If a Hollywood blockbuster featuring an eagle fighting a dragon fails to emerge over the next few summers, the world might oblige. Republicans, more hawks than eagles in the first place, throw around the threat of American aggression all over the world, and especially with regards to China. Failing to understand the complexities of Sino-American relations, Republicans are unnecessarily adding to tensions, tensions that overtime should naturally ease.
Hating people who are different is only part of the problem to explain how Republicans so strongly dislike China. It goes much further. Republicans see China as the threat to American world leadership. They fret that a world with a strong China will definitively be controlled by China. But more importantly, they squirm at the notion that the “American Age” will end. There are some who are so willing to defend this ideal that they might try to start war, or at least label China a currency manipulator to show our mettle.
The truth that every country manipulates its currency is again only the beginning of the omissions of fact that Republicans choose to believe. They also abstain from realizations regarding the realities of Chinas social issues. Chinese population will top out in 2013, before it gradually begins to shrink. China will have to deal with an aging population before it is rich enough to properly fund its pensions. Chinese investment across the country has not spurred the type of consumerism that a sustainable economy demands when exports begin to fall. Labor is already not considered cheap in China any more, and factories are moving further east or even back to developed nations.
Skipping these problems, Republicans focus on the debt that the US has to China. They believe that the US will one day have to reckon with China, and if it comes to blows they want to already have their fists up. But China has vast foreign currency reserves and a completely different system of the distribution of credit and capital. As they start to import more than they export, their debt will begin to rise in relation to the amount of money they are owed, and things will begin to level out. The primary reason to trust China is that they value stability over everything else.
The Chinese model for development rubs human rights activists the wrong way. Republicans — who could have a valid point against China if they cared about how people lived — choose instead to view every action as a provocation against the US, or at least as an opportunity for the US to wave its big stick. Chinese authorities crack down on protesters, limit information, and intimidate those who pine against social harmony. The system in place that governs China is specifically designed to put the good of the society over the good of the individual, and in this way, America and China could not be more different.
Republicans value individual liberty over nearly everything else, even at the expense of the progress of society. It is from this kettle that the hatred begins to boil. A successful China in the future and a declining America would mean that the American system was flawed, and Chinese social capitalism worked better. In this way, Republicans feel that we would have lost. Alas, as with most issues, Republicans hardly even consider that there might be another way of doing things, and that both systems can peacefully coexist.