US crackdown on China desperate, delusional
Published: Mar 21, 2024 07:30 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/ GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/ GT

"We don't want to live in a world where the Chinese are the dominant country," - this astounding statement of fear and paranoia is from the US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns. Once upon a time, the same US championed free trade, free market, and competition. It also established global institutions such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and WTO, welcomed immigrants from all over the world, and evangelized free movement of capital and technology. Now, the US is sabotaging everything it built, hoping desperately to retain its hegemony. However, this onslaught is futile as US elites do not understand why their financialized economy of OnlyFans failed and why China's industrial economy of electric vehicles and solar panels succeeded.

Unable to compete and unwilling to learn, the American establishment has been trying to hobble China's growth through illegal and incoherent tactics. Since 2017, the US has been waging a relentless and intense war on China's economy and development. The hybrid war includes tariffs, sanctions, diplomatic assaults and propaganda wars. 

The broader objective is to prevent China becoming the No.1 economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP - by purchasing power parity, China is already 20 percent larger than the US. The narrower, but equally sinister, goal is to stop China from catching up and becoming self-reliant in cutting-edge technologies. If China is portrayed as a threat to Asia and the world, the American and European public would feel that the sanctions are justified. 

In the smartphone world, when Huawei surpassed Apple in market share, the US forced TSMC and Samsung to stop making semiconductor chips for Huawei. Similarly, the US has pressured the Dutch company ASML into not selling high-end chipmaking lithography machines to China. What WTO rules or international norms allow the US to engage in such geo-economic thuggery? 

The blitzkrieg against Chinese companies did not stop at strategic high-tech companies. Now, the US has started attacking Chinese electric cars and targeted at robbing the TikTok. Without blushing a bit, US officials claim that Beijing can turn off the electric cars or harvest data from TikTok. Don't forget that: Thanks to Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks, we know how every American hardware and software is a spying tool; and the "Twitter Files" revealed how US social media are infiltrated with representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, US Department of Defense, among others. 

Every accusation by America is an admission of its own guilt. While the US media and politicians accuse China of stealing intellectual property (IP), the US is blatantly stealing TSMC's technology and IP by forcing the latter to build advanced chip-manufacturing plants in the US. The US also complains a lot about subsidies in China, while dispensing tens of billions of dollars to American tech companies under the CHIPS and Science Act. Furthermore, the US dollar itself is the biggest subsidy, since the US government prints trillions of dollars out of thin air rather than taxing corporations.

The tragic fact is that the US, without a clear strategy, is failing. It is jumping from tariffs and sanctions to illogical buzzwords such as "decoupling," "friend-shoring" and "de-risking." China is the world's manufacturing powerhouse with a trade surplus of $800 billion a year; and neither the US nor the EU can survive for a month without Chinese goods. It's only a matter of time until China masters the entire semiconductor ecosystem, after which the US will have no advantage. Thus, when US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently said that the US will "do whatever it takes to curb China's technology," she just sounded delusional.

To figure out who will be successful, one just needs to compare President Joe Biden's address at the State of the Union to the Two Sessions in Beijing. Biden started off his speech by vilifying Russia and imploring Congress to continue funding the proxy war in Ukraine. On the other side of the world, political advisors of the CPPCC and deputies of the NPC deliberated "high quality growth" and "new quality productive force."

The US model is based on imperialism abroad and a parasitic form of capitalism at home. If their ego prevents them from learning the China model, Americans should go back to their roots and study the writings of founders like Alexander Hamilton and the classical economics of the 19th century. At the current trajectory, the US is on a path to implosion and a disastrous collision with the reality of a multipolar world.

The author is a geopolitical analyst, columnist, blogger, podcaster, and writer based out of Bangalore, India. His work can be found on Substack, X and more. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn