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尼克松首席翻译:美国在把中国逼成敌人

热度 1已有 823 次阅读2019-7-19 01:49 |个人分类:China|系统分类:转帖-时事政治经济

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/np6zksyVHkTtRTxaLna6yQ

美国前驻华公使、尼克松访华时美方首席翻译傅立民(Chas W. Freeman, Jr.)在其个人主页发表了2019年6月13日在布朗大学外交政策协会百年纪念讲座上的发言稿:《中美脱钩及其影响》

文:Chas Freeman

译:周枝萍


我们美国人正在费尽心思地制造排外情绪。如今每天都有消息传来,部分美国民众间歇性的本土主义情绪爆发实在令人感到尴尬。当代美国人对这个世界本来就十分无知,再加上社交媒体和非主流小报的胡乱揣测、臆想和幻觉,问题就更加严重。在这些被编出来的故事里,主角多半是中国,当然还有俄罗斯、伊朗和古巴等另外几个“邪恶国家”,而且据说上述几国的影响力最近都已进入委内瑞拉这个距美国南部海岸1600英里之遥的蹩脚“社会主义国家”了。


委内瑞拉出美女,这是世人皆知的,然而除非我们的军队主动打过去,否则这个国家并没有资格成为美国的敌人。不过,我们美国人最终还是在中国那里找到了解药,身患“敌人缺乏综合症”(enemy deprivation syndrome)的美国军工复合体终于还是有救了。


由于前苏联出人意料地举手投降,美国军工复合体不仅失去了“魔鬼般”的对手,也失去了充裕的资金和良好的状态。苏联虽然倒下了,可中国又顶上来了!真是感谢上帝,快把弹药给我们吧!对了,还有钱,否则这点弹药怎么够用呢?


然而,令人遗憾的是,莫斯科在与华盛顿之间的冷战中意外出局并不能为我们预测美中对抗的结果提供任何可靠的参考。只和一个共产党国家打过交道并不能说明你就了解了所有的共产党国家。与俄式的马克思列宁主义不同,东亚的“市场列宁主义”卓有成效。中国不但没有解体,反而持续不断地在经济和国家实力上提升自己在世界上的地位。美国在制定政策时,似乎只有国防预算随着中国崛起相应提高,却没有优先考虑美国的公司、消费者和技术专家。


欧洲人、美国人和日本人曾在19世纪和20世纪初让中国人尝到了屈辱的滋味,虽然现在没人能够确定中国将以多快的速度或多稳的步伐崛起,但中国似乎注定会重新夺回它曾保持了数千年的领先地位。这意味着美国已经保持了140年之久的全球最大经济体的地位将落入中国人的手中。失去“第一”光环的美国将不得不与中国以及其他曾受西方压迫的国家一道分享权力。


中国人的确做过一些令美国人反感的事,比如他们在知识产权领域的一些做法。然而正如哥伦比亚大学历史学者斯蒂芬·韦特海姆(Stephen Wertheim)所说的那样:“美国在过去一年里出现的反华浪潮,更多地是由美国人自身的焦虑情绪,而不是中国人的所作所为导致的”。退一步说,美国政治中的民粹主义对美国恐华症爆发所起的作用,至少与中国“不良行为”所起的作用是不相上下的。


在美国,富裕的精英阶层执掌着能够左右美国经济命脉的银行和大公司,而许多美国人感觉自己一直在受到那些精英的轻侮。当前美国社会流动性陷入停滞,财富集中在“百分之一”的人手中,民众生活水平不见提高甚至出现了下滑,企业高管和金融精英中饱私囊达到骇人听闻的程度,此类现象让来自不同种族背景的美国人痛恨不已。他们指责那些精英把收入不错的制造业工业岗位转移到了海外。


欧洲裔的美国中下阶层民众认为近年来的美国领导人看上去和他们不一样,因此特别担心自己沦为少数群体。美国的政治正确致力于保护形形色色的美国人免遭无心冒犯,唯独不照顾中下层白人和他们的信仰,甚至将他们贬损为“可怜虫”(译注:希拉里·克林顿称特朗普的支持者一半都是“可怜虫”),这一切让他们怒火中烧。他们很容易受到舆论的蛊惑,认为自己的痛苦是只顾私利的美国公司与中国勾结造成的结果。把责任推给中国的确有助于缓和他们的负面情绪。然而令人遗憾的是,这并不能从根本上解决问题。


美国国内问题重重,再加上国际威望日益下降,这些都对美国民众的心理造成了严重的压力。当下这种情况是对美国人的韧性、务实精神和意志力的一场考验。我们知道,我们必须改革和调整税收政策、投资政策、劳资关系和教育政策来使这个国家振作起来。


