Red Scare bo­gey won’t hurt as­cen­dant China

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - The ar­ti­cle was compiled by Global Times re­porter Li Qingqing based on an in­ter­view with Wu Xinbo, direc­tor of Fu­dan Univer­sity’s Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Stud­ies. [email protected]­al­times.

From the White House to the US Congress and US fed­eral gov­ern­ment agen­cies, the fear of China is spread­ing in Wash­ing­ton. Many US of­fi­cials re­gard China’s rise as a threat to the US econ­omy and na­tional se­cu­rity.

For ex­am­ple, FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray said on July 23 that China poses a more se­ri­ous coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence threat to the US than any other coun­try. In fact, since the start of the Us-launched trade war against China in 2018, such a Red Scare has been spread­ing in the US.

First, it shows that the US is ex­tremely anx­ious about China’s rise, de­vel­op­ment mo­men­tum and its in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal poli­cies.

Sec­ond, the spread of the Red Scare is also re­lated to the do­mes­tic politics of the US. For ex­am­ple, many US of­fi­cials have been play­ing the China card to earn more po­lit­i­cal sway. Wray has been hyp­ing up the so-called Chi­nese es­pi­onage since 2018, try­ing to seize the op­por­tu­nity to show the sig­nif­i­cance of the FBI and him­self. For­mer Re­pub­li­can sen­a­tor Joseph Mccarthy was not well-known un­til he hyped the so-called Com­mu­nist threat in the early 1950s. In Wash­ing­ton, politi­cians who are hyp­ing up Red Scare aim at their own po­lit­i­cal goals.

Third, Wash­ing­ton’s fear of Bei­jing is also caused by

US in­ter­est groups, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary, ide­o­log­i­cal, re­li­gious and hu­man rights groups. These groups are dis­sat­is­fied with many of China’s moves in ar­eas re­lated to them, so they hype up Red Scare un­der the cur­rent at­mos­phere.

Fourth, Red Scare has ev­ery­thing to do with es­ca­lat­ing US po­lit­i­cal in­fight­ing. To shift peo­ple’s at­ten­tion away from the dis­pute, these politi­cians need to find an ex­ter­nal rival. Cur­rently, they are tar­get­ing China. Since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as­sumed power, the Demo­cratic Party has been fo­cused on the Rus­sia-gate in­ves­ti­ga­tion. How­ever, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been play­ing the China card and stress­ing the so-called China threat, try­ing to show that com­pared with Rus­sia, China is more of a threat to the US.

In fact, China-us de­cou­pling is on its way, and such a trend is espe­cially ob­vi­ous in tech­nol­ogy. Be­sides, China-us trade vol­ume and mil­i­tary strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion have also de­creased. Hyp­ing “China threat” and Red Scare will fur­ther has­ten the de­cou­pling, and there may be fewer Amer­i­cans who want to co­op­er­ate with China.

Some peo­ple are talk­ing about a new cold war be­tween China and the US. But what are the dif­fer­ences be­tween the cur­rent China-us re­la­tions and the Us-soviet Union ties dur­ing the Cold War? The Cold War was mainly fo­cused on the fields of mil­i­tary and ide­ol­ogy, but China-us dis­putes fo­cus more on econ­omy, tech­nol­ogy and geopol­i­tics.

Many in­ci­dents be­tween Bei­jing and Wash­ing­ton are sim­i­lar to the sit­u­a­tion dur­ing the Cold War. For ex­am­ple, the two coun­tries’ mil­i­tary re­la­tions are get­ting in­creas­ingly tense in the South China Sea and across the Tai­wan Straits. Also, an open let­ter to Trump signed by over 130 sig­na­to­ries in­clud­ing for­mer US mil­i­tary of­fi­cials and aca­demics reads that “we firmly sup­port the Chi­nese peo­ple… But we do not sup­port the Com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment of China.” This shows a strong sense of ide­o­log­i­cal con­fronta­tion.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo al­ways smears the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI) be­cause he be­lieves it is an im­por­tant geopo­lit­i­cal ini­tia­tive that will harm US in­ter­ests. All the sig­nals are in­di­ca­tions of a new cold war. The hys­ter­i­cal at­mos­phere in the cur­rent Wash­ing­ton will fur­ther es­ca­late such dan­ger.

But hyp­ing Amer­i­cans’ fear of China will not im­pact the lat­ter too much. Since 2018, the Us-launched trade war has be­come a huge chal­lenge for China. How­ever, China has not yielded as the US wants it to. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are con­tin­u­ing. US pres­sure on China’s BRI has not in­flu­enced Bei­jing’s re­solve to fur­ther pro­mote the ini­tia­tive. The so-called tech­no­log­i­cal de­cou­pling also boosts China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion on high-tech in­no­va­tion. Con­se­quently, al­though Red Scare will im­pact China’s in­ter­ests to some ex­tent, it can­not change the gen­eral trend of China’s de­vel­op­ment.

Com­pared with Wash­ing­ton’s politi­cians, or­di­nary Amer­i­cans’ at­ti­tude to­ward China is more rea­son­able. Such hype of Red Scare has mainly spread within US de­ci­sion-mak­ers. Be­sides, US al­lies have not com­pletely made up their minds to fol­low the US. On one hand, they do not think it is a good idea to launch a trade war against China, and hardly any coun­try has fol­lowed Wash­ing­ton by adding tar­iffs on Bei­jing. On the other hand, most US al­lies have not resisted Huawei. To some ex­tent, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­stroyed its own cred­i­bil­ity among its al­lies.

De­mo­niz­ing China has made the US pol­icy to­ward China in­creas­ingly un­rea­son­able. If the hype of Red Scare con­tin­ues to spread, more and more peo­ple may be un­will­ing to openly voice their rea­son­able views.

US me­dia also plays an im­por­tant role. The me­dia should not com­pletely fol­low the po­lit­i­cal trend. If the US me­dia can be more rea­son­able and ob­jec­tive in re­port­ing, then Amer­i­cans will have more re­li­able in­for­ma­tion. This also helps shape a more pos­i­tive pub­lic opin­ion in the US.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu RUI/GT

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