H.R. McMaster warns, in the Atlantic, that China’s leaders are not friendly and have no intention of playing fair.
On November 8, 2017, Air Force One touched down in Beijing, marking the start of a state visit hosted by Chinaâ€™s president and Communist Party chairman, Xi Jinping. From my first day on the job as President Donald Trumpâ€™s national security adviser, China had been a top priority. …
Our last meeting of the state visit, in the Great Hall of the People, was with Li Keqiang, the premier of the State Council and the titular head of Chinaâ€™s government. If anyone in the American group had any doubts about Chinaâ€™s view of its relationship with the United States, Liâ€™s monologue would have removed them. He began with the observation that China, having already developed its industrial and technological base, no longer needed the United States. He dismissed U.S. concerns over unfair trade and economic practices, indicating that the U.S. role in the future global economy would merely be to provide China with raw materials, agricultural products, and energy to fuel its production of the worldâ€™s cutting-edge industrial and consumer products.
Leaving China, I was even more convinced than I had been before that a dramatic shift in U.S. policy was overdue. The Forbidden City was supposed to convey confidence in Chinaâ€™s national rejuvenation and its return to the world stage as the proud Middle Kingdom. But for me it exposed the fears as well as the ambitions that drive the Chinese Communist Partyâ€™s efforts to extend Chinaâ€™s influence along its frontiers and beyond, and to regain the honor lost during the century of humiliation. The fears and ambitions are inseparable. They explain why the Chinese Communist Party is obsessed with controlâ€”both internally and externally.
The partyâ€™s leaders believe they have a narrow window of strategic opportunity to strengthen their rule and revise the international order in their favorâ€”before Chinaâ€™s economy sours, before the population grows old, before other countries realize that the party is pursuing national rejuvenation at their expense, and before unanticipated events such as the coronavirus pandemic expose the vulnerabilities the party created in the race to surpass the United States and realize the China dream. The party has no intention of playing by the rules associated with international law, trade, or commerce. Chinaâ€™s overall strategy relies on co-option and coercion at home and abroad, as well as on concealing the nature of Chinaâ€™s true intentions. What makes this strategy potent and dangerous is the integrated nature of the partyâ€™s efforts across government, industry, academia, and the military.
And, on balance, the Chinese Communist Partyâ€™s goals run counter to American ideals and American interests.