Getting tough or a new era of partnership?

17:03, March 26, 2010      

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By John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min

American policymakers are not yet successfully managing America's economic recovery, rising unemployment, relationship with China, or the American peoples fear of China. All of these dangerous economic and national security issues are interdependent. None can be solved unless they are all solved.

President Obama's inaugural address declared, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." On May 24, 2009, he announced the "launching a new era of partnership." In 2010 he has announced that he is "going to get tough" with China demanding it revalue its currency, which would harm Chinese policymakers' core interest of managing the economic wellbeing of the Chinese people. Does America getting tough with China on matters at the core of China's economic, social and political stability and wellbeing end the new era of partnership? Should China "get tough" with America? The answers to both these questions must be "no."

In the new era of partnership the world's two largest economies, America and China, must successfully manage their relationship for the global economy to regain stability and growth. Why would the sole military superpower extend its hand in 2009 and in 2010 clench its fist to the 22 percent of mankind in China who have unilaterally implemented the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence with America for thirty years? One of the reasons is because getting tough with China seems to some Americans to be a way to solve America's financial and economic crises.

However, it is America's relentless financial, economic, unemployment and national security crises that have made a successful new era of partnership with China essential for restoring America's economic and national security. American and Chinese policymakers "low key" successful collaboration on the values of the American dollar and China's Yuan is essential. Thinking that "getting tough" in a such a clash with China will lead to a mutually satisfactory solution in time is unrealistic in this fast moving but relentless crisis in which confidence in the capital markets and many nations is inadequate.

Ultimately, what is at stake in conflict between America and China over the value of China's currency and the other issues on which American policymakers feel they must confront and can coerce China to do what they want, which is harmful to China, is whether mankind is governable. If America and China cannot be successful economic and military allies in this century, then neither will have a sustainable basis for its economic or national security. If America and China cannot collaborate successfully, mankind will become ungovernable.

American policymakers are using an agenda of confronting China on issues such as the valuation of the Yuan and US dollar and balancing of trade, and human rights issues involving China's internal security and sovereignty. At the same time American policymakers are desperately seeking China's support on global issues such as the financial and economic crises, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. They are using a version of the conventional American grand strategy toward China, which subjectively seems to them to be an agenda maximizing America's economic interests and national security. However, the conventional American grand strategy and agenda now objectively undermines America's economic and national security. Unfortunately, many American policymakers still believe they can use an agenda of confronting and seeking China's support without destroying Chinese policymakers' ability to collaborate with America.
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