As mentioned in previous blog posts, life is essentially a paradox in and of itself, but within the paradox of life is a number of other paradoxes. And the most sobering paradox of them all is the one brought to light by the famous 20th century writer George Bernard Shaw, who said: “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”
When I use sources for this blog, the criteria I use for choosing sources is simple, namely, credibility. For instance, I have often used Mao Zedong as a source because Mao was a credible source in both theory and action. Thus, I choose sources like Marx, Mao, Kissinger, and Brzezinski rather than sources like Eliot Cohen or Richard Haass or Wesley Clark or Jake Sullivan or Tony Blinken because of the issue of credibility. In international affairs, credibility and legitimacy are perhaps even more important than military and economic power, and as a result, I make sure that the sources I use are credible rather than the phony sources which the likes of CNN and others use for their psychological warfare.
Also, the recent slump in America’s share of global GDP cannot be simply attributed to the rise of others, as Joseph Nye has done through the concept of “relative decline.” There are factors internally in the United States which cannot be ignored in America’s “relative decline” vis-à-vis China. In other words, one cannot deny reality or lie about the reality which is staring us in the face. As one Al-Jazeera viewer wrote in the chatroom of Al-Jazeera’s YouTube livestream: “The US lies about everything. Signed, an American.”
But despite all of this – and despite China’s growing entanglements with proxies such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea – one can assume with a certain degree of confidence that China is open to the prospect of negotiating just about anything and everything with the United States, as long as the United States engages in the negotiations in good faith and sincerity. One cannot let liberal arrogance, deceitfulness, hubris, and narrowness of weltanschauung to obstruct good faith and sincere negotiations with one’s parallel pole in the international system.
Also, if one were to drop the provocations such as the ones centered on Taiwan or Xinjiang or the flimsy “alliance” known as the “Quad,” it may be possible that good faith and sincere negotiations between America and China would be transformative in terms of both the nature and the shape of global order. China is indeed a rational actor. If China were irrational, then China would not be able to rise as an economic and social force as it has over the course of the last few decades.
Plus, as mentioned before, interests are at the forefront of international relations. And as mentioned on a number of occasions, the international system is constantly in a state of flux. As a result, those who are enemies at one moment in time can be the best of friends the next moment as well as vice versa, depending on how interests dictate the overall situation. And as one Chinese proverb puts it: “When dealing with enemies nearby, seek friends from afar.” Thus, the onus is on Washington to engage in good faith negotiations with China. Otherwise, China is “sitting pretty” in terms of the way things stand at the moment, whereas Washington is faring quite differently.