U.S. should abandon antagonistic thinking to keep up with the times

Zhang Tao

As U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis fabricated a "great power competition" in which China and Russia are challenging the U.S. dominance, it shows that an antagonistic thinking is still driving the world's sole superpower.

Mattis made the remarks in a written statement delivered to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, as part of his testimony at a Monday hearing on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Whether what Mattis stated is an excuse for demanding more military budget, it at least indicates that the Cold War mentality of zero sum and hegemonism remains popular in the United States, which boasts "the highest annual military expenditure in the world," said a report released on April 25 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. "U.S. military spending grew by 1.7 percent between 2015 and 2016 to 611 billion U.S. dollars."

However, such a way of thinking is out-dated in a rapidly changing world where peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become the trend of the times.

"To keep up with the times, we cannot have ourselves physically living in the 21st century, but with a mindset belonging to the past, stalled in the old days of colonialism, and constrained by zero-sum Cold War mentality," Chinese President Xi Jinping said when delivering a speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in March 2013.

In fact, facing global challenges such as a sluggish world economy, rampant terrorism and the refugee crisis, piecemeal fixes offered by the West cannot address the root causes of the problems but invite side-effects.

Against such a backdrop, starting from the traditional Chinese wisdom highlighting the overall situation, long-term interests and harmony despite diversity, China has prescribed its own remedies for the world.

In economy, China suggests global economic governance should embrace equality, openness, cooperation and win-win prospects.

In security, China calls for a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security that guarantees stability in every country, considers both traditional and non-traditional security factors and promote development to address the root causes of security threats.

Such a unique prescription has been embodied in a series of China-hosted high-level diplomatic events -- from the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to the 2016 G20 summit, from the just-concluded Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May to the upcoming BRICS summit in September.

As a matter of fact, China's proposals are warmly welcomed worldwide. For instance, the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has seen its members expand to 77 since its inception in January 2016.

Moreover, the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013, has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations, among which more than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China.

The initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient trade routes.

The reason why the Chinese prescription has received positive response across the world is that most countries know win-win cooperation has become the theme of the times.

Therefore, it is time for some Western countries, particularly the United States, to abandon the old mentality of building alliances for confrontation as it will benefit none in a highly interconnected world today.


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