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Chas W. Freeman(傅立民):论与中国的敌对式共存
Chas W. Freeman(傅立民):论与中国的敌对式共存
5/23/2019 3:08:52 PM | 浏览:534 | 评论:0

Chas W. Freeman(傅立民):论与中国的敌对式共存

On Hostile Coexistence with China

  特朗普总统与中国的贸易战迅速蔓延到了中美关系的其他领域。如今华盛顿试图解除中国经济与美国经济的相互依赖状态,削弱中国在全球治理中的地位,抵制其对外投资,对其公司造成破坏,阻碍其技术进步,对其背离自由主义意识形态的许多做法施加惩罚,向其边界地区发起挑战,了解其国防信息,并保持随心所欲地穿透这些国防设施的能力。

  这些做法所传递出来的与中国相敌对这一信息是一以贯之的,也是显然可以理解的。大多数中国人都认为这反映了美国的一种协调一致的观点或者战略。但事实并非如此。

  如今在华盛顿,已经不存在井然有序的政策过程,从而协调、和缓,或是控制政策的制定以及执行过程了。恰恰相反,这名民粹主义总统事实上宣布针对中国进入了“言论开放期”。这使得特朗普政府中的所有人都可以随心所欲地抨击中国。所有参与国际事务的部门和机构——例如美国特别贸易代表、国务院、财政部、司法部、商务部、国防部和国土安全部——在对待中国的问题上都在各行其是。总统掀起了一场毫无组织纪律的突击行动。他显然认为,这会对中国施加更大的压力,从而令中国屈服于自己的保护主义和重商主义要求。当他于2020年寻求连任时,这将成为可供他吹嘘的业绩。

  特朗普总统任期是建立在下层中产阶级对于被移民所取代以及工作岗位被外包给外国人的恐惧情绪基础上的。他的竞选活动在美国老百姓——尤其是虔信宗教的美国老百姓——对于本国管理层和政治精英对于自己福祉显而易见的轻蔑对待与无动于衷所产生的愤怒情绪中寻得了根基。对于很多人而言,中美之间贸易的不平衡以及中国对美国技术的窃取成为了解释收入分配越发不均、机会平等每况愈下、就业市场的去工业化以及乐观情绪烟消云散等美国社会中种种现象的原因。

  就对中国的看法而言,如今许多美国人都在潜意识里将傅满洲那阴险的形象、日本在令人紧张不安的八十年代向美国工业与金融方面的支配地位发起的挑战,以及生存遭到威胁的危机感(类似于催生了《排华法案》的反华情绪)结合到了一起。

  与此同时,2008年金融危机所暴露出的美国精英阶层的无能,种族暴力事件和大规模枪击事件的不时爆发,华盛顿政坛一而再再而三陷入瘫痪的处境,再加上“美国优先”这一傲慢的单边主义口号,也极大地降低了美国对于中国精英的吸引力。

  结果就是,如今中美关系之间的互动充斥着对彼此的责难,却缺少在经验上具有足够依据的信息,以佐证其行为所激发出的激动情绪。对于双方来说,对方都被认定犯下了大错。针对对方的指控,双方都无法通过任何程序来证明自己并无过错。没有根据的胡乱猜测、推想、从可疑的假设出发进行先入为主的推理,以及媒体所引发的幻象,都一而再再而三地被重复,以至于被当做了事实。当代美国民粹主义的煽动确保了在这个国家,压根不需要任何证据,就可以激发起有关中国的大声喧嚷。与此同时,中国用民族主义情绪来回应美国粗暴的言语,将打碎了的牙齿咽进肚子里,克制着不以相同的方式展开反击,同时默默地谋划着进行报复--“君子报仇,十年不晚”。

  我们正在步入的不只是后美国时代,还是后西方时代。在许多方面,新兴世界秩序的轮廓尚不清楚。但其中有一个方面是确定的:在全球治理和地区治理之中,中国将发挥更加重要、美国将发挥更不重要的作用。就这一未来而言,对于中国财富和实力的与日俱增,特朗普政府的回应并非吉兆。中美两国如今形成的相互憎恨和敌对的这一模式可能造成不可磨灭的影响。果真如此,对于两国以及对于世界的繁荣与和平而言,其后果都将是极其不安的。

  就目前而言,美国与中国的关系似乎成为了由诸多相互矛盾的势力与因素混合而成的载体,这其中各种势力与因素都各有自己的宣扬者和支持者。某些人的憎恨情绪抵消了另外一些人的赞赏之情。现在美国政府中似乎没有一个人评估了这种以不加协调的方式对待世界上最大的新兴国家对美国的总体利益以及福祉会造成何种影响。在美国似乎也很少有人考虑了与中国的敌对关系对美国及其亚洲伙伴造成的损害要超过对中国造成的损害这种可能性。或者,在极端情况下,中美之间的敌对关系甚至可能导致毁灭性的跨太平洋核交火。

  对于中国的某些抱怨之声来自于扭扭捏捏的恐华者,这些人将自己与特朗普总统捆绑到了一起。他们的有些抱怨之声是完全有理由的。中国慢慢接受了知识是可以被排他性占有的财产这一资本主义观念。但这毕竟是与将复制视为奉承而非对天才的侵犯这一中国千年以来的传统相悖的。中国商界人士不仅仅针对彼此展开剽窃知识产权的行为,针对外国人也是如此。其他人在过去或许也有过相同的行为,但他们这样做的程度都无法与中国相提并论。单是中国的体量就使得其侵犯知识产权的行为变得不可容忍了。在不尊重私有产权的态度得到纠正之前,无论是中国的市场经济,还是中国的国际贸易与投资关系,其潜力都是无法实现的。美国和欧盟坚持要求中国政府解决这一问题,这样的态度是正确的。

  许多中国人也对此表示同意。在中国国内市场中有一部分人默默地欢迎外国为强制执行专利与商标法而施加的压力,因为他们也是大量商标与专利的创造者。甚至还有更多人希望贸易战会迫使中国政府重振“改革开放”。更加公平地对待外国投资的中国公司不只是个合理的要求,而且符合在经济上占据主导地位、但在政治上占据弱势的中国私人部门的利益。中国的保护主义是一扇并未上锁的门,美国及其他人应该继续推这扇门。

