Was the US-China engagement based on Chinese political liberalization? – Community News
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Was the US-China engagement based on Chinese political liberalization?

In a 2018 article, two prospective officials of the Biden administration claimed that US involvement in China was a failure because they assumed an engaged China would become a democracy or a liberal polity (as well as parallel economic assumptions). The authors then became the senior officials of the Biden White House and Pentagon dealing with China and one, Kurt Campbell, then officially announced the end of the engagement. A review of the historical turning points shows that their claim is false.

Despite an out-of-context quote found by Campbell and Ely Ratner in which Richard Nixon spoke of China’s need to change, Nixon primarily used China as a counterweight to the Soviet Union. That worked wonderfully. the next Jimmy Carter

Jimmy CarterChristmas May Come Early for Joe Biden Press: In War Between Catholics, Pope Francis Sides with Biden Biden’s policies have been disastrous for US security, the economy MORE campaign in 1976, which supported a more extensive relationship with China, never mentioned democratization or political liberalization publicly or in internal briefings.

Michel Oksenberg, who led Carter’s diplomatic recognition of China, always emphasized – with the support of Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski – that the US’s inability to change China. “America has only limited influence over China’s internal affairs,” he wrote in a 1991 State Department article. “The United States cannot create as it pleases [even] small countries on your doorstep – Panama, Haiti, Cuba, El Salvador. And experiences in the Middle East and Southeast Asia show that Americans have no special talent for shaping the governance of more distant countries. But for reasons that have fascinated successive generations of historians, America has sought to produce a China more to its liking. The efforts have always ended in huge failure.”

The next turning point was a narrow vote in 1993 on whether or not to strip China of “most favored nation” (MFN) status. In the argument over MFN, later called Permanent Normal Trade Relations or PNTR, the dominant view of Congressional Democrats, many Republicans and initially of Clinton’s White House was that continued involvement through MFN would enable and encourage brutal authoritarianism, as symbolized by the Tiananmen massacre. square — quite the opposite of the Campbell/Ratner argument that engagement was supposed to catalyze liberalization.

During the MFN/PNTR debates, an annual “door knock” by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong, which represents many of the largest American companies, seemed to decisively move just enough votes to change the outcome (or at least members of Congress put AmCham participants at ease into believing that this motivated their changed views). AmCham argued that removing MFN status would devastate friendly areas such as Hong Kong and Taiwan and strengthen repressive nationalists in Beijing. In short, the arguments were economic and geopolitical, and the argument of domestic Chinese politics completely contradicted Campbell/Ratner’s history.

On a controversial issue such as its involvement with China, the government and members of Congress make every strong argument during congressional hearings. A review of Congress’ extensive testimony in 2000 on China’s future membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reveals no attempts by the government to put arguments about democratization or political liberalization at the heart of policy. It came closest to Lawrence Summers’ claim that WTO membership would strengthen the rule of law in China. Indeed, Zhu Rongji, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China from 1998 to 2003, intended to use WTO rules to strengthen the Chinese justice system and turn the country into a single market; he did. Neither Summers nor Zhu portrayed that as a harbinger of broader liberalization.

Yes, several US presidents dealing with Ronald Reagan made occasional comments about China’s liberalization or democratization as a potential benefit of engagement, but this was a political exaggeration at marketing times or an informal expression of ideas, which were never seen as a central point of the policy was pursued.

In China, a remarkable liberalization of social life took place from the mid-1980s to the 1990s. Art caricatures of Mao Zedong and communist bureaucrats flourished in Beijing. There were outspoken critics and televised debates about alternative paths to democratization. The social differentiation predicted by the modernization theory of political science occurred and stimulated diverse thought and interest group organization. In addition to an earlier relaxation of controls on jobs, marriages, geographical location and personal style, this generated a lot of foreign comment. But none of those temporary blooms drove engagement decisions. Economic interests and security interests, moral aversion to, among other things, Tiananmen Square and repression in, for example, Xinjiang have always been decisive.

The story of expectations of economic liberalization and subsequent disappointments is more complex, but equally distorted, and deserves a separate report.

Rather than give in to the pressures of social differentiation as South Korea and Taiwan did, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has responded with radical repression, which may or may not prove sustainable. The policy changes under Xi fully justify a rethink of previous engagement policies. But the Campbell/Ratner fallacy has based China policy on the wrong premise. It has led to an unnecessary polarization of generations in an already fragmented policy community, and has contributed to an increasingly simplistic view of China and its policy.

In 1993, then Ambassador Winston Lord gave the government’s authoritative definition of engagement: “Commitment means being firm where necessary and cooperative where possible” – exactly what President BidenNicaragua’s Joe Biden Ortega to win election amid international criticism. Rep. Gosar Posts Anime Video Showing Biden, Ocasio-Cortez, Energy And Environment At Night – Presented By ExxonMobil – Activists Cry Angrily Over COP26 Draft MORE says he is trying to reach.

William H. Overholt is a senior research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School. The most recent author of “China’s Crisis of Success” was Asia Policy Distinguished Chair at RAND and President of the Fung Global Institute. He led the Carter campaign’s Asia Policy Task Force and served on the board of directors of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). Follow him on Twitter @WilliamHoverhol.