Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Father Of Neoliberalism Says U.S. Needs To Unclinch Buttcheeks With China And Just Let It Happen...,


project-syndicate |  Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy focused on great power competition with China. Many Americans of both major political parties agree that Trump was correct to punish China for cybertheft of intellectual property, coerced intellectual property transfer, and unfair trade practices such as subsidized credit to state-owned enterprises.

Reciprocity does need to be enforced. If China can ban Google and Facebook from its market for security reasons, the US can take similar steps against Huawei or ZTE. 

Anger and mistrust festers in both countries’ capitals.But what the COVID-19 crisis teaches us is that this competitive approach to national security is inadequate. And COVID-19 is not the only example. The information revolution and globalization are changing world politics dramatically.

While trade wars have set back economic globalization, environmental globalization, reflected in pandemics and climate change, obeys the laws of biology and physics, not politics. In a world where borders are becoming more porous to everything from drugs and illicit financial flows to infectious diseases and cyber terrorism, countries must use their soft power of attraction to develop networks and institutions that address the new threats.

As technology expert Richard Danzig points out, “Pathogens, AI systems, computer viruses, and radiation that others may accidentally release could become as much our problem as theirs. Agreed reporting systems, shared controls, common contingency plans, norms, and treaties must be pursued as means of moderating our numerous mutual risks.” Tariffs and border walls cannot solve these problems.

On transnational issues like COVID-19 and climate change, power becomes a positive-sum game. It is not enough to think of power over others; one must also consider power with others. On many transnational issues, empowering others helps a country accomplish its own goals. For example, all can benefit if others improve their energy efficiency, or improve their public health systems.

All leaders have a responsibility to put their country’s interests first, but the important moral question is how broadly or narrowly they choose to define those interests. Both China and the US are responding to COVID-19 with an inclination toward short-term, zero-sum, competitive approaches, and too little attention to international institutions and cooperation.