  但其他针对中国的抱怨则要么是部分有道理的,要么是毫无道理的。有些人回想起了赫尔曼·戈林在纽伦堡审判时的世故言辞:“人们总是会满足领袖的要求。这很容易。你需要做的只是告诉他们,他们遭到攻击了,并且谴责和平主义者缺乏爱国精神、令国家暴露在危险面前。在任何国家,这一套做法都奏效。”在中美之间安全关系恶化的过程中,这样的操纵式逻辑就在发挥作用。社交媒体和专业媒体使得一切都显得像是真的一样,却使得任何真理都遭到质疑。这起到了推波助澜的作用。在阴谋论、虚假叙事、伪造的报道、虚构的“事实”以及公然的谎言等污浊难闻的互联网世界里,有关中国的毫无根据的假定迅速成为了根深蒂固的信念,早就遭到驳斥的迷思和谣言轻而易举地就会死灰复燃。

  想想吧,一名印度雄辩者发明的这一精炼的短语--“债务陷阱外交”--迅速就被普遍接受,被认为是概括了中国的掠夺性国际政治-经济政策。然而被加以引用的所谓“债务陷阱”唯一的例证只不过是汉班托塔港,这是此后遭到推翻的斯里兰卡前专制总统发起、为自己的家乡增光添彩的一个项目。他的继任者作出了正确的评判,认为这是一个大而无用的项目,于是便将其转交给了中国公司,并且要求这家公司将债务替换为股权。为了收回自己的投资,这家中国公司如今必须为这座港口建设经济腹地。与其说汉班托塔是“债务陷阱”的例证,不如说这是一笔被套牢了的资产。

  此外,中国如今常常被指责犯下的某些错误,其实用来指责当前的美国,要比指责中国更加合适。此类最具讽刺意味的指控之一是,指责中国--而不是反社会的、向国际现状发起进攻的“美国第一”政策--破坏了美国的全球领导地位和那些睿智的美国国务家在七十多年前塑造的多边秩序。然而无视《联合国宪章》、退出各种条约与协定、试图令世界贸易组织的争端解决机制陷入瘫痪、以双边保护主义计划取代以比较优势为基础从而为国际贸易提供便利的多边机制的,是美国,而不是中国。

  世界贸易组织的本意是成为重商主义--这又被称为“政府管控下的贸易”--的“解毒剂”。中国变得愈发强烈地支持全球化和自由贸易。全球化与自由贸易是中国崛起、实现繁荣的首要源泉。中国成为美国设计并实现的那一贸易与投资机制的坚定捍卫者,这并不令人感到意外。

  相较之下,特朗普政府则完全是重商主义的,即试图通过将进口降到最低程度、将出口扩大到最大程度,通过单边施加关税与配额,同时令美国免于受那些它坚持要其他国家服从的规则限制,来提升本国实力。

  除了指出“与中国的接触未能转变中国的政治体制,因此应该放弃这一战略”这一命题的荒谬性外,我不打算再继续讨论这一问题了。那些最为激烈地宣扬这一虚假命题的人士,正是那些曾经抱怨称改变中国的政治秩序并非与中国接触的目标、但应成为这一目标的人士。他们如今却又因与中国的接触并未实现他们希望实现、并且曾经知道并未实现的目标,而谴责这一战略。很能说明问题的是,美国与其他非自由主义社会(例如埃及、以色列所占领的巴勒斯坦领土,或是杜特尔特治下的菲律宾)的接触,都并未因未能改变这些社会而受到谴责。

  尽管如此,我们也不应该低估美国对中国开放四十年对中国的社会经济发展所造成的巨大影响。美国与中国的接触帮助中国制定了迅速地使得至少五亿人口摆脱贫困的政策,将中国从一个愤怒、贫穷、孤立、希望推翻资本主义世界秩序的国家转变成了一个主动、越来越富裕、成功地参与这一秩序的国家。它催生了一个现代化的经济体,这个经济体如今已经是世界经济增长最为强大的推动力,而且直到贸易战打响之前,这一经济体还是美国增长最为迅速的海外市场。美国与中国的接触帮助改革了其教育体系,创造出了一支科学、技术、工程和数学方面的劳动力,这支劳动力已经占据了全球经济中此类劳动力总数的四分之一。中国曾一度拖了人类发展的后腿,但如今却成为了加速推动人类发展的发动机。这样的转变在很大程度上要归功于美国与中国接触战略的深度与广度。

  此外,我们也不应该低估中美之间经济脱钩、政治敌对和军事对抗可能造成的潜在影响。美国如今的政策正在使得上述现象变得制度化。即使中美两国结束了当前这场贸易战,如今华盛顿似乎也已经下定了决心,要尽其所能遏制中国。有理由提出这样一个问题:美国能够成功地做到这一点吗?试图做到这一点,代价和后果会如何?如果美国放弃与中国的接触,美国对中国未来的演变还能施加怎样的影响--如果说还能施加任何影响的话?在中美两国敌对式的共存这一条件之下,中国未来的演变看上去会是什么样子的?

  接下来我将针对这些问题,列出可能的答案。

  首先,降低中国与美国经济相互依赖程度的后果是什么?

  如今将中国与美国经济联系在一起的供应链是经由市场管控下的比较优势塑造出来的。美国试图强行实施政府规定的关于中国购买农业产品、半导体以及此类产品的额度。这样的做法象征着政治势力凌驾于市场力量之上。通过同时退出《巴黎气候协定》、《跨太平洋伙伴关系协定》、伊朗核协议,以及其他一系列协定与条约,华盛顿表明了自己不再能够被信任会尊重契约的神圣不可侵犯性。美国政府还表明了,它可以无视其农场主和制造业工厂主的经济利益,强行施行由政治动机推动的对这些产品的禁运。中国从近来美国外交举动中吸取的基本经验就是,人们不应再信赖美国的言辞,或是依靠其工业与农业出口品了。

  出于这些原因,中国与美国之间将要达成的贸易“协议”--如果两国之间会达成贸易“协议”的话--充其量只不过会是后续争斗之前的停火。这将是短期的权宜之计,而不是长期的重振中美之间的贸易与投资关系,使其变得更加有利于美国的利益。中国政府未来将不会允许中国变得过于依赖涉及像特朗普的美国那样反复无常和充满敌意的国家的进口品或是供应链。与之相反,中国将开发美国以外的食物、自然资源和制造品来源,同时提高自力更生的程度。美国工厂主和农场主进入中国市场受到限制,这将导致美国的经济增长率受挫。通过试图减弱美国与中国相互依赖的程度,特朗普政府在不经意间使得美国成为了正在迅速成为世界上最大的消费市场的中国市场最后考虑的对象。

