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Thomas Barnett recommends US never go to war with China (3)

20:07, June 13, 2010

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The US stimulus plan increased America's debt and deficits and will decrease the value of the dollar. China increased its holding of dollars as America's other trading partners reduced theirs. As the US financial crisis loomed, China pegged the renminbi to increase stability and exert a positive influence on its economic recovery. It will keep a relatively stable renminbi exchange rate to ensure its economic growth is steady rather than uncontrollable, which would harm all nations. Currently, China is providing stability as the largest holder of US government debt and US dollar-denominated reserves.

China-US relations changed when the world learnt that America's financial system would collapse unless the government saved insolvent US-based global banks, insurance companies and carmakers. The bail-out turned the US government into the largest shareholder of formerly privately-owned companies, subsidising their commercial failure. Laisser faire theories, which US policymakers still demand that China adopt, were suddenly replaced by massive US government control of market forces.

The US often pursues policies that are "win-win" for itself alone. Its policy­makers would undermine China's vital national security and economic interests while seeking China's help in protecting America's vital interests. But the reality is that the policies America proposed are implementable and sustainable only if they are beneficial also for China. The Strategic and Economic Dialogue should focus on new US policies instead of trying to change China's policies, which are essential for global economic recovery.

Thomas Barnett has an extraordinarily American reputation and track record of successfully prompting American policymakers to realize that profound changes in US military strategic thinking are required. Today the US's conventional economic and national security policies have not provided either economic or national security although the US economy is by far the largest in the world and US military spending is over half of all nations. As Paul Kennedy explained in 1987 in The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, America was over extending itself militarily and economically, as Rome, Spain and England did. American policymakers ignored Paul Kennedy's analysis which has become reality unfortunately.

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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]