International Ties

New strategy needed for co-existence

By John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-14 07:57
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Policymakers in the United States need to present a new grand strategy to replace their current strategy of preparing for currency, trade and military conflict with China. The US needs a grand strategy that opens up US companies to investment by Chinese companies creating sustainable US economic recovery and jobs.

To protect the world's economic recovery and peaceful coexistence, the US must reciprocate China's peaceful coexistence strategy.

The new grand strategy must be implemented now to create the breakthrough needed to prevent a breakdown in Sino-US bilateral and multilateral relationships. The growing economic and national security crises of the US and the suffering and anger of its citizens endangers Chinese people's progress and safety.

President Barack Obama is searching for solutions to his country's economic and national security crises. These vital breakthroughs will be accomplished if China helps President Obama persuade US policymakers' to implement a new grand strategy instead of just aggressively reiterating US' failing 20th century agenda.

Reciprocally beneficial 21st century US-China economic and military relations will occur as a result of China's policymakers signaling to President Obama and his administration that China wants to negotiate and implement the new grand strategy of reciprocal economic globalization and peaceful coexistence.

US policymakers are in the tightening grip of relentless crises that are causing a cultural revolution in the US. The failure of key US economic assumptions and companies, and US housing, economic, unemployment, and government debt crises are creating a simple-minded politics of anger.

The star of the box office hit Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Shia LaBeouf, articulated US citizen's grim view of the future in USA Today on Sept 27, 2010:

"We are living through the twilight of American economic dominance. We are at 10 percent unemployment. We are the first generation that has less to look forward to than the generation that preceded us. Game over. Our biggest export is consumption and now we no longer have the money to consume. People think we cannot have soup kitchens here again? Things are going to get rough. You sit and listen to people and you just want to scream."

The anger driving the success of the Tea Party movement and other radical candidates signals the US' inability to find political solutions, an anger that will fuel catastrophic US policymaking.

That in turn will make it hard to stop trade, economic and military showdowns that the Chinese do not want and believe will not occur. The last time the world faced the economic conditions we face today, the results were protectionism, a 10-year global depression, many unstable political systems, and a five-year world war that led to the use of nuclear weapons to end the war.

US policymakers do not have solutions to their nation's problems and are defaulting to increasingly hostile and destabilizing economic and military strategies against China. The US is destabilizing instead of stabilizing Asia. The global economy is fragile and vulnerable. Old ways of thinking and old policies did not prevent today's crises and cannot return the world to prosperity and peace.

China's greatest danger is that US policymakers face economic and national security crises they cannot solve. US policymakers are stuck in a 20th century zero sum game mindset that believes war with China over global influence, or oil and other resources, may be or is inevitable. In contrast, peaceful coexistence has been China's policy for 30 years and is common sense to Chinese, a solution to US economic and national security crises that US policymakers never entertain.

China is the major engine of global economic recovery, which embarrasses and threatens the US. The response to the crises by US policymakers is aggressive economic, diplomatic and military actions, launching a trade war, threatening carbon tariffs and a currency war, and continuing to prepare for armed conflict with "the big one," meaning war with "a near peer competitor", which they see as China.

China's economic stability and peaceful coexistence defense strategies are threatened by a new era of US trade, economic and military aggressiveness. China's stoic or benign neglect of US demands and threats that seek to destabilize China will not be successful now. China's policymakers must present a new grand strategy for Sino-US bilateral and all nations' multilateral negotiations.

John Milligan-Whyte is the chairman and Dai Min is the president of the Center for America-China Partnership, an American think-tank studying Sino-US relations.