American politicians, don’t get too big for your boots
Published: Jul 10, 2024 07:43 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Chinese people have a saying, "Who regards you as a green onion?" In English, a similar phrase is "Who do you think you are?" which roughly translates to "Don't get too big for your boots." 

An article in The New York Times made me think of this saying. The article, entitled "Why America's Adversaries Are Wrong About the Biden-Trump Debate," suggests that America's adversaries, including China, have sized on US leadership crisis. This implies that the Chinese would be pleased with the disorder in the US as it reveals the truth about American democracy and highlights the stability of the Chinese political system.

Like some American politicians, the author seems to suffer from an imaginary, illusion-like fear and hostility of Chinese politics. Anything negative about American politics is seen as positive or profitable for China.

Yes, Chinese people no longer blindly worship American democracy; they see it more as a different governance system.

For most Chinese, the US election is like a distant political drama with little relevance to their daily lives. In reality, Chinese people don't place as much importance on American politics.

Chinese people aren't particularly concerned about who becomes the US president because the policy toward China will likely remain consistent regardless of the outcome. They are more focused on safeguarding their interests and continuing their own development within this global context change.

It's the Europeans, who have a close relationship with the US, that are more concerned about US election, as the chaos created by it not only shakes the electoral system, but also reflects voters' shifting political intentions, potentially affecting traditional US-EU relations.

American politicians should understand that China's development considerations don't revolve around the US. China has its own development trajectory, strategic goals, and political system that differ from the US. 

China's stability and progress rely on its efforts, not mimicking the US or using American politics as a benchmark.

In today's globalized world, Chinese people hope for a rational, stable, and visionary Washington rather than one that views the world and China's rise with fear and hostility. A superpower embroiled in internal strife will only lead politicians to compete in trampling on US-China relations for more attention.

American politicians and experts often appear to have an inflated sense of their own importance.

Suppose they continue to see America as a shining city on a hill, even the current chaos as a testament to the glory and pride of American democracy. In that case, it's nothing but arrogant self-love and conceit.

No one believes that America will collapse overnight, and Chinese people don't see the chaos in American elections as a sign of imminent collapse. No country can bring about America's downfall; only this arrogance could lead America to its demise.

In a recent speech by former Chinese ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai, he noted that being superstitious and blindly worshiping the US is neither scientific nor objective. Conversely, believing that the US will inevitably decline is also a one-sided and unrealistic view. While the US faces significant problems, its military strength, financial power, technological innovation, and cultural influence continue to lead the world and maintain its advantages.

The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. dinggang@globaltimes.com.cn. Follow him on Twitter @dinggangchina