Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

US-China relations are entering a dangerous period- Why cool heads must prevail

US-China relations are entering a dangerous period- Why cool heads must prevail

In a book of essays called “The Next Great War?”, which examines Sino-American relations through the lens of the first world war, Richard Rosecrance warns of “the tyranny of small things”, the points of friction and misunderstanding between rival powers that, without leadership to manage them, can lead to conflict. China and America today are not about to take up arms, but small things are rapidly accumulating. The two distrust each other more now than at any point since Richard Nixon went to China almost 50 years ago. As a presidential election draws near, the potential for dangerous miscalculation is growing.
On July 27th America’s consulate in Chengdu closed on orders from Beijing. It was in retaliation for the Trump administration’s order, a week earlier, to close China’s consulate in Houston, the first such moves since the normalisation of relations in 1979. This capped a month in which America sanctioned a sitting member of China’s Politburo, also a first, over the internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang; declared China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea illegal; ceased to recognise Hong Kong as distinct from mainland China; and claimed a victory in its campaign against Huawei, when Britain announced that it would bar the telecoms-equipment giant from its 5G networks.

For the hawks who surround President Donald Trump, this is overdue. In a series of four speeches that evoked the cold war, they laid out their case for abandoning “blind engagement” with China for a more confrontational relationship. On June 26th Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, said that Xi Jinping, China’s president, “sees himself as Josef Stalin’s successor”. On July 7th Christopher Wray, the FBI director, claimed that China was seeking to become “the world’s only superpower by any means necessary”, and warned of its extensive efforts to spy on, influence and co-opt Americans. On July 17th William Barr, the attorney-general, charged that Hollywood studios and America’s tech giants had become “pawns of Chinese influence”. And on July 23rd Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, declared that Mr Xi was engaged in a decades-long battle for global supremacy, and that America and other democracies must fight back.

A new, realistic strategy for standing up to China would be welcome. The atrocities in Xinjiang and the demolition of the rule of law in Hong Kong demand a tougher response than the world has mustered thus far. China’s territorial ambitions in its near seas are worrying. Its economic leverage over trade partners and companies sets it apart as an adversary from its communist predecessor, the Soviet Union. In calling attention to the comprehensive and complex threat Mr Xi’s China poses, Mr Trump’s hawks have achieved something.

But their speeches add up to an attitude, not a strategy. They articulate a compelling argument for imposing pain on China, but no framework for judging how and when to do so. They talk about working with allies in loose, aspirational terms. They have little to offer on larger geopolitical concerns like climate change, other than to say China cannot be trusted to keep its commitments.

Another president might formulate a grand vision for how to engage China under such conditions. These hawks have Mr Trump. His disregard for democratic allies and the cause of human rights, and his personal affinity for Mr Xi, make him singularly ill-suited to lead a contest with China over global values. He has gripes with China, over trade and covid-19, but these are not rooted in principle. His eyes are on what can get him re-elected.

That sets up a combustible dynamic in the months ahead. As the election approaches, Mr Trump could be persuaded to take more dramatic action—say, financial sanctions on Chinese banks in Hong Kong, or a military display of support for Taiwan. A mishap or misunderstanding could prove perilous. It is right to want to chart a more robust course in Sino-American relations—but it would also be wise to beware the tyranny of small things.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
BVI Freedom Song
What is ChatGPT?
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Hello Dolly
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
China's first population drop in six decades
Yes He Can
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Unforgettable
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
The Lord's Prayer
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
Siyahamba
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Ramblin' Rose
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
Common, John Legend - Glory
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
×