On Tuesday, January 8, 2021, the United States Senate passed $ 250 billion in legislation described as one of the most significant industrial bills in United States history in a bipartisan effort to ensure that the United States remain competitive with China. This step is part of the intensification of debate among experts, policymakers and media of all political persuasions on China’s foreign policy. This debate has gained in intensity and frequency in recent years and its decibel level evokes memories of the Cold War. Alarmed by China’s rise to power, the focus shifted to its ambitious economy embodied in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and its political assertiveness in the South China Sea and Taiwan, and its management of internal dissent in Hong Kong and Xingang. Such is the state of the world order that the G-7, which meets in the UK this month as a group of the world’s seven largest economies, meets to discuss, among other issues, such important issues. as the global economy, Covid-19, and China, among others. The irony of excluding the world’s second-largest economy from these meetings and members of the Panel cannot be lost on China, whose economy is almost equivalent to that of the collective economies of six G-7 members, to the except the United States.


Yet the rhetoric about China lacks the kind of coherent strategy that George Kennan articulated in his 1946 “long telegram” and his article on Mr. X in Foreign Affairs Regarding Russia. China is not the Soviet Union, and defeating China, isolating it, or breaking up is not a realistic endgame. Instead, a well-articulated strategy that aims to keep US-China relations competitive, while avoiding falling into a Thucydides trap, is essential at this point. The formulation of such a strategy must include an understanding of Chinese history and its Confucian and Taoist cultures, which inform China’s motives, especially its century of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. It took nearly a century and a half for China to reclaim the territory of Hong Kong ceded to Britain during the two Opium Wars. No Chinese leader will ever want to preside over a repeat of such humiliation. The debate over China further ignores its proud history in which it dominated the world economy for two millennia until the start of the Industrial Revolution. The historian might well conclude that the last century has been a historical aberration and that China is only recovering its past status. Finally, the constraints that China faces in fulfilling its proportional role in the governance of rule-based institutions, such as the Bretton Woods organizations and regional development banks, are often overlooked. Until recently, China had less voting power at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, for example, than that of Italy or Saudi Arabia. Even today, China still lags behind Japan, whose economy is almost a third of China’s, in voting at the IMF, World Bank and other regional banks. development. At the World Trade Organization (WTO), where China has lost most of the lawsuits against it, it was the United States that sidelined the WTO by blocking judicial appointments on appeal and imposing unilateral tariffs. Today, even the makeup of the G-7, which is supposed to represent the world’s largest economies, is a holdover from the past, whose combined economies, except the United States, barely equal that of China. Such factors are important drivers for China’s promotion of its own sponsored financial “clubs”, which are often viewed with skepticism. A recent Council on Foreign Relations report echoed the widely held belief that the risks of the BRI to the United States and recipient countries “significantly outweigh its benefits.” However, such initiatives have grown in scale and scope to be dismissed as mere political ploys.

The US-China tension centers around four areas of conflict, namely security, economy, technology and ideology. While these issues are legitimate concerns, they don’t help identify a tangible endgame. Ironically, the 1972 Nixon approach to China was designed to drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union. Today, the current policy has succeeded in reversing this policy by bringing Russia and China closer together. China will always be China, and its economic and technological gains are almost irreversible. It already owns around 70% of the 5G base stations and 5G smartphone users in the world, and its advancements in artificial intelligence and supercomputing, etc. ensure its sustainability. Although its past growth has been fueled by alleged intellectual property infringements, a recent report from the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that China has recently overtaken the United States in trademark and patent applications.


Although China has no history of proselytizing, it pursues its own national interest through a foreign policy strongly anchored in economic programs with three implicit objectives: access to energy and raw materials; markets for its products and businesses; and strategic spheres of influence. Yet his tough foreign policy has contributed to anti-China rhetoric, which has branched out into political (Taiwan, South China Sea, ideology and human rights) and security (technology, cyberattacks, trade and military) issues that threaten to create a “one world, two systems” by adopting competing technological standards and changing supply chains. While this outcome has the advantage of creating competition and mitigating the risks of a confrontation, it is costly, has an uncertain outcome, and may already be late. Nonetheless, the competing technology model, as well as the continuity of strategic ambiguity over One-China policy, may offer a practical interim solution, which game theory describes as Nash’s equilibrium, in which the two parties behave according to predetermined standards from which neither side would deviate. Otherwise, it is a form of competitive coexistence.

A recent Economist magazine calling Taiwan “the most dangerous place on Earth” is a sobering reminder of the risks inherent in global tensions. It’s also a stark callback to Norman Angell’s 1909 seminal book “The Great Illusion”, on the eve of World War I, where the British parliamentarian opposed the possibility of war because of the economic cost. of war was so high and that the economic interdependence between countries be “the true guarantor of good conduct”. Angell was both right and wrong. Hope this time is different.

Biography of Dr Findakly:

He is vice chairman of the Clinton group. He was Group Head of International Capital Markets, Managing Director, PaineWebber Inc .; CEO, Potomac Babson; and President, Dillon Read Investment Management. Before Wall Street, he was director of investments for the World Bank Group.

He began his career in academia as a faculty member at MIT and as a professor of the Organization of American States at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He graduated from the University of Baghdad (B.Sc., Civil Engineering, Magna cum Laude) and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Master of Science (SM, Systems Analysis) and Doctor of Science (Sc.D. , Decision theory).

By Dr Hani K. Findakly

A search for recognition


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