有些人没有选择应对现状,而是选择了反抗现状,他们坚持认为这种挑战是对美国的威胁。在他们的想象里,中国一定十分渴望像二战后的美国那样去主宰世界。然而当你花时间倾听中国人对内谈论他们的抱负时,你会发现他们想要的是尊重,是让曾经看不起他们的外国人能够懂点礼貌。今天的中国人和他们的祖先一样,所要求的都是一种威严的地位,让其他国家不敢造次,使中国得以在安宁的环境中走向繁荣。


面对中国的要求,美国显得有些无所适从,随着中国变得越来越富强,它不再向美国的地区和全球霸权低头。中国人不再认为卑躬屈膝来换取闷声发大财的机会是值得的。而美国似乎铁了心要维持自己的超然地位——不是通过改正自身的问题,而是通过给中国下绊子、上镣铐——但是这份偏执和自满是无济于事的。美国一面在要求中国更加开放的同时,自己却日益走向封闭。


这种变化可不是什么好兆头。无论是美国放过中国,还是美国通过削弱中国来保全自己的全球主导地位,这两者成为现实的可能性都微乎其微。试图打倒中国更有可能削弱和拖垮美国经济,而不会阻止中国的前进。那么,未来的美中关系会是什么样呢?


首先,我要对杰里米·哈夫特(译注:Jeremy R. Haft,美国企业家、畅销书作家、学者、对华贸易事务媒体评论员)2019年为“伟大决策”计划所写文章中提到的关键一点表示赞同。他指出,拿不同国家的GDP作比较等于是把苹果和橘子一起作比较,其结果不足以反映国际竞争的真实情况。GDP完全没有反映出经济活动的国际分工。如果我们把挖沟的工人或推卸责任的金融工程师带来的价值增量,与钢铁工人或诺贝尔奖得主为国家资本带来的增量混为一谈,那么我们便忽略了非常重要的信息。GDP作为一种指数,用处在于让我们知道一个国家经济总体规模有多大,增长速度有多快,但它基本不能——甚至完全不能——帮我们预测国与国之间竞争的结果。


虽然不能说经济总量无关紧要,不过一个国家的精神、自豪感、意志和耐力才是决定经济总量能发挥怎样作用的关键因素。1941年12月7日,日本偷袭珍珠港试图削弱美国在太平洋的军事力量时,其GDP规模仅为美国的十分之一。然而日本却牵制了美国将近四年,最终也只是因为缺乏发动核反击的能力才宣告投降。


因此,无论是按名义汇率计算还是按购买力平价标准计算,比较中美两国的经济总量指标都没有切中问题的关键。中国的工业产值现在占全球的四分之一, 比美国的1.5倍还多,甚至超过美国、德国、韩国工业产值的总和,这一点才是更加重要的。此外,在中国从事科学、技术、工程和数学类工作的劳动者已经占到了全世界同类劳动者总数的四分之一,是美国的八倍,而且从业人员数量的增长速度也是美国的三倍以上,这一点同样是非常重要的。


与美国和苏联不同,中国在意识形态上没有充当救世主的欲望,这可能会成为它的一大优势。如果有其他国家试图模仿中国的制度,中国人自然觉得脸上有光;但其实中国人并不介意其他国家内部如何治理。中国在其国内施行的是一党执政的制度。尽管美国的意识形态旗手宣称中国在海外推广专制、反对民主,但其实中国并没有这样做。


在冷战结束后秩序混乱的新世界里,意识形态联盟已经高度弱化,几近荡然无存。一种政治体制有多受欢迎,几乎完全取决于它能在多大程度上带来有效的领导、繁荣的经济、安宁的社会。你无法再强迫小国向大国效忠。各国可以自由选择国际伙伴和竞争对手,并就事论事地与它们打交道。


中国的财富和实力与日俱增,邻国们无不担忧自己将不得不顺从中国,然而没有哪个国家真的担心中国入侵。尽管美国费劲心思地去设想东亚海域出现一个类似富尔达缺口(译注:冷战期间,富尔达这座城市靠近东德和西德的分界线,该地一处山谷被命名为“富尔达缺口”,美国认为若战争爆发,富尔达缺口最有可能遭受苏军进攻)的地方,但实际上东亚并不存在“富尔达缺口”。一些美国人兜售的那套过分夸大的“中国威胁论”在国内比在国外更加受到欢迎。即使在那些早就对中国有戒备心理的国家,美国的这套说辞也没有产生很强的吸引力,也许是因为那些国家看不到迫于美国压力在美中之间选边站队能为自己带来什么好处,反而很可能损失巨大。美国指望靠危言耸听来冲淡中国的正面宣传,这根本算不上什么外交。