  中国经济的规模还将令美国制造商“失去”中国市场的后果进一步雪上加霜。中国服务业之外的经济已经令美国服务业之外的经济相形见绌了。经济规模是很重要的。建立在具有无与伦比规模的国内市场基础上的中国公司,所具有的规模经济,使得它们在国际竞争中获得了巨大的优势。随着中国对美国的保护主义做法以牙还牙地进行报复,生产诸如建筑器材或是数字交换机等商品的美国公司刚刚因为被增收了关税,而在中国市场上被置于了严重的不利地位。美国公司如今在中国市场上遭受的此类新障碍的一大副作用在于,中国公司不仅可以在中国市场上,而且还可以在第三国市场上,与美国公司展开更加有效的竞争了。

  其次,美国试图阻止中国在全球治理中发挥更大的作用。

  与此前美国试图说服盟国和贸易伙伴抵制中国发起的亚洲基础设施投资银行的努力相比,这样的做法成功的可能性并不会更高。此举会导致美国陷入孤立,而不是中国。从外部对“一带一路”倡议以及与之相关的项目指指点点,并无助于将其塑造得有利于美国的利益。这只会博多美国公司通过参与其中而可能获得的利益。

  美国的所作所为似乎是出于对单纯的双极世界秩序的怀旧之情。在这样一种双极世界秩序之中,可以通过向其他国家施压的方式,迫使其站到美国这一边,或是站到美国的对手那一边。然而,和美国曾经的对手苏联不一样,中国并不受阻于功能失调的意识形态与经济体系。更加重要的是,如今的中国是国际社会至关重要的一个成员,而不是像苏联那样的局外人。如今,没有国家还愿意被迫在北京和华盛顿之间作出选择了。恰恰相反,它们都试图尽可能地从与中国、与美国,以及与其他国家的关系中获取最大利益,只要这些国家能够为它们带来好处。非此即彼的选择、外交官的群体思维,以及冷战风格的阵地战,已经被民族性身份政治和对于政治、经济与军事利益的投机式追求取代了。过去的效忠情况再也不能决定当下的行为了。

  可悲的现实是,曾经引领创建了布雷顿森林体系--这一体系是第二次世界大战之后以规则为基础的国际体系的核心--的美国,如今却既不为这些机构及其成员提供资金,也不推动其改革。而在供给、需求、财富和实力都发生了转移的情况下,要想推动发展,资金和改革都是必不可少的。中国与其他国家正在创建的那些新的组织,例如亚洲基础设施投资银行和金砖国家新开发银行等等,并非是在以掠夺的方式闯入由美国主宰的国际金融这一领域。创建这些组织,是针对金融与经济需求未获得满足所作出的必要的回应。谴责这些组织,并不能改变现实。

  其他国家并不将这些组织视为取代此前存在的那些放贷机构--长期以来这些机构都是由美国领导的--的组织。这些新的机构对世界银行以及地区性开发银行构成了补充。它们的运作方式比起布雷顿森林体系的那些机构所开创的放贷规则有所改善。中国是这些新开发银行的主要出资国,但并不像美国在国际货币基金组织和世界银行里那样,拥有否决权。亚洲基础设施投资银行的职员来自多个国家(占据关键职位的还包括美国人)。金砖国家新开发银行的首位行长是印度人,而且迄今为止其主要放贷行为都发生在南非。

  华盛顿选择了抵制中国发起的一切事物。迄今为止,旨在排挤和削弱中国影响力的这种做法所造成的可悲的、但完全在预料之中的结果便是,中国的国际影响力非但没有遭到削弱,反而更加扩大了。通过拒不参与此类新机构,美国使得自己在多边发展金融领域的总体治理过程中变得越来越无关紧要了。

  第三,美国试图阻挠中国的国际投资,遏制其技术公司,并阻止其科学与技术进步。

  美国外国投资委员会为阻止中国对美国工业和农业进行投资的行动被广为宣传,并且变得越来越频繁了。美国官方对华为和中兴等中国电信公司的谴责也越来越频繁,还不时地采取行动,试图令其倒闭。美国联邦调查局开始大声提出警告,声称美国大学校园中的大量中国留学生对美国构成了威胁,这令人不安地回想起了第一次世界大战时的反德情绪,第二次世界大战时的反日情绪,以及冷战时的反共情绪。华盛顿正在调整签证政策,使得这些“危险的”人们被美国大学录取的难度增大。华盛顿还发起了一场咄咄逼人的运动,试图说服其他国家也拒绝作为“一带一路”倡议内容的中国投资。

  总而言之,这些政策说明美国政治精英决定阻挠中国的发展,而不是通过投资来加强美国与中国竞争的能力。然而没有任何理由能够令人相信这种做法可以取得成功。在过去三年间,中国的外国直接投资增加了两倍还多。第三方国家公开地拒绝和美国一道反对深化与中国的经济关系。它们想要获得的是中国投资将提供的资本、技术和市场开放。美国对于这些国家与中国做生意的意愿提出谴责,但在这样做的同时,很少有美国公司能够为它们提供可以与中国竞争者提出的条件相匹敌的报价。什么都不付出的话,你是无法战胜别人的。

  同样还不清楚的是,美国政府对中美两国之间科学、技术、工程和数学方面劳动力的合作加以阻挠,这种做法会使得中国还是美国遭受更为严重的伤害。情况很有可能是这样:遭受最严重伤害的会是美国。相当多的土生土长的美国人似乎对宗教迷信、魔法和超级英雄比对科学更感兴趣。美国在科学、技术、工程和数学方面的成就在很大程度上归功于移民,以及美国高校中的中国与外国研究者。特朗普政府却试图对这二者都加以限制。

  中国已经拥有了全世界科学、技术、工程和数学方面的劳动力总量的四分之一。如今,中国每年毕业的科学、技术、工程和数学方面的毕业生数量为美国的三倍。(讽刺的是,在美国,有相当数量的科学、技术、工程和数学方面的毕业生是中国或者其他亚洲国家的留学生。在美国学习计算机科学的学生中,约有半数是中国或者其他亚洲国家的留学生。)美国与中国科学家不再进行接触,再加上美国研究机构中中国人数量的减少,只会进一步阻碍美国的科学进步。

  中国正在迅速增加对于教育、基础科学、研究和开发的投资,然而美国却在减少对于这些活动的投资,而这些活动正是技术进步的基础。在中国,创新的速度正在明显加快。在其他国家的科研人员继续相互交流的同时,让美国不再与中国的科研人员进行接触,会导致美国面临着不只落在中国之后、还会落在其他外国竞争者之后的危险。

