Mendis: China and US will re­main in “peace­ful war”

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI - ByYURAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

While the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion has in­her­ently raised dis­cus­sions about the pos­si­ble fu­ture of China-US re­la­tion­ships, Amer­i­can si­nol­o­gist Patrick Mendis be­lieves that two coun­tries will ul­ti­mately be able to achieve pros­per­ity to­gether, re­gard­less of whether Don­ald Trump or Hil­lary Clin­ton wins.

“The re­sult of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion will not have a ma­jor im­pact on the ex­ist­ing com­mer­cial ties be­tween China and the United States. I am op­ti­mistic that this re­la­tion­ship will re­main in a state of ‘peace­ful war’,” said Mendis, a dis­tin­guished se­nior fel­low and af­fil­i­ate pro­fes­sor of pub­lic and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity, dur­ing a re­cent visit to Shang­hai.

The oxy­moron “peace­ful war”, which refers to his be­lief that the two na­tions will col­lab­o­rate on a va­ri­ety of is­sues while also look­ing to outdo one an­other, is also the ti­tle of his new book in which he an­a­lyzed the re­la­tion­ship be­tween two of the world’s largest economies.

“The Chi­nese dream in­volves na­tional re­ju­ve­na­tion that is pow­ered by in­dus­trial mod­ern­iza­tion, which dif­fers from its Amer­i­can coun­ter­part where the dream is rooted in the un­alien­able rights of life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness,” said Mendis.

“How­ever, the two dreams may draw closer if the ties on trade and com­merce con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of a new type of Sino-US ma­jor-power re­la­tion­ship,” added Mendis, a for­mer US diplo­mat and mil­i­tary pro­fes­sor.

In the book, Mendis ex­plores the his­tory of Sino-US re­la­tions, high­lights the dif­fer­ences in the two na­tions’ re­li­gions, cul­ture and po­lit­i­cal con­cerns, and ex­presses his be­lief that the two will even­tu­ally cre­ate “a new Pa­cific world or­der”.

Mendis, who also serves as a vis­it­ing fel­low at Pek­ing Univer­sity’s School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies and a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics at Zhe­jiang Univer­sity in Hangzhou, added that the Chi­nese lead­er­ship ac­tu­ally bears sim­i­lar­i­ties to US for­eign pol­icy tra­di­tions laid out by Thomas Jef­fer­son and Alexan­der Hamil­ton.

“Jef­fer­son ad­vo­cated more de­cen­tral­ized power at the 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,” said Mendis.

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

Mendis also spoke about how the two coun­tries need to foster co­op­er­a­tive ties on the eco­nomic front see­ing how both are highly in­flu­en­tial in world trade, say­ing that China’s One Belt One Road ini­tia­tive and the US pivot in Asia should sup­ple­ment and com­ple­ment one an­other for the sake of trade, eco­nomic growth and re­gional sta­bil­ity.

The au­thor of more than 100 books, Mendis has re­ceived nu­mer­ous awards for his lead­er­ship, pub­lic ser­vice and phil­an­thropic ac­tiv­i­ties. He has lived, trav­eled and worked in 123 coun­tries in his life.

Born in Sri Lanka and ed­u­cated in Bri­tish and Amer­i­can schools, Mendis first came to China in 1999. “I have my own Chi­nese dream which is to visit all 34 prov­inces. I only have four left on the list, and I hope to check them off next year,” said Mendis.

Si­nol­o­gist Patrick Mendis

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