By Ai Jun Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Is China happy with US’ failures? This has become a heatedly discussed topic among American netizens. Some are even arguing that “China must be laughing, seeing how the US administration is crippling the US government and the nation day by day.”
The question is raised as the China-US competition is turning white-hot.
Take the battle against COVID-19. When China first reported the epidemic, the Trump administration showed no willingness to cooperate. Instead, Washington took it as an opportunity to decouple with Beijing. Some have even gloated and claimed this could be a chance to bring back jobs to the US.
Even when now the number of COVID-19 infections in the US has surpassed 4 million, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was still busy attempting to make the US more competitive vis-à-vis China through hyping up a war between the “free world” and so-called “new tyranny.”
Ties between Beijing and Washington are not only at their worst point since diplomatic relations were established, but also keeping spinning in a free fall. This is all thanks to US’ constant efforts to contain China.
In the eyes of the Chinese people, China’s rise means their homeland’s modernization and better living standards. Yet in the eyes of many US politicians and pundits, it is a nightmare and serious challenge to US hegemony.
So the country abused its national power to suppress Chinese companies under the name of trumped-up charges, blocked normal operation of Chinese media organizations in the US, and banned a growing number of Chinese students and researchers from entering the US.
Smears over Chinese governance in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong have never stopped. Worse, constant relevant legislations have passed in the US as new tools for Washington to meddle in China’s domestic affairs. As norms now, the US also incites pro-secession forces and stirs up troubles in Hong Kong, and continues to sell arms to Taiwan.
Moreover, Washington has kept encouraging countries in the South China Sea to escalate their territorial disputes with Beijing. It is even sending warships and fighter jets to the region with increasing frequency, creating chances for accidental conflict.
Why Americans are asking “is China happy with US’ failures?” Is it because they are feeling uneasy for what the US has done to China?
Economics 101 tells us that no one wants its biggest customer to get poorer. When the 2008 financial crisis occurred, China did not smear, accuse the US, or gloat. It chose collaboration. What did the US do after it came out of this crisis? It launched its rebalance to Asia-Pacific strategy and deployed half of its overseas military presence in the region, as an attempt to place China under siege.
Nothing benefits China more than a peaceful, multipolar world and win-win cooperation. If the US fails, China will also suffer a loss. But as the US is so desperately suppressing China, China will certainly fight back.
When the US is confronting what seems to be endless chaos ahead of it, Chinese people are confused why the US shows little interests in focusing on its own domestic puzzles while investing most of its energy to wield sledgehammers toward China – even if Beijing has articulated numerous times that China never intends to challenge or replace the US, or have full confrontation with the US.
China is not alone as it wonders what the US is doing. Countries worldwide are also observing US’ decline and calculating how to adjust accordingly.
At this point, the least important question the US should ask is not what others are thinking of it, but how the country has come to where it is today. America must ask itself: does it still have a chance to be great again?