Condemning China for Tik Tok makes the United States look like a fool. The rest of the world chuckles at this phobic behavior.
China came out of WWII like gang busters. Hardly perfect, it tried and failed at many things, think the cultural revolution, or having villages forge iron. The policies were abandoned. The Chinese Government replaced disruptive mistakes with new policies. This is a resilient government, and just like the United States it has made huge mistakes. Nonetheless the giant lumbers on led by the People’s Communist Party.
Even after dramatic challenges like the Tiananmen Square massacre.
And yes, it’s population zoomed from 583 million in 1953 to 1,394 Billion in 2019, the largest in the world. Feeding, housing, educating, and providing medical care to this many people is an awesome task and the Chinese are doing it.
They play with the big guys. They were our allies in the war against fascism and then turned around and fought a land war successfully defending their North Korean buffer zone from United Nations (read American Soldiers) forces. China was a smaller country, newly united and barely five years after the grueling war with Japan, the Chinese reds fought the United States to a draw. The resulting ceasefire still persists.
This is the case for caution when it comes to picking a fight with China. It is a mistake to think that this competitor will be swatted down; or to assume the worst that a China as powerful as the United States will only be a threat. Surely, the preferable response is amicable relations. A President aspiring to be a statesman who creates a durable friendship would have proud boasting rights. It would be a lifetime achievement.
China is building a public works project of world historic significance. The Silk Road is an overland route between China and Europe. It avoids conflict with U.S. sea power while extending China’s world reach; China’s spending enormous sums on the Belt and Road initiative; it would be smart to find opportunities for U.S. contractors. China might not welcome this competition. A conflict where the U.S. wants to help, and China become the bad guy by trying to keep us out is a conflict that Washington might win.
From the alarm over Tik Tock to arresting a senior Chinese executive of Huawei Technologies, the United States has shown it can harm Chinese companies, but the harm to the Chinese government is dubious. Our dependence on China continues; American hospitals sent airplanes to bring back personal protective gear for American caregivers to protect them from Covid-19.
By elevating tensions, the U.S. loses its ability to help the people of Hong Kong as China assumes direct control over the City, nor can we intervene to help religious minorities in Xinjiang. In fact, hostile acts have reduced U.S. influence in China.
Friendship doesn’t preclude sharp disagreement, but it does mean you can’t seize corporate executives or create fairy tales about Americans who use Chinese digital toys endangering American security.
The Chinese are building an alternative to U.S. power. A challenge that is no reason to rattle sabers. What would have happened if the British had tried to sit on Washington after its victory in the Civil War? Britain would inherit a sea of trouble and the U.S. would have continued to grow. Instead British business made money in the U.S. and then during World War One, the Government received economic aid which enabled a victory.