中国是其所有邻国最大的贸易伙伴。中国正在成为这些国家最大的外资来源地和投资目的地。对这些国家来说,中国近在咫尺,而且永远也不会离开。这些国家不想在中国面前惹事生非,也不会跟美国一道挑衅中国。


中国数百年来一直对分布在东海和南海的岛屿、礁石和岛礁提出主权声索。只是由于冷战期间中国受美国遏制,其他主权声索国才趁机占领了大部分岛礁。直到30年前,中国才占领了其他声索国尚未占领的少数地貌。


中国在马来西亚、菲律宾和越南的周边构筑据点来建立固定存在,但这些国家并不寻求把中国赶走。尽管中国同美国海军在如何划定领海基线方面存在分歧,但它并未威胁到南海商贸航行的自由。毕竟,该海域三分之二的过往船舶要么来自中国,要么驶向中国。若不是美国媒体利用失之偏颇的言论来混淆视听,这些事实可谓显而易见。


目前,中国只要求邻国以礼相待、互相开放贸易和投资,不与第三方合谋威胁中国安全,除此之外并不索要什么其他的东西。无论这些邻国过去是不是美国的盟友,它们现在都没有加入美国阵营来孤立中国。它们之所以寻求获得美国的支持,目的不是为了与中国对抗,而是希望借助美国的力量寻求与中国之间保持一种平衡的、可持续的和解状态。


这种目标上的不一致,就解释了为什么特朗普政府排斥中国的行动迄今对中国的损害还不如对美国与盟友和国际伙伴之间的关系损害大。这些行动非但没有削弱中国的影响力,反而破坏了美国的领导地位。


在双边层面上,当前美国发起的贸易战已经让中国经济付出了代价。中国的反击对美国也造成了同样的影响。等待美国零售企业和消费者的是逐步升级的冲击。特朗普贸易战的短期影响是显而易见的。那么它的长期影响又是什么呢?


首先,供应链和贸易模式遭到永久性脱节。具有讽刺意味的是,当中国生产商为了避免美国关税而转投东南亚、东非和拉丁美洲的时候,他们在国内价值链上的地位得到了提升。与此同时,加大对其他国家的生产投资促进了中国在当地的影响力。俄罗斯、乌克兰和其他国家的农业当前获得了蓬勃发展,这都是以牺牲美国农民利益为代价换来的结果。


美国已然向中国证明了自己是一个善变的、不可靠的贸易伙伴。这使得中国人有充分的理由去购买其他国家的产品。中国曾经是美国增长最快的出口市场。华盛顿方面在试图限制中国资本流入美国之时,也在破坏自己的对华出口。


由于中国公司基本不能用赚来的美元直接在美国投资,中国政府以前一直用这些外汇购买美国国债,从而补贴了美国政府的财政赤字,使它可以靠信贷转期来避免政府关门。本来,中国企业在美国基础设施、工业和农业领域的投资有可能创造就业和出口,结果却只能被动地为美国财政的挥霍买单。而时至今日,中美关系转向对立甚至导致这种共生关系也陷入了危机。如果像某些人预测的那样,中国将成为一个净资本流入国而不是流出国,它也将在全球范围销售债务,直接与美国竞争。


撇开中国为美国预算赤字融资不谈,单说阻止中国投资美国私营企业给美国经济造成了怎样的机会成本。以日本为例,日本是美国的盟友,但上世纪80年代,日本公司在美国投资面临着相似的困境,尽管没有这么严重。与反对中国投资一样,当年反对日本投资的人也提出了一些莫须有的国家安全考量。但是,在日本流入美国的资金减少之前,日本为美国创造了70万个就业岗位,并在美国建立了许多工厂,每年为美国创造了超过600亿美元的出口额。中国资金本来可以发挥同样作用,却由于行政命令和国会法案的出台而被导向其他地方。美国的损失成全了他人坐收渔翁之利。


美国给中国公司投资设置了极高的障碍,这种做法对美国经济的影响不难估测。长期以来,美国每年吸引了大约全球15%的对外直接投资(FDI)。15年前,中国的对美投资也差不多占了其对外投资总额的15%。但是,随着华盛顿方面提高了中国参与美国经济的门槛,这一比例已经下降到中国对外直接投资总额的2%左右。同期,中国对欧洲的投资已经上升到中国对外直接投资总额的30%多。


