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IPFS News Link • China

Embracing Communist China Was U.S.' Greatest Strategic Failure

• By James E. Fanell and Bradley A. Thayer

They are the consequence of two fundamental and interrelated grand strategic mistakes made by the U.S. First, the failure to understand the threat from the People's Republic of China. Second, the failure to balance against it. As a result, the U.S. is at risk of losing its dominant position to an emboldened PRC working in cooperation with Vladimir Putin's Russia and the mullahs in Iran. Surveying the global unrest, Americans must comprehend three reasons why they face this dire strategic landscape.

First, U.S. elites did not perceive the threat due to the triumphalism of the "End of History" – the false assertion that modernizing nations like China were on the path to democratization and free market economics. Great power conflict was seen as an artifact of the past. This hubris contributed to what we term "threat deflation," where year after year U.S. decision-makers consistently dismissed or underestimated the threat from the PRC.

Second, U.S. business interests and financiers indefatigably sought economic gain from cooperation with Beijing. This facilitated China's rise as it entered the West's economic ecosystem, as did its admission to the World Trade Organization.

Their influence on the major U.S. political parties and at the highest levels of U.S. politics hindered the U.S. response and promoted the conceit of globalization. Thus emerged an "engagement school," which asserted that by engaging the PRC, it would become wealthy, a "responsible stakeholder" in the international order, and even democratic. In essence, the U.S. willingly and enthusiastically taught, trained, and even equipped, its mortal enemy. Business interests and financiers funded our national security think tanks which contributed to a bias towards the engagement school, and thus to the threat deflation of the PRC.


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