The rise of China was always going to be a challenge; an authoritarian, opaque militarised China, relying on strident nationalism for legitimacy even more so. There are no easy options here. There is no way of confidently knowing what strategy would work. But the ideological framing of the American sanctions is striking. As Jake Sullivan put it: “We previously maintained a sliding scale approach that said we need to stay only a couple of generations ahead. This is not the strategic environment in which we are today. Given the foundational nature of certain technologies, such as advanced logic and memory chips, we must maintain as large of a lead as possible.”
At one level, this statement expresses the unexceptional desire to be competitive. But in the context in which it was uttered, it has huge ramifications. For one thing, it has now expanded the pretext on which sanctions can be imposed: There is no casus belli here, no gesture at securing a global public good. The justification is maintaining American hegemony, pure and simple. There are gestures towards working with allies, and some countries might harbour the hopes of opportunistically benefitting from these sanctions. But the far-reaching nature of these sanctions will have implications for the reliability of the global trading and financial order. They express the crudest kind of mercantile reordering of the world system possible. In a curious way, the US is now fusing corporate and state power in ways that will resemble China.
Man sieht hier auch, warum diese Idee, dass man indisch-chinesische Spannungen leicht ausnutzen kann, kurzsichtig ist und von fehlender historischer Perspektive im Westen zeugt. Die Inder sehen sich selbst darin, wie die Chinesen behandelt werden:
But if you look at it from the point of view of the rest of the world, the framing is nothing but neo-colonial. It is saying something like “our objective is to ensure that one-fifth of humanity (and the rest of the world) always stays at least a couple of generations behind”. By openly declaring a war of supremacy, the options for diplomacy or subtle backing down are foreclosed. There is no attempt even to frame a non-zero-sum game solution here.
This framing also has consequences for partnerships. The West overestimates the support it has outside of Europe. China may be a threat to Taiwan and aspire to pre-eminence in Asia, but it is hard for the rest of the world to forget the litany of global violence and racial hierarchy that has taken place under the aegis of the American and Russian empires. [...]
These sanctions are a big gamble, and the jury is out on their consequences. But something about their framing does not bode well for the world. For one thing, these sanctions are as close as you can come to a declaration of war without actual fighting. They also confirm every Chinese claim about the West: The West may have aided China’s rise (initially for opportunistic reasons during the Cold War), but it will try and put a ceiling on their growth. The point is not whether the Chinese or the Americans are right. The point is they now seem to be locked into an over-determined ideological construct, realist hegemonism on the one hand, and strident nationalist revisionism on the other. This construct has no room for politics, diplomacy or trade