The American Way of Dodging Accountability
This is not new and it is not unique to the U.S.-China relationship.
Van Jackson gets to the heart of what is wrong with how the U.S. is managing its relationship with China:
We fail to see both how we needlessly securitize everything China does, and how we erase our own responsibility for anything that happens in the world that we don’t like. The problem is not that America’s to blame for everything—it’s that US officials believe America shouldn’t have to be accountable for anything.
Jackson cites several examples of this, including the recent remarks by the Commerce Secretary that the U.S. would not “tolerate” Chinese restrictions on Micron semiconductors that the Chinese government imposed in direct response to U.S. export controls. The pattern keeps repeating: the U.S. takes an action and China responds directly to that action, and then the U.S. condemns China for having the temerity to respond to what the U.S. did in a way that the U.S. doesn’t like. Chinese reactions are treated as inexplicable aggressive moves, and U.S. actions are always seen simply as reasonable defensive measures. It’s always the same mantra: they are the revisionists, and we are upholding order (even when we are engaged in revisionism).
This is not new and it is not unique to the U.S.-China relationship, and it comes in part from the lack of self-awareness that U.S. policymakers exhibit on a regular basis.