U.S. Scholar: China’s Misjudgment of “U.S. Decline” Leads to Overly Strategic Confidence

Recently, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, released a report stating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has overestimated its own strength and created the illusion of “rising in the east and falling in the west” through the official narrative, thus making strategic miscalculations and implementing tactics such as “war wolf diplomacy. Some scholars believe that in the reality of Xi Jinping’s one-man rule, it will be difficult for China to correct its radical course, which will lead to more serious strategic failures.

U.S. Scholar: “U.S. Decline” Is Becoming a Single Communist Party Narrative

Jude Blanchette, director of the China Studies Program, and Seth G. Jones, senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), authored a report entitled “How Beijing’s Narrative of U.S. Decline Leads to Strategic Overconfidence. They argue that Beijing’s assessment that U.S. power and international influence are deteriorating since the 2008 financial crisis and that the decline of the Western world is becoming an unshakable official Communist narrative has led China to be overconfident in its strategy, as evidenced by its tendency toward confrontational and proactive “war-wolf diplomacy.

The report shows that since 2008, there has been a proliferation of Chinese language articles extolling the superiority of the socialist system and decrying the financial strength and democratic governance capabilities of the United States. In particular, over the past year, Communist think tanks have trumpeted that the American people are mired in epidemics, donkey-elephant fights, and social unrest to prove that “the U.S. democratic and political system has stopped working” and that “as U.S. power wanes, so will the values it promotes. “The report cites a number of typical examples of the decline of the East and the decline of the West.

On January 13, 2021, the Chinese official media, People’s Daily, published an article by Li Yunlong, a professor at the Institute of International Strategy of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, entitled “The End of the Myth of “American Democracy,” which claimed that the storming of Capitol Hill by American protesters was a major setback for the American political system. Zhang Shuhua, director of the Institute of Political Science at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote an article for the Global Times, “The Deterioration of Western Politics Further Harms the World,” attributing the root cause of the serious deterioration of the global political ecology after the Cold War to the systematic decay of Western politics.

“It is true that China’s power has grown significantly over the years, and the contrast between its power and that of the West has changed. The balance was originally much heavier on the side of the Western democracies, but now the balance has shifted a bit toward the (Chinese) side, but it has not yet reached the point where China’s power has completely surpassed that of the Western democracies. ” Hu Ping, editor-in-chief emeritus of Beijing Spring magazine, told the station. “In addition to hard power, there is also soft power, and China’s soft power is obviously inaccessible and resisted internationally.”

“If you violate my China, you will be punished from afar” Why does China’s strategy continue to be aggressive?

In recent years, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen such as Zhao Lijian have fully demonstrated a “war-wolf” diplomatic posture, completely abandoning the diplomatic practice of “hiding the light and keeping obscure” advocated under Deng Xiaoping. Some people think that the rise of “war wolf diplomacy” stems from the suppression of China’s rapid rise by Western democracies, and China has to remain passive and defensive. But Xia Ming, a professor of political science at the City University of New York, argues that while there are external factors, the internal factors of seeking regime consolidation play a more decisive role.

The Chinese government’s core interest is to secure the position of the ruling party, so all decisions are made around the CPC, and are determined by this internal factor,” Xia Ming said. The Chinese Communist Party realizes that all the demands for improved human rights and increased liberalization that come with democratization are in conflict with the core interests of the Chinese Communist regime. China sees the Western regime in the United States as the greatest threat, so it will resort to surrounding, blocking, smearing, and creating hostility.”

Since 2017, Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized in various official settings that “the world today is in the midst of a great change unprecedented in a century,” that opportunities and challenges coexist, and that China is closer than ever to realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

But the reality is that the U.S. economy and military remain far ahead in the international arena. The report says the U.S. continues to outpace China in defense, with $738 billion in U.S. military spending in 2020, three times the combined total of its competitors, China and Russia. Meanwhile, with the U.S. spending 3.1 percent of GDP on research and development in 2019, compared to China’s 2.2 percent, and the rate of vaccinations for U.S. nationals maintaining an advantage, there are few signs that the U.S. is in decline.

Political Scholar: Xi Jinping’s One-Man Dictatorship China’s Radical Course Hard to Fix

Hu Ping analyzed that Western democracies will continue to hold China’s development in check if China maintains its radical and overconfident posture against the backdrop of the international community’s widespread aversion to China’s “war-wolf diplomacy. He predicts that Western democratic institutions and values may combine with internal Chinese forces advocating reform to promote change in China.

“But on the negative side, there is also the possibility that the current faction of the Communist Party of China will move further in the direction of extremes, and since they are already presenting Western antipathy and containment as a suppression of China by Western society, it is all the more important for China to take a hard-line approach as a rallying cry to achieve unity and incite nationalism to strengthen its rule. “

Xia Ming, however, is skeptical of change coming from within the party. He believes that the lack of sound institutional safeguards within the Chinese political system and the lack of factions to monitor and correct each other will continue China’s march toward overconfident radicalization: “The danger in China is that if the leader goes crazy, there is no way to stop it because its system has no way to limit authoritarian power. If the leader goes crazy and the whole country goes into a state of madness, the final solution is hardly institutional. Xi Jinping has already amended the constitution and abolished the tenure system, abolishing the entire collective leadership in China and introducing the cult of the individual. In addition, Xi has weakened the factions, reinforced his personal dictatorship, and replaced all others he does not trust with his own faction.”

In his latest article for Foreign Affairs, Bai Ming also wrote earlier that Xi’s quest to seek re-election at the 20th Party Congress in 2022 and consolidate his increasingly monolithic position in the Chinese political system will further prevent necessary policy choices and course corrections in China.

“Given these realities, China’s self-confidence, even overconfidence, could lead to a bolder, more confrontational international posture,” the report notes. “A China that overestimates its own power and underestimates U.S. power is a worrisome combination, as it is likely to lead China to make strategic misjudgments in many areas of geopolitical importance, such as Taiwan.”