Zhang Zhikun: Idealism in Sino-US relations can stop

Translated from the Headlines (Toutiao 头条新闻)

Author: Kunlun Research Institute (昆仑策研究院 张志坤)

For a long time, many people have had ideal expectations for Sino-US relations and show a high degree of idealism. Such people have both in China and the United States.

In the United States, people with a certain idealistic color believe that the United States can subdue China and accept American leadership, consciously abandon China’s roads, systems, and cultural models, and gradually not convert suddenly to the United States. Regarding the Sino-US relationship, they believe that this relationship will bring great benefits to the United States and can gradually develop and transform in accordance with the US design, thereby digesting and diluting the contradictions, conflicts, and differences between each other. These people believe that there is no need for a war or a new cold war between China and the United States. It is neither a war conflict nor a “win-win cooperation.” China’s goals and tasks. Representatives of this view are Kissinger, Brzezinski, etc., generally speaking, they are all old-school figures in Sino-US relations, and many of them are related to the opening of the door to Sino-US relations that year.

In China, there are more idealists toward the United States and Sino-US relations than a crucian carp who crosses the river. They are very powerful and become a climate, monopolizing and controlling public opinion to a considerable extent. These people are quite optimistic about the United States and look forward to the prospects of Sino-U.S. relations, which are embodied in the following three fundamental issues:

First, about leadership and leadership

The Chinese who are full of expectations for the United States and Sino-US relations believe that there is no leadership dispute between China and the United States. They believe that China has never challenged and replaced the United States and its ambition to dominate the world. China’s development and growth will only strengthen the United States’ global leadership. This means that they believe that China will become more and more compliant with the strategic leadership of the United States and will serve the strategic leadership of the United States more and more. There will be no and impossible leadership crises and conflicts between China and the United States. It fundamentally negates the “China threat theory.”

Second, about the zero-sum game

Now, no one denies the competitive relationship between China and the United States, because the United States insists on engaging in “strategic competition” with China and smashes the old clichés that China and the United States are not strategically competitive. Nevertheless, some people still insist that China and the United States are not a zero-sum relationship and that strategic competition can guide and develop them on the track of the healthy competition. On the basis of healthy competition, the “cooperation” between the two countries will become wider and wider. It is getting bigger and deeper, and there is only a win-win between each other, and there is no “zero-sum” problem in politics, economy, or even strategic security.

Third, on sovereignty and core interests

The Chinese who have good expectations of the United States believe that anti-China forces will not gain power in the United States for long, and they only regard China as their main opponent because of strategic misjudgments. In time, or if they wake up, or the power of China-friendly China will come to power and dominate the overall situation, by that time, certain sovereignty and core interests in Sino-US relations will be resolved, and the United States will respect China more and more. More and more equal treatment. Specifically, it is to give in to a series of issues in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, and no longer regard the containment and suppression of China as a national strategic goal, so as to remove all major obstacles to Sino-US relations. By this time, Sino-US relations will have a bright future and be full of bright sunshine.

In short, despite the severe current situation, there are always many people who still regard Sino-U.S. relations as a vast and fertile soil, and various idealistic flowers are still blooming in this fertile soil, and they will do their best to dress up the future of Sino-U.S. relations as beautiful scenery. , Tenderness and honey, as if we are in the same boat through storms and rains, and we will return to the same destination by different paths, and other beautiful visions will reappear and return in the near future.

We believe that such idealistic sentiment completely violates strategic rationality and realistic logic. In reality, it is impossible to find an implementation method or a way to implement it. Such utopian ideals in international relations have only mental anesthesia, and there is no possibility of realization.

First, it does not conform to the truth of international politics

International politics has always been a product of realism rather than idealism. The so-called realism of international politics is the supremacy of power and the law of the jungle, which is the strategic basis on which hegemony depends. Fundamentally speaking, human society does not have any inevitability and legal basis for the existence of hegemony, but hegemony does exist in reality. The only reason is that it is the strongest and largest, and no one can beat it. This has led to the existence of such an unwritten logic in human society on earth that whoever is the most powerful will rule hegemony. This is the truth of international politics in the four hundred years since capitalism ruled the world. It is also the “America First”, The logical basis of “America First”.

Under such an international political truth, the so-called equality of big and small, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation can only exist in the aspirations of ideals, and can only be partially reflected in weak countries and small countries. This is the result of their need to stay together for warmth. . To expect the same relationship with hegemony and the relationship with the capitalist world system to be the same, destroying the political and strategic relationship based on strength is completely idiotic.

