Vince posted at Quora:
What are your thoughts on the EU rethinking its economic policy toward China?
Europe is clearly trying to please Donald Trump and is not acting of its own accord. However, It is probably too late for Europe – or the US – to be thinking about restraining China.
The crucial time to act was in the 1980s when Congress first debated the pros and cons of granting this hostile communist nation most favoured nation status. America’s mistake was in granting China power over the US even though America held all the cards. Sort of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Chinese immediately demanded that the US rescind recognition of Taiwan, a loyal friend and ally that had provided profitable trade relations for decades. The decision to pull the US embassy from Taiwan was a betrayal of a friend and was grossly immoral and unethical. It was not the first time America had sold its soul and it set the stage for China’s dominance of the world and the West. Washington’s fatal mistake has always been acting as though there is no such thing as morality. There is a real price for this and the US is paying dearly. The negotiators at that time could have said they would be glad to trade with China but that they would never betray Taiwan because that would be unethical. The Chinese, with their long history of respect for harmony among people and nations, would have respected that. Since that time, however, they have been treating the US with the disrespect it deserves.
But now Trump is trying to set the clock back and that will not work (Trump had promised his tariffs would reduce the trade deficit. Instead they gave the US a record high deficit).
China has made many advances and much of this was done independently of the US, though the US is loath to admit it.
China is trending to surpass the US and Europe in technology not because it steals our technology (which it may or may not be doing) but because it has taken steps in education to achieve technological dominance, by promoting science and technology. The methods are too harsh to be contemplated in the West. When students are still in secondary school they are competing fiercely to gain entry into the most prestigious universities. Those who fail to make the grade are eliminated mercilessly. Your rich daddy can’t donate money to the university of your choice because the university is funded solely by the government. Thus corruption of the US kind is eliminated. It is a meritocracy. In the long run such a system will win over a “democratic” system. The die was cast at the founding of America.
If the first mistake was made by allowing China to dictate terms in the 80s, the second mistake was behaving like a drowning man and trying to wind back that mistake by getting “tough” on China. The BRI is not a fire-breathing dragon set to devour the West. It is a business opportunity that the West threw away. The BRI was open to all investors, but the Washington elites allowed their false pride to overcome their business sense.
The third mistake was betraying Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Russian Federation was their best chance of escaping Chinese domination. Again, their pride dictated to the US elites that they must be like the Most High – the Exceptional and Indispensable nation. In adopting this attitude, they relinquished their chance to be strong and prosperous in cooperation with other nations, and not as an adversary. Nothing has changed since then. Trump is taking this folly to new heights.
There was a brief rapprochement with Russia in the nineties but the elites squandered the opportunity to benefit from it by treating Russia fairly. Instead they plundered its resources. They did to Russia what they had done to Taiwan. They betrayed it and worse, they tried to imbue in Westerners a deep-seated hatred and mistrust of Russia. Although James Baker had promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand into the Warsaw Pact states, NATO did just that and extended right up to the Russian border, threatening and provoking with its massive military drills and spy places as if trying to start a war with this country that wanted peace.
As a result, Russia and China, now realizing the treacherous nature of their “partner,” were virtually driven into each others’ arms. Thus if China should ever threaten the US, Washington can never more count on Russia for help.
As we can see from the above, unlike Russia and China, Washington is indifferent to the notion of actually prospering and becoming a stable economy like these two. Its interest lies apparently not in true economic strength on a traditional foundation of hard work and targeted planning but in proving that the traditional values of its grassroots, such as loyalty and honesty, are obsolete and not needed in their brave new world. Of course, they are proving just the opposite.
I had written on this previously at Quora in response to a similar question: