Cheng Xiaonong: An Analysis of the Current Situation of U.S.-China Relations

From the second half of Trump’s term to the present, U.S.-China relations have left the long-established status of the “panda-embracing faction” and are highly strained. So, what is the state of U.S.-China relations now? Are they both enemies and friends, or are they neither enemies nor friends? In fact, the current state of U.S.-China relations is very clear and not difficult to depict, but the perception of the current state of U.S.-China relations and how to interpret it seems to be a confusing issue for the United States at the moment. From the White House to the military, from think tanks to the business community, each has its own interpretation.

I. Embracing political confrontation and aggression against America’s “pandas”?

To interpret the current state of U.S.-China relations, at least a few of the most important aspects must be addressed, first is the political relationship, second is the economic relationship, and third is the military relationship.

Is the U.S.-China political relationship the root cause of the growing antagonism between the two countries in recent years? Obviously not. The U.S. and China have completely different political systems. The Chinese Communist Party is a traditional communist dictatorship, a totalitarian regime, under which it has never stopped suppressing and persecuting human rights at home, the most typical examples of which are the endless persecution of innocent Falun Gong practitioners and the regular persecution of less compliant ethnic minorities. The CCP has never given up or ended political persecution in the past 70 years, but haven’t the “panda huggers” been friendly to such a “panda” for decades? Didn’t Bush Sr. gently let go of even the brutal persecution of the June 4 crackdown?

“The “panda huggers” once had a “beautiful” fantasy that the market-oriented Chinese Communist regime would abandon dictatorship and accept democracy, and this is also the reason they tried to convince others to understand their pro-panda “This is the reason they try to convince others to understand their pro-Panda. This rationale, which has been used for decades, has become increasingly self-defeating, not only unjustifiable, but also constantly shattered by the CCP’s hard-line internal political repression posture (including a series of political repression measures in Hong Kong); even some American political prophets who expected the CCP’s high-level “power struggle” to change the CCP’s authoritarian nature are now increasingly disappointed. Even some U.S. political prophets who expected the “power struggle” at the top of the CCP to change the CCP’s authoritarian nature are increasingly disappointed.

The complete dichotomy between U.S. and Chinese political values is not a new problem for the United States; it is an established state of affairs that has been clear and unchanged since the Korean and Vietnam wars. For the U.S. administration to bring this up again today is not only uninspiring, it is also a slap in the face of several former presidents who “embraced the panda. The United States and the Chinese Communist regime have always had opposing values; the question is whether the U.S. administration is concerned about this opposition, and what the purpose of focusing on or ignoring the political opposition between the two countries is. Nixon “embraced the panda” from the international strategic needs of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, and several presidents after him “embraced the panda” from the needs of trade and commerce. Can international strategic or commercial needs now give the United States a reason to “embrace the panda”?

It has been 20 years since the United States opened the door for China to join the WTO, and it was not until President Trump launched the U.S.-China economic and trade negotiations that the conflict and confrontation between the two countries at the economic and trade level was put on the table. The main conflict is centered on two aspects: first, China’s long-standing and deliberate campaign of technology theft and intellectual property infringement, which costs the U.S. $500 billion annually; and second, the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to use this as a means to fully capture the U.S. market with its huge production capacity as the “factory of the world” and to raise huge amounts of money to strengthen its economic and military power. The second is that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to use this as a means to fully occupy the U.S. market with its huge production capacity as a “world factory” and to raise huge amounts of money to strengthen its economy and military power, thus threatening U.S. national security. Although the United States is a powerful nation, it cannot afford to remain indifferent to such an economic siege by a superpower with a large population. The fundamental question is: Is this kind of economic strategy by the Chinese Communist Party a normal competition? Of course not. It is a clear case of malicious aggression. What is the strategic intent of the Chinese Communist Party? The answer does not seem to be derived from the economic and trade activities themselves.

Second, the Red Power is bound to launch a military threat to the United States

The Communist regime’s attempts to weaken and even shake the Western democratic powers have never been interrupted, starting from Lenin to Beijing today, and the U.S.-Soviet Cold War is just a natural product of the Soviet military threat to the United States. It can be said that the communist regime’s desire to “defeat the bastions of democracy and the capitalist system” is a strategy that grew out of its Marxist DNA. The only constraint on whether this strategy was openly displayed and whether it threatened the United States with its teeth and claws was its assessment of its own strength. When the Red Power threatened the United States militarily, its slogan of “socialism will win” was in fact nothing more than an ideological package for the global pursuit of hegemony.

When the Soviet Union was in a life-and-death situation during World War II, it would have been annihilated by Nazi Germany without U.S. assistance; when the Soviet Union was preparing to launch a nuclear strike against the Chinese Communist regime during the Sino-Soviet border conflict, Mao Zedong evacuated key members of his top brass from Beijing, and it was a strong U.S. gesture that forced the Soviet Union to withdraw, allowing the Chinese Communist regime to escape. The U.S. not only saved the Red Powers twice from the plight of their fallen parties and countries, but also “fed the Red Tigers” twice for long periods of time, helping them to grow so strong that they eventually threatened the U.S. The U.S. “righteousness” will in no way change the ambitions of the red powers, once they believe that their strength has been able to challenge the United States, their strategic attempts to weaken and shake the United States will be implemented, the red powers and the U.S. military confrontation is thus born.

The United States never intended to eliminate the Red Powers, but only to respond defensively to their military threats. This was true in the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and it is also true today in the face of pressure and threats from the Chinese Communist Party, because democracies cannot and will not directly provoke a war against the Red Power, which possesses nuclear weapons; but the Red Power, on the contrary, treats the lives of its people like grass, and will initiate military threats against the United States whenever it has the opportunity. The real main reason for the deterioration of U.S.-China relations in recent years is that the Chinese Communist Party ignited the U.S.-China Cold War, which was the origin of the U.S.-China military confrontation.

It is not unbelievable that the CCP acted in this manner; the CCP has fought the U.S. military in Korea and Vietnam before. The reason why the Chinese Communist Party fought against the United States on the battlefield in the past is the same as the reason why the Chinese Communist Party ignited the Cold War between the United States and China today: to “defeat U.S. imperialism. If someone in the United States thinks that as long as the United States does not confront the CCP, the CCP will change its ways and become a Buddha and abide by the international order and rules, it only shows that his perception of the CCP is so naive as to be ridiculous.

III. The Nuclear Threat Turn of the Cold War

How to view today’s U.S.-China military relations cannot be considered on the merits, but must have a historical perspective. The Chinese Communist Party’s military threat to the United States is now an inescapable reality. But whether this military threat constitutes a Cold War is currently highly controversial in the United States, and the administration’s position has largely been to avoid discussion of the Cold War issue.

Twice since World War II the United States has faced military threats from the Red Powers, but the dimensions of these are complex and can easily lead to confusion and misunderstanding. The Red Power threat to Western democracies, primarily the United States, began with the Berlin Crisis of 1948, when the Soviet Union suddenly blocked land transportation between Allied-controlled West Berlin and West Germany, causing difficulties for the survival of West Berlin’s garrison and residents, and the U.S. military disrupted the blockade with a massive airlift. Modern world history generally agrees that this crisis was the beginning of the Cold War between the East and the West. This threat disappeared for decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and now the Chinese Communist Party has begun to threaten the United States militarily again.

If the process of military confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union is divided into specific stages, it is roughly as follows. First, the two armies are pitted against each other in third countries, as in the case of the Berlin crisis; second, the Red powers wage war in third countries, and the United States intervenes with large-scale ground and air wars, as in the Korean and Vietnam wars; third, the Red powers make direct nuclear threats against the United States, as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962; fourth, both sides enter into a nuclear preparedness and defense against nuclear attack-focused expansion and preparedness until the fall of the Red Power.

It is important to note that between the second and third phases, a substantial turnaround in the Cold War occurred, and that was the technological breakthrough in the launch of nuclear weapons. This was twofold; first, the transformation of nuclear weapons into conventional ground weapons and combatants for underwater attack-type weapons, i.e., the emergence of artillery shells and torpedoes with nuclear warheads, which were carried by four Soviet submarines off Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis but were unknown to the United States at the time; and second, the introduction of nuclear missiles meant a breakthrough in long-range delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons, allowing both sides to carry out nuclear threats from far across the ocean .

