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Let China win. It’s good for America.

Joshua Kurlantzick

 

When Chinese officials announced in 2013 that they would open an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to primarily fund big construction projects across the Pacific, they launched a slow-motion freak-out in Washington. As they went around the world inviting governments to join, Obama administration officials pressured their allies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere not to.The AIIB, headquartered in Beijing, would allow China to expand its influence throughout Asia, the White House fretted. “We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China,” one Obama aide complained to the Financial Times after Britain joined 56 other nations in signing up to fund power plants, roads, telecommunications infrastructure and other ventures. It was a rare public critique of a U.S. ally.

The campaign against China’s bank is hardly unique. Since the Obama administration came into office, its Asia strategy has been to fear and combat nearly every move by China to flex its muscles, which Beijing has done through aid grants, trade deals, energy exploration, new diplomatic initiatives and military relations with other nations. This anti-China strategy might be one of the only areas of agreement between the president and Republicans. Donald Trump, for instance, says he wants to battle China at every opportunity and promises to slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese imports.

In some places, such as the South China Sea, the nation’s expanding power poses a real threat. And it is frightening to see a xenophobic autocracy — one that cracks down ferociously on domestic critics and fosters a growing cult of personality around President Xi Jinping — gaining influence.

 

The article’s full-text is available here.

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