US security strategy blinded by arrogance, false beliefs

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/19 14:33:39

US President Donald Trump on Monday released the new National Security Strategy, citing China and Russia as competitors. He defined China and Russia as "revisionist" countries that "challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity." The document also pillories China for seeking to "replace" the US in Asia and claims that China "expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others."

In the document, "China" is mentioned 33 times, mostly couched in harsh rhetoric. But it also notes the need to cooperate with China and Russia. International media outlets did not mention in their initial interpretations what tougher measures Washington will take but underscored Trump's hard line on the two major countries. Different from Trump, his predecessor Barack Obama called Beijing Washington's strategic partner.

It's beyond doubt that China and the US are strategic competitors on the one hand but they are also engaging each other in wider, deeper cooperation on the other. Former US governments talked more about cooperation on various public occasions. However, the Obama administration's rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific was actually quite aggressive.

Trump's new strategy report directly highlights the rivalry between Beijing and Washington, which might be a result of changes in the balance of power. It also indicates the White House has now adopted a different view toward US-China relations. For instance, previous administrations concentrated more on developing Sino-US collaboration, through which they expected to mollify bilateral contradictions. The Trump government, on the contrary, may input more resources to rival and pressure China, in the hope that Beijing will seek cooperation with Washington on Washington's terms.

This report is a manifestation of the Trump administration's tough posture, which counts on US power instead of international rules. It showcases Washington's indisputable insistence on its global hegemony. Neither Beijing nor Moscow will buy it.

Washington repeatedly censures Beijing for extending "coercive" periphery diplomacy, but it is far more anxious than many of China's neighbors. China has been on good terms with Southeast Asian nations and claimants to the South China Sea have got better control and management of their territorial disputes. The whole region has taken on a lively scenario of cooperation and is now dominating regional geopolitics. Even relations between Beijing and Tokyo are improving and expanding cooperation on economic development has gained new momentum.

The endogenous impetus for cooperation has gradually been released in the Western Pacific region and superseded nations' sense of strategic insecurity.

In the final analysis, the newly released National Security Strategy reflects Washington's reluctance to accept the rise of China. But it cannot keep China in check given its large size and colossal economic volume. Washington's anxiety is deeply rooted in China's growth and the consequent spillover of influence.

The rise of China is endogenous, so all the US' strategic deployment to contain it will be in vain. If Washington keeps bothering itself with this stark fact, it will only drive itself up the wall and in the end, get its own comeuppance.

If Trump wants to dampen China-US trade and intensify military confrontation, then let him just try it. We believe East Asian nations will not follow the US, nor are they ready to serve as its tool.

There are voices in the US public opinion calling for a tougher stance on China, but they do not necessarily mean American society is willing to take an antithetical attitude toward China. The two countries are the world's largest trading partners, which is actually the key practical thing that determines the underlying logic of their bilateral relations. Therefore, it would be better that Washington just did this lip service. After all, the US government often takes on a tough appearance to deal with public opinion pressure. However, if Trump enters the deep-water realm of geopolitics, he will not likely be as good a swimmer as his predecessors.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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