This substantial turn in the Cold War marked the beginning of a time when the nuclear powers could not formally engage each other in war. Because both sides held large numbers of nuclear weapons, enough to destroy the other side; if the two sides were to get into a hot war, they could open the door to a nuclear attack. Before this Cold War twist, the United States could confront the Red powers militarily in a third country, i.e., a hot war like the Korean and Vietnam wars, because China did not have nuclear weapons or had them but no means of delivery. But the emergence of the long-range nuclear threat put an end to this situation, and the Cold War has since entered a state of quasi-war in which both sides are in a state of nuclear threat to each other, characterized by constant military expansion and preparedness on both sides, and a high level of military readiness and confrontation with each other.

Fourth, does the Chinese Communist Party’s military threat to the United States constitute the Cold War?

The initial military threat from the Red Power is often unexpected by the United States. In my article “Alert to U.S. Appeasement of the Chinese Communist Party” published on this website on March 25 this year, I analyzed three military threats that the Chinese Communist Party will initiate against the United States in the first half of 2020. The three military threats are: last January, the Chinese Communist Party sent its naval fleet to Midway Island to conduct threatening exercises; last March, the Chinese Communist Party announced that it had forcibly occupied international waters in the South China Sea and established a deep-sea fortress of nuclear submarines to threaten the United States; and last June, the Chinese Communist Party announced that it had completed the construction of the Beidou navigation system, which can carry out precision strikes against the United States with nuclear missiles. The official media of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have reported it separately. From then until now, the military confrontation between China and the U.S. has been almost continuous. On April 23 this year, I published an article on Radio Free Asia’s website, “The Latest Developments in the U.S.-China Cold War Confrontation at Sea,” detailing the recent situation, with much of the information coming from the U.S. military’s website. The U.S. military is now on high alert for the military threat from the Chinese Communist Party, and is constantly calling for vigorous and full alert.

If the current U.S.-China military confrontation is interpreted along the framework of the four stages of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War escalation, it can be said that its first stage of two armies facing each other and saber-rattling has already occurred; while the third stage of the Red Power’s direct nuclear threat to the U.S. has also emerged. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 in the U.S.-Soviet Cold War represented the Cold War’s entry into the nuclear threat phase. The so-called Cuban Missile Crisis was the result of the Soviet Union smuggling short-range missiles with nuclear warheads into Cuba in October 1962, aimed at Florida, and spotted by U.S. reconnaissance aircraft. President Kennedy ordered the U.S. military to go on alert level three and blockade Cuba to prevent the Soviet Union from shipping more nuclear missiles, while demanding that the Soviet Union withdraw its nuclear missiles in Cuba. Finally, under U.S. pressure, the Soviet Union withdrew its nuclear weapons. Both sides in this crisis realized that a nuclear war could break out if not handled properly, and that the Soviet Union actually did not want to lose its party or its country. The U.S. and Soviet Union have not been so shortchanged since.

As missiles with nuclear warheads have become longer-range and can be launched by nuclear submarines covertly underwater, the old Cuban Missile Crisis will not happen again; but the new version of the nuclear threat has changed to intercontinental missiles, and now the Red powers making the nuclear threat have switched from speaking Russian to speaking Chinese.

V. A new version of the “Cuban Missile Crisis” between China and the United States

After the Chinese Communist Party completed the Beidou satellite navigation system on June 23 last year, its official foreign propaganda media, Dovetail News, published an article on June 26, “Beidou Impacts Global Navigation Pattern, China’s Military Power Increases Significantly”. This article declared, “The full completion of the Beidou system also means a significant increase in China’s military capabilities, with the ability to conduct both ‘global operations’ and ‘precision operations,’ enabling more precise surgical strikes against global targets .” This is a clear targeting of the nuclear threat to the United States.

