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US in need of rational voice on China [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2018-3-22 15:18:20 |Display all floors
A recent essay in Foreign Affairs magazine has ignited a debate on whether US policy on China has been a failure. Former US government officials Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner say in "The China Reckoning" that Washington should give up its "hopeful thinking that has long characterized the US' approach to China" to deal with "its most dynamic and formidable competitor in modern history."

The discussion is actually a continuation of the China policy debate back in 2015, when the view that Sino-US relations were reaching a tipping point gained ground in Washington. In the report "Revising US Grand Strategy Toward China" published by the Council on Foreign Relations, the authors said, "China represents and will remain the most significant competitor of the US for decades to come. As such, the need for a more coherent US response to increasing Chinese power is long overdue."

Looking back at ties with Beijing over the past century, the US has had three major debates on its China policy. The first argument took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s when the White House misjudged China's domestic situation and vacillated between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang party.

After the CPC won the civil war and founded the People's Republic of China, the "Who Lost China?" debate intensified across the US, directly prompting Washington to formulate policy to contain Beijing.

The second debate occurred in the early 1970s. Amid the Cold War, there was a call for Washington to cooperate with Beijing in its anti-Soviet campaign. With the efforts of then US president Richard Nixon and top diplomat Henry Kissinger, the US and China made a historic breakthrough in ties, laying the foundation for the US' engagement with China.

The third discussion is what's happening right now. There's a voice that says the US failed to realize the goal of leading China onto the path of economic liberalization and political reform despite its decades-long effort to make Beijing part of the Washington-dominated international system. Neither the "carrot" nor the "stick" could force China to do what the US wanted. Therefore, it's unavoidable that the US should adopt a thorough strategy change.

That the Trump administration slammed China as a "new imperialist power" just caters to American strategists' attitude toward the nation. In their eyes, China not only reaps the benefit in economy and trade offered by the US, but also penetrates its society with sharp power. What worries them most is that the development model used by China has attracted worldwide attention and many countries begin to learn from it, posing a huge threat to the Western model.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the West has been mired in an existential crisis.

As Beijing marches toward its goal of building a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020 and fulfilling the dream of national rejuvenation, Washington desperately needs a rebirth to "make America great again."

The goals of the two nations should not be exclusive, but many in the US still look at bilateral relations with a Cold-War mind-set.

Policy should be evaluated rationally, and should not be based on subjective assumptions. Actually, the US' current China policy, which is full of chinks, cannot stand scrutiny. For a long time, Washington has had a naive illusion toward Beijing, assuming that it must obey the US government. It's hegemonic logic.

Moreover, a great many Americans have a natural rancor for and fear of China's political system. Given their ideological stereotypes, they don't think the US can peacefully co-exist with China. That's why the development path with Chinese characteristics is labeled "a challenge to the Western world."

The heated debate on China policy has also come as a distraction from the intractable problems inside the US. It's easy for any US political party to reach consensus on China. Currently, a moderate and rational voice on China is almost missing in the US, a sad fact we have to accept.

American strategists should know that the US and China have come to be close partners and only dialogue and cooperation are the way out of problems. The world's largest power can hardly circumvent China on its way to "make America great again."
Believe it or not, it's true.

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Post time 2018-3-22 15:50:18 |Display all floors
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Post time 2018-3-22 16:00:29 |Display all floors
Some Americans are just paranoid about China.


Robert is a nice guy, clairvoyant and prescient.  

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Post time 2018-3-22 17:29:19 |Display all floors
  1. "Actually, the US' current China policy, which is full of chinks, cannot stand scrutiny."
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Perhaps it is because the US still sees China as a contemporary embodiment of the west's frisson of fear about the 'yellow peril', last labelled onto the Japanese, now onto the Chinese as 'chinks'. Are we therefore finally now on the last leg of the China Exclusion Act 1882?

The US damning fear and hatred of China as competitor is kinda strange since at the same time, some of the US policy-makers make haste to wax to the world about the power the US still has to maintain its imperial global supremacy in all fields, evidenced by its cavalier dictating of terms whenever it so fancies.

If one is that strong and no one is denying it, why fear any competitor, least of all a China which only wants to be moderately prosperous in the same way the US and other western countries had also done so in their past to raise the standard of living of their own folks? In this day and age of enlightenment, is it still what is good for me needn't be good for you?

