The great competition between the US and China must progressively turn into ‘cooperative competition’.
We share the analysis of Basil C. Bitas for East Asia Forum (Disparate perceptions muddy US–China relations). Here are some passages from the reflection: What is needed is a ratcheting down of tensions, beginning with a resolution of the situation in Ukraine that unpacks the direct or proxy involvement of Russia, the United States and China to create a broader diplomatic space for Sino–US dialogue. Regional players, such as ASEAN, which remains committed to its ‘centrality’ despite growing internal divergencies, and the East Asia Summit, can play an important role in facilitating this process. But the key is to recognise that while conflicts are intertwined in their global effects, they are not identical in their internal dynamics. Developing suitable diplomatic approaches begins with understanding each side’s core interests and tolerance levels free from self-serving and often erroneous perceptions of the other. Ukraine and Taiwan highlight the challenge of managing disparate perceptions, the importance of avoiding miscalculations and counterproductive policy and the necessity of creating a relationship based on realistic, reciprocal expectations founded on the mutual recognition of core interests.
Every conflict has its own reality and arises within reasons that must be known and understood in depth. Likewise, there is a need for mutual recognition and consideration of each other’s interests.
We must strive for the ‘political-strategic sustainability’ of the world. We can no longer afford muscular ‘cold war’ style confrontations. We need to introduce words and acts of mediation and dialogue, effective compensation chambers, and the formation of ruling classes capable of understanding the complexities of the worlds and of working to rethink ‘strategic thinking’ at a decisive crossroads in history.
We are not among those who think in apocalyptic terms, but we are very concerned about the absence of politics and the choice of linearity: in all this, international relations resemble an arena. It is everyone’s responsibility to help change the way.