China isn't blinded by anti-Americanism; the U.S. is blinded by China
Tom Fowdy
Natonal flags of China and the U.S., Beijing, China, November 16, 2021. /Xinhua

Natonal flags of China and the U.S., Beijing, China, November 16, 2021. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Tom Fowdy is a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities. He writes on topics pertaining to China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Britain and the U.S. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Reuters columnist Pete Sweeney penned an article on May 5 claiming that "China's unhealthy obsession with Americans is putting its goal of overtaking them at risk." Exploring China's focus on achieving its annual economic growth target, the article proceeded to accuse Beijing of "producing a vicious cycle" by "assuming an inevitable conflict" with the United States and having an "excess of paranoia" arguing that any reasons for China to hold the U.S. in suspicion are unjustified.

The article gives no consideration whatsoever to America's own attitude towards China, and fails to recognize that China isn't blinded by anti-Americanism, but actually the U.S. is blinded by China.

First of all, who is obsessed with beating who here? China's official rhetoric says nothing about having to beat the U.S. On the other hand, the Biden administration keeps talking about the need to "beat China" and "win the 21st century." The author fails to take into consideration the reality that the obsession, hatred and paranoia of China dominate the contemporary American psyche.

In the past two years, the U.S. has scapegoated China as allegedly culpable for a global pandemic, and has promulgated baseless conspiracy theories about the origins of that pandemic, has told its population that it is in a global ideological struggle and competition against China's government, while insisting that Beijing is responsible for the depletion of jobs and industry in the U.S. through its so-called "unfair economic practices." The Americans are advised to be supportive of separatist movements in various regions of China, to provoke tensions in the Taiwan Straits, while Chinese students and academics should be considered spies and infiltrators out to "steal" innovations, that all Chinese technology, even manufactured subway cars, are surveillance tools, as well as wholesale smear campaigns of events such as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The list goes on and on.

America has become almost unhinged over "China's rise," but it's wrong to assume that Beijing holds the same sentiments. Whilst China prides itself in its own rapid development; this has never been depicted in official rhetoric to a zero-sum struggle for global domination or hegemony against Washington. In fact, the opposite is true.

China's leaders often reiterate they do not "seek hegemony" and continue to pursue a foreign policy doctrine, which involves exerting restraint against the U.S. and avoiding open confrontations, despite the hostility in which Washington has shown towards them. This reflects a national priority to focus on domestic economic development, frequently denouncing what they describe as a "cold war" mentality and seeking to resolve issues through open dialogue.

Containers at Lianyungang Port in east China's Jiangsu Province, March 7, 2022. /Xinhua

Containers at Lianyungang Port in east China's Jiangsu Province, March 7, 2022. /Xinhua

Beijing prefers by tradition, a foreign policy of stability, certainty and cooperation in regards to Washington than an adversarial tone, and has been careful never to close that door even if there are feelings of frustration over America's actions.

Nonetheless, the mood in Washington increasingly frames Beijing as a zero-sum geopolitical competitor, which it deems to pose a threat to its own hegemony, leading it to treat Beijing in bad faith and enact policies that even contravene its own rational interests, including tariffs on Chinese goods despite their run-on effect for U.S. inflation.

When one looks at U.S. behavior, it seems as if they have come to the conclusion that it has no other way to "deal" with China other than try to contain it. Engagement with China in the U.S. gets framed as weakness or appeasement, with the Biden administration juxtaposing diplomacy with displays of extreme hostility and bad faith actions, while some aspects of propaganda such as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, have been deliberately instigated with the goal of undermining engagement and attempting to force a moral imperative to require countries to take sides.

Washington has worked to make its bilateral relationship with Beijing, which it claims to be the "most important one," as dysfunctional.

Therefore, who is blinded by who? Which side is obsessed with overtaking and beating the other at all costs? The fact that the author even cites China's COVID-19 response as evidence of this without considering the context of how the pandemic has been weaponized against China, remains evident of how such a piece is illustrating the reverse ideas.

The U.S. is pragmatic, reasoned or down to earth with China, but has lost its own sense of insecurity and absolutist rendering of global power. In practice, the way in which China has been depicted in the U.S. has been nothing short of venomous, false and hysterical. How is it possible that Beijing gets the blame for simply upholding its fundamental national interests?

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries on CGTN Opinion section.)

Search Trends