Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, had some thoughts on how the US should interact with today’s People’s Republic of China.  Among other things, he wants three key areas of disagreement to be accepted and…managed.  (I’ll leave aside his blithe, and erroneous, assertion that the “trade war” between the PRC and us is our doing and not the PRC’s.)

The most realistic option for the future is to focus on managing the two countries’ major disagreements. This approach has worked for four decades when it comes to Taiwan.

No, that’s a demonstration of the utter failure of “managing the two countries'” disputes.  That approached has contributed to the Republic of China’s expulsion from the UN Security Council and from the UN altogether.  It has contributed to the PRC’s threats and political near-dominance of the RoC.

Management is also likely to be the best approach for the South China Sea. As with Taiwan, “final status” issues are best left vague.

And by extension, the supposed optimal approach to the PRC’s harassment of Japan and Japanese islands in the East China Sea as the PRC pushes to seize that water.  Again, no.  All “management” has done so far in the South China Sea is lead to acceding to the PRC’s seizure of islands owned by the nations rimming the Sea, or owned in disagreement only with others of the rim.  All “management” has done so far is lead to acceding to PRC militarization of the islands it has seized from those nations and to routine harassment of shipping passing through international waters around those seized islands and aircraft overflying them.

In other domains, the US will simply have to accept China for what it is. China will continue to maintain a large (if somewhat reduced) state role in the economy and a closed political structure.

Again, no.  The PRC as it is, is a nation that routinely steals other nations’ companies’ proprietary information, that demands “sharing” of technology and other proprietary intellectual property as a condition of doing business inside the PRC, and that demands those companies install “back doors” to allow the PRC government ready access to those same tech and IP materials.  All “management” does here is meekly accept the PRC’s economic dishonesty.

Hass’ proposals amount to drift into surrender.  This is unacceptable.

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