Failing to so engage meaningfully with China, the US is now resorting to targeting it as prime competitor to be stopped at all costs. However, that carries a contradiction. If China is a prime competitor, why should the US demand that China spend USD100 Billion more in order to reduce a trade deficit not of China's making? If the US citizens didn't buy, would the Chinese suppliers have been able to sell for whatever other reasons the US side can construct?

Furthermore, making such a demand is contrary to the global free market system that the US itself through its multinationals has created in order to make things more cheaply wherever they can do so in order to earn more profits for themselves while enabling their US citizens to buy things cheaper and so realize the American Dream faster despite internal financial crises of their own making.

And it would not have been lost on politicians, industrialists and investors throughout the world that any foreign government making such trade number demands on a sovereign state this year can also do it again next year and the year after, ad nauseum.  Isn't that then monopoly of trade deficit reductions? Should an international court of law therefore be convened to see if that should call for anti-trust protection of China, for instance?

The US foreign policy these days is simply cakeism - i want your cake and you can just sit by and watch me continue eating it like how i have done so before.

It can't be anything else that can be pulled out from the US ringmaster's rabbit hat. Democracy? what's that in today's US whose White House long tainted by global malfeasance can still maintain semblance of being anglo-saxon white while the rest of the world has moved on to other colors? Protecting the free world? has wealth-and-progress exporting China exported any revolution at the same time lately?  Military expansionism? who is ringing who with tarmac-ed airfields, ironclads, submersibles, nukes, drones and geosynchronous satellites while challenging others by quoting international rules of law only referred to when it is of especial interest for the expounder ever eager to dispute historical facts and play today's order of mischief? Were this not so, it would not have been necessary to also make outward attempts at blackmailing for sovereign votes by using funds meant to do good in the first place.

It is precisely when one has the most power that one must exercise the most restraint. In railing against countries like China, the US as a global superpower has decided instead to smote, cutting the knot impatiently with one severing stroke of its sword. A knot however knotty can be untied with care and diligence else the second law of thermodynamics would have been confounded. Yet the US is starting to believe the panacea for all its self-created ailments is protectionism and therefore let's start that with a trade war because wars are good for industry and oil suppliers, and bugger the poor dylanic hoi-polloi who will be doin' the dyin'.

What is the tipping point today? It is the next sexy term of re-balancing by disengagement. But doing so will mean severing the global supply chains which have held the world together. And since the sword is rusty, doing so will generate toxic side-effects that will diminish even more jobs not just in the US but worldwide in other countries as well at exactly the time when this world economy can grow faster to create bigger markets in which US interests - if they are primed to be inventive and industrious - would be able to make more profits than by destructive protectionist measures.

And the US has the potential to do that with saner and more far-sighted policies in cooperation with China and others. All it needs now is just one rational voice asking one rational question:

What will happen after if we continue to target other countries with virulence that will only embed permanent tensions and create the very shadows of mistrust that will haunt all for generations to come to no one's benefit?

To hindsight, foresight must be added. After all, you can't gallop ahead using only hind legs.

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Post time 2018-3-22 18:44:39 |Display all floors
This post was edited by robert237 at 2018-3-22 03:33

The horses have already left the barn. America's wet dream of making their own consumer goods is a lost cause.

All those millionaires and billionaires in the US who made their fortunes importing Chinese goods and selling
them at a profitto American consumers are going to have a tough time convincing American consumers that
they ha ve to make their own goods now. And oh, by the way, those goods you made will cost you at least
twice as much to buy.
After all, the oligarchs of America still need to make profits from making Americans manufacture their own
consumer goods.
The peasants will make the goods and the oligarchs will jack up the prices before the peasants can buy back
the goods that they produced. That's part of capitalism. Legalized thievery but only for the rich.

20-30% tariffs will do nothing but raise the price of Chinese goods Americans will still buy.

Americans would howl too loudly before the tariffs reached 200-300% which is where they'd have to be
in order for American made consumer goods to become competitive for the American consumer.
And how many average Americans could afford to buy at those prices when they have low level
manufacturing jobs.
It just won't work.

If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2018-3-22 21:08:50 |Display all floors
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Post time 2018-3-22 22:37:08 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2018-3-22 05:08
It isn't as one-sided as you let on. The Asian jurisdictions other than China don't face that stif ...

Maybe that's because the west has tried its best to subjugate China for the last 200 years.
Why don't you face reality for once.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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