Which country is the real threat to world stability, it's not China
The State of the Union address delivered by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday and the National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy unveiled by his administration in the past month have all painted China as a rival or threat.
But few have bothered to reverse the question and ask, "Is the United States a threat to China?"
The answer to that is a resounding "Yes!"
When I raised such a question last week at a discussion on ChinaFile, an online publication run by the New York-based Asia Society, I did not expect Rebecca Karl, a historian and China scholar, to respond by saying the US has not only been a threat to China, but also the whole world, for decades.
It is true that China is a threat to the US, but only in the sense that fast-rising China has made it increasingly impossible for the US to threaten China, whether economically, militarily, or diplomatically. And that will be more so in the coming decades if China continues its ascent.
That is indeed a challenge and threat to the US which has become accustomed to living in and policing its unipolar world.
The kinds of threats posed by China to the US as described by US politicians, pundits and news media are many and often paranoid. They cover everything from China's growing economic and military might to the development of manmade islands in the South China Sea, from Chinese investment in Africa, Latin America and the US, to the Confucius Institutes, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative, and even Chinese news media operating in the US and globally and the 300,000 Chinese students studying in US colleges and universities.
Sooner or later, Chinese restaurants, estimated at more than 40,000 across the US, might be deemed a national security threat because their dishes are too oily and might contain monosodium glutamate as a flavor enhancer.
But if China does pose a threat to the US in these areas, then the US poses a much greater threat to China. It's not just that American fast food chains serve far more oily food and Americans' favorite snack－chips－contains too much MSG, the more than 800 US military bases in the world, including many surrounding China, pose a much greater threat to China and other countries. US military spending is more than that of the next 10 countries combined and still expanding.
The powerful US military-industrial complex, whose influence former US president Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his farewell speech in January 1961, has been behind this hyping up of supposed threats from China and Russia, because the defense companies will be the primary beneficiary if Trump's request for $716 billion for the Pentagon in 2019 is approved. This is a significant increase on previous years.
People should be reminded that China has never done anything nearly as threatening to world peace and stability as the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and forcing regime change in Libya, not to mention the reckless US drone attacks in sovereign nations that have killed many civilians. And China has never been nearly as disruptive as the US has been in just this past year when Trump withdrew the US from the Paris climate accord and from UNESCO, cut funding to the United Nations and recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
It's quite clear which country poses the bigger threat to the world and is a bigger disrupter of global stability.
The author is deputy editor of China Daily USA.