US attempt to coerce China too perilous

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/3 22:48:39

Washington may have hoped that Beijing would beg to be exempt from US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products as Tokyo, Seoul and Ottawa did, and would thus accept whatever conditions the US requires. Beijing has instead announced its countermeasures against US trade pressure.

This has put Washington in an awkward position. If it does carry out the proposed steep tariffs on Chinese products pursuant to the Section 301 probe, this will invite a proportionate response from Beijing. What Washington truly wishes is not a trade war, but to intimidate China by wielding the baton.

Washington wanted to demonstrate its authority to the world, but unfortunately it gambled badly. The entire US elites have overestimated the strength and execution. The latest US measures against China carry a sense of containment, which purportedly is commonplace among US politicians.

But they have overlooked the fact that China has grown to be another economic center of the world, with a market no smaller or less attractive than that of the US. China also has extraordinary political and economic resilience. To take China down would mean an unimaginably cruel battle for the US.

Even if some US elites would rather make their primary goal to curb China's rise at the cost of economic development, Americans would not agree to that. In its peaceful and legitimate rise, China has not provoked the US. For Americans, cooperation with China can generate far more benefits than confrontation. China is not expansionist. US attempts to coerce such a mild nuclear and economic power would be much too perilous.

There is no way for the US to rebuild the hegemony that elites in Washington picture. As globalization and democracy have dented the foundation for that hegemony, the US lacks the strength, will and internal unity needed. In fact, the US has found it difficult to subdue Iran and North Korea, not to mention major countries like China.

Washington cannot rule the world as an empire. The US is probably able to scare off other countries from confronting it, but it can't make others surrender and prioritize US interests.

The US needs to completely open up to the probability of China's peaceful rise under the precondition of obeying current international rules. Otherwise the US will find itself in an unprecedented dilemma.

It's delusional if the US attempts to crush China to create new strategic space. US society won't choose to collide with China strategically unless it finds peaceful coexistence unbearable. The US president's tough talk does not constitute solid reasoning.

In a diverse society, US elites shouldn't overestimate their ability to make a risky strategic choice in the name of the people. Neither should they overrate their willingness to handle whatever results from containing China's rise. 

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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