Why US will fail in containing China eventually
Published: May 23, 2023 08:24 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

The US has ranked China as its top strategic competitor and then moved to contain it, which made some Chinese very worried. They emphasize that almost all the countries targeted and besieged by the US over the past half-century or so have met their doom, and that the decades of China's fastest development happen to coincided with a period of good relations with the US. They fear that the US' crackdown may become a turning point in China's destiny.

Will that be the case?

First of all, it should be noted that having good relations with the US after the World War II did not necessarily mean prosperity, but those which confronted with the US did experience hard times. China must break this so-called "law of history" and become the ultimate winner of this strategic game imposed on China by the US. We have the conditions and the potential to do so.

After World War II, all the countries which the US suppressed did not have the potential to surpass the US in terms of economic scale, and those countries, after becoming the containment target of the US, adopted very aggressive policies that were disproportionate to their national strength and caused damage to their subsequent development. For both objective and subjective reasons, those countries became closed and confronted the West as a whole, and their internal governance became distorted, resulting in the accumulation of various losses.

China is a completely different story. With a powerful political system and national determination, China can stay calm whenever things go wrong. The trade war launched by former US President Donald Trump with China was a battle that other countries would have been extremely scared or completely enraged by. But look how calm China's fight was, and China's overall foreign trade even grew to higher volumes, Trump's biggest wish was to narrow the US deficit with China, but in 2022, the US deficit with China hit another record deficit, second only to that of 2018, and now the trade war is recognized as a failure of the Trump administration. China's economy is destined to surpass the US' in size, as is widely expected around the world. The US technology blockade on China may cause some disruption, but it will also stimulate China to accelerate its innovation, and it is hard to say whether its ultimate historical effect will be more favorable to the US or to China.

Most importantly, because of China's political steadiness and operational calmness, we have not been forced to take a route of anger-driven strategic confrontation and self-isolation. China continues to maintain all possible China-US economic ties and people-to-people exchanges. Besides, China has not vented its anger on other Western countries, instead, China made every effort to ensure that the country is further open to the outside world while fighting against the US. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, as well as profound historical experience and rich resources in thoughts, China has handled the US' containment strategy in a way that is unprecedented and unique in human history.

The Chinese need to be clear that the US has contained other countries in the past for many reasons, which are largely political and military reasons. While there are certainly political and military considerations for the US' containment of China, the prospect of China's booming economy and its potential to overtake the US in terms of total volume is the biggest reason for Washington's antagonism toward China. There is nothing more frightening and unsettling to Washington than the trend and possibility of relegating the US to the status of "second largest economy in the world."

However, China's economic development is the natural process of the people's diligent pursuit for a better life, how can it be stopped when all the people striving forward together like small streams that make the great river? The US can try and contain some areas, but how can it contain China to build roads and electricity in all the rural areas, giving people better homes, safer food to eat, and more and more welfare? The continuous improvement in the lives of 1.4 billion people is the fundamental driver of China's GDP growth year after year, which may eventually surpass that of the United States. As long as China doesn't mess up itself, we will move forward step by step, make friends all over the world, and try to resolve misunderstandings and hostility as much as possible, there is no way for the US to include China in the ranks of failed states that are subject to its containment.

In my view, the US is becoming more and more like the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Its domestic contradictions are too deep to be resolved, and it is preoccupied with external confrontation to combat its opponents rather than enhance its own competitiveness. Once the center of world wealth and production, it has become the headquarters of struggle and confrontation. It looks extremely elated, but it is actually engaged in the same overextension that led to various historical tragedies of the great and powerful nations.

China's struggle against the US is highly integrated with its determination to develop itself well. China can learn a lot from the Soviet Union's past experience. We shall resolutely fulfill the hard indicators of national security, while never being held back by the US containment strategy against China. We should maintain our own logic and rhythm of internal governance, and continue to stimulate the inherent vitality of the socialist market economy, as well as the vitality and creativity of the society. We have to support the struggle against the US with everything else that is vibrant. In this way, China will definitely and ultimately prevail.

The author is a commentator with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn