Blaming China for stalled ties, US elites escape reality by self-deception

Blaming China for stalled ties, US elites escape reality by self-deception 美國精英指責中國關係停滯,自欺欺人逃避現實 (SF Bay Area China Group) Nov 4 2022

Friedman’s article has a strongly whiny tone. He argues that Beijing is mainly to blame for its growing rift with Washington. The author particularly named four major trends in China that he claims worsened its ties with the US – the failure of the Chinese economy’s opening-up, Chinese nationalism, a much more aggressive Chinese foreign policy, and the country’s zero-COVID policy.

Friedman’s article is clearly barking up the wrong tree. Under the strong influence of US’ political correctness that champions bias against China, Friedman’s arguments are, as expected, biased and without proper reasoning. If he wants to find the culprit for the deterioration of China-US relations, shouldn’t he just ask White House officials and his country’s political elites?

China never seeks a “decoupling” from the US. It just doesn’t want to follow the path set by the US, which fails to meet the latter’s expectations and angers it. As one Chinese netizen pointed out, if China “lost” the US only because it insists on developing independently and safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, then there is no point in maintaining such a relationship.

This is Friedman’s fatuous, pompous, detached-from-reality essay–Classic Friedman, Classic NYT:

He takes the fatuous mantra of the cold war “Who lost China”–a stupid question by hystrionic cold warriors, and says that the Chinese should be asking this question to themselves.

How China Lost America
If China had a democratic government, someone there right now would surely be demanding to know, “How did we lose America?”

What Xi fails to grasp is that all of the most advanced technologies of the 21st century — like semiconductors and mRNA vaccines — require big, complex global supply chains, because no country can be the best at each one of their increasingly sophisticated components. But such supply chains require a huge amount of collaboration and trust among partners, and that is exactly what Xi has squandered in the last decade…

But also color me worried. I confess, I don’t like to use the term “China.” I much prefer “one-sixth of humanity who speak Chinese.” It captures the true scale of what we are dealing with. I want to see the Chinese people thrive; it’s good for the world. But they’re going down the wrong track today. And when one-sixth of humanity makes a wrong turn in our still very connected world — China, for instance, still holds almost $1 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt — everyone will feel their pain.

The points Friedman makes are all wrong:

  1. The failure of the Chinese economy’s opening-up:
    This was a project of regime change and capitalist subjugation. No sane, sovereign country would allow this, certainly not a developing one. China started at the same GDP as Haiti in 1978. Compare the two.
  2. Chinese nationalism: This is Friedman’s histrionic reframing of Chinese sovereignty and agency
  3. A much more aggressive Chinese foreign policy:
    Otherwise known as building relations, such as the BRI, RCEP, SCO, etc.
  4. The country’s zero-COVID policy:
    Which was and is effective–and is dynamic and targeted: Here’s a doozy from Friedman on this:

Instead of importing effective Western-made vaccines to keep the pandemic at bay, China is relying on a “zero Covid” policy that uses lockdowns of whole cities as well as all the new tools of a surveillance state: drones, facial recognition, ubiquitous closed-circuit television cameras, cellphone tracking and even tracking of restaurant patrons, who must present a QR code to be scanned and recorded.
It feels like a Xi strategy for preventing both Covid and freedom from breaking out

Regarding 1:
The first started in 2003, shortly after China was admitted into the World Trade Organization (thanks to America), when the leading advocate for market reforms in China — Prime Minister Zhu Rongji — stepped down. Zhu wanted U.S. companies to be in China because he believed that Chinese companies had to compete with the best at home to compete effectively in the world.
But Zhu was opposed by China’s many inland provinces, which were dominated by state-owned Chinese industries that had no interest or ability to compete globally the way
China’s coastal provinces could. And they became increasingly influential.

These SOC’s are some of the largest and best in the world now, and they have steered the development of China. No sane country would or should surrender the commanding heights of its economy to another.

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