The U.S. government has destroyed its relations with China for its own political calculations and partisan self-interest. Its attempts to harm China backfire as America plunges headfirst into a ditch.
In these past few months, a strange performance has been playing out on the other side of the Pacific, enveloping U.S.-China relations in dark clouds and bringing much uncertainty to the international community.
The American politicians opposing China continuously place the blame on us, even going as far as to normalize the wanton use of sanctions. It is as though, in their eyes, the coronavirus threatening the very lives of Americans is not as important as slandering China. Now, they’re applying this trick to the Chinese consulate in the United States, and their excuse happens to be “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.” This undoubtedly reminds us that America, in its suppression of China, is wantonly choosing targets; its smears are baseless.
Why exactly is the U.S. resorting to these manipulative tactics? The U.S. has its own internal opinions. For instance, Angus King, an independent member of the U.S. Senate, questioned the current escalation of tensions on July 22: “is it really about confronting China, or does it have something to do with an election in four months?” Additionally, CNN reported on July 23 that U.S. officials privately described this move as a “strategy” – being hard on China is an attempt to bump up Donald Trump’s continuously dropping approval ratings. The same report mentioned that such tactics were also employed to distract the global community from Trump’s inability to control the pandemic and the disastrous economic impacts that followed.
On Twitter, many American netizens also criticized this move as an attempt to divert attention from the damage the president wrought upon the American nation and its people. Some netizens even commented that “China, thus, can retaliate against the U.S.”*
If America cannot immediately correct its wrongful decisions, China will of course make the necessary responses.
Thus, this wanton destruction of U.S.-China relations for the sake of political calculations and partisan self-interest is akin to America shooting itself in the foot or diving headfirst into a ditch.
America must now seriously reflect on its treatment of China. There are at least three important questions to carefully consider.
First, America must consider how other nations will react after it carelessly undermined international norms.
Respect for national sovereignty and not interfering in other nations’ internal affairs are basic principles underlying international relations. However, the U.S. behaves as though it is perfectly fine to disregard sovereignty and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries is permissible to the point of sanctions. These are the conclusions foregrounded by American interference in the South China Sea, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. What sort of model does this provide for other countries?
America should really listen to what Chairman Adnan Akfirat of the Turkey-China Business Development and Friendship Association forewarns about the U.S. sanctions on Hong Kong: “In recent years, American foreign policy has been extremely offensive toward other nations, frequently imposing unilateral sanctions or threatened the use of sanctions on other countries and seriously impacting world peace and mutual development. Only under the compliance of international norms can the development of individual nations and the stability of the world be guaranteed.”
Second, how much can the U.S. really benefit from the destruction of U.S.-China relations?
As the two biggest economies in the world and two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. and China have many mutual interests. Taking both parties’ economic interests as an example, these two countries are important trading partners with each other. Even in the past year when trade was heavily disrupted by tariffs, over $500 million were exchanged between the U.S. and China in goods. Another example of the close economic ties between China and the United States is the fact that from 2000 to 2017, the number of U.S. companies’ subsidiaries in China increased by several degrees and U.S. business assets increased more than 10 times, according to a recent report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Evaluation Commission. In addition, the U.S.-China Business Council’s report last year showed that 97% of the U.S. companies surveyed profited highly from business in China consistently for the past 10 years.
China has already clearly expressed that no foreign nation should expect China to bitterly accept its infringement on our sovereignty, safety and developmental opportunities. America’s frequent suppression of China will meet resistance. Obviously, America’s political manipulation of China may benefit certain politicians, but it is American businesses and the millions of American citizens who had always benefited from trade with China.
Third, how will America’s careless destruction of the rules of global markets impact its reputation?
The U.S.’s suppression of Chinese high-tech companies has become increasingly fierce, and it has become the norm for America to arbitrarily force its allies to stand in line with its own economic interests. Among its practices, the U.S. has suppressed Huawei to the point of disrupting the entire global supply chain for chips. The open suppression of enterprises in other countries by state power obviously violates the laws of free-market operations, fair competition, and the entrepreneurial spirit that the United States has for so long spearheaded globally.
As for why America is doing all this, the entire world understands, regardless of how America exaggerates the “national security threat” it faces from China. As Julio Rios, a Spanish expert on China, said, “The United States will crack down on any foreign company that challenges its technological dominance.” But what does this approach do for the U.S.? The global market is bigger than America; how can other countries trust the United States’ commitment to free competition and open markets? How can global companies believe that the United States can safeguard the economic rights and equal access to the competition of foreign companies?
It appears that if America does not reflect on these questions, it will lead itself into a ditch!
*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, the quoted remark could not be independently sourced.