  最后,美国军队正在与中国对抗。

  美国的海军和空军每天都在中国海岸进行巡逻,打探着中国的国防设施。美国在与中国开战时的战略--例如因台湾问题而开战--有赖于克服中国的这些国防设施,从而能够对中国的内陆进行打击。美国刚刚退出了《中程核力量条约》,部分原因就是为了能够在中国周边地带部署核武器。就短期而言,因意外事件而触发战争--例如由南海和钓鱼岛的小事故触发,或是由台湾政客超出中国大陆对这个岛屿悬而未决的政治现状的容忍程度的某些举动触发--的风险正在增大。这些威胁促使中国的国防预算日益增长、其军事实力日益提高,旨在令美国在中国近海地区不再占据长期以来的军事优势地位。

  就长期而言,美国主导中国周边地区的努力会导致中国军队在美国周边地区也作出类似的回应,就如同苏联曾经做的那样。莫斯科积极地在美国的大西洋沿岸和太平洋沿岸巡逻,在距离这两条海岸不远处部署了能够发射导弹的潜水艇,支持西半球的反美政权,并且凭借足以摧毁美国内陆的核打击能力威慑美国,令其不敢与自己开战。以什么为依据,华盛顿才会认为北京最终不能、也不愿针对美国军队在中国周边构成的威胁而对美国以牙还牙呢?

  在长达四十二年的冷战期间,美国一直与其苏联对手保持着充分的军队与军队之间的对话。美国和苏联双方都明确地承认达成战略均势以及提出危机管理机制的必要性,以便降低在两国之间爆发战争和核交火的风险。然而,如今不存在此类对话、谅解或是机制,来对美军和中国人民解放军之间业已存在的紧张局势的升级加以控制。在不存在此类对话、谅解或是机制的情况下,美国对中国人民解放军所具有的全部意图与计划的揣测,都并非出于真凭实据,而只是出于镜像思维。

  中美之间的互不理解可能促使军事对抗更加激烈、并且增加这种局面可能导致的危险,这样的可能性正在增加。由于中国和美国的内部安全与反情报机构似乎正在你争我夺地试图在令对方国家的公民对本国心生不满之情方面比对方做得更加出色,发生这种情况的几率甚至进一步增大了。中国是个警察国家。对于身在美国的中国人而言,美国有时候看上去也正在成为一个警察国家。

  很难避免得出这样的结论:如果华盛顿继续当前这种做法,那么美国获得的利益将很少,同时会将大片地盘拱手让给中国,并且极大地增加自身福祉、全球领导地位以及安全局势所面对的风险。

  从经济方面来说,中国将变得不那么欢迎来自美国的出口产品。中国将要么寻求实行进口替代政策,要么试图寻找能够替代美国的商品及服务的其他来源。随着接触世界上拥有最大规模的中产阶级以及消费者群体的经济体的程度受到限制,美国在价值链上的地位将会下降。中国与其他主要经济体关系的发展速度,将快于这些主要经济体与美国关系的发展速度,这反过来又会影响到美国的经济增长率。美国对中国贸易赤字的任何减少,都会被与其他国家贸易赤字的增多而抵消,因为当前位于中国的那些生产将会转移到这些地方。

  随着中国为既存的一系列国际组织提供新的机构以及资金,以及在这些机构的管理过程中扮演更加重要的角色,中国在全球治理中的作用将得到扩大。“一带一路”倡议将使得中国的经济影响力扩张到欧亚大陆及其周边地区的任何一个角落。美国在全球规则制定及其执行过程中发挥的作用将进一步衰退。中国将渐渐地取代美国,在全球贸易、投资、运输和新技术规章制定等方面成为新的标准制定者。

  中国的技术创新将进一步加速,但这将不再是在与美国研究者以及研究机构的合作中实现的。与之相反,中国将自主地以及通过与美国之外的科学家进行合作,来实现技术创新的加速发展。美国的大学将不再吸引来自中国的最为优秀的大学生以及研究人员。在没有美国参与下所开发的新技术,与其说美国能够分享、不如说美国将无法获得其带来的收益。与此同时,美国长期以来在科学和技术方面占据的优势地位将逐渐地化为乌有。随着中国与美国之间的热诚以及联系烟消云散,中国人尊重美国知识财产的理由也将变得更少,而不是更多。

  考虑到美国军力部署在前沿这一状况,中国军队拥有居于守势和交通线更短这一巨大的优势。中国人民解放军当前正专注于反制美国在太平洋沿岸最后十分之一处,或者说是6000英里范围内,投射兵力的能力。然而,随着时间的推移,中国人民解放军很有可能会试图通过直接向美国边界地带施压的方式,来向美国向中国边界施压的做法投桃报李,就如同苏联军队曾经做过的那样。

  如今在美国军队与中国人民解放军之间存在着的敌对关系已经助长了两国军队之间的军备竞赛。这种情况很有可能会进一步扩张和加速。中国人民解放军正在迅速地缩小自己的军事实力与美军军事实力之间的差距。中国人民解放军正在研发核三位一体,以便匹敌美国的核三位一体。好消息在于,中美之间相互的核威慑看上去仍然是可能的。坏消息在于,台湾的政客以及他们在华盛顿的同路人正在坚决地挑战那些在过去四十年间用对话与和解使得台湾海峡两岸的军事冲突局面得以缓解的政策框架与相互谅解。在台湾,有些人似乎相信,当他们与大陆发生冲突时,能够指望美国出手干预。中国内战并未结束,而是在1950年时由于美国的单方面干预而中止了。如今,这场战争比数十年来的任何时间都更加接近于重新打响。

  关于中美关系政治-军事方面,最后值得一提的是,在美国,任何曾在中国待过一段时间的人,如今经常无法通过安全审查。这确保了很少有情报分析人士能够拥有“指尖上的触觉”--即从直接经验中得来的感觉--而这种感觉对于真正地理解中国或是中国人而言是必不可少的。对此不必担心。因为特朗普政府根本不相信情报部门。如今,政策是根据混杂着媒体炮制出来的幻想的无知出台的。在这样的情况下,某些野心勃勃的美国人开始在龙粪中搜寻未被消化掉的中国恶意这一金块,从而在掌权者热衷于此类事物之前就能因此吹嘘自己。中国有句老话很好地总结了这种做派:“屎壳郎带花,又臭又美。”

  总而言之,这样的做法是无法在应对中国的财富与权势与日俱增对美国提出的多重挑战方面取得成果的。那么,该怎么办呢?

