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Why the Hawks Are Wrong about China Too

November 14, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Some opponents of U.S. interventions in the Middle East don’t mind endless wars. They just think America needs to undertake a genuine Asian “pivot” or “rebalance” to counter China. For them, it is only a matter of which enemy must be fought.

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Certainly the Sino-American relationship has become more fractious, with the Trump administration plotting geopolitical as well as economic confrontation. Every new dispute seems to lead to calls in Congress for additional sanctions. Some policymakers imagine a new Cold War and perhaps even military conflict.

Both at home and abroad, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is doing much harm. However, confrontation for the sake of confrontation, seemingly Capitol Hill’s policy toward numerous nations, is counterproductive. Challenging the PRC will achieve little if Washington does not have clear and realistic objectives.

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China is an ancient civilization, spurred onward and upward today by lingering anger and resentment caused by centuries of oppression and humiliation. The formation of the PRC 70 years ago inaugurated a new era. Nevertheless, for the first three decades or so, China’s potential was merely theoretical: Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were perpetually at war with their own people. Once Mao passed from the scene in 1976, however, Beijing moved onto a path of growth. To the good, hundreds of millions of people escaped immiserating poverty. To the bad, a still-authoritarian regime gained strength and resources.

The PRC’s sharpest critics have developed a steadily expanding number of grievances on myriad topics: trade practices, North Korea, religious liberty, domestic economic policy, Hong Kong, regional territorial disputes, mistreatment of the Uighurs, other human rights abuses, Chinese overseas investment, intellectual property theft, Taiwan, investment access, discrimination against foreign firms, cyber warfare, and more. The issues are serious and the list is daunting.

Demanding satisfaction on all of them guarantees failure. It is worth considering how Americans would respond to a China that made a similar set of demands, with threats of confrontation, retaliation, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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