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China and America's leadership in Peaceful Coexistence (2)

21:07, May 04, 2010

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American policymakers must lead in this because civilizations' malcontents and attackers or losers in future conflict with America predictably will use all the weapons and science mankind has created. When malcontent individuals or nations such as Iran and North Korea can defend themselves or attack the world's sole military superpower with species lethal weapons or science, they become the equal of the world's sole military superpower. That 21st century revolution in the relationship of the strong and weak is the tipping point at which otherwise stronger nations, such as America, and weaker nations, such as Iran and North Korea, become equals.

That potentially species lethal danger is a result of the creation and proliferation of human knowledge, which America initiated in 1942 and changed our world with in 1945. American policymakers must adjust to that new equality that human knowledge has created. The situation we face today is eerily similar to the account in the Bible of the Adam and Eve's disastrous acquisition of knowledge and exile from Eden. Since we cannot stop the evolution and proliferation of human knowledge, except by our causing our species' extinction, we must stop the evolution and proliferation of human conflict. In a world in which America's enemies can possess and use species lethal weapons or science against America, it is best for America not to have enemies. That is not as impossible as it seems.

China has done its best in the past three decades not to have enemies and as a result it has enjoyed prosperity and peace with all nations. Its 1.5 billion people have greater economic and national security than America's 302 million, although China has 12 percent of the military spending and five times the population of America's. In order to better defend China, Deng Xiaoping and his successors reduced the international conflict caused by China by implementing the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the United Nations Charter. In order to better defend America President Obama and his successors must reduce the international conflict caused by America in the clash of civilizations. President Obama can safely begin by reciprocating the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence with China and that will astonish all civilizations and launch the New Era of the Collaboration of Civilizations.

America and China are both pursuing the goals of prosperity and peace but are taking leading roles in the international system with different mindsets, priorities and strategies. Although China's policymakers have been implementing the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence for 30 years, American policymakers and scholars seem not to have recognized nor understood the very different role China is performing. They expect China to have the same zero sum game mindset and strategic goals of obtaining ideological and military hegemony as America. Based on that assumption, China and America are in conflict. That assumption is incorrect and undermines America's economic and national security.

Three generations of China's leaders have recognized there are far greater advantages for China in seeking economic development, which requires peace with all nations, and that China is wise not to seek ideological or military hegemony. China's policymakers, who are responsible for the well-being of 22 percent of mankind and have a 5000 year history of statecraft to inform their view of the world, realized when Deng Xiaoping became their leader that hegemony is not worth seeking and that although China does not seek hegemony, it will naturally become a leading nation because of the combination of China's population size, abilities, hard work, economic development and the moral authority of its adherence to the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Although Deng Xiaoping established the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as the fundamental operating system of China's economic, foreign and national security policies 30 years ago, American policymakers and scholars rarely write about China's economically and militarily successful implementation of the Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. American policymakers have not yet understood China's economic, foreign and national security policies' pragmatic and exceptional achievement of rising above the causes of war in human nature.

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The articles in this column represent the author's views only. They do not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.

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John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min are the executive producers and co-hosts of the Collaboration of Civilizations television series adapted by the eight books they wrote in the America-China Partnership Book Series published in English and Mandarin in 2009-2010. They founded the America-China Partnership Foundation and Forum in 2008 and the Center for America-China Partnership in 2005. E-mail: [email protected]