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Say no to US' road map to a new Cold War

By Chen Weihua | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-10-23 07:45
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That most people in the world reject a new Cold War doesn't mean that the China hawks in Washington will stop trying to hype up the new Cold War rhetoric. I am not talking about politicians such as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien who are notorious for their anti-China rhetoric.

As former US national security advisor H.R.McMaster told CNBC on Monday, President Donald Trump or Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, whoever wins the presidential election, will need support from allies to keep China in check.

"Charting a Transatlantic Course to Address China", a report by the German Marshall Fund and the Center for a New American Security released this week, has called on Europe to unite against China.

The credibility of the report itself is in question, as the GMF and the CNAS both receive funding from the US administration and military industrial complex. The report's four authors include three former US administration officials and one who had interned at the administration.

The report called for transatlantic cooperation against China, among other things, in trade, investment, technology and global governance-that is, containing China by all means possible.

In the authors' view, China's advancement in technology, including artificial intelligence and 5G, or potential progress in quantum computing for genomics, should be stopped. They seem to believe that China should never be allowed to move up the supply chains and, instead, be forced to continue making shirts, shoes, toys and other such products.

However, that is not how economies grow, and those who have read the flying-geese stories in East Asia, from Japan and the Republic of Korea to Singapore and China's Taiwan, know it. The report expressed concern over China's growing influence in the world, and called for aggressive US engagement with Europe at all levels and other so-called "like-minded democracies" to keep China in check.

Indeed, China has gained in global influence in the past few decades. But that is in conformity with its status as the world's second-largest economy, largest trading country and home to one-fifth of the global population.

By contrast, the outsized US hegemonic clout, especially in various aspects in Europe, should raise serious questions. I have heard such complaints from Europeans and felt it personally during my two years' posting in Europe. But Europe is gradually waking up. The European Union has repeatedly said that it wants to pursue a foreign policy based on its own values and core interests rather than being forced to choose between China and the US.

The fast declining and extremely low favorability ratings of the US administration among Washington's allies in Europe and Asia in recent polls are a testament to their frustration with the US. Such dismal ratings came as no surprise given the US administration's unilateral and protectionist actions, from pulling out of the Paris Agreement, Iran nuclear deal and the World Health Organization to waging trade wars against other economies, especially China, and failure to appropriately respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

As such, the report reflects the zero-sum mentality of the US administration, which was again on display on Monday when Pompeo asked Brazil to reduce its cooperation with China. By contrast, no senior Chinese official has told a country to reduce its dependence on or cooperation with the US.

China and the EU have more common interests than differences. The multiple high-level dialogues between Beijing and Brussels and stepped-up negotiations for the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment this year show the two sides share a healthy relationship and would like to deepen cooperation and properly handle their differences. The US, on the other hand, has scrapped such cooperation and dialogue mechanisms with China.

Rather than pushing for a confrontational new Cold War, the US will be better served if it focuses on fixing its many problems at home and disruptive actions globally.

The author is chief of China Daily EU Bureau based in Brussels.

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