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China Isn't an Enemy and Hawks Shouldn’t Turn It into One

May 9, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Pentagon recently released its latest report on the Chinese
military, titled “Military and Security Developments
Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019.”
Although mandated by Congress, the Department of Defense probably
would have produced the volume even if not required to do so. How
else would they justify Washington’s massive military
expenditures, globe-spanning network of bases, and troop
deployments in dozens of nations? China is the best
“necessary enemy.”

The Chinese economy continues to grow, even if not quite as fast
as claimed, and likely will eventually match America’s.
Moreover, China has become the world’s greatest trading
nation, surpassing American commerce with such U.S. allies as South
Korea. Beijing has become a tough economic competitor even in Latin
America.

The Xi Jinping government is increasing state direction of the
economy, treating everything as a resource to enhance national
power. It’s also expanding totalitarian controls over
academic institutions, social media, private business, websites,
churches, and non-governmental organizations. The Maoist project is
being reborn as hopes for a more liberal China go aglimmering.

Beijing wants to protect
its own neighborhood, not commit suicide by challenging
America.

The State Department’s director of policy planning, Kiron
Skinner, noted, “It’s the first time that we will have
a great power competitor that is not Caucasian.” That’s
not strictly correct, given Japan’s aggressive advance a few
decades ago. But for some, the PRC still fits the historic
stereotype of the “Yellow Peril,” which makes China
seem more credible as a global menace.

The Pentagon report describes the alleged threat in great
detail. Ironically, Beijing’s behavior sounds a lot like that
of America once the latter broke free of British control.

Chinese leaders, asserts the Pentagon, “are focused on
realizing a powerful and prosperous China that is equipped with a
‘world-class’ military, securing China’s status
as a great power with the aim of emerging as the preeminent power
in the Indo-Pacific region.” The People’s Liberation
Army is expected to be “able to fight and win wars, deter
potential adversaries, and secure Chinese national interests
overseas, including a growing emphasis on the importance of the
maritime and information domains, offensive air operations,
long-distance mobility operations, and space and cyber
operations.”

But the military is not Beijing’s only weapon.
“China conducts influence operations against media, cultural
business academic, and policy communities of the United States,
other countries, and international institutions to achieve outcomes
favorable to its security and military strategy objectives,”
says the Pentagon. The goal is to convince others “to accept
China’s narrative surrounding its priorities.”

Washington became dominant in its own region by dismembering
Mexico, seizing half of that nation’s territory. Threats of
military action also led to a favorable settlement along
America’s northern border. Overwhelming …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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