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Op-Ed: Trump plays up competition in national security while China lays out cooperation strategy

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    16:19, December 19, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump (Xinhua)

On Monday, US President Donald Trump released his first national security strategy, labeling China and Russia as Washington’s “competitors” and “rival powers” seeking to undermine U.S. national interests on all fronts.

According to the new strategy paper, Trump’s "America First" policy is all about increasing competition between countries, and is based on the old way of thinking that competition rather than cooperation defines the current global environment.

The document reveals that the United States has not given up its hegemonic ambitions and will do everything it can do to try to ensure that world powers rise under the United States, and not with it and never above it. It also reveals a determination to try to make the global system better serve the interests of the United States, rather than the interests of the global community.

But the new document is not without its contradictions. For example, it states that America will never impose its values on others, but also lays out a strategy to create a world of like-minded states that will support American interests and reflect American values for American security and prosperity.

In some ways, the strategy signals a return to the dark side of history, when zero-sum games defined world affairs. It overemphasizes the competitive dimension of international politics, and fails to lay out a road map to expand the space for cooperation. In reality, such documents are quickly forgotten. However, if the strategy is ever fully implemented, the result is likely to be counterproductive to the goal of making America great again.

Of course, there is competition between China and the United States, but their economies are more complementary than competitive. In 2016 for instance, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $550 billion, with two-way investment surpassing $200 billion. In addition, 2.6 million American jobs are supported by the economic relationship, and China is willing to work with the U.S. to stay committed to building it.

Responding to the newly released U.S. strategy, the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., said that China will always remain committed to world peace, global development, and international order, but added that putting the national interests of some countries above the common interests of other countries and the international community is downright selfish and will isolate the United States.

The official said that the United States should get used to and accept China’s rise, and suggested that it is high time that the United States abandoned its outdated zero-sum mentality and worked with China on a common goal of prosperity and progress for all.

China and the United States will remain committed to cooperation, but the two countries offer starkly different visions for the future of global affairs. Unlike the United States, China has laid out a vision and approach that features openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation. For now, it remains to be seen if the new U.S. security strategy will be fully implemented, but recognizing that cooperation defines the current global environment puts China firmly on the right side of history.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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