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Thomas Barnett recommends US never go to war with China (8)

20:07, June 13, 2010

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That is why today, Chinese policymakers are using extraordinary means of signaling President Obama personally that American policymakers are making serious mistakes because of their conventional mindset. One example is the continuing arms sales to Taiwan because American policymakers, including Secretary of Defense Gates and other senior decision makers in President Obama's administration just do not "get it." They have not yet understood that a historic change in US China policy is needed and profoundly beneficial to US vital and other interests. In response to the Bush administration's last US arms sale to Taiwan, China suspended military-to-military exchanges and refused to allow an American aircraft carrier to enter Hong Kong. American policymakers simply resented and did not understand or did not accept the point the Chinese were making. They disregarded China's government's and the Chinese people's sentiments.

In light of the North Korean and Iran crises where, unlike the cross-strait relations of China and Taiwan, things are getting significantly more dangerous rather than improving, Chinese policymakers are concerned that similar types of errors in judgment by the US or its allies in responding to crises in North Korea and Iran or elsewhere today or tomorrow will plunge the world into ruin. They are concerned that US policymakers' zero sum game mindset, problem solving habits and strategies could cause serious a chain of events leading to disaster in the Middle East and Asia. They are concerned that American policymakers are not yet really willing to effectively collaborate with Chinese policymakers in creating reciprocally beneficial and implementable economic and military solutions to the global natural resource supply problems of the US and China and other dangers. They are concerned that American policymakers could present the world and China very suddenly and soon with limited and then only appalling options.

President Obama hopefully will ask himself, "Why would Chinese policymakers take such an extraordinary action of declining to meet with Secretary of Defense Gates," who is seeking to paper over issues like the Taiwan arms sales and seek Chinese support for conventional American policymaking solutions that will not defuse the North Korean and Iran crises?

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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]