如果我们没有禁止中国公司投资美国,这些中国公司每年将会拿出800亿美元用于扩大美国私营部门,这将为美国创造大量就业岗位。如今中国不再将储蓄交给我们,我们美国人也就得不到这笔钱。如此一来我们就只能指望美国自身储蓄率的提高了。


特朗普-彭斯政府的仇外心理也提醒我们,科学技术的进步需要各国之间加强合作,没有国家能够闭门造车。在美国,我们每年大约有65万从事科学和工程专业的学生毕业,其中超过三分之一是外国人。在某些学科,如工程学和计算机科学,新颁发学位的一半给了外国学生。在人工智能领域,这个比例达到60%。美国近三分之一的外国学生来自中国。如果我们像特朗普-彭斯政府威胁的那样排挤中国人,那么中国人就不会来到美国与我们一起工作。


如今,中国每年有180万毕业生从事科学、技术、工程和数学领域的工作。中国在这些领域授予的博士学位数量即将超过我们。从2016年到2017年,中国的知识产权价值增长了19%,而美国仅增长了10%。目前谁在科学、技术、工程和数学方面的发展势头更加强劲是显而易见的。


到2025年,中国所拥有的熟练技术工人的数量预计将超过经合组织所有成员国的总和。通过与中国脱钩,我们美国人正在疏远这个世界上科学家、技术专家、工程师和数学家数量最多的国家。中国企业在研发方面的支出正以每年20%的速度增长,远远超过其他任何国家。切断中美科技交流与其说会阻碍中国的进步,倒不如说似乎更将损害美国的创新力。


中美关系走向分裂是特朗普政府一手策划的,其潜在影响除了我在上文中提到的以外还有很多。最后,我将简要地再阐述一些此类内容以供大家思考:


  1. 我们目前在中国南海问题上无异于同中国玩谁是懦夫的游戏。在美方的支持下,日本正在中国东海的钓鱼岛发起同样的挑衅行动。我们距离与中国爆发海战只有一步之遥。如果战争爆发,这将是我们自1945年以来的第一次海上冲突,也是我们第一次与拥核国家发生冲突。

  2. 中国内战1950年因美国第七舰队驶进台湾海峡而宣告停火,但是这并不意味着内战已经结束。现在我们的政策似乎正促使台湾的一些政客认为他们手持一张空白支票,随时能重新发动内战。与此同时,我们与中国人民解放军之间的对话机制和我们在冷战时期与苏联军队的对话机制无法相比。我们目前还没有制定华盛顿与北京的危机管控机制。我们对中国的政治军事战略无非就是希望不要卷入战争。

  3. 我们正与北京展开军备竞赛。中国最近测试了航母杀手弹道导弹、电磁炮、高超音速滑翔弹头、量子卫星通信系统、反隐身雷达以及射程空前的远程反舰导弹和空地导弹等等,其中一些武器已经部署。我们未必能够在这样一场军备竞赛中取胜。

  4. 同时,我们在太空领域与中国之间的竞争也已经开始。到目前为止,我们是龟兔赛跑中的兔子,中国是那只乌龟。当我们梦想着在火星上进行华丽的冒险时,中国正在为开采月球和一些小行星上的资源有条不紊地做着准备,以便能够在地球和月球之间引力平衡的拉格朗日点建造驻留地和工厂。

  5. 我们正试图摧毁中国大型科技企业,比如华为,我们希望将其排除在全球5G网络之外。但是,即便美国不再对其提供一些技术支持,中国拥有庞大的国内市场,国际市场也亟需物美价廉的设备,借此契机,中国的科技巨头将有能力在美国境外主宰这个世界。

  6. 中国原本想利用国家管理的局域网来分割美国管控的全球互联网世界,美国并不想互联网世界遭到分割。然而多亏了美国的民族主义和对网络安全隐私的偏执,北京现在实现了他的目的,数字世界正在遭到不同网络主权的分割。


不管特朗普总统会不会像他承诺的那样,让美国再次伟大起来。至少目前为止,他没有达成交易,而是破坏了交易;他没有扩大美国的国际影响力,反而削弱了美国的国际影响力。我赞同互通有无的自由贸易观点,不要想着什么都自己造。但没有人能否认,总统及其追随者们正在从根本上改变他所接手的这个世界。许多外国人现在都认为美国是一个流氓超级大国,铁了心要摧毁前几代美国人辛辛苦苦创造的世界秩序。中美关系的脱钩是造成全球政治和科技动荡最重要的原因之一,但它绝非唯一的原因。


