US cannot rid itself of containment mind-set

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By Mu Lu Source: Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

“But if we find a way to contain China for a decade, the Chinese century could be permanently postponed,” New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently wrote in an article. However, will containment of China’s development and rise save the West from its downfall?

This pseudo-proposition with obvious logical errors is very popular among Westerners, particularly Americans. Some Westerners have made no secret of their malicious intentions against China — since China hasn’t developed as they had wished, they are utterly uncomfortable because they can no longer manipulate China at will.

But China has always been itself. It has maintained its own pace of peaceful development, growing into a responsible international power. During the same period, the West was held by deteriorating chronic problems in politics, economy, and society.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not an opportunity given to China, but a comprehensive test of governance capability of all countries. China has passed but the US failed, with many of its long-standing problems exposed. Some Western countries started passing the buck of their inability to China, in an absurd attempt to demonize China, which has acted responsibly in the fight against the coronavirus.

It is likely that the US has never regarded China as an independent, sovereign country. Washington wants Beijing to be obedient, but its plan of peaceful evolution didn’t work. This gap between desire and reality drove Washington mad and paranoid.

China’s explorations and efforts in development in light of its national conditions, including improving its governance capability and safeguarding the country’s stability, are regarded as erroneous attempt by the US and other Western countries. They have spared no efforts to groundlessly attack and stigmatize China. From suppressing Chinese high-tech company Huawei to hindering China’s COVID-19 vaccine development, the ideological struggle deeply rooted in the West’s Cold War mind-set is ubiquitous. It is sad to see this mind-set as mainstream thinking among many Westerners.

The world’s development and prosperity is not a simple zero-sum game. But many Westerners still don’t even want to try to understand this simple truth. Douthat’s kind of narrative — “If we show too much indecision and weakness… then Beijing’s escalation will continue, and the risks of war will rise.” — has gradually become dominant in the West, ignoring the fact that a peaceful and harmonious bilateral relationship makes both sides winners.

The West has never given up efforts to suppress China, while pretending to be kind to China. It is also ideologically hostile to China. To contain China for another 10 years won’t permanently postpone the so-called Chinese century, but push the entire world into an abyss of stagnation that no Western country can escape. Why not rein it in at the brink of the precipice before it is too late?

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