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The ongoing trade war has distracted many in China, but I am one of those who feel the least disturbed. It’s not that I fail to see the nature or possible consequences of the standoff, it’s just that I believe in natural and social laws. As long as China is adhering to its course of development that has been proved correct and fruitful in the past decades, nobody or nothing can stop its journey to the national rejuvenation, regardless of temporary ups and downs.
Wang Anshi, a great economist, statesman, chancellor and poet of the Song Dynasty, wrote in one of his poems: “Clouds do not block my vision, as I am standing on the summit.”
Clouds will obstruct one’s sight, so will complex political and economic situations. In the face of Trump’s overbearing attacks on China on multiple fronts, a few Chinese “self-media” authors have been so panicked that they competed in making fools of themselves by marveling at Trump’s “strategic vision” and “decisiveness,” busily reflecting on what China had done in the past years to infuriate the U.S., and actively engaging themselves in such a business as “signing” a “free trade agreement” on behalf of the U.S. and EU.
Their core requirement is to throw in the towel in the trade war with the U.S.
These capitulationists are obsessed with an ineradicable conviction: as long as we are submissive toward the U.S., and eat dirt when bullied and humiliated, the only superpower in the world will be nice with China. After all, China is too frail to confront with the U.S., they argue.
This is an excellent example that fear can make people dumb. In the face of pressure and intimidation, these “learned people” forget all commonsense about society, economics and history and, most importantly, human nature.
Intentionally or unintentionally, they have ignored a plain fact that it is U.S. national consensus that it will never tolerate any rival to grow big enough to challenge its dominance as the world leader, regardless of the rival’s relationship with it. It was locked in a decades-long cold war against the Soviet Union as its archenemy, which had opposite ideologies and practices. But it also staged relentless economic wars against its ally Japan, which shared similar ideas and systems with it.
Trump’s “America First” slogan has blown away the fig leaf of democracy, rule of law and international responsibilities, leaving naked hegemony behind. In his eyes, China is America’s archrival now as China is developing so fast that it may replace the U.S. soon, which is unacceptable to him. In one of his recent speeches, he did not mince his words: “The trend was that China was about to overtake the U.S. when I took the office, but it is no longer possible.”
The White House is becoming increasingly desperate in confronting China in an attempt to subdue the emerging giant. In a blatant violation of international norms and every standard of common decency, the White House criticized China and El Salvador over the two countries’ decision to establish diplomatic ties, scolding China for its “apparent interference in the domestic politics of a Western Hemisphere country” and threatening El Salvador with “serious consequences.”
So it is crystal clear that no matter how humble or discreet China is in dealing with the U.S., the latter will play hardball with China as long as China pursues its inalienable rights of development. It has nothing to do with trade friction or alleged theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfer. Any sober-minded adult can see that.
History has taught us that resignation and surrender will never result in leniency or respect.
The Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled the declining Qing Dynasty for 47 years and experienced humiliation of the loss of sovereignty and territory, expressed her “sincerity” to appease and please the “Eight Allied Forces” that invaded and occupied Beijing in 1900 by saying that China would devote all available resources to winning the favor of foreign powers, only to get greater humiliation.
Before the Japanese invasion of China, the then government and some social elites placed the hopes of avoiding a war on the sympathy of the League of Nations, but nothing happened.
Peace is won, not given.
(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)