几十年前,哈佛大学教授约瑟夫·奈(Joseph Nye)指出,如果美国将中国视为敌人,那么中国就会变成美国的敌人。现在事实证明他的观点是完全正确的。欢迎来到21世纪,在这个世纪里,全球治理的工具正越来越多地从美国手中流失,大国之间的竞争变得越来越激烈,美国的同盟正在瓦解,美国争取其他国家合作的能力正在下降。尽管美国拥有无与伦比的军事力量,但美国并不具备明确的策略来遏制或扭转这些趋势。


所有这些对美国人来说都是不可接受的:比如不经审慎的战略思考,半夜荷尔蒙飙升就开始推特治国;比如放弃国与国之间的相互妥协和交易,试图通过军国主义、贸易制裁以及蛮横无理的要求来达成目的;比如对外交往过程中全然丧失礼节,尽是威胁、侮辱和谩骂。这些做法并没有取得任何效果。


中国是世界上实力最强的崛起中大国,美国最大的失败在于没有处理好与中国的关系。我们当前的做法不但不能说服中国为了共同利益改变我们不喜欢的政策和做法,无助于解决问题,反而会使问题变得更加棘手。两国之间的友谊正在迅速蜕变成敌意。


为了能够有效地与中国这样的崛起大国以及俄罗斯这样的复兴大国竞争,为了能够带着我们国家一直以来所体现的自信和乐观态度去竞争,我们不仅必须修正我们的外交政策,我们还必须修正当下正在分裂我们、削弱我们的国内政策。历史证明,我们的宪政民主可以保障变革有序地进行。为了调动美国人民的巨大的才智和精力来应对我国目前面临的前所未有的挑战,我们必须适应新的国内和国际现实。我们曾经做到过,我们现在也可以做到。



The Sino-American Split and its Consequences


We Americans are working hard at making xenophobia great again.  Every day now brings reminders that few phenomena are as discomfiting as the sight of the American people in one of our periodic fits of nativism.  Contemporary Know-Nothingism is enriched by the guesstimates, conjectures, a priori reasoning from dubious assumptions, and media-generated hallucinations that populate our social and niche media.  These fantasies now largely star China, along with a cast of lesser demons — Russia, Iran, Cuba – all of whom are said to have recently taken up residence in Venezuela.  That is, of course, a socialist snotbag a mere 1,600 miles from our southern shores.  It is famous for beautiful women, and not terribly credible as an enemy – unless you invade it.


But, finally, in China, we Americans have a cure for enemy deprivation syndrome – the sick feeling that affects military-industrial complexes when their adversaries unexpectedly throw in the towel, leaving them without a diabolical enemy to keep them in shape and in the money.  The Soviet Union is dead, but China is having a comeback!  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition — and the cash to buy more of it!


Sadly, however, Moscow’s surprise default on its Cold War contest with Washington is not a reliable predictor of how a struggle with Beijing will turn out.  If you’ve seen one communist, you’ve not seen them all.  Unlike Russian Marxism-Leninism, East Asian Market-Leninism works.  Rather than collapsing, China is more likely to continue to gain in wealth and power.  Washington’s policies seem designed to ensure that China’s rise benefits U.S. defense budgets much more than American companies, consumers, and technologists.


No one can be sure how fast or how steadily China will rise, but it seems destined, in time, to resume the preeminent position on the planet that it enjoyed in the millennia before Europeans, Americans, and Japanese humiliated it in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  This means that China will displace the United States from the international primacy our country has enjoyed over most of the past 140 years, when we became the world’s largest economy.  No longer unmatched, Americans will have to engage and share power, including with Chinese and others previously under the Western thumb.


China has been guilty of some highly objectionable behavior, including the sometimes-brazen theft of corporate intellectual property.  But, as Stephen Wertheim, a historian at Columbia University, put it Sunday, “the anti-China turn of the past year has been triggered more by American anxieties than by Chinese actions.”[1]   American Sinophobia has at least as much to do with the factors that fuel populism in U.S. politics as it does with Chinese transgressions.


Many Americans feel slighted by the well-to-do elites who govern them and run the banks and corporations that dominate the U.S. economy.  Americans of all ethnicities resent the collapse of social mobility in the United States, the concentration of wealth in the “one percent,” the stagnant or declining standards of living they are experiencing, and the obscene extent to which the U.S. corporate and financial elite now feathers its own nests.  They blame that elite for abolishing well-paying industrial jobs and transferring them to workers overseas.  Lower-middle class Euro-Americans are particularly unnerved by their imminent reduction to minority status in an America with leaders who often no longer look like them.  They are angered by political correctness that protects every other sort of American from inadvertent offense while dismissing them and their beliefs as “deplorable.”  They are vulnerable to demagoguery that attributes their distress to selfish corporate collusion with China.  Blaming China for their distress may alleviate it.  Sadly, it will not fix it.


