Susan Rice, the U.S. president’s national security advisor, paid a visit to China from Aug. 28 to 29 to meet with Chairman Xi Jinping as he prepared for his trip to the U.S. in September. Right now, the atmosphere of U.S.-China relations is not so good; there is quite a lot of pessimism within discussions of anti-China policies in the U.S. strategic world. Besides this, the curtain of U.S. elections has lifted and candidates are stealing attention by attacking China, exacerbating the sense of “boundary” between China and the U.S.
Chinese society actually takes a positive attitude toward U.S.-China relations, whereas America frequently talks down to China, as if China was begging for mercy. This is not the case. The Chinese government’s attitude with America is very clear, whereas America’s relationship with China is so complex that it is hard to find clues as to why — though the Obama administration’s expectations of Xi Jinping’s visit are probably no lower than China’s.
Obama still has at least a year in office, but he might be unable to handle deteriorating U.S.-China relations marking the end of his eight years. If U.S.-China relations result in heavy tides, Obama has no time to turn back — especially since right now America and Russia are wrestling with the Ukraine issue.
Some U.S. scholars, looking back on failures to see eye to eye with China, advocate adjusting America’s most fundamental relations with China. It is not likely that these discussions will bring sudden changes to real policies toward China. While we feel that just like China, America has its own goal of opening itself to the outside world, we are also on high alert of its political intentions to westernize China. It can be said that this alertness has increased in the past few years, but can it significantly alter our interactions with America?
U.S.-China anxiety is rising, partly because the countries don’t know how to gently handle sensitive issues like those in the South China Sea, and the issue of friction across networks. First of all, the current concerns between China and the U.S. are intense, and they aren’t even the Cuban Missile Crisis, the conflict in Afghanistan or showing off nuclear capabilities. U.S.-China efforts to compromise and save face in the South Sea question are slightly evident in their displays of power. The South Sea game is very complicated, but America is gradually resisting the urge to “insert a white blade and pull out a red one.” Its rules are becoming more and more like a repetitive sports meet for diplomacy efforts.
Then again, the long peace between the two countries has weakened, and the friction that has arisen between them is unsettling. The lingering sense of crisis that China’s rise gives to American society can find any reason to detonate. To a certain degree, anti-China strategy in U.S. academia is American society’s coping mechanism for facing China’s rise, finding pleasure in people who speak cruelly of China.
Actually, in the year when the U.S. formed strategies to approach China, part of it was thanks to policy leadership, and a big part was caused by the trends of the times. The U.S. keeps track of its benefits very carefully in every period; it intentionally cut China some slack in order to place China in its international setup. Going out of its way to get close to China is not at all the real nature of its anti-China policy.
U.S.-China relations started to rise and fall, constant friction and prominent difficulties in the 1990s. China and the U.S. have always been cooperative partners that never got along, and also the most unwilling strategic opponents to be true to each other via specific negotiation.
This challenge of promoting U.S. and Chinese societies to view their countries’ relations in a positive light has important meaning in ensuring Chairman Xi’s success in America. Looking at their history together, U.S.-China relations are really not all that bad. People who have lived long enough to have witnessed China’s diplomatic challenges in the ‘60s and ‘70s might find the current U.S.-China situation to be comparatively better. Henry Kissinger always encourages China and the U.S. to increase mutual trust, probably because of his long strategic experience. American and Chinese leaders taking the initiative to encourage the countries to overcome their difficulties might unfortunately have already created the liability of confronting history.
The U.S. has always had some irrational people who speak unpleasantly during the important moments of U.S.-China relations and incite public stress. Dealing with these people has always given China a headache. Before, we would usually pay them no mind in order to avoid strengthening their influence. This strategy is apparently not logical enough. The solution to strengthening China’s resistance comes from within, and therefore requires us to coordinate a plan.