After balloon and laser-lights incidents, how should China deal with US, a startling bird?
Published: Feb 14, 2023 09:00 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The heat over the recent balloon incident continues, while the US begins to hype the green laser-lights spotted over Hawaii. Scientists at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan captured the mystery beams of light on video back on January 28. Footage of the incident shows green laser light beaming over the cloudy sky over Maunakea in Hawaii, according to media reports. The US media were quick to come to the conclusion that the beams were pinned on a Chinese satellite. 

Whether it is a balloon or laser lights, experts have said that it is a common scientific research project and does not pose a threat. However, the US military, politicians and media take advantage of the public's ignorance of the professional field to hype and spread disinformation.

The US was supposed to deal with these incidents in a calm manner. Nonetheless, there is no such a word as "calm" in the US dictionary. The incidents turned out to be a farce and are being exploited by some Americans in their hysterical crusades against China.

The evolution of these incidents is a vivid reflection of the mentality of the US as a bird startled by the mere twang of a bow-string, and such a mentality is a result of the US' sense of losses over its own strength and the political hysteria on both sides of the US political divide. The US was once the sole military power in the world which acted at will, but now faced with China's rise and multiple crises on its own soil, it is unconfident and even anxious about its own development.   

Zhang Tengjun, deputy director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that the US' state of extreme nervousness in China-related affairs is attributed to the joint hypes of some US politicians and media.

"Some US elites cannot accept the reality of China's rapid development, and stubbornly believe China is to blame for all the US' domestic dysfunction. They cannot have a correct view of the US governance problem, and refuse to acknowledge that China's development also benefited the US in the past few decades. The lack of self-confidence and unwarranted fear of China has made them become extreme," said Zhang. 

China doesn't have as many satellites in orbit as the US does, and its overall space tech is not as advanced. Chinese people know there is still a tech gap between their country and the US. If Americans panic due to China's progress, it's because they take things too hard and torture themselves. Politicizing China-related topics, no matter what they are, and blaming China for their own pathologies equals quenching a thirst with poison.

Now the psychology and emotions of Chinese and American societies are constantly colliding, which has greatly increased the fermenting intensity of subtle frictions between the two countries. Such a psychological and emotional collision is unprecedented. Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times that this reflects the sensitivity, subtlety and complexity in the interaction between China and the US.

China is truly getting stronger. Although there is still a gap between China and the US in terms of technology and military strength, China's prospects are promising. Therefore, every tangible sign of China's rise can have a strong impression, which makes some Americans' heart skip a beat and increase their worries about the future loss of US hegemony. The task for China is how to deal with a frightened US when it becomes powerful but not as powerful as the US.

The frenzy of hysterical crusades against China has become a signature of the US in our time. Zhang believes that the rhythm of some US elites and media is leading China-US relations to a more unpredictable prospect. The Biden administration has kept saying no to a new Cold War with China, and claimed that it does not want to have a conflict with China, but it is clear that he is being led by the nose by domestic hardliners. The Biden administration isn't prepared to resist domestic political pressure and carry out pragmatic cooperation with China or calmly manage bilateral relations.

Zhang said that when dealing with the US, China needs to recognize the role of US domestic politics in bilateral relations and US policies toward China, so as to avoid falling into the discourse trap set by some US politicians. Meanwhile, China should convey clearly to the US its consistent position on the stable development of bilateral ties.