Can US win a new Cold War upon China?

Por • 28 may, 2016 • Sección: Política

Global Times

Editorial

27/05/2016. According to the Defense One website, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday at the Naval War College that the US military’s effort in the Asia-Pacific region against a rising China is akin to the 50-year Cold-War standoff with the Soviet Union. It’s “going to be a long campaign of firmness, and gentle but strong pushback for probably quite a number of years,” he said. “Our Asia rebalance isn’t ‘try it out for a little while.’ It’s a long-term kind of thing.”

Carter said the Chinese and US actions and reactions in the South China Sea are just one part of a grand pattern in an era that he predicted will end when the “internal logic” of China dictates a change. He said earlier this week that the rebalance is a “whole program of enhanced activities in the Asia-Pacific – diplomatic and economic as well as military.”

Carter’s remarks may be the most thorough elaboration of a Cold-War mentality against China by a sitting US senior official and are considered by Chinese observers to be widely represented in US strategy, particularly military circles. Tensions between China and the US are prone to increase, which has little relation to China’s island construction activities in the South China Sea.

Carter’s words have affirmed the concerns of many Chinese that the US will use military pressure and peaceful evolution to prompt China to have internal changes that end the game. How should China respond?

We should be certain of China’s tremendous strength that deters the US from acting rashly and of its huge size that forbids the US to suffocate its development. On this basis, we can look with a somber mind at US strategists’ urges to contain China. 

There are barely any conditions for the US to copy in the globalized era what it did in the Cold War. Despite the rising gravity of their conflicts, China and the US have a wide range of cooperation and interwoven interests, far more complex than the US-Soviet Union confrontation. Militarizing its China policy doesn’t fit the interests of the entirety of the US.

But Carter is right about the lasting tensions between the two powers, given the US pursuit of hegemony. 

As a rising China becomes the strategic focal point in the Asia-Pacific, the US intends to counter it and so uses military deployment and alliance system, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, smart diplomacy and engagement.

Despite its military and technological edge, the US is perplexed by China’s advantage in size as it dares not beat China right now but worries about being beaten by China in a long-term contest. It is also uncertain about China’s collapse halfway through as did the Soviet Union. 

In light of this, China needs to consolidate its security, be wary of being misled by the hawkish and rein in the confrontation with cooperation. 

With prospering industrialization and a huge population, China can be militarily intimidated by no one. That’s what Carter and his military need to know.     

 

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