US Si­nol­o­gist: Chi­nese, Amer­i­can dreams must em­brace for peace

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

lec­ture in Bei­jing.

“How­ever, the two dreams may draw closer if busi­ness and com­mer­cial ties con­trib­ute to the devel­op­ment of a new type of Sino-US ma­jor-power re­la­tion­ship,” said the for­mer US diplo­mat and mil­i­tary pro­fes­sor, who also cur­rently serves as a dis­tin­guished vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics at Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity in Hangzhou.

“The Chi­nese dream is es­sen­tially rewrit­ing of the Amer­i­can dream in Chi­nese char­ac­ters,” he said.

In his view, Bei­jing, with its in­creas­ing mil­i­tary might, has been ex­er­cis­ing its own ver­sion of the “Mon­roe Doc­trine” through ad­vanc­ing its sovereign claims in the South and East China Seas, and its “man­i­fest des­tiny” when stretch­ing its 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road Ocean.

Mendis said the Chi­nese lead­er­ship also learned from US for­eign pol­icy tra­di­tions laid out mainly by Amer­i­can found­ing fa­thers such as Thomas Jef­fer­son and Alexander Hamil­ton.

“Jef­fer­son ad­vo­cated de­cen­tral­ized power at a

into the In­dian more grass­roots level with greater demo­cratic gov­er­nance and re­li­gious free­dom, while Hamil­ton fa­vored a cen­tral­ized fed­eral gov­ern­ment with a na­tional bank­ing sys­tem and a strong navy to pro­tect Amer­i­can trad­ing and com­mer­cial in­ter­ests,” Mendis said.

“Deng Xiaop­ing was China’s Alexander Hamil­ton, con­sid­er­ing he ush­ered in eco­nomic re­form and trade lib­er­al­iza­tion,” he added.

To­day, bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween China and the US are largely driven by com­mer­cial and trade in­ter­ests; the two eco­nomic front-run­ners — as an ex­porter and im­porter, pro­ducer and con­sumer — have el­e­vated in­ter­na­tional trade to the cen­ter stage.

Mendis said while the US is ne­go­ti­at­ing the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship with 12 re­gional economies that do not in­clude China, Bei­jing also agreed to ground­break­ing free trade agree­ments with “US friends”, Australia and South Korea.

“This is the ex­am­ple of China ex­er­cis­ing as­sertive power, be­ing proac­tive and con­fi­dent in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions,” he said.

How­ever, Mendis does not up­hold the rhetoric of even­tual con­fronta­tion be­tween the ris­ing Con­fu­cian Bei­jing and es­tab­lished Judeo-Chris­tian Wash­ing­ton.

“Both gov­ern­ments seem to un­der­stand that a con­flict or a proxy war would be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive and cat­a­strophic. Re­flec­tive lead­er­ship is needed to avoid the like­li­hood of tragedies,” Mendis said.

“China’s Silk Road ini­tia­tives and the US pivot in Asia should sup­ple­ment and co­op­er­ate for the sake of trade, eco­nomic growth and re­gional sta­bil­ity,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Mendis, trade, a force for public good, agreed on by both Jef­fer­son and Hamil­ton, can bring peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups, lan­guages and cul­tures to­gether.

Au­thor of more than 100 books, jour­nal ar­ti­cles, news­pa­per col­umns and gov­ern­ment re­ports, Mendis has re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards for his lead­er­ship, public ser­vice and phil­an­thropic ac­tiv­i­ties. He has lived, trav­eled, and worked in more than 100 coun­tries.

Born in Sri Lanka and ed­u­cated in Bri­tish and Amer­i­can schools, Mendis first came to China in 1999, and later be­came a fre­quent vis­i­tor to the coun­try.

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