  我在此将提出几点设想。

  首先,接受这样一种现实:中国体量太大了,而且在国际体系中扎下的根太深了,是无法通过双边的方式加以应对的。国际体系需要作出调整,以适应中国的崛起所造成的地区与全球财富与实力均势的这种地壳移动式的重大变化。要想拥有成功地应对如今正在发生的变化的一丝希望,美国就需要获得一个由富有理性和远见的人士组成的联盟的支持。如果美国继续以蔑视联盟和伙伴关系的方式采取行动的话,美国就不可能获得这样一个联盟的支持。华盛顿需要重塑建立在外交与礼让基础上的治国之道。

  其次,需要忘记政府管控下的贸易以及其他形式的重商主义。没有人能够指望在这样一场国家统制主义的游戏中战胜中国。世界不应做此尝试。世界也不应该鼓励中国政府以牺牲市场力量或是中国的私有部门为代价,来管控贸易。各国政府可以而且--在我看来--应该制定经济政策目标,但如果是市场、而不是政客,通过分配资本和劳动力来实现这些经济政策目标的话,任何人都将从中获得更大的利益。

  第三,与其假装能够在地区和全球治理中拒绝赋予中国重要的角色,不如优雅地承认现实。与其试图削弱中国,不如利用其财富和实力来支持以规则为基础的世界秩序。中国正式在这一世界秩序中实现繁荣的。世界贸易组织正是这一世界秩序的一部分。

  第四,应该接受这一现实:美国继续与中国在科学、技术和教育方面保持开放,会令自己获得更多利益,而不是失去更多。需要保持警惕,但不应过分。最好继续保持目前这种开放和跨国合作的局面。要针对中国开展工作,说服它相信对它而言技术盗窃的成本最终会变得太高,从而不值得承担。

  第五也是最后一点,不要再在中国沿海地带进行挑衅性的军事行动。不要再频繁地用“航海行动的自由”来对中国对《联合国海洋法公约》的解释提出抗议,而是转而展开对话,争取双方对彼此的相关利益与原则达成相互谅解。批准《联合国海洋法公约》,并且利用该公约的争端解决机制。尽可能地避免与中国发生军事对抗,并且寻求展开符合双方共同利益的行动,例如保护商业船只,等等。寻求双方共同的立场,同时并不否认双方之间长期存在的分歧。

  总而言之,中国和美国都需要一个和平的国际环境,以便应对长期以来遭到忽视的国内问题。做更多我们目前正在做的事情,只会使得中国和美国都无法维持目前这种和平、繁荣和国内安宁的程度。然而中美之间更具合作性的关系却能够做到这一点。中国与美国这样的两个大国之间敌对式的共存将会导致两国都遭受伤害,使得任何一方都无法从中获益。这会导致不可接受的风险。美国人和中国人都需要离开我们如今身处的这条道路。我们能够--我们必须-找到一条对我们而言都更好的前进之路。

  (本文为作者于2019年5月3日在斯坦福大学召开的“新冷战?:锐实力,战略竞争和中美关系的未来”系列座谈会上的发言。)

 

On Hostile Coexistence with China
Remarks to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies China Program

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr.(USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Stanford, California, 3 May 2019

President Trump’s trade war with China has quickly metastasized into every other domain of Sino-American relations.   Washington is now trying to dismantle China’s interdependence with the American economy, curb its role in global governance, counter its foreign investments, cripple its companies, block its technological advance, punish its many deviations from liberal ideology, contest its borders, map its defenses, and sustain the ability to penetrate those defenses at will.

The message of hostility to China these efforts send is consistent and apparently comprehensive.  Most Chinese believe it reflects an integrated U.S. view or strategy.  It does not.

There is no longer an orderly policy process in Washington to coordinate, moderate, or control policy formulation or implementation.  Instead, a populist president has effectively declared open season on China.  This permits everyone in his administration to go after China as they wish.  Every internationally engaged department and agency – the U.S. Special Trade Representative, the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security – is doing its own thing about China.  The president has unleashed an undisciplined onslaught.  Evidently, he calculates that this will increase pressure on China to capitulate to his protectionist and mercantilist demands.  That would give him something to boast about as he seeks reelection in 2020.

Trump’s presidency has been built on lower middle-class fears of displacement by immigrants and outsourcing of jobs to foreigners.  His campaign found a footing in the anger of ordinary Americans – especially religious Americans – at the apparent contempt for them and indifference to their welfare of the country’s managerial and political elites.  For many, the trade imbalance with China and Chinese rip-offs of U.S. technology became the explanations of choice for increasingly unfair income distribution, declining equality of opportunity, the deindustrialization of the job market, and the erosion of optimism in the United States.

In their views of China, many Americans now appear subconsciously to have combined images of the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, Japan’s unnerving 1980s challenge to U.S.  industrial and financial primacy, and a sense of existential threat analogous to the Sinophobia that inspired the Anti-Coolie and Chinese Exclusion Acts.

Meanwhile, the ineptitude of the American elite revealed by the 2008 financial crisis, the regular eruptions of racial violence and gun massacres in the United States, the persistence of paralyzing political constipation in Washington, and the arrogant unilateralism of “America First” have greatly diminished the appeal of America to the Chinese elite.

As a result, Sino-American interaction is now long on mutual indignation and very short on empirically validated information to substantiate the passions it evokes.  On each side, the other is presumed guilty of a litany of iniquities.  There is no process by which either side can achieve exoneration from the other’s accusations.  Guesstimates, conjectures, a priorireasoning from dubious assumptions, and media-generated hallucinations are reiterated so often that they are taken as facts.  The demagoguery of contemporary American populism ensures that in this country clamor about China needs no evidence at all to fuel it.  Meanwhile, Chinese nationalism answers American rhetorical kicks in the teeth by swallowing the figurative blood in its mouth and refraining from responding in kind, while sullenly plotting revenge.  君子报仇十年不长.[1]

We are now entering not just a post-American but post-Western era.  In many ways the contours of the emerging world order are unclear.  But one aspect of them is certain:China will play a larger and the U.S. a lesser role than before in global and regional governance.  The Trump administration’s response to China’s increasing wealth and power does not bode well for this future.  The pattern of mutual resentment and hostility the two countries are now establishing may turn out to be indelible.  If so, the consequences for both and for world prosperity and peace could be deeply unsettling.

For now, America’s relationship with China appears to have become a vector compounded of many contradictory forces and factors, each with its own advocates and constituencies.  The resentments of some counter the enthusiasms of others.  No one now in government seems to be assessing the overall impact on American interests or wellbeing of an uncoordinated approach to relations with the world’s greatest rising power.  And few in the United States seem to be considering the possibility that antagonism to China’s rise might end up harming the United States and its Asian security partners more than it does China.  Or that, in extreme circumstances, it could even lead to a devastating trans-Pacific nuclear exchange.

