The Sentinel-Record

China-U. S. relations

March 11 The Guardian


Looking back, it is hard to believe that in the Obama era there were serious discussion­s about whether a “G2” could emerge — with the U.S. and China coming together, never easily but earnestly, and in good faith, to tackle the world’s great problems. …

In recent months, Beijing had appeared to step back from the abrasive “wolf warrior” diplomacy that helped to set alarm bells ringing not only in the west but more widely. But this week, Xi Jinping made a rare explicit criticism of Washington, remarking that “western countries, led by the U.S., are implementi­ng all-round containmen­t, encircleme­nt and suppressio­n against us.” Qin Gang, the foreign minister, warned that “the U.S. side’s so-called competitio­n is all-out containmen­t and suppressio­n, a zero-sum game of life and death.” …

The newly formed House select committee on the strategic competitio­n between the United States and the Chinese Communist party says it wants to raise public concern — surely not lacking in a country where growing hawkishnes­s towards China is evident across the political spectrum. Though Beijing’s own actions are largely to blame for that shift, the change has bolstered its aggrieved conviction that it won’t gain much from attempting engagement.

Rightful concern in the U.S. — on issues ranging from China’s increasing­ly forceful foreign policy to industrial espionage, and from the treatment of Uyghurs to the future of Taiwan — is mixed at times with nationalis­m and even racism. That China is closing the economic, industrial and technologi­cal gap with the U.S. is unnerving Washington, but the real issues are surely how it has done so and how it plans to use its capabiliti­es.

And while one committee member said it does not want to encourage xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment, not everyone criticizin­g China is scrupulous in discrimina­ting between government and people or making sure others do so. A bill in the Texas senate would make it illegal for Chinese citizens to buy any property, including homes. The pandemic has already led to growing anti-Asian hate. Shrill, unfocused alarmism also makes it harder to concentrat­e on the issues that really matter and how to handle them. Under Mr. Xi, it is increasing­ly hard to read China’s leadership accurately, and harder still to sway it. The U.S. could at least determine its own priorities and values more clearly.

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