In the United States there is a lot of animosity towards, and fear of, the Peoples Republic of China. It's a culturally very different place, its economy and military are growing quickly, and it and the US seem to frequently butt heads. None of this is untrue.
Hitting China is a pretty popular campaign tactic for a number of presidential candidates. Donald Trump warns that China "will bring us down." If you look through Bernie Sanders' quotes on trade, he seems to feel particularly strongly that Chinese people should not have jobs and export their goods. Some people we know are worried that China might be able to "invade" the US, or is intentionally trying to take the US down so it can become the new world power.
The Chinese aren't shy about anti-US rhetoric, either. Over the South China Sea, the US has parked some military hardware to ensure free trade routes stay open, and China has threatened war a number of times.
But the US and China are intertwined in a way that's very important: bilateral US and Chinese trade is the biggest in the world. The Chinese are a potential check to Russia and North Korea and the US and China must--begrudgingly--work together on this. In a way, US and China are "frenemies."
A lot of folks have very strong opinions about China, its people, its policies, and our relationship with them. But we've found anecdotally that most don't understand China itself well at all.
In our latest podcast episode, Xander and Erik take a crack at helping understand some of the major cultural and historical differences between China and the United States. We highlight both what this means as far as strategic risks, but also different perspectives between the two countries.
At best, mania about China and anti-trade furor is a little bit xenophobic; at worst, it's racist. But as we know, both of these are based in ignorance. So how can we get past jingoistic tirades about China and into true understanding to think critically about policy? By reconsidering. Take a listen.