Some of the complaints against China from the squirming mass of Sinophobes who have attached themselves to President Trump are entirely justified.  The Chinese have been slow to accept the capitalist idea that knowledge is property that can be owned on an exclusive basis.  This is, after all, contrary to a millennial Chinese tradition that regards copying as flattery, not a violation of genius.  Chinese businessfolk have engaged in the theft of intellectual property rights not just from each other but from foreigners.  Others may have done the same in the past, but they were nowhere near as big as China.  China’s mere size makes its offenses intolerable.  Neither the market economy in China nor China’s international trade and investment relationships can realize their potential until its disrespect for private property is corrected.  The United States and the European Union(EU)are right to insist that the Chinese government fix this problem.

Many Chinese agree.  Not a few quietly welcome foreign pressure to strengthen the enforcement of patents and trademarks, of which they are now large creators, in the Chinese domestic market.  Even more hope the trade war will force their government to reinvigorate “reform and opening.”  Fairer treatment of foreign-invested Chinese companies is not just a reasonable demand but one that serves the interests of the economically dominant but politically disadvantaged private sector in China.  Chinese protectionism is an unlatched door against which the United States and others should continue to push.

But other complaints against China range from the partially warranted to the patently bogus.  Some recall Hermann Göring’s cynical observation at Nuremberg that:“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”   There is a lot of this sort of manipulative reasoning at play in the deteriorating U.S. security relationship with the Chinese.  Social and niche media, which make everything plausible and leave no truth unrefuted, facilitate this.  In the Internet miasma of conspiracy theories, false narratives, fabricated reports, fictive “facts,” and outright lies, baseless hypotheses about China rapidly become firm convictions and long-discredited myths and rumors find easy resurrection.

Consider the speed with which a snappy phrase invented by an Indian polemicist – “debt-trap diplomacy” – has become universally accepted as encapsulating an alleged Chinese policy of international politico-economic predation.  Yet the only instance of a so-called a “debt trap” ever cited is the port of Hambantota, commissioned by the since-ousted autocratic president of Sri Lanka to glorify his hometown.  His successor correctly judged that the port was a white elephant and decided to offload it on the Chinese company that had built it by demanding that the company exchange the debt to it for equity.  To recover any portion of its investment, the Chinese company now has to build some sort of economic hinterland for the port.  Hambantota is less an example of a “debt trap” than of a stranded asset.

Then too, China is now routinely accused of iniquities that better describe the present-day United States than the People’s Middle Kingdom.  Among the most ironic of such accusations is the charge that it is China, not a sociopathic “America First” assault on the international status quo, that is undermining both U.S. global leadership and the multilateral order remarkably wise American statesmen put in place some seven decades ago.  But it is the United States, not China, that is ignoring the U.N. Charter, withdrawing from treaties and agreements, attempting to paralyze the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution mechanisms, and substituting bilateral protectionist schemes for multilateral facilitation of international trade based on comparative advantage.

The WTO was intended as an antidote to mercantilism, also known as “government-managed trade.”  China has come strongly to support globalization and free trade.  These are the primary sources of its rise to prosperity.  It is hardly surprising that China has become a strong defender of the trade and investment regime Americans designed and put in place.

By contrast, the Trump administration is all about mercantilism – boosting national power by minimizing imports and maximizing exports as part of a government effort to manage trade with unilateral tariffs and quotas, while exempting the United States from the rules it insists that others obey.

I will not go on except to note the absurdity of the thesis that “engagement” failed to transform China’s political system and should therefore be abandoned.  Those who most vociferously advance this canard are the very people who used to complain that changing China’s political order was not the objective of engagement but that it should be.  They now condemn engagement because it did not accomplish objectives that they wanted it to have but used to know that it didn’t.  It is telling that American engagement with other illiberal societies(like Egypt, the Israeli occupation in Palestine, or the Philippines under President Duterte)is not condemned for having failed to change them.

That said, we should not slight the tremendous impact of America’s forty-year opening to China on its socioeconomic development.   American engagement with China helped it develop policies that rapidly lifted at least 500 million people out of poverty.  It transformed China from an angry, impoverished, and isolated power intent on overthrowing the capitalist world order to an active, increasingly wealthy, and very successful participant in that order.  It midwifed the birth of a modernized economy that is now the largest single driver of the world’s economic growth and that, until the trade war intervened, was America’s fastest growing overseas market.  American engagement with China helped reform its educational system to create a scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical(“STEM”)workforce that already accounts for one-fourth of such workers in the global economy.  For a while, China was a drag on human progress.  It is now an engine accelerating it.  That transformation owes a great deal to the breadth and depth of American engagement with it.

Nor should we underestimate the potential impact of the economic decoupling, political animosity, and military antagonism that U.S. policy is now institutionalizing.  Even if the two sides conclude the current trade war, Washington now seems determined to do everything it can to hold China down.  It seems appropriate to ask:can the United States succeed in doing this?  What are the probable costs and consequences of attempting to do it?   If America disengages from China, what influence, if any, will the United States have on its future evolution?  What is that evolution likely to look like under conditions of hostile coexistence between the two countries?

Some likely answers, issue by issue.

First:the consequences of cutting back Sino-American economic interdependence.

The supply chains now tying the two economies together were forged by market-regulated comparative advantage.  The U.S. attempt to impose government-dictated targets for Chinese purchases of agricultural commodities, semiconductors, and the like represents a political preemption of market forces.  By simultaneously walking away from the Paris climate accords, TPP, the Iran nuclear deal, and other treaties and agreements, Washington has shown that it can no longer be trusted to respect the sanctity of contracts.  The U.S. government has also demonstrated that it can ignore the economic interests of its farmers and manufacturers and impose politically motivated embargoes on them.  The basic lesson Chinese have taken from recent U.S. diplomacy is that no one should rely on either America’s word or its industrial and agricultural exports.

For these reasons, the impending trade “deal” between China and the United States – if there is one – will be at most a truce that invites further struggle.  It will be a short-term expedient, not a long-term reinvigoration of the Sino-American trade and investment relationship to American advantage.  No future Chinese government will allow China to become substantially dependent on imports or supply chains involving a country as fickle and hostile as Trump’s America has proven to be.  China will instead develop non-American sources of foodstuffs, natural resources, and manufactures, while pursuing a greater degree of self-reliance.  More limited access to the China market for U.S. factories and farmers will depress U.S. growth rates.  By trying to reduce U.S. interdependence with China, the Trump administration has inadvertently made the United States the supplier of last resort to what is fast becoming the world’s largest consumer market.

