By: Jianli Yang – August 11, 2021
While the July 1 hundred-year anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party headlined in major media houses within and outside China, a second anniversary quietly flew by several days later. It was 50 years ago on July 9, 1971, that Henry Kissinger, then President Nixon’s national security adviser, made a secret visit to meet with Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People’s Republic of China. In the middle of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Nixon and Kissinger courted Communist China, an event that ultimately led to normalization of relations between the countries in 1979.
Today the United States and China are vastly different from the way they were in the 1970s, and their bonhomie has been dying a slow death in the intervening years. In his recent address on the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, President Biden pronounced that the U.S. must “focus on shoring up America’s core strengths to meet the strategic competition with China and other nations that is really going to determine our future.” This is an important cue, indicating that the U.S. no longer seeks to engage with China in ways that it did for the past 40 years.
The partnership with the U.S. afforded China the “peace” in its peaceful rise, letting China grow from a cooperative nation and economic partner into a nation that has become a genuine threat to U.S. security. The relationship change has not been sudden; cracks began to be visible during the Obama administration, and former President Trump’s confrontational approach led to a trade war and 2020 trade agreement that China has not lived up to. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) recently recognized the gravity of the China threat, saying China “is doing a lot of very bad things” and has become a far greater challenge to the United States than Russia, according to the New York Daily News…[Continue Reading]