Washington should act rationally

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Looked at half empty — Immediately after Beijing issued a blunt, strongly worded reiteration of its “red line” on Taiwan, Washington announced a fresh arms sale to the island. Looked at half full — President Xi Jinping has accepted US President Joe Biden’s invitation to attend the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Biden has convened. Looked at as they are — It seems that this will be the pattern for relations with the US choosing cooperation when it suits, confrontation otherwise. With just about all the previous channels of bilateral communication shut down by the previous US administration, those hoping for an upturn in ties have taken it as a sign of a long-awaited turn of the tide that the two sides are demonstrating their commitment to work together on climate concerns. Yet those well-wishers might have been overly optimistic. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s endorsement on Wednesday of the Strategic Competition Act of 2021 should give them reason to pause and consider. Even if, as they wish, the Biden administration is willing to normalize ties, the bipartisan consensus in the US Congress on tougher China policies won’t let that happen. The bipartisan bill makes it an obligation of the US president and the entire executive branch to regard China as “the greatest geopolitical and geoeconomic challenge” to the US. The 283-page legislation is a road map for long-term, comprehensive US strategic competition with China that threatens all-around competition and full-scale confrontation. In his opening remarks at a March 17 hearing on US strategic competition with China, Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the lead Democrat on the committee, accused China of “challenging the United States and destabilizing the international community across every dimension of power”, so much so that the “United States needs a new strategic framework for this competition and a new set of organizing principles to address the challenges …”. But as President Xi has said repeatedly, China does not seek hegemony. It has no plan or desire to displace the US as the global hegemon and create a world in its own image. That is the hubris of the US. It thinks it is looking at China when actually it is gazing in a mirror. Nevertheless, if the legislation’s smooth passage through the committee was a sign of consolidated anti-China sentiment in the US Congress, as some have observed, the road ahead will be very difficult for China-US relations.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times News Exchange Item