The targeting of China’s and the United States’ respective nuclear weapons has always included the other; U.S. nuclear weapons were also aimed at the Soviet Union during the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, and a portion of China’s nuclear weapons were aimed at the Soviet Union. This is the usual strategic enemy-to-enemy precautionary measure, and each knows it well. Under what circumstances would such precautions ignite the Cold War? The key point is that once the Red Powers publicly demonstrate their intention to threaten each other with nuclear weapons, the precautionary function of their nuclear weapons changes, the nuclear weapons become offensive weapons, and the target of the attack is identified; the only question left is when to launch the missile with the nuclear warhead.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union placed short-range missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba as a posture to launch a nuclear attack at any time. At the time, Soviet missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads could only fly a few hundred kilometers and cover the state of Florida from Cuba. In the 21st century, nuclear missiles have reached a flight range of more than 10,000 kilometers, and the nuclear threat need not be posed at the U.S. gate, as nuclear missiles can still be launched in the South China Sea. And two more requirements for an effective nuclear threat are to put eyes on the ICBMs and to hide the launch platform of the ICBMs. The Chinese Communist Party has publicly announced that it can use the Beidou satellite system for precision guidance, which is equivalent to saying that the ICBMs it uses for nuclear threats already have a means of precision guidance; and the second condition is solved by launching nuclear missiles from nuclear submarines in the deep waters of the South China Sea, which are much more concealed than launching from land.

For land-based ICBM bases of the Chinese Communist Party, the U.S. Space Command keeps an eye on them with satellites 24 hours a day, and as soon as any land-based ICBM base enters a state of readiness for launch, the U.S. military immediately knows about it and will issue an early warning, and at the same time activate preventive means; but the nuclear submarine is active in the sea, and the ICBM it launches will only be discovered after it breaks the water and lifts off, leaving the U.S. with only ten minutes of warning time, which is obviously much more dangerous than land-based ICBMs are much more dangerous than land-based missiles.

Even if the CCP had the means to make an effective nuclear threat, the United States could still assume that the CCP has no intention of making an active nuclear threat, as long as it does not openly provoke it. The only signal of whether a new version of the “Cuban Missile Crisis” will emerge is whether the Chinese Communist Party sends a clear signal of a nuclear threat. The above article in Dovetail could be considered a signal, but it does not name the United States. But recently the Chinese Communist Party has publicly named the United States and started to carry out nuclear threats. On April 23 of this year, when the CCP’s new nuclear submarine was integrated into its strategic nuclear submarine fleet in Sanya, the official media declared that its submarine-based intercontinental missiles could strike anywhere in the U.S. mainland from the South China Sea, and also released the new nuclear submarine’s emblem pattern, showing one nuclear missile being fired from the South China Sea to North America. Obviously, in the age of nuclear submarines and satellite navigation, this is a new version of the “Cuban Missile Crisis”.

  1. Blinken: “No Cold War between the U.S. and China”?

How does the Biden administration view the current nuclear threat to the United States from the Chinese Communist Party? In a May 2 interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Secretary of State John Blinken said that Beijing’s internal repression and external arrogance had put U.S.-China relations in a difficult position, while in a May 5 interview with the Financial Times, he denied that the U.S. and China were engaged in a Cold War, citing the “complexity” of U.S.-China relations. In his interview with the Financial Times on May 5, he denied that the U.S. and China were engaged in a Cold War, citing the “complexity” of the relationship.

In the CBS interview, Blinken said, “I want to make it very clear, and this is important, that our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to suppress it, but to preserve this rules-based order.” His words make clear that the Biden administration’s goal is simply to protect the “rules-based order” in international relations, not to “contain China”; he also said that the United States cannot completely refrain from dealing with China and that “there are There is real complexity in the relationship, whether it’s the adversarial part, the competitive part or the cooperative part.”

This statement by Blinken reflects the basic direction of the Biden administration’s policy toward China, which is, to split the U.S.-China relationship into three parts: confrontation, competition, and cooperation. Blinken has previously stated that the U.S. approach to China is to “compete in areas where we should compete, cooperate in areas where we can cooperate, and confront in areas where we must confront.”

Is the Biden administration prepared to confront, compete peacefully with, or cooperate amicably with the Chinese Communist Party in the military field, where the confrontation between the U.S. and China is becoming increasingly apparent? Biden has always refused to make a clear statement.