Sat, Mar 26, 2011 - Page 8 News List

How US can avoid war with China

By Alexander Young

At China’s recent National People’s Congress meeting, military delegates called for a national maritime strategy to defend China’s territorial integrity and expand its maritime interests, with Taiwan as “the core interest” of China’s maritime security.

Fourth, concessions to China would cost the US dearly, signifying surrender not only of Taiwan but the US itself, sacrificing 23 million Taiwanese, who are for coexistence with China yet prefer establishing their own free and democratic country. It would result in Beijing’s contempt for Washington as well as the loss of the US’ idealistic foreign policy tradition. The US would lose its credibility and global standing and hasten Asian countries’ climb onto the Chinese bandwagon.

Fifth, there is a better way to avoid war with China. One is a realistic grasp of Beijing’s US policy and methods. Officially, China seeks good relations with the US, but it can hardly hide its growing -ambition.

War, however, will not be Beijing’s method. China will resort to using its expanding comprehensive national power. As Major General Luo Yuan (羅援) stated recently: “China’s retaliation against US arms sale to Taiwan should not be restricted to military matters, but should cover politics, military affairs, diplomacy and economics.”

Twenty-first century China is practicing Sun Tzu’s (孫子) Art of War of 2,500 years ago, namely: “To win 100 victories in 100 battles is not the acme of skill,” but “to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill,” ie, using deception, dividing the enemy, encircling and attacking when overwhelmingly superior but evading when weak, taking the enemy’s country whole and intact instead of destruction.

The second method is maintaining peace with China through the balance of power by hard and soft US power, as “China’s long-term comprehensive transformation of its military forces is improving its capacity for force projection and anti-access and area denial,” according to Gates’ report. The US should strengthen its military capability and alliances, and demonstrate its will and ability to maintain peace and security in the Asia-Pacific.

The US must revive its manufacturing industry, increase employment, cut its unsustainable national debt (over US$14 trillion as of last month), trim the enormous debt to mercantilist China (US$1.16 trillion at the end of last year, according to the US Department of Treasury, but about US$2 trillion by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s estimate), which endangers the US economy and increases Beijing’s ability to dictate US policy.

The US should expand its soft power by strengthening its idealistic foreign policy tradition of what US President Barack Obama has called universal human values, namely, liberty, democracy, human rights and US credibility.

Alexander Young is a professor emeritus of international relations at the State University of New York.

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