Opinion / Zhu Yuan

Paranoia over China does US no good

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-11 09:57

When former US president Richard Nixon said at a banquet held in his honor in the Great Hall of the People that never had he heard American music played better in a foreign land, he sent a message of general amicability between the two countries. But China's ascent has made some American politicians lose their sense of balance and see it as a rival, even as an opponent, rather than a partner with which the US can work for the common good of the world.

Despite Chinese leaders' repeated assertions that China's ascent is and will be peaceful and poses no threat to any country or the world order, some American politicians consider them mere diplomatic rhetoric instead of the sincere avowal of China's authorities. Their logic is that there can be no such thing as two equal powers getting along well, as the history of the conflicts between empires tells.

However, look at how the United States has acted since becoming the sole superpower after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Despite the wars it has launched against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has not occupied any country or region. Despite its involvement in regional conflicts, it has not acquired a country as a colony. This is not least because it is not an empire in nature, but because the world is different, much more civilized than it used to be. It is thus not possible for the US to act like ancient empires did.

China still has a long way to go before it catches up with the US in overall strength. Even if it does catch up with the US in the near future, it is not possible for China to act like the empires of yore or even like what the US has done over the past couple of decades. The days when a powerful country could ride roughshod over other countries trampling the rules of human civilization are history. These are times of world peace and free trade.

Despite the differences between the two countries, they have to make joint efforts in tandem with other countries to solve the common problems the world faces such as global warming, environmental damage, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the lack of resources for human development.

The paranoia over China and the fallacy of seeing it as an opponent will do the US and the world no good.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

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