The combination of domestic malaise and the ongoing eclipse of our international authority is a severe strain on the American psyche.  It is also a test of American resilience, realism, and willpower.  We know we must reform and redirect tax, investment, labor-management relations, and education policies to reinvigorate America.  Some insist on calling this challenge a threat and fighting the scenario rather than coping with it.  They imagine that China must long to dominate the world as the United States has since World War II.  But, when you take the time to listen to what Chinese say among themselves about their aspirations, it appears that what they want is respect and a bit of courteous consideration by formerly scornful foreigners.  Like their ancestors before them, they demand a status of dignity that induces others to let them prosper in domestic tranquility.


Americans’ difficulties in dealing with this demand arise from China having become rich and strong enough to have stopped kowtowing to U.S. regional and global primacy.  The Chinese no longer see doing so as an acceptable price for being left alone.  It doesn’t help that, in a unique combination of paranoia and complacency, the United States seems determined to retain its supremacy – not by correcting its own deficiencies – but by tripping up and immobilizing China.  While insisting that China become more open, America is itself becoming more closed.


This is an inauspicious dynamic.  The chances that the United States will either leave China alone or that Americans can retain global dominance by crippling China are poor to nonexistent.  Attempting to bring China down is more likely to weaken and impoverish America than to halt China’s advance.


So, what’s now in prospect in Sino-American relations?


Let me begin by agreeing with a key element of the piece Jeremy Halt wrote for the 2019 “Great Decisions” program.  GDP does indeed fail to compare like with like in ways that are relevant to international competition.  It tells us nothing about how economic activity is distributed.  It misses something important when it equates the value added by ditchdiggers or buck-passing financial engineers to additions to national capital by steel workers or Nobel Prize winners.  GDP has its uses as an index of gross economic size and rates of growth, but it doesn’t predict much, if anything, about how a contest will turn out.


Relative economic size is not irrelevant, but national fervor, pride, will, and stamina decide how determinative it is.  When Japan attempted to cripple U.S. military power in the Pacific with its December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, its GDP was barely ten percent of America’s.  And yet Japan held the United States at bay for nearly four years, succumbing at last only to nuclear attacks it could not then answer in kind.


So, whether stated at nominal exchange rates or in purchasing power parity (PPP), comparisons of gross economic indicators between China and America are mostly beside the point.  It is far more relevant that Chinese industrial production, now a fourth of the entire world’s, is over one-and-a -half times that of the United States – more than America, Germany, and south Korea combined.  And it matters that the Chinese workforce involved in so-called “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) work is also already one-fourth of the world’s, eight times larger than America’s and growing more than three times faster.


It probably is also an advantage for China that, unlike the United States or the late, unlamented USSR, it is not ideologically messianic.  Chinese do not seem to give a hoot how foreigners govern themselves, though they are, of course, flattered if non-Chinese seek to emulate them.  China is for autocracy at home.  Propagandistic assertions by American ideologues notwithstanding, it does not push autocracy or oppose democracy abroad.


The Cold War is long over.  In the new world disorder that has succeeded it, ideological alignments are weak to non-existent.  The appeal of systems of government depends almost entirely on how well they deliver effective leadership, prosperity, and domestic tranquility to those they govern.  And countries can no longer be forced into allegiance to a great power.  They are free to choose their international partnerships and rivalries and to deal with their foreign partners and adversaries issue by issue.


Without exception, China’s neighbors are apprehensive about the degree to which its rising wealth and power will require them to defer to it, but none fears invasion by China.  Despite American efforts to imagine one, there is no Fulda Gap with East Asian maritime characteristics.  Overwrought American threat-mongering about China is selling much better at home than abroad.  Even in countries traditionally suspicious of China, it has little traction, perhaps because they see next to no benefit and considerable harm from yielding to U.S. pressure to choose between China and the United States.  Tempering alarmism with sycophantic presidential flattery of Xi Jinping and other autocrats is not turning out to be much of a substitute for diplomacy.


China is the largest trading partner of all its neighbors.  It is becoming their biggest source and destination for investment.  It is in their region.  It is not going away.  They don’t want to pick a fight with it.  They won’t join the United States in doing so.


China has century-old claims to islets, rocks, and reefs in the East and South China Seas.  Other claimants to these seized most of them during the Cold War, when China was contained by the United States.  Thirty years ago, China finally occupied the few land features other claimants had not.


