of them overlap.”
But if our goal is to emerge from the next era where we are stronger along with people and our planet for a better place Listening to Qin’s words will help us well, I fear. Get it wrong and mismanage the most important bilateral relations in the world. We are bringing old models and outdated frameworks to something new. We are mistaking our inconsistency for strength. We are underestimating our strengths and our competitors’ weaknesses. We rely on reflexes When all we want is creativity
China’s rise presents real risks Presenting real puzzles and demanding difficult choices Managing our relationship with the People’s Republic of China will be a foreign policy challenge of our time. Considering the stakes We owe it to ourselves to turn back to the fork in the road we seem to have passed. Reject the Cold War framework that no one cares about. and seeking new ideas and approaches For this new era .