What the China Literature Gets Wrong, by Joseph Solis-Mullen

The Chinese don’t want to run the world, but they do want to be the big kid on their block. From Joseph Solis-Mullen at libertarianinstitute.org:

For more than a decade it’s become expected for books peddling the “China threat” to pop up as best sellers. From Martin Jacques’ When China Rules the World (2009) to Michael Pillsbury’s The Hundred-Year Marathon (2015), the best response has been to just shrug and move on. Talk in serious policy circles and major media were still primarily focused on Beijing’s integration into the “liberal world order” as a “responsible stakeholder,” and of the gains in trade made (and still to be made) in exchange between the United States and China.

The transformation of China from global partner to enemy number one seemed to happen, in Hemingway’s words, gradually, then suddenly. Indeed, despite Donald Trump’s early bellicosity when it came to China, the corporate press didn’t immediately play along with the China threat narrative. Rather, they proclaimed the folly of his trade war and seemed to revel in reporting the losses it was inflicting on American farmers, whose exports to China had been interrupted as a result of retaliatory tariffs.

But in the background the slow, ominous drip of the China threat narrative continued with Graham Allison’s Destined For War(2017). Then, in quick succession, Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept (2019) by Robert Spalding, Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy (2019) by Bill Gertz, Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America (2020) by Qiao Liang, Has China Won? (2020) by Kishore Mahbubani, The Long Game: China’s Strategy to Displace American Order (2021) by Rush Doshi, The World According to China (2021) by Elizabeth Economy, War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination (2022) by Robert Spalding, No Limits; the Inside Story of China’s War with the West (2022) by Andrew Small, and Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy (2022) by Erich Schwartzel.

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