For their part, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam do not seek to dislodge China from the strongholds it has built to establish an immovable presence alongside them.  Despite differences with the United States Navy over how to draw territorial baselines around its bastions, China does not threaten freedom of commercial navigation in the South China Sea.  After all, two-thirds of the shipping there is en route to or from Chinese ports.  It’s hard to ignore these facts unless the prejudicial narratives of the American media miasma prevent one from seeing them.


China makes no demands on its neighbors at present, other than respectful politesse, mutual openness to trade and investment, and the avoidance of collusion with third parties in active threats to its security.  Whether they are historic American allies or not, not one of China’s neighbors has signed onto the current U.S. campaign to isolate China.  They want to use backing from America not to confront China but to strike a balanced and sustainable accommodation with it.


This disconnect in objectives is why the Trump administration’s campaigns to ostracize China have so far been more disruptive of U.S. alliances and international partnerships than harmful to China.  Rather than curbing Chinese influence, these campaigns have undermined American leadership.


Bilaterally, the current US-initiated trade war has imposed immediate costs on the Chinese economy.  Chinese retaliation has done the same to the United States.  American retail businesses and consumers can expect an escalating hit.  The short-term effects of Trump’s trade war are hard to miss.  What’s its long-term impact likely to be?


For one, supply chains and trading patterns are being permanently dislocated.  Ironically, as Chinese producers seek to avoid U.S. tariffs by relocating to Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America, they are being pushed up the value chain at home.  Meanwhile, their added investment in production in other countries is boosting China’s influence there.  Russian, Ukrainian, and other countries’ agriculture is getting a big boost at the expense of American farmers.


The United States has just shown China that it can be a remarkably fickle and unreliable trading partner.  This gives Chinese compelling arguments for buying everything elsewhere.  China had been America’s fastest growing export market.  Washington is writing it off even as it seeks to curtail Chinese capital flows to the United States.


With Chinese companies largely unable to reinvest the dollars they earn from sales of goods and services in America, the Chinese government has been using them to buy treasury bonds.  In this way, China has subsidized the deficits and credit rollovers that the U.S. government now depends upon to stave off shutdown.  So, what might have been job and export-creating Chinese corporate investments in American infrastructure, industry, and agriculture have become passive support for U.S. fiscal profligacy.  The current turn toward Sino-American hostility puts even this symbiotic relationship in jeopardy.  If as some predict, China is about to become a net importer rather than exporter of capital, this will make it a competitor of the United States in global sales of debt.


Chinese financing of U.S. budget deficits aside, we can look at the example of Japan to get a sense of the opportunity costs that excluding Chinese investment in the U.S. private sector will impose on the American economy.  Japan is a U.S. ally.  But, in the 1980s, Japanese companies faced comparable, though less formidable, obstacles to investment in the United States.  As in the case of China, those opposed to Japanese investments based their objections on fanciful national security considerations.  But, before the flow of Japanese capital to the United States declined, it created 700,000 jobs for Americans and built factories that generate well over $60 billion in U.S. exports annually.  By both executive orders and acts of Congress, the Chinese capital that might do the same is now being directed elsewhere.  America’s loss is others' gain.


It isn’t hard to guesstimate the effects on the U.S. economy of making investment by Chinese companies next to impossible.  The United States has long attracted about fifteen percent of the world’s annual foreign direct investment (FDI).  A decade and a half ago, about that same percentage of Chinese overseas investment came here.  But, as Washington has raised barriers to Chinese participation in the American economy, that percentage has fallen to about two percent of China's overall FDI.  Over the same period, Europe's share of global Chinese investment has risen to over thirty percent.


Had we not barred Chinese companies from putting their money to work in our economy, they would be pumping about $80 billion annually into expanding the U.S. private sector and creating jobs in America.  Now, as China ceases to export its savings to us, we Americans won’t see that money.  We better get our own savings rate up.


The Trump-Pence xenophobia is also reminding us that science and technology advance through collaboration, not the sequestration of knowledge.  In the United States, we graduate about 650,000 scientists and engineers annually, over one third of whom are foreigners.  In some disciplines, like engineering and computer science, foreign students account for about half of new U.S. degrees.  In artificial intelligence, the figure is sixty percent.  Almost one third of all foreign students here are from China.  If we make them unwelcome, as the Trump-Pence administration threatens to do, they won't come here to work alongside Americans.


