五月花写作组 | 翻译：jiasen | 校对：伞兵 | 编辑 & 发稿：jamie(文胤)
Beat China: Targeted Decoupling and the Economic Long War
The Trump administration’s most consequential policy will prove to be, in my opinion, a tougher stance against the People’s Republic of China. Since the 1980s, presidential candidates of both parties have run as tough on China, only to soften their positions once elected. But President Trump was the exception to this rule, and his administration pursued a campaign to harden our defenses against China’s aggressive behavior, and to sound the diplomatic alarm around the world.
This approach deserves praise, and it ought to form the starting point for a long-term, bipartisan national strategy. The ultimate objective of that strategy should be, to quote the document that launched this country’s ultimately successful strategy against the Soviet Union, the “breakup or the gradual mellowing” of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) power. Our strategy must take seriously the critical military, diplomatic, intelligence, and propaganda challenges posed by Beijing. And it must identify and account for the novel characteristics of strategic competition with an adversary such as the CCP in a nuclear and globalized age—especially the role played by economic policy. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy in the previous Congress, I convened two hearings on these matters in 2020, and directed my staff to conduct further research and outline a strategy for beating China within the economic dimension of our contest. This report is the fruit of that effort.
The economy is the primary theater of our conflict with China. We must, of course, maintain an unmatched military capable of defeating the People’s Liberation Army, as well as a diplomatic coalition to counter China. But this report focuses on economic integration between China and the United States and our allies—precisely because the CCP aspires to use this entanglement, which far exceeds trade flows between the free world and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to displace us and reorder the globe according to its own ugly ideology without a major war. The CCP’s methods are subtle. The Party exploits the economic freedom of the United States and most of our allies—a freedom that allows countless actors to pursue their interests without consideration of an American “strategy.” No such condition exists in China, and the actions or potential actions of every Chinese firm are ultimately subordinate to the control of the Party.
经济是我们与中共国冲突的主要战场。当然，我们必须保持一支无懈可击，能够打败解放军的军队，以及一个抗衡中共国的外交联盟。但这份报告的重点是中共国与美国和我们的盟友之间的经济融合——正是因为中共渴望利用这种远超冷战时期自由世界与苏联之间的贸易往来的纠葛来取代我们，并在不发生大规模战争的情况下，按照自己丑陋的意识形态重塑全球秩序。中共的手段很微妙。它利用了美国和我们大多数盟友的经济自由——这种自由让无数个体可以在不考虑美国 “战略 “的情况下追求自己的利益。在中共国不存在这样的条件，每一个中共国公司的行动或潜在的行动最终都服从于共产党的控制。
To be sure, the CCP will risk a military conflict to preserve its hold on power at home—for example, to secure control over Taiwan—or if tempted by American irresolution. But the CCP prefers a gradual, if tense, competition in which, decades from now, Americans wake up to discover ourselves poorer, weaker, and disadvantaged by a global order dictated by China. In this future, America’s freedom and prosperity gradually erode in areas where few pay much attention— telecommunications infrastructure, currency, critical manufacturing capabilities, supply chains for strategically significant resources like pharmaceuticals and rare-earth minerals, semiconductor design standards, and many more. By the time Americans realize the extent of our loss, the CCP hopes, it will be too late.
Indeed, China’s strategic thinkers have openly discussed this objective for a while now. And China’s quiet maneuvering across many fields of competition confirms that the CCP actively pursues this objective. But General Secretary Xi Jinping’s signal mistake may have been to reveal China’s ambitions too early—to “ask the weight of the emperor’s cauldrons,” to quote an ancient Chinese proverb. This error, combined with the CCP’s brutal misrule and systemic deceit, which unleashed a plague upon the world, has opened eyes internationally to the China threat and created an opportunity for action. This opportunity must be seized.
How should America respond? How do we beat China in the economic theater of the conflict? This report proposes a strategy of targeted decoupling from China, matched with policies to mitigate the economic costs of this decoupling. We should, for instance, increase support for basic research and development, expand the American talent pool in advanced scientific and technological fields, deepen economic cooperation with our allies, and rebuild secure, scalable, domestic manufacturing in strategically significant sectors. We also must insist that our allies— whose freedom is also at stake, after all—pursue their own policies of targeted decoupling. Finally, the report calls for re-organizing parts of the federal government with a leading role to play in the economic theater of war.
Our nation has the political will to conceive and execute this strategy on a bipartisan and long-term basis—indeed, the scope of the Chinese threat likely will have a unifying effect on our politics. But any such strategy will have its critics. Some objections are trivial and incoherent, such as those from critics who believe America is too morally compromised to lead or even to defend itself. Such “woke” critics should realize that a racist, imperialist power does, in fact, exist—but in the form of the Han-supremacist CCP, which interns ethnic minorities in concentration camps, despoils the environment, and ruthlessly seizes territory to improve its military position and hoard access to resources.
我国有政治意愿在跨党派长期的基础上构思和执行这一战略——事实上，中共威胁的范围很可能会对我们的政治产生一致的影响。但任何这样的战略都会有批评者。有些反对意见是微不足道和语无伦次的，比如那些认为美国在道德上过于退化，无法领导甚至自卫的批评者。这些 “清醒 “的批评者应该认识到，一个种族主义的帝国主义势力真实存在——但其形式是汉族至上主义的中共，它把少数民族关进集中营，破坏环境，如狼似虎侵占领土以提高其军事地位并囤积资源。
More significant are critics who mistakenly deprioritize the real, concrete, present-day threat of China in favor of abstract “transnational” challenges. China’s leaders eagerly propose to cooperate on, say, climate change because they believe naïve, credulous American policymakers will offer concrete concessions for distant promises. Borrowing from J. Wellington Wimpy, they will gladly promise to reduce carbon emissions in 2060 if the United States would merely give them Taiwan today.
更重要的是那些批评者错误地弱化中共国的威胁——真实，确凿，此时此刻——而偏重于抽象的 “跨国 “挑战。中共国领导人急切地提出在气候变化等问题上与美国进行合作，因为他们相信天真、可信的美国政策制定者会以具体的让步来换取遥远的承诺。借用大力水手的话说，如果美国今天仅仅给他们台湾，他们会欣然承诺在2060年减少碳排放。
Finally, the most significant domestic resistance will come from the China Lobby: American and Western companies profiting off economic integration with China. The lure of China’s subsidized production capabilities and large and increasingly prosperous market has created a powerful coalition with great political influence. The China Lobby recoils at any claim that America’s prosperity and security—indeed, our very survival as a free nation—takes precedence over its bottom line.
Sadly, the China Lobby, its influence, and the strategic advantage it provides Beijing, are no happy accidents for the Chinese Communist Party. As in so many other cases, the CCP has patiently cultivated its de facto allies in American business. During tense moments in trade negotiations with the Trump administration, China’s leaders explicitly asked American CEOs to lobby the administration and Congress on its behalf. They do the same through governors and mayors, university presidents, and influential cultural and media figures. The time has come, though, to call the China Lobby what it is, and ask if they really want to sell the proverbial rope that the communists in Beijing will use to hang us all.
The challenges of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union all ended with total American victory; the Cold War was even won without direct military conflict. Once again, America confronts a powerful totalitarian adversary that seeks to dominate Eurasia and remake the world order, albeit with its own unique and subtle approach. China started its struggle for mastery against the United States decades ago, but only recently has America awoken to the challenge. Judging from history, a slow start is perhaps the American way of strategy. But so is victory.