Kishore Mahbubani: Can America lose to China?

Jul 11, 2021

The real danger of the demonization of China is that it leads even thoughtful Americans to believe that an open society like America has many natural advantages over a closed autocratic system like China’s. By framing it in this way, Americans cannot even conceive of the possibility of losing out to China.

America can now use the same empirical test to see whether the “peoples of the world” support America over China. Unfortunately, unlike the Soviet Union, China has not invaded or occupied any neighbouring state. Indeed, among all the major powers, China is the only one that has not fought a major war in over forty years. Nonetheless, America has accused China of behaving “aggressively” in three territories: Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan. The issues involved in each of the three are different. Indeed, they are complex. However, most American commentaries make a simple black and white case that China’s actions in these three territories are wrong and, as a result, the “world” disapproves of China’s actions in these areas. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that,
The United States Congress has always spoken with one voice in defence of those oppressed by Beijing and in support of freedom, justice and real autonomy for the people of Hong Kong. We call on all freedom-loving people around the world to join us in denouncing this unjust sentencing and China’s widespread assault on Hong Kongers.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said in a statement that China’s actions pertaining to Xinjiang “only contribute to the growing international scrutiny of the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. We stand in solidarity with Canada, the UK, the EU, and other partners and allies around the world in calling on [China] to end the human rights violations and abuses.” Both Pelosi and Blinken used the word “world” to suggest that the international community also condemned China’s actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
This is an excerpt from an article published by the National Interest in July 2020

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