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Here comes the China reckoning | #Education | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


Prediction is a dangerous game. But China watchers can read political polls as well (or as poorly) as everyone else, and in the last week or two they seem to be re-leveling their sights, thinking beyond 2020’s momentous election. The aftermath will offer Washington a chance to adjust its approach to China, whoever the president may be. As your host wrote in POLITICO on Friday, “America doesn’t get to veto China’s rise, only to reckon with it.” The question is what that “reckoning” will look like.

The current administration continues to roll out measures clearly aimed at China, but they feel inadequate to the moment. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sent an open letter to educators warning of the “malign influence” of the Chinese Communist Party, but it had no force of law and suggested no clear next steps. On Tuesday, Pompeo said State would be “mindful” of foreign funding for U.S. think tanks and namechecked China and Russia as “seek[ing] to exert influence” over U.S. foreign policy. But neither country cracks the top 20 foreign funders of American think tanks, according to a January report by the Center for International Policy, and Pompeo’s statement, again, has no legal force behind it.

Although the China question almost certainly won’t decide the 2020 election, it will shape where America goes afterward. Right now, as your host wrote, the U.S. is “argu[ing] with itself over whether and how to tie its shoelaces, [while] China, and many Asian nations within its sphere of influence, are breaking into a sprint.” The next administration, whoever may lead it, will need to think bigger, not smaller, about how to win the 21st century.

Trump is “losing the ‘Cold War’ with China,” former World Bank Director Robert Zoellick wrote last week in the Washington Post. The Republican is unsparing in his evaluation of Donald Trump’s signature trade war, which in retrospect was not easy to win, as Trump once wrote. Instead, it “forced [Trump] to spend $28 billion to compensate U.S. farmers,” and “stuck Americans with an annual bill for higher taxes on $350 billion of purchases from China.” Zoellick adds that “Moody’s Analytics estimated that Trump’s trade war with China has resulted in 300,000 fewer jobs being created in the United States.”

— Your host sees few arguments from conservatives in the Sinosphere that Trump has won this trade war. Pro-Trump arguments generally hold that engagement failed, that those efforts were naïve or that Democrats (or Trump critics) downplay or misunderstand the threat from Beijing. But after over three years of trade feuds, almost no one is saying the president, or America, got the better end of this bargain.

China sees Trump hastening American decline, according to a Monday Foreign Policy analysis by Brooking Institution fellow Rush Doshi. “Only one week before Trump’s inauguration in early 2017, China debuted a new phrase to guide its strategy: The world was experiencing ‘great changes unseen in a century.’” The term, a bit of a tongue twister in English and Chinese, is good news for Beijing, which sees Trump as “providing long-term benefits for China at the cost of high short-term risks.”

— Doshi conceived of his piece after the U.S. intelligence director wrote in August that China preferred Trump lose the 2020 election. “I thought this assessment told only half the story,” Doshi tells China Watcher. “Chinese leaders may wish for a reprieve from Trump’s recent aggressiveness,” he writes, but according to open sources, “they also believe he has accelerated American decline … the single most critical variable shaping China’s strategy has always been its assessment of American power.”





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