At The American Conservative, Daniel Larison urges caution regarding a new group founded by Steve Bannon and Frank Gaffney, and in assessing any threat posed by China. He writes:
The New York Times reports on the Committee on the Present Danger: China, the group organized by Steve Bannon and Frank Gaffney to engage in threat hyperinflation about China:
The NYT tells readers, In a ballroom across from the Capitol building, an unlikely group of military hawks, populist crusaders, Chinese Muslim freedom fighters and followers of the Falun Gong has been meeting to warn anyone who will listen that China poses an existential threat to the United States that will not end until the Communist Party is overthrown.
If the warnings sound straight out of the Cold War, they are. The Committee on the Present Danger, a long-defunct group that campaigned against the dangers of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, has recently been revived with the help of Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, to warn against the dangers of China.
Larison continues, pointing out:
It makes no sense to apply a Cold War model to the U.S. and China. The CPD hawks want to turn economic competition into an all-encompassing rivalry, but this would be unnecessary and extremely costly. China may aspire to be the dominant power in East Asia, but given their size, their wealth, and the geography it is difficult to see how the U.S. could realistically prevent that. Short of a catastrophic war that would severely harm the global economy and our security, the U.S. cannot maintain its current position in the region for much longer. Instead of promoting the idea that conflict between the U.S. and China is inevitable, as the CPD does, we should be reassessing what the U.S. role in the region should be and deciding how much of that role is vitally important for the U.S. The U.S. needs to be clear that it will aid its allies if they are attacked, but that it is not looking for a fight with China over uninhabited rocks in the ocean.
It is an indictment of our foreign policy debates that exaggerating threats and seeking conflict are what it takes to be taken seriously in D.C. If the CPD members were considered “xenophobes and fringe elements” before now, that should make us think twice before following their advice in sabotaging what is one of the most important bilateral relationships that the U.S. has.
Read more here.
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