Framing China as threat risks mismanaging contested relations: Australian scholar

Source: Xinhua| 2021-08-10 19:52:43|Editor: huaxia
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SYDNEY, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Some Western leaders have applied "Cold War" tropes to explain China, which not only obviously misrepresents the country, but increases the risk of mismanaging the contest with China, an Australian scholar of strategic studies has warned.

Hugh White, professor emeritus in the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, voiced this opinion in an article published on Aug. 2 on the Interpreter, a website run by Australia's Lowy Institute, featuring daily commentaries and analyses on world affairs.

He said such leaders as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have begun to describe their contests with China "in starkly ideological terms, as a defence of democracy against authoritarianism" while saying that China threatened to replace the "liberal international order" with a new one.

Such a narrative is problematic in that before asking whether the ideological framing is good tactics, one should understand that China does not pose the kind of threat the Soviet Union had posed, according to the scholar.

Citing judgements by seasoned politicians including former Australian diplomat Peter Varghese, White stressed that there is no evidence that Beijing seeks to remodel the world in its image.

China will strive to protect its own system from being undermined from without, but unlike those superpowers, the country "does not seem to believe that this requires the rest of the world to adopt its model," said White.

The second reason why China does not pose a real threat relates to material power, White said. In the Cold War, "wealth and power were very unevenly distributed around the world, and America and the Soviet Union were overwhelmingly preponderant," whereas today, power is much more evenly distributed globally, he added.

White cautioned that hyping up the China threat theory to counter China makes it harder to manage the contest by seeking a new modus vivendi, and easier to mismanage it by sliding into war. Enditem

KEY WORDS: China,International Relations,Cold War