Correct Attitude of Champion Athlete Toward Competition: When an established champion athlete faces stiff competition from a new emerging challenger, the established athlete will look within himself and his team to examine carefully every aspect of his and his team’s training and physical and mental preparation in order to improve the athlete’s performance. The established champion athlete and his team do not go outside of the rules of competition to damage the competitor’s physical body or to sabotage the competitor team’s ability to train or to compete. Similarly, now that the U.S. is facing stiff competition from China as the world’s number one economy, she should look within herself for ways to improve the U.S. as a whole, instead of trying to sabotage China.
Tonya Harding Strategy Toward Competition: Before discussing the U.S.’s foreign policy related to economic competition, let’s elaborate on the sports analogy. In 1994 the top two American female figure skaters and also leading favorites for the 1994 Olympic gold medal were Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. On January 6, 1994, about six weeks before the 1994 Winter Olympics and after a practice in Detroit for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked with a baton on her right knee by a man hired by two men associated with Tonya Harding, her ex-husband and her bodyguard. As a result, Kerrigan was forced out of the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but she recovered in time and won the Olympic silver medal, losing the gold medal by the slightest margin to Ukrainian Oksana Baiul. Several months later after conducting its own investigation, the U.S. Figure Skating Association banned Harding for life because it concluded that Harding knew about the attack before it happened. In other words, instead of training her hardest to prepare for the competition, Harding took the low road and used unethical method to try to eliminate her main competitor.
U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Economic Competition: Ever since the end of WWII, the U.S. has been the most powerful country in the world and has the world’s number one economy. After more than 30 years of miraculous growth since around 1980, China’s economy has grown to be the world’s second largest economy, and is projected to pass the U.S. in a few more years.  The U.S. is not satisfied to be second, and I applaud that attitude. So we should look within ourselves to figure out how we can improve and what steps we need to take in order to continue to be number one. Instead of accepting this challenge, the U.S. has adopted a very antagonistic attitude toward China, and blames China on almost everything under the sun, and lines up with several other countries to try to surround and weaken China. Furthermore, many of the accusations against China should actually be accusations against the U.S. or her allies.
We discuss why these actions of the U.S. are unethical, and just as importantly why these actions are not in the best interests of the U.S. and the American people.
The accusation that we have heard the most in the last few months is that China is illegally trying to expand her territorial claims, especially with respect to various islands in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. One example is the Diaoyu Islands (called Senkaku Islands by the Japanese) in the East China Sea. With respect to these islands, is China really illegally trying to expand her territorial claim, or is Japan in collusion with the U.S. trying to steal these islands from China?
Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea: For people who have studied the historical and legal background of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the overwhelming majority, including Japanese scholars, will conclude that these islands have been part of China (part of the Taiwan province) for hundreds of years, and that Japan starting around 1884 had been trying to steal these islands from China.  The issue should have been settled after the end of WWII when Japan returned Taiwan back to China. If it weren’t for the U.S. government’s collusion with Japan, e.g., on December 25, 1953 by unilaterally including these islands as part of the Ryukyu Islands (also known as Okinawa) whose administrative rights were later handed over to Japan in 1972, there would not be a controversy over the territorial claims of these islands.
In spite of this fairly clear cut history, Japan claims that there is no territorial dispute, that these islands clearly belong to Japan, and they even tried to nationalize these islands in 2012. Japan has no historical and legal justification to claim that these islands belong to her. Not only that the U.S. did not criticize Japan, the U.S. has been in full collusion with Japan accusing China of territorial expansion. Who is the aggressor and the expansionist? Isn’t it clear that the U.S. is completely unethical and is adopting a Tonya Harding-like strategy for her foreign policy?
Paracel and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea: What about the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, in particular, the disputes over the Paracel Islands in the northwest part of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands in the southeast part of the South China Sea.
The Paracel Islands, consisting of over two dozen islands, are located on the northwest part of South China Sea and close to China’s city of Sanya in Hainan Province and the coast of Vietnam. The Spratly Islands, consisting of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays, and islands, are located on the southeast part of South China Sea and are close to the Philippines, Vietnam, China’s city of Sanya in Hainan Province, and other countries around the South China Sea.
China’s claims to the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands are based on various records, including historical documents of visits, expedition maps, a stone plaque left by a military ship, and recorded Chinese activities on the islands, many of these dating back to hundreds of years. Furthermore, In 1946, after the end of WWII, the Chinese government officially took back from Japan control of the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands. Vietnam’s claims to these islands are based on the Vietnam emperor Gia Long’s claim to the Paracel Islands in 1816, and on France’s declaration in 1933 that the Spratly Islands were under France’s sovereignty. Philippines’ claims to the Spratly Islands are based on (1) a 1947 claim that Filipino Tomas Cloma discovered a group of unoccupied islands which are part of the Spratly Islands, (2) Tomas Cloma laid claim to the Spratly Islands when the ROC in 1950 temporarily pulled out its garrison (but reestablished in 1956) on the Taiping Island, the largest island of the Spratly Islands, and (3) Philippines renamed the Spratly Islands as Kalayaan and in 1972 formally incorporated Kalayaan into her Palawan Province. (For a more detailed discussion, see http://www.dontow.com/2014/06/assessing-u-s-s-foreign-policy-toward-china/.)
Currently, the Paracel Islands are under Chinese control. Different islands of the Spratly Islands are under the control of Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and China, with Vietnam controlling the largest number. For many years, Vietnam has been drilling oil in the islands they control in the South China Sea, sometimes in collaboration with Western countries or with India. They have already earned a lot of money and oil export is a significant part of their export revenue. Recently China installed their first oil rig, an exploratory oil rig, in the Paracel Islands, but that triggered protests from Vietnam and the U.S. accusing China of unjustified territorial expansion.
On one of the Spratly Islands that China owns and controls, the Fiery Cross Island (永暑島), recently China has increased the size of the island with landfills, but that should be within the jurisdiction of the country that owns the island. Furthermore, as early as 2010, Vietnam also used landfill to increase the size of two of the Spratly Islands under her control, the West London Reef (西礁) and the Sand Cay (郭謙沙洲). Why didn’t the U.S. protest against that action of Vietnam? If the U.S. wants to protest against China doing landfills on an island she owns and controls, why doesn’t the U.S. protest against countries like Dubai for constructing the Coconut Island with landfills?
Truthfulness of U.S. Accusations: It may be fair to say that there are conflicting territorial claims to the various islands in the South China Sea. But is China expanding her territorial claims, or is she just trying to keep other countries from expanding their territorial claims? Why should Vietnam and the U.S. accuse China of installing her first oil rig near an island controlled by China and whereas for many years Vietnam has been profiting from oil drilling near an island controlled by Vietnam? With such twisting of the historical truth by the Vietnamese and U.S. governments, is it any wonder that massive deadly riots occurred recently in Vietnam against Chinese (from Mainland or Taiwan) owned businesses or stores. Where is the fairness in all of this, and why is the U.S. always criticizing China and siding with the other party? This is just another example of the U.S. adopting a Tonya Harding-like strategy for her foreign policy.
The U.S. has been accusing China of building up her military strength. Why doesn’t the U.S. consider who has military bases all around China, e.g., in Okinawa and other parts of Japan, in South Korea, in Guam, in the Philippines. The U.S. also has military troops in many other parts of Asia. The U.S.’s huge 7th Fleet is patrolling the waters all around China, with 60 to 70 ships and submarines, 200 to 300 aircrafts, and approximately 40,000 sailors and marines, and participated in 80 maritime exercises and conducted 192 port visits throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region just in 2013. The U.S. also has military alliances with several countries around China, in particular, the U.S. has mutual defense treaties with Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
China has over 100 years of sober and tragic experience of a weak country being pushed around, partitioned, ceding territories, and occupied by various more powerful countries. As China grows economically, why shouldn’t she build up her military strength, especially when it is far from the equal of the U.S. As a matter of fact, in terms of naval technology and strength, most likely the Chinese navy is even behind that of Japan. The U.S. is selling advanced weapons to Japan, South Korea, Philippines, and even Vietnam. Just recently, the U.S. has just strengthened her mutual defense treaty with Japan and basically encourages the Abe government to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist constitution without a national referendum to allow Japan’s Self Defense Forces to be involved in military activities outside of Japan. If we are honest with ourselves, which country is the military aggressor and creating military instabilities in the region? Isn’t it clear that the U.S. is adopting a Tonya Harding-like strategy for her foreign policy?
U.S. government leaders and her media have frequently accused China of engaging in cyber spying for both military and business intelligence. Throughout history, spying on other countries, both friends and foes, but especially the latter, has always been part of a country’s strategy to survive or to succeed. The question we should ask: “Is China the only country doing cyber spying?” Or “is China doing more cyber spying than other countries?”
With the information disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden almost exactly two years ago, it is quite clear that the U.S. has been the world’s number one cyber spying government, collecting phone, computer, and other personal and private information from both friends and foes, including top government leaders of U.S.’s closest allies and ordinary American citizens. But wait a minute. The U.S. is arguing that there is an important distinction between the kind of cyber spying that China does and the kind that we do. We don’t do cyber spying to gain commercial knowledge and then share that knowledge with our corporations.
Do we? What about when NSA invaded the computers of Petrobras, Brazil’s huge national oil company? Was it to gain commercial knowledge for the benefits of American oil companies? What about when NSA spied on Joaquin Almunia, the antitrust commissioner of the European Commission? Was it to gain knowledge for the benefits of American companies that might be antitrust targets of the European Commission? What about the following quote from Robert Hormats, an undersecretary of state under Hilary Clinton when she was the U.S.’s Secretary of State: “We wanted to demonstrate (to top leaders of U.S. companies) that when there was a CEO or other business leader who had a problem, we wanted them to come to the State Department. We would use the whole apparatus.”
It is really hypocrisy at the highest level for the U.S. to accuse China of cyber espionage. It is another example of the U.S. adopting a Tonya Harding-like strategy for her foreign policy.
Is It in the Best Interests of the U.S. and the American People? One may argue that perhaps even if it is unethical for the U.S. to accuse China, but isn’t that still in the best interests of the U.S. and the American people? The answer is definitely no.
The U.S.’s closest ally is now Japan, a country that still has not admitted and apologized for the massive and inhumane atrocities that she inflicted on the U.S. and on other countries all over Asia. This is the country that unleased a deadly surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and engaged in vivisections on American POWs and civilians of other countries. This is the country that practiced sex slaves in their conquered countries. This is the country that carried out the infamous Nanking Massacre. This is the country that on numerous occasions used biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. This is the country that her prime ministers pay tribute at a national shrine that honors 14 Class-A convicted and executed war criminals. Such alliance could result in irreparable damage to the U.S.’s claim as an advocate of justice and human rights. By adopting an antagonistic attitude toward the world’s 2nd largest economy, instead of working with her, many major and critical world problems such as environmental protection, nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, fight against terrorism, world hunger, and world peace will not be achievable. Similarly, many large and critical international infrastructure projects with financial backing will proceed without the involvement of the U.S., so that U.S. companies and American workers will not share in the benefits of working on these huge and leading edge projects. For another perspective on why Japan is not the right partner for the U.S., see George Koo’s article: http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/is-japan-the-right-partner-for-the-u-s/.
It is clear that adopting a Tonya Harding-like strategy for her foreign policy, the U.S. is involved in highly unethical behavior, which at the same time is also not in the best interests of the U.S. and the American people.
 Even though in terms of economic indices like the GDP, China’s economy is number 2. However, in terms of other economic indices, such as average income, average standard of living, and state of technology in industries and military, China is still far behind the U.S. and many other countries.