The COVID-19 pandemic is a very rare biological and security disaster facing mankind. It is a common threat both to the U.S. and China, and the world will be able to rise above the COVID-19 crisis when the two powers join hands. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, is further straining the U.S.-China relations and the two countries appear to be only one step away from entering a new Cold War.
The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the U.S.-China relations. There has been a great setback in the history of the U.S. government policy statements on China since President Donald Trump took office. The Trump administration has kept “demonizing China.” This demonization represents a “victim complex” of the Trump administration and far-right Republicans that Chinese find hard to understand. This complex has been the cornerstone of the Trump administration’s policy toward China for the past three years. Rather than using the COVID-19 pandemic as a chance to collaborate with China, the Trump administration strongly pursued its “America First” policy, expressing resentment against China. It has become a major means to put China under pressure.
As many as 70 percent of Americans today think China should be held responsible for the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has fueled the anti-Asian American racism and discrimination. The views of many political elites and Americans on the U.S. policy towards China are being influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to the “New McCarthyism” in the 1950s. Rational and gentle opinions on Trump’s China policy are often being pushed aside.
It is high time that both the U.S. and China reflect on themselves and come up with sincere and rational policies and strategies. The rise and fall of superpowers inevitably bring about fierce power competition and strategic confrontation. But the future of “New Cold War” between the U.S. and China in the 21st century will only undermine the stability, peace, and prosperity of the world. Moreover, it will bring about a disastrous shock to the economic development of Northeast Asia. Former U.S. presidents including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama recently lashed out on Trump’s policies at home and abroad, calling on President Trump to look back on the cause of his “catastrophic failure” of policies. For its part, the Chinese government first needs to promote political reforms and improve national image among other problems it has presented in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Only then will the U.S. and China continue to be understood and respected by many countries in the world.