The second is to deviate from the reality of international relations

The reality of international relations is like a bloody boxing arena, rather than a singular dance, a warm and happy dance arena. The existing international order is an irrational, unfair, and unfair international political and economic order. The rich countries exploit the poor, and the strong countries oppress the weak. The Cold War is over. Later, after the hegemony lost its checks and balances and restrictions, he acted unscrupulously and fought unscrupulously, and successively launched a number of aggressive wars. No one dared and was able to hold the U.S. accountable for the war; the nature of capital cannibalism and parasitism has undergone new developments and changes under the new historical conditions. , But the essence has not changed. The capitalist world system is based on hegemony, and capital is used as a tool to exploit and plunder the world. Not only can there be no “win-win”, but even “zero-sum” also cannot be mentioned. For example, hegemony is impossible. Whatever “zero-sum” games with Iraq and Afghanistan, they are not qualified to be opponents of hegemony. China’s ability to have a strategic game with the United States, and also allow the United States to play a “zero-sum” game with China, fully benefited from the development of the new China. In the past, old China did not even have such qualifications. As for further wanting to talk about equality and respect with hegemony, that can only be done until the day when China can be evenly matched with the United States, just like the former Soviet Union. Otherwise, in a state where there is a clear gap in power and in the bloody reality of international relations, seeking equality, respect, mutual trust, and win-win results between the same hegemony is completely out of the question.

Third, changes in the comparison of China-U.S. strength will inevitably lead to changes in Sino-U.S. relations

The development and change of Sino-US relations and the state in different periods do not depend on people’s subjective wishes but on the comparison of the strategic strengths of the two sides. Fundamentally speaking, there is the kind of Sino-U.S. relationship as far as the power-comparison relationship exists. Of course, what must be explained here is that the so-called power comparison refers to strategic strength, not GDP, let alone economic trade in the eyes of those who claim to be strategic experts and are actually businessmen. GDP only lays the material foundation for the construction of strategic strength, and cannot constitute strategic strength by itself. Strategic strength includes both a static material basis and an active spiritual force, and its connotations are very rich. Strategic strength determines Sino-US relations. This is the basic law of Sino-US relations.

This basic rule clearly shows that changes in the comparison of power between China and the United States will inevitably lead to corresponding changes in Sino-US relations, and there is a sharp and strict correspondence between the two. The current situation is that China’s material strength is growing rapidly, showing a clear trend of catching up with the United States; China’s spiritual strength is also radiating. Superstition means to look at the West and even contempt. Such a situation will inevitably greatly stimulate and arouse the essence, nature, and instinct of hegemony. From Obama clamoring that the United States should never be second, to Trump making the United States great again, to Biden’s insistence on the United States first, etc., it is all a big exposure of the hegemonic nature. It also fully proves that hegemony only needs to be a unitary world, that is, a unitary under the absolute dominance of the United States. Do not and will not allow a dual world or a pluralistic world. The United States cannot allow the emergence of another strategic power on par with the United States. Therefore, initiating “strategic competition” to eliminate this possibility is a necessary, inevitable, and necessary strategic action. The strategic inevitability of the development and change of Sino-U.S. relations is here. Either hold on to China to prevent it from rising, or destroy China and make it the second Soviet Union. This is an inevitable strategic choice for the United States, regardless of who is in power in the United States. Even if the so-called Youhua Group comes to power, the only difference is the way, the way, and the route, and there is no difference in goals and tasks. To expect the United States to let go of China and allow China to achieve its set goals is completely whimsical and daydreaming!

Looking at the world, hegemony is in a serious crisis, and the hegemony in the crisis has a dangerous tendency to become crazier and crazier. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, the world’s major changes unseen in a century are accelerating, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered a critical period. The risks and challenges we face have obviously increased. It is unrealistic to always want to live a peaceful life and not want to fight. Today’s era is not an era of “naive and peaceful”. There is no room for idealism in the global strategic landscape. The same is true for Sino-US relations, and there is no room for idealism. This is not to say that there is no common interest between China and the United States. China and the United States do have broad common interests, but there are more fundamental strategic contradictions. In the foreseeable future, such contradictions and conflicts are difficult to reconcile. Have any romantic naive fantasies.