Beware the Dragon: A Booming China Spells Trouble for America
With unprecedented economic growth, rapidly developing military technology, and increasing prominence on the world stage, China is booming. Does this spell trouble for American prosperity and security? Or is China’s national assent an opportunity for mutually beneficial trade and shared global leadership?
For The Motion
China’s rapidly developing military technology, including anti-missile defense systems, may compromise American security and interests.
A growing China will seek dominance in Asia, diminishing America’s influence in the region.
Popular culture in China is largely nationalistic and anti-American, and that sentiment will likely spread as the country gains economic and political capital in international relations.
Against The Motion
China’s economic boom benefits everyone, including the U.S., as China grows as a trade partner and global consumer.
As China becomes more prominent and culturally exposed, its growing middle class will likely call for substantial government and social overhaul.
China does not have the political or economic infrastructure to deal with its unprecedented economic growth, and will likely face domestic upheaval that will stifle its ability to engage on the world stage.
ROBERT ROSENKRANZ I’m Robert Rosenkranz, Chairman of Intelligence Squared. With me is Dana Wolfe, our Executive Producer, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you tonight. This is the final debate, the eighth debate of our inaugural season. We launched this debate series with the goal of raising the level of public discourse in this country, and I think we’re very gratified with the reception that we’ve received. I want to express my thanks to National Public Radio, through whose auspices tonight’s debate will heard in over sixty radio stations around the country, including most of the major ones.
WNYC is producing the ra-, the radio broadcast. The format is a debate in which three panelists on each side try to persuade you to vote their way on a resolution. The resolution tonight is, “A booming China spells trouble for America.”
Well, why did we pick this topic? First of all, it seems clear that the emergence of China as an, as an economic superpower is perhaps the most dramatic economic event in our lifetime. Since China’s economic liberalization in 1978, the average person in China is about twelve times better off. Pretty extraordinary for a single generation. With some 1.3 billion souls, China has orchestrated the biggest improvement in material well being in human history. Chinese imports provide about a thousand dollars in increased purchasing power for the average American family.
It’s become the fastest growing market for U.S. exports, a very exciting, uh, set of investment opportunities for U.S. business. It’s offered the world a almost a “how to do it” manual for transitioning from a state controlled economy, uh, to an economy where the private sector is larger and the state sector smaller than virtually any developed country in the world, save the United States.
So why tonight’s debate? Where might the trouble lie for America? Well, perhaps it’s in our two hundred and thirty billion dollar trade deficit. Perhaps it’s because a million eight hundred thousand American jobs have been lost. Perhaps it’s because China’s, uh, appetite for raw materials, natural resources has, uh, pushed it toward very close relationships with countries like Iran. With China’s military buildup, which was most recently, demonstrated by its ability to destroy an orbiting satellite.
As in so much of America’s high-tech military resou-, relies on satellite communications for commanded control, this was a particularly strategic, provocation. Interestingly, this debate does not fall along traditional ideological lines. My, perhaps list, energizes the anti-Globalization left, as well as security hawks on the right. But which side can marshal the facts and analysis to support their view? Well, we have an exceptionally strong panel this evening. Our moderator is British journalist James Harding, who since last year has been Business and City Editor of The Times of London, our media sponsor. And prior to this, James was with the, Financial Times, serving as Washington Bureau Chief, Media Editor, and prior thereto as correspondent in China, where he opened the Shanghai office, or Shanghai bureau, I should say.
And it’s now my pleasure to pass the evening on to James. JAMES HARDING
Thank you, Bob. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very much, Bob. I’d like to welcome you all to the eighth Intelligence Squared debate here in the U.S. Let me give you a brief rundown of what we’re gonna do this evening. Um, first, the proposer of the motion will start by presenting their side of the argument.
The opposition will follow. And then each person will get a maximum of eight minutes, and we will go back and forth from one side to the other. Second, when all six speakers are finished with their opening remarks, I will open up the floor to brief questions from the audience.
Third, when the Q&A is complete, each debater will make a final statement lasting not more than two minutes per person. And fourth, after the closing statement is made, you’ll vote on tonight’s motion with the keypad that is attached to the armrest of your seat.
Fifth and last, I will announce the results. Now, before hearing from our panelists, I’d like to start with a pre-debate vote. You’ll see that, on the armrest to your left, there is a keypad, uh, it looks like this. And for audience members sitting along the aisle, you’ll find it just to your right.
Uh, sorry, the keypad is, [LAUGHS], the way, it’s the one that I’m holding up here in my right hand, it should be on your right hand side, I apologize. I think you’ll find in the debate, there won’t be such confusion between left and right. [LAUGHTER] Now, after my prompt, what I’d like you to do is press “one” for the motion, press “two” against the motion, and if you’re undecided press “three.” Please begin voting now. [LAUGHS]
Apparently it is on the left, but I hope you’ve all got one [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER], and as long as you’ve got one, you voted with it. [And judging by the hum of excitement, you’ve made your views known, and I will let you know the results of the vote later on this evening.
