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Thomas Barnett recommends US never go to war with China (9)

20:07, June 13, 2010

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Chinese policymakers are sending a unique public signal to President Obama regarding the serious level of their concern by refusing to accept meetings not merely with US military leaders as before, but with Secretary of Defense Gates, as a result of the Obama administration's Taiwan arms sale. This creates a crisis that is itself very dangerous as it promotes US hostility. But the unique signal sets up the need for a president-to-president discussion of and creation of a profoundly better and different relationship between the US and China that is essential.

American policymakers wonder what has changed, since they are merely continuing conventional US policies of selling arms to Taiwan irrespective of China's national security needs? Everything has changed. American policymakers do not understand sufficiently that the US's relationship with China has abruptly and prematurely forever entered a new 21st century era when the US Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Paulson told the world that the US financial system and economy would collapse without immediate government bail out of insolvent American banks and insurance companies. Now America is itself, like many nations, insolvent. What has changed is what Paul Kennedy feared would happen in The Rise and Fall of Great Nations published in 1987. Hopefully, President Obama will agree with Thomas Barnett's recommendations.

Presidents Obama and Hu Jintao will meet at the G8 summit meeting on June 25 to 27 and discuss face-to-face the rapidly developing crises in North Korea, Iran, the global economy, the lack of capital market confidence in far too many nations' solvency. President Obama urgently needs to find and announce new China policies soon in the "new era of partnership" he indicated in 2009 that he was launching. A new era requires new policies. These new US policies to be successful must be to reciprocate China's opening up to American investment and non-intervention in China's internal affairs and the commitment to peaceful coexistence with China. Nothing else can quickly, adequately and permanently improve America's economic and national security. Only a breakthrough now in discussions between the two presidents can restore the capital markets confidence that the volatile interaction of global military crises and financial and economic crises can be managed. Foreseeable events now can suddenly undermine confidence in all currencies if the simultaneous ominous economic and geopolitical crises can not be successfully managed. Without such new confidence the world will become economically, militarily and politically unmanageable by any combination of states actions.

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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]