Wed, Sep 12, 2018 - Page 9 News List

How China went from a business opportunity to US enemy No. 1

Public opinion polls show that the number of Americans who see Beijing’s economic practices as a serious threat has risen, but the US business community is split on the matter of whether to stand up or cozy up to China

By Hal Brands  /  Bloomberg Opinion

Yet there also remain companies like Google, which refuses to continue cooperating with Uncle Sam to use AI to enhance the performance of US drones, but is willing to secretly work with the Chinese government to build a search engine more conducive to censorship.

To help an authoritarian regime strengthen its power while recoiling from involvement with the Pentagon bespeaks a special kind of corporate moral illiteracy.

It is also short-sighted, because US firms will lose out if China becomes the technological, economic and geopolitical superpower of the next century.

Of course, it undermines any strategy that requires harnessing private-sector innovation to enhance US national security capabilities, while also carefully calibrating US economic engagement with China to limit the creation of dangerous dependencies.

There is a stronger consensus today on the need to get tough with China than there has been in decades.

However, that consensus is still not broad or strong enough as it must be to meet the China challenge.

Hal Brands is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the Henry Kissinger distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. His newest book is American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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