GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
Yesterday, this Column underlined the key mistake the West has made in its attitude to China. It hoped that growing prosperity in China would bring about the emergence of economic and political rights in China and the demise of the Communist Party. It hasn’t happened. China remains on the path to growth; increased living standards; and wider social and economic freedoms. And the Party remains in charge.
What to do? Which way to go? These are the questions being asked in Washington, Berlin, Tokyo and Canberra. Now Irwin Stelzer is always a good read – see his weekly article in the Sunday Times. But he, too, remains uncertain about the way forward with China. Last Sunday, he again missed the significance of China’s rise saying “Compared with America, China and Russia are economic pygmies. Each of the dictatorships has a per capita GDP of about $10,000, one-sixth of America’s, less than one-eighth of the richest US state (Connecticut) one-third of its poorest (Mississippi)…it’s not as if either Russia or China can match the military might of America.”
But China is on the move. It was the Sick Man of Asia in 1949. It will become the largest economy in the world in 2028. Living standards will rise. Prosperity will become more visible. And with it, a determination never again to suffer the Century of Humiliation.
The choice for the US remains simple and straightforward – Cooperation or Conflict. Work together to improve a lot of the people of the world or go to War. The US cannot re-write history. China cannot be put in its place as it was in the 19th Century. War, conflict, brinkmanship, permanent tensions – this is not the way forward. The US has to put its pride back in the box and work together with a Communist Party it has always wrongly regarded as its enemy.
NEXT POST 16 FEBRUARY 2022