Bill Gertz, editor of US conservative political journalism website The Washington Free Beacon and columnist for The Washington Times, recently published his new book Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy.
Gertz described China as "a 21st Century Evil Empire even more dangerous than a Cold War version of the Soviet Union." In an interview with the Voice of America on September 6, he said "It is really a kind of a new Cold War, where China has basically decided that it is going to replace the United States as the sole superpower in the world." In 2000, Gertz published a similar book called The China Threat: How the People's Republic Targets America.
Some Americans have been stuck in the shadow of the Cold War.
First of all, they will always pick up an enemy for the US, or else many of their proposals cannot reap rewards. Their standard of choosing enemies is also clear - whoever has a different ideology and values to the US and deemed as standing on the opposite side to the US. Ideology and values have become the benchmark to differentiate enemies and friends, which is a dangerous Cold War mentality. The China-US relationship will be full of conflicts if it is judged on such a standard.
Besides, these US conservatives also attach importance to national strength. In addition to ideology, national strength is another essential point of view for them to judge China. All countries that are narrowing the gap with the US in terms of strength naturally will be regarded as enemies by the conservatives, not to mention that Beijing and Washington have different values. Almost all of these countries' explanations of peaceful intentions will be in vain, because for these conservatives, this is a zero-sum game in which there is no room for compromise. These people are unreasonable and extreme.
After US President Donald Trump took office, he adjusted the US previous policy toward China. This has provided opportunities for these extreme conservatives to express their opinions. The Trump administration's policy toward China has been deeply misled and manipulated by conservative thoughts.
China-US relations are in challenging times, and the US policy toward China is now in a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral. The conservatives' views have a destructive influence on the US administration's policy toward China. However, the relationship between Beijing and Washington should not be determined by these extreme conservatives. The China-US relations are currently in a tug-of-war. In such a chaotic state, the conservatives' views can be manipulative. China should stay vigilant.
Furthermore, China should also guide the China-US relations toward a healthy path. Although the future may still be unclear, China should maintain cautious optimism.
However, Chinese people should also be aware that the US policy toward China is influenced by US internal politics, which is something China cannot control. This means that China-US relations may have many twists and turns. What China needs to do is to increase its own strength and thus make Washington respect Beijing's choices, including its domestic political choices and choices to better develop China-US ties.
Steadily increasing China's national strength would be the most effective way to boost ties with the US.
The article is compiled by Global Times reporter Li Qingqing based on an interview with Li Haidong, a professor with the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations.