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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/7/21

The Sources of Chinese Conduct

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By Jason Sibert

One of the key obstacles to a work defined by law and peace is the belligerent behavior of the People's Republic of China.

China's signs of aggression toward Taiwan, the building military installations in the South China Sea, and the exertion of more influence of Hong Kong are all a problem. As far as democratic tendencies are concerned, few seem to be present in the PRC.

However, what's needed is a strategy to bring China into the grip of international law, to make it a state that contributes to a more lawful world and doesn't obstruct the idea. The attacks on Asian-Americans in the United States makes this a tougher task, as it feeds the ideology of extreme nationalism in China.

To complete this task, one must look at the history of the PRC. In the ancient world China was a civilization defined by greatness in more than one field. As western powers became wealthy with the industrial revolution, China became poor and entered the ranks of third world countries.

China helped the allies extinguish Fascism (especially Japanese Fascism) in World War II and entered the Communist orbit (with Soviet Russia) with a revolution in 1949. One of the reasons for the victory of the non-Communist world in World War II was the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960's and 1970's. Mao Zedong's China and Soviet Russia split over differences - Russian Communist Party General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev's backing down to the West over the Cuban Missile Crises and Khrushchev's opposition to Mao's Great Leap Forward. Mao came to see Soviet Russia as representing a rival form of Communism, and the PRC became more afraid of Soviet Russia than the United States. So, Mao realigned his country with the U.S. in the Cold War. One of his successors, Deng Xiaoping, started to reform the country and introduced the world to a new PRC.

Xiaoping moved the country away from the centrally planned economy. As a Communist leader, he allowed capitalism to grow within a basically Communist economy. The U.S.' masterful diplomacy from the 1970's to the 1990's should be given credit for the realignment of the PRC, now forgotten in a political rhetoric that credits a late Cold War defense buildup in the Reagan administration (that actually started in 1978 under President Jimmy Carter). Xiaoping also changed the PRC's foreign policy, as the PRC moved away from exporting Communism and concentrated on markets for its goods and energy to run its economy. Successive U.S. administrations, of both political parties, thought that China would evolve into a Western democracy through free market economics, and this assumption has been proven wrong by recent history.

The U.S.'s strategy is also partially at fault, as our country sought to dominate the world through a system of military bases that emerged in the Cold War. After the collapse of Soviet Russia, our country continued to station military personnel in Japan to contain China, as we kicked the PRC out of the U.S. orbit as a part of a strategy to dominate the world, a strategy that emerged in the Clinton administration in the 1990's and continues to this day. The formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialog to contain China in the Obama administration represented another unwise move, creating a backlash on the part of the PRC.

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Jason Sibert worked for the Suburban Journals in the St. Louis area as a staff writer for a decade. His work has been published in a variety of publications since then and he is currently the executive director of the Peace Economy Project.
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