The consequences for American manufacturers of “losing” the China market are worsened by the issue of scale.  China’s non-service economy already dwarfs that of the United States.  Size matters.  Chinese companies, based in a domestic market of unparalleled size, have economies of scale that give them major advantages in international competition.  American companies producing goods – for example, construction equipment or digital switching gear – have just been put at a serious tariff disadvantage in the China market as China retaliates against U.S. protectionism by reciprocating it.  One side effect of the new handicaps U.S. companies now face in the China market is more effective competition from Chinese companies, not just in China but in third country markets too.

Second:the U.S. effort to block an expanded Chinese role in global governance.

This is no more likely to succeed than the earlier American campaign to persuade allies and trading partners to boycott the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB).  That has isolated the United States, not China.  Carping at the Belt and Road initiative and related programs from outside them does nothing to shape them to American advantage.  It just deprives American companies of the profits they might gain from participating in them.

The United States seems to be acting out of nostalgia for the simplicities of a bipolar world order, in which countries could be pressured to stand with either the United States or its then rival.  But China is not hampered by a dysfunctional ideology and economic system, as America’s Soviet adversary was.  What’s more, today’s China is an integral member of international society, not a Soviet-style outcast.  There is now, quite literally, no country willing to accept being forced to make a choice between Beijing and Washington.  Instead, all seek to extract whatever benefits they can from relations with both and with other capitals as well, if they have something to offer.  The binary choices, diplomatic group-think, and trench warfare of the Cold War have been succeeded by national identity politics and the opportunistic pursuit of political, economic, and military interests wherever they can be served.  Past allegiances do not anywhere determine current behavior.

The sad reality is that the United States, which led the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions that have been at the core of the post-World War II rule-bound international system, now offers these institutions and their members neither funding nor reform.  Both are necessary to promote development as balances of supply, demand, wealth, and power shift.   The new organizations, like the AIIB and the New Development Bank, that China and others are creating are not predatory intrusions into the domain of American-dominated international finance.  They are necessary responses to unmet financial and economic demand.  Denouncing them does not alter that reality.

Other countries do not see these organizations as supplanting pre-existing lending institutions long led by the United States.  The new institutions supplement the World Bank Group and regional development banks.  They operate under slightly improved versions of the lending rules pioneered by the Bretton Woods legacy establishments.   China is a major contributor to the new development banks, but it does not exercise a veto in them as the U.S. does in the IMF and World Bank.  The AIIB’s staff is multinational(and includes Americans in key positions).  The New Development Bank’s first president is Indian and its principal lending activity to date has been in South Africa.

Washington has chosen to boycott anything and everything sponsored by China.  So far, the sad but entirely predictable result of this attempt to ostracize and reduce Chinese influence has not curbed China’s international clout but magnified it.  By absenting itself from the new institutions, the United States is making itself increasingly irrelevant to the overall governance of multilateral development finance.

Third:the U.S. campaign to block China’s international investments, cripple its technology companies, and impede its scientific and technological advance.

The actions of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States(CFIUS)to prevent Chinese investment in American industry and agriculture are well publicized and are becoming ever more frequent.  So are official American denunciations of Chinese telecommunications companies like Huawei and ZTE amidst intermittent efforts to shut them down.  In an ominous echo of World War I’s anti-German, World War II’s anti-Japanese, and the Cold War’s anti-communist xenophobia, the FBI has begun issuing loud warnings about the menace posed by the large Chinese student presence on American campuses.  Washington is adjusting visa policies to discourage such dangerous people from matriculating here.  It has also mounted a strident campaign to persuade other countries to reject Chinese investments under the “Belt and Road” initiative.

In the aggregate, these policies represent a decision by the U.S. political elite to try to hamstring China, rather than to invest in strengthening America’s ability to compete with it.  There is no reason whatsoever to believe this approach can succeed.  China’s foreign direct investments have more than doubled over the past three years.  Third countries are openly declining to go along with U.S. opposition to intensified economic relations with China.  They want the capital, technology, and market openings that Chinese investment provides.   U.S. denunciations of their interest in doing business with China are seldom accompanied by credible offers by American companies to match what their Chinese competitors offer.  You can’t beat something with nothing.

It’s also not clear which country is most likely to be hurt by U.S. government obstruction of collaboration between Chinese and American STEM workers.  There is a good chance the greatest damage will be to the United States.  A fair number of native-born Americans seem more interested in religious myths, magic, and superheroes than in science.  U.S. achievements in STEM owe much to immigration and to the presence of Chinese and other foreign researchers in America’s graduate schools.  The Trump administration is trying to curtail both.

China already possesses one-fourth of the world’s STEM workforce.  It is currently graduating three times as many STEM students annually as the United States. (Ironically, a significant percentage of STEM graduates in the United States are Chinese or other Asian nationals.  Around half of those studying computer sciences in the United States are such foreigners.)  American loss of contact with scientists in China and a reduced Chinese presence in U.S. research institutions can only retard the further advance of science in the United States.

China is rapidly increasing its investments in education, basic science, research, and development even as the United States reduces funding for these activities, which are the foundation of technological advance.  The pace of innovation in China is visibly accelerating.  Cutting Americans off from interaction with their Chinese counterparts while other countries continue risks causing the United States to fall behind not just China but other foreign competitors.

Finally:the U.S. military is in China’s face.

The U.S. Navy and Air Force patrol China’s coasts and test its defenses on a daily basis.  U.S. strategy in the event of war with China – for example, over Taiwan – depends on overcoming those defenses so as to be able to strike deep into the Chinese homeland.  The United States has just withdrawn from the treaty on intermediate nuclear forces in part to be able to deploy nuclear weapons to the Chinese periphery.  In the short term, there is increasing danger of a war by accident, triggered by a mishap in the South China Sea, the Senkaku Archipelago, or by efforts by Taiwanese politicians to push the envelope of mainland tolerance of their island’s unsettled political status quo.  These threats are driving growth in China’s defense budget and its development of capabilities to deny the United States continued military primacy in its adjacent seas.

In the long term, U.S. efforts to dominate China’s periphery invite a Chinese military response on America’s periphery like that formerly mounted by the Soviet Union.  Moscow actively patrolled both U.S. coasts, stationed missile-launching submarines just off them, supported anti-American regimes in the Western Hemisphere, and relied on its ability to devastate the American homeland with nuclear weapons to deter war with the United States.  On what basis does Washington imagine that Beijing cannot and will not eventually reciprocate the threat the U.S. forces surrounding China appear to pose to it?