Now, let me in-, introduce the panel to you. For the motion. Firstly, we have Bill Gertz, who’s the defense and national security reporter for the Washington Times, an author, and a uh, Fox News analyst.
Then, we have Professor John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, and the co-director of the program on international security policy at the University of Chicago.
And finally, Michael Pillsbury, consultant to the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense on future planning issues, and advisor to the Pentagon on Asian Affairs and long-term defense planning.
Against the motion, there’s the founder and chairman and chief executive officer of the McGregor, of McGregor & Company, author, and the former chief executive of Dow Jones in China, James McGregor.
Then we have Daniel H. Rosen, the principal of China Strategic Advisory, adjunct associate professor at Columbia University and visiting fellow with the Institute of International Economics. And Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, managing director of Kissinger Associates and a three-time ambassador serving Singapore, the People’s Republic of China, and Indonesia.
Right, those were the formalities, now let’s get on with the debate, starting with Bill Gertz, over to you. [APPLAUSE] BILL GERTZ
The question before the house is, “Is a booming China, does a booming China spell trouble for America?” The answer, in my view, is a resounding yes. In the next few minutes, I’m going to explain why. But first, what I call “the China threat,” which is something that Beijing likes to refer to as “the China threat theory,” is in fact real.
Uh, it is a danger and it is growing. Um, as a, as the late CIA analyst and White House National Security Council official, Constantin Menges put it in his book China: The Gathering Threat, he said the reason that China poses a threat is because, despite its economic reforms, it is today ruled by a nuclear armed Communist dictatorship.
This is the source of, of the trouble. I’ve identified what I call eleven sources of trouble for the United States from China, and I’m going to list them for you, and then talk briefly with the time remaining on, in some detail on it.
The first is China’s military buildup. Number two is the danger of war over Taiwan. Number three is expansionism over energy resources. Number four is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles. Number five is massive intelligence operations to steal U.S. secrets and technology. Number six is influence operations and so-called money diplomacy. Number seven is unfair trade practices, including currency valuation manipulation. Number eight, intellectual property theft. Number nine, human rights abuses.
Number ten, religious repression. And number eleven, environmental degradation and global warming. To start with, the most serious trouble for America from China is China’s military buildup. On January eleventh of this year, China conducted an unprecedented anti-satellite missile test. They fired a missile that traveled through space and hit a low Earth orbit satellite, a Chinese weather satellite, destroying it and creating, uh, sixteen thousand pieces of debris, which pose a threat to other satellites.
U.S. official were shocked by this development because U.S. intelligence estimates of China’s military have been stating for years that China is ten, fifteen, maybe twenty years behind the United States.
That it is so far behind that there is no way China’s military could pose a threat. What the Chinese ASAT [anti-satellite] test showed was that China is not seeking to follow the U.S. missile for missile, ship for ship, submarine for submarine.
They’re going after niche weapons, they’re trying to leap ahead with special technology, and they’re doing this in a number of key areas, one of which is anti-satellite weapons. Officials in Washington estimate that by, within the next, uh, six years, China will have the capability of destroying all U.S. low Earth orbit satellites. Basically, this could be the modern day equivalent of a space Pearl Harbor against the United States if there were a conflict over Taiwan. Regarding Taiwan, the danger of war over the Taiwan Strait continues. China has not renounced the, its plan to use force to retake the island. It is applying pressure, across the board, uh, to pressure this democracy. It is succeeding in many ways to influencing U.S. policy in ways that would diminish support for this traditional ally. The danger of China expanding to gain resources is kind of a new, uh, source of trouble that has been identified by some studies in the Pentagon one of which was called the so-called “string of pearls strategy.” It shows that China, uh, is developing a string of pearls, bases, alliances along a path going from the Middle East, where all of its, much of its oil comes from, all the way to China. There are very much concerns that because energy is so, uh, integral to China’s modernization effort, that China at some point will have to expand militarily, perhaps the Russian Far East, perhaps Southeast Asia, uh, to take over, uh, places that have, uh, valuable oil and gas resources. Intelligence operations. Uh, this is a subject that I have focused on in my recent book. It also, uh, highlights the case of Chi Mak, who was a Chinese intelligence agent, recently convicted in California of uh, of being an unregistered agent of the Chinese government.
It’s part of a, a mushrooming spy case, more of which will be coming out in, in the coming weeks and months, uh, which shows that China has been very successful in stealing some of the most advanced U.S. weapons technology, including the next generation quiet electric drive for our war ships, uh, secrets about our submarine force, and as well as the AEGIS battle management system, which is the heart of the, the modern Navy. As for influence operations, this is another area where China has been extremely successful in influencing policies, uh, against the United States. We see this through so-called, what one Chinese defector called “money diplomacy,” uh, buying up former U.S. officials, and using those officials to lobby against policies that China doesn’t like. