五月花寫作組 | 翻譯：jiasen | 校對：傘兵 | 編輯、發稿：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.
經濟是我們與中共國沖突的主要戰場。當然，我們必須保持一支無懈可擊，能夠打敗解放軍的軍隊，以及一個抗衡中共國的外交聯盟。但這份報告的重點是中共國與美國和我們的盟友之間的經濟融合——正是因為中共渴望利用這種遠超冷戰時期自由世界與蘇聯之間的貿易往來的糾葛來取代我們，並在不發生大規模戰爭的情況下，按照自己醜陋的意識形態重塑全球秩序。中共的手段很微妙。它利用了美國和我們大多數盟友的經濟自由——這種自由讓無數個體可以在不考慮美國 “戰略 “的情況下追求自己的利益。在中共國不存在這樣的條件，每一個中共國公司的行動或潛在的行動最終都服從於共產黨的控制。
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.
我國有政治意願在跨黨派長期的基礎上構思和執行這一戰略——事實上，中共威脅的範圍很可能會對我們的政治產生一致的影響。但任何這樣的戰略都會有批評者。有些反對意見是微不足道和語無倫次的，比如那些認為美國在道德上過於退化，無法領導甚至自衛的批評者。這些 “清醒 “的批評者應該認識到，一個種族主義的帝國主義勢力真實存在——但其形式是漢族至上主義的中共，它把少數民族關進集中營，破壞環境，如狼似虎侵占領土以提高其軍事地位並囤積資源。
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.
更重要的是那些批評者錯誤地弱化中共國的威脅——真實，確鑿，此時此刻——而偏重於抽象的 “跨國 “挑戰。中共國領導人急切地提出在氣候變化等問題上與美國進行合作，因為他們相信天真、可信的美國政策制定者會以具體的讓步來換取遙遠的承諾。借用大力水手的話說，如果美國今天僅僅給他們台灣，他們會欣然承諾在2060年減少碳排放。
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.