Throughout the forty-two years of the Cold War, Americans maintained substantive military-to-military dialogue with their Soviet enemies.  Both sides explicitly recognized the need for strategic balance and developed mechanisms for crisis management that could limit the risk of a war and a nuclear exchange between them.  But no such dialogue, understandings, or mechanisms to control escalation now exist between the U.S. armed forces and the PLA.  In their absence Americans attribute to the PLA all sorts of intentions and plans that are based on mirror-imaging rather than evidence.

The possibility that mutual misunderstanding will intensify military confrontation and increase the dangers it presents is growing.  The chances of this are all the greater because the internal security and counterintelligence apparatuses in China and the United States appear to be engaged in a contest to see which can most thoroughly alienate the citizens of the other country.  China is a police state.  For Chinese in America, the United States sometimes seems to be on the way to becoming one.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, if Washington stays on its current course, the United States will gain little, while ceding substantial ground to China and significantly increasing risks to its wellbeing, global leadership, and security.

Economically, China will become less welcoming to American exports.  It will pursue import substitution or alternative sourcing for goods and services it has previously sourced in the United States.  With impaired access to the world’s largest middle class and consumer economy, the United States will be pushed down the value chain.  China’s ties to other major economies will grow faster than those with America, adversely affecting U.S. growth rates.  Any reductions in the U.S. trade deficit with China will be offset by increases in trade deficits with the countries to which current production in China is relocated.

China’s role in global governance will expand as it adds new institutions and funds to the existing array of international organizations and takes a larger part in their management.  The Belt and Road initiative will expand China’s economic reach to every corner of the Eurasian landmass and adjacent areas.  The U.S. role in global rule-making and implementation will continue to recede.  China will gradually displace the United States in setting global standards for trade, investment, transport, and the regulation of new technologies.

Chinese technological innovation will accelerate, but it will no longer advance in collaboration with American researchers and institutions.  Instead it will do so indigenously and in cooperation with scientists outside the United States.  U.S. universities will no longer attract the most brilliant students and researchers from China.  The benefits of new technologies developed without American inputs may be withheld rather than shared with America, even as the leads the United States has long enjoyed in science and technology one-by-one erode and are eclipsed.  As cordiality and connections between China and the United States wither, reasons for Chinese to respect the intellectual property of Americans will diminish rather than increase.

Given the forward deployment of U.S. forces, the Chinese military has the great advantage of a defensive posture and short lines of communication.  The PLA is currently focused on countering U.S. power projection in the last tenth or so of the 6,000-mile span of the Pacific Ocean.  In time, however, it is likely to seek to match American pressure on its borders with its own direct military pressure on the United States along the lines of what the Soviet armed forces once did.

The adversarial relationship that now exists between the U.S. armed forces and the PLA already fuels an arms race between them.  This will likely expand and accelerate.  The PLA is rapidly shrinking the gap between its capabilities and those of the U.S. armed forces.  It is developing a nuclear triad to match that of the United States.  The good news is that mutual deterrence seems possible.  The bad news is that politicians in Taiwan and their fellow travelers in Washington are determinedly testing the policy frameworks and understandings that have, over the past forty years, tempered military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait with dialogue and rapprochement.  Some in Taiwan seem to believe that they can count on the United States to intervene if they get themselves in trouble with Chinese across the Strait.  The Chinese civil war, suspended but not ended by U.S. unilateral intervention in 1950, seems closer to a resumption than it has been for decades.

As a final note on politico-military aspects of Sino-American relations, in the United States, security clearances are now routinely withheld from anyone who has spent time in China.  This guarantees that few intelligence analysts have the Fingerspitzengefühl – the feeling derived from direct experience – necessary to really understand China or the Chinese.  Not to worry.  The administration disbelieves the intelligence community.  Policy is now made on the basis of ignorance overlaid with media-manufactured fantasies.  In these circumstances, some enterprising Americans have taken to combing the dragon dung for nuggets of undigested Chinese malevolence, so they can preen before those in power now eager for such stuff.  There is a Chinese expression that nicely describes such pretense:屎壳螂戴花儿—又臭又美 – “a dung beetle with flowers in its hair still stinks.”

All said, this does not add up to a fruitful approach to dealing with the multiple challenges that arise from China’s growing wealth and power.  So, what is to be done?  该怎么办?

Here are a few suggestions.

First, accept the reality that China is both too big and too embedded in the international system to be dealt with bilaterally.  The international system needs to adjust to and accommodate the seismic shifts in the regional and global balances of wealth and power that China’s rise is causing.  To have any hope of success at adapting to the changes now underway, the United States needs to be backed by a coalition of the reasonable and farsighted.  This can’t happen if the United States continues to act in contempt of alliances and partnerships.  Washington needs to rediscover statecraft based on diplomacy and comity.

Second, forget government-managed trade and other forms of mercantilism.  No one can hope to beat China at such a statist game.  The world shouldn’t try. Nor should it empower the Chinese government to manage trade at the expense of market forces or China’s private sector.  Governments can and – in my opinion – should set economic policy objectives, but everyone is better off when markets, not politicians, allocate capital and labor to achieve these.

Third, instead of pretending that China can be excluded from significant roles in regional and global governance, yield gracefully to its inclusion in both.  Instead of attempting to ostracize China, leverage its wealth and power in support of the rule-bound order in which it rose to prosperity, including the WTO.

Fourth, accept that the United States has as much or more to gain than to lose by remaining open to science, technology, and educational exchanges with China.  Be vigilant but moderate.  Err on the side of openness and transnational collaboration in progress.  Work on China to convince it that the costs of technology theft are ultimately too high for it to be worthwhile.

Fifth and finally, back away from provocative military actions on the China coast.  Trade frequent “freedom of navigation operations” to protest Chinese interpretations of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea for dialogue aimed at reaching common understandings of relevant interests and principles.  Ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea and make use of its dispute resolution mechanisms.  As much as possible, call off military confrontation and look for activities, like the protection of commercial shipping, that are common interests.  Seek common ground without prejudice to persisting differences.

In conclusion:both China and the United States need a peaceful international environment to be able to address long-neglected domestic problems.  Doing more of what we’re now doing threatens to preclude either of us from sustaining the levels of peace, prosperity, and domestic tranquility that a more cooperative relationship would afford.  Hostile coexistence between two such great nations injures both and benefits neither.  It carries unacceptable risks.  Americans and Chinese need to turn from the path we are now on.  We can – we must – find a route forward that is better for both of us.

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