On its own, China now graduates 1.8 million scientists, engineers, and mathematicians annually.  It is about to overtake us in the number of doctorates it confers in these fields. From 2016 to 2017, the value of intellectual property grew 19 percent for China.  It grew 10 percent for the United States. It's clear who has the momentum in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at present.


By 2025, China is expected to have more technologically skilled workers than all members of the OECD combined.  By severing ties with the Chinese, we Americans are isolating ourselves from the largest population of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world.  Chinese corporate spending on research and development is growing at twenty percent each year, much faster than anywhere else.  Cutting the United States off from scientific and technological intercourse with China seems more likely to disadvantage American innovation than to retard Chinese progress.


The Sino-American split the Trump administration has engineered has many potential consequences beyond those I've mentioned.  I'll close by briefly pointing out a few more issues for Americans to ponder.


  • We're playing games of chicken with China in the South China Sea. Backed by us, Japan is doing something similar in the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.  We are only one misstep away from a naval battle with China.  This would be our first naval conflict since 1945 and our very first with a nuclear power.

  • The Chinese civil war was suspended, not ended, by U.S. insertion of the 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait in 1950. Our policies now seem to be encouraging some politicians in Taiwan think they have a blank check to take actions that would almost certainly reignite that war.  Meanwhile, we have no dialogue with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army comparable to that we had with the Soviet Army during the Cold War, and there are no mechanisms in place for crisis management or escalation control between Washington and Beijing.  Our politico-military strategy for China amounts to hoping we don’t get into a fight.

  • We're well into an arms race with Beijing. China has recently tested or fielded carrier-killing ballistic missiles, rail guns, hyper-gliding warheads, quantum satellite communications systems, stealth-penetrating radars, and unprecedentedly long-range anti-ship and air-to-ground missiles, to name a few developments in an ongoing competition we do not appear to be winning.

  • We're in a competition with China in space too. So far, we’re playing the role of the hare to China’s tortoise  While we dream of flashy adventures on Mars, China is methodically laying a basis for the mining of the moon and asteroids to build habitats and factories at the LaGrange points – gravitationally stable parking places between the Earth and the Moon.

  • We're trying to smash China’s great technology companies, like Huawei, which we want to exclude from global 5G networks. But there is a good chance that Chinese tech giants, drawing on China’s huge domestic market and the eagerness of international markets for cheap, state-of-the-art equipment, will be able to dominate the world beyond our borders even as inferior U.S. technology retreats within them.

  • China, not the United States, wanted to balkanize the global architecture of the US-managed internet with nationally managed domains. But thanks to American nativism and cyber paranoia, Beijing is now getting what it wanted. The digital universe is being subdivided into sovereign compartments.



President Trump may or may not be making American great again, as he promised.  So far, he has undone deals, not done them, and contracted, not expanded, America's international reach.  I am among those who think we're better off trading what we have for what we don't than trying to make everything ourselves.  But no one can deny that the president and the America Firsters in his entourage are fundamentally altering the world he inherited.  Many abroad now see the United States as a rogue superpower bent on destroying the world order earlier generations of Americans worked hard to create.  The Sino-American split is one of the most consequential elements of global political and technological upheaval, but far from the only one.


A couple of decades ago, Joe Nye, a Harvard professor, observed that, if the United States treated China as an enemy, it would become one.  He's now being proven right.  Welcome to a 21st century in which the instruments of global governance are increasingly passing from American hands, the competition between great powers is ever more cut-throat, American alliances are decaying, the U.S. ability to enlist the cooperation of other nations is declining, and, despite unmatched military power, the United States has no apparent strategy for halting or reversing any of these trends.


None of this should be at all acceptable to Americans.  It reflects the replacement of strategic deliberation with tweeted decisions generated by apparent midnight hormonal surges, the substitution of militarism, sanctions, and non-negotiable demands for mutual accommodation through international give-and-take, and the repudiation of courtesy in communication with foreign nations in favor of threats, insults, and temper tantrums.  This approach has registered no successes.  Among its most notable failures is the management of relations with China, the world’s most formidable rising power.  Rather than persuading China to change objectionable policies and practices to mutual advantage, what we’re doing promises not just to entrench these but to exacerbate them.  Outright enmity is rapidly succeeding comity.


To be able to compete effectively with rising powers like China and resurgent nations like Russia; to be able to do so with the confident optimism our country has always embodied, we must fix not only our diplomacy but the domestic policies and practices that now divide and weaken us.  We have a constitutional democracy that history has shown can facilitate orderly change.  To bring the immense talents and energies of the American people to bear on the unprecedented challenges our country now faces, we must adapt to new domestic as well as foreign realities.  We Americans have done this before.  And we can do it again.


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