Knowledge of China curtails Western restlessness

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/22 23:18:40

"If you stay in China for one day, you can write a report. For one week, you can write a book. For two weeks, you would just have nothing to say," a Washington official told me in a fine D.C. cafe, sharing what his friend thought of China, with which I could not agree more.

It is reassuring that Western people are trying to have hands-on experience to understand a country as complex as China. A recent series in The New York Times, among many other media analyses, has raised the eyebrows of Chinese observers. The pieces explained how China has created a non-Western political and economic playbook with many fresh ideas, but still, a stereotyped mentality lingers.

Indeed, that China, a non-Western country, is re-emerging as a major power both exasperates and frightens Western elite. While the media try to find out how China successfully incorporated a market economy into its State-led system, a report issued by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission asserts that "China's state-led, market-distorting economic model presents a challenge to US economic and national security interests." Another report by the National Defense Strategy Commission for the United States went even further, warning that in a war with China, the US could lose.

Perhaps it is the drama of the past two world wars that has led to the Western imagination of a third world war. It is hard to call the First World War a definite victory for the US, but the US certainly benefitted from it more than any other countries. And in the Western collective imagination, particularly the American one, WWII is a conflict they won.

Teddy Roosevelt famously said, "A just war is in the long run far better for a man's soul than the most prosperous peace," even while Americans claim they are peace-loving people. In the number of genuine wars and military interventions in which the US has fought or engaged, few took place on American soil, and the entirety of them are only justifiable within the American rhetoric.

Now with the trade war between China and the US escalating, some Western media are turning to history for a casus belli and hyping the prospect of a WWIII. Be it China's firm stance regarding Taiwan, growing Chinese influence in Latin America, or China's military modernization, all have led to fears in the West of a WWIII.

China is no fan of war, and it is trying to build a supportive international environment for its rise. That the Western media see China through a balanced lens is admirable, and China welcomes serious discussion of how China and the West can adapt to and accommodate each other. A WWIII of any significance would be disastrous for all and it is something that everyone should have a profound interest in avoiding. But China should keep alert of Western media's WWIII hype, which is simply a rehash of the "China threat theory."

Posted in: OBSERVER

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