Monday 19 June 2023

U.S. Relations With China ‘Worse’ Than With Cold War Soviet Union, Former NatSec Adviser Says

 Former Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster believes American relations with China today are “worse” than they were with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

McMaster made the remarks during an interview with Margaret Brennan on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” Sunday. He told the host that U.S.-China relations are more complex than they were with the U.S.S.R. because of the interconnectedness of the two economies, and said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must “change its behavior” so the two countries can have a better relationship. 

“It’s worse, it’s worse,” McMaster said when asked by Brennan about comparisons to the Cold War in response to news of China’s spy facility in Cuba. “Because it’s a more difficult problem set because of the way that our economies have become interconnected, in large measure based on these flawed assumptions about the nature of relationship, and especially the intentions of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“We thought that, that we could determine the behavior of the party by the way we engage them,” McMaster said. “But hey, guess what I mean, the Chinese Communist Party leadership had aspirations that went far beyond anything in reaction to what we do. And China really does want to establish itself as it sees it at the center.”

McMaster’s comments come as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a trip to Beijing — the highest-level visit by an American official since President Biden took office. Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in talks both sides called “candid,” but the Chinese foreign ministry admitted that the U.S.-China relationship “is at the lowest point since its establishment,” according to the Associated Press. 

“I think China’s sending a message, ‘hey, we’re in charge now. You’re finished’ to the west and to the United States,” McMaster said of recent acts of aggression from the Peoples Liberation Army against Taiwan as well as a Chinese jet flying directly in front of an American reconnaissance plane.

“I think it’s indicative of what they hope to achieve, Margaret, which is to create kind of an exclusionary area of primacy across the Indo-Pacific region,” McMaster continued. “They’ve laid claim to the ocean in the South China Sea, for example.” 

McMaster called for a “strong response” to the recent displays of aggression and said the Blinken’s visit “may portray a bit of weakness.” He explained that China has been playing “hard to get” when it comes to communications between the two countries, and said that the CCP will use the talks to “create a perception that we’re going there to pay homage to the Chinese Communist Party.”

The former national security adviser said the CCP will use that perception to get other countries in the region to “bandwagon” with China. 

“They want to use that kind of perception of China’s strength relative to the United States to bludgeon countries in the region and say, ‘hey, time to bandwagon with us. This is our era,’ what they call the ‘new era of international relations,’” McMaster said. 

Despite this, McMaster urged Blinken to go into the talks with the Chinese delegation recognizing that the U.S. is in a position of “relative strength,” partly because he says China is alienating itself from the rest of the world. 

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