In an interview with Voice of America last week, George Friedman, the US geopolitical forecaster and strategist, said that, "I think the reality that China needs to face is that there is no East or West problem, but China and the United States".
He went on to suggest that the US is willing to have a reasonable discussion with China and find a solution, implying that China was not.
While this gets to the nub of the matter in rightly pointing out the crux of the problem is the failure of the two countries to communicate, he wrongly puts the blame for it on China, claiming that it chooses to present the US as hostile for "internal political reasons". For whatever purpose that is misleading, as it is the US that is portraying China as hostile for internal consumption, and it is the actions of the US that demonstrate its hostility, not the imaginings of China.
His argument does not hold water as it ignores the fact that Beijing has repeatedly sought to initiate dialogue, even going so far as to provide Washington with a "Dummy's Guide on How to Ensure Dialogue Is Fruitful" by giving it two lists－one detailing the mistakes the US is making in its relations with China and how to rectify them, lest the US be in any doubt. The second is a list of its core concerns just in case Washington has too much on its plate and has trouble recalling them. These include the Taiwan question, on which the US has been increasingly trying to push the envelope on its commitment to one China. To such an extent that there is growing speculation that it is trying to lure Beijing into a proxy war.
Indeed, the US has become increasingly brazen in displaying the ill-will it harbors toward China, which has had the nerve to successfully follow its own development path avoiding putting the nation in hock to US designs and politics.
Apart from waging a trade war against China, high-ranking US officials have openly called China the primary rival and a strategic adversary of the US, only stopping short of naming China an enemy.
Washington has also targeted Chinese companies that have grown to be multinationals, especially those in the high-tech sector, and banned them from doing business in the US. But this is only the tip of the iceberg compared with the strategic containment and encirclement the US has instigated against China both on the regional level and on China's wider periphery.
Also, in his summary dismissal of an East-West divide, Friedman conveniently ignores Washington's penchant for rallying its Western allies around its anti-China banner and its action-oriented clique-building with them targeting China, as well as its efforts to decouple China from the global system through a process of exclusion.
Washington is clearly not extending the hand of friendship to Beijing with such moves. Nor has it responded in any meaningful way to Beijing's urging that the channels of communication that were shut down by the previous US administration be reopened.
Dialogue is indeed the key to better China-US relations, but it is Washington, not Beijing, that is unwilling to talk.