No More Hustleporn: The Three Cards the US Plays to Contain China

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Chinese security & foreign policy | China-Israel | China-Middle East | Disaster & Emergency Management | @JISS_Israel Research Fellow | @Krauthammer Fellow

"The battle of the major powers is not hand-to-hand combat, but a long-term competition for sustainable economic development and labor productivity" - Dr. Zhang Jiadong of Fudan University lists the "three cards" that the US plays to contain China and how to beat their hand.

According to Zhang, the first card is an attempt to morally isolate China. As exemplified in the first Democracy Summit in December, values are "one of the most useful tools" it has to rally its allies behind this goal.

The second card aims to strategically contain China. It is consolidating traditional alliances (e.g., the Quad, the Indo-Pacific strategy) while also "innovating" new ones (AUKUS with Australia and the UK).

The third card aims to economically isolate CN, e.g., by employing the Small Yard, High Fence strategy, preventing China from acquiring core tech, and establishing strategic economic and trade frameworks to reduce their economic interdependence w/ CN (CPTPP, JP-EU FTA, TTIP...)4/

"No country can force China into the strategic isolation experienced by the former Soviet Union unless the Chinese people choose to do so," says Zhang.

"However, if the current situation persists, China may continue to be alienated by the US and the West in areas such as trade, economics, technology, and strategy, and the cost of China's participation in global economic circulation will rise.

"This will have a long-term negative impact on the Chinese economy and put it at a competitive disadvantage in the strategic competition. As a result, we must maintain a consistent international mindset while acting aggressively and decisively to reform and open up internally.

Following is Zhang's proposed solution:
"First, we must have a steady stance on the U.S. anti-China alliance system. The larger the anti-China circle formed by the US, the greater the pressure on China...

"Second, actively promote the development of democratic politics. Democracy is not the foundation of a political system. The root is the form of ownership of the means of production and livelihood, i.e., public or private ownership...

"Socialism and capitalism can both be democratic and authoritarian. China can respond to this "card" by effectively strengthening all aspects of its domestic governance, including its democratic institutions.

"Of course, China is now confident that it can continue to counter the political attacks and slanders leveled against it by the US and the West based on the achievements of China's "whole-process of people's democracy."

"Third, advocate for an inclusive national grand strategy. The US intends to counter China by forming strategic small cliques. China doesn't require, nor is it able, to respond to the US in the same way...

"Therefore, it must withdraw from the battlefield which was drawn by the US and avoid realizing their hopes by falling into their "bloc confrontation" trap. An all-inclusive national strategy for China is both feasible and attainable.

"Finally, CN's reform and opening-up efforts must be bolstered. This will severely limit the US's ability to contain CN economically. The battle of the major powers is not hand-to-hand combat, but along-term competition for sustainable economic dev and labor productivity.

"Based on post-World War II experience, a free and open economic system is the most conducive to productivity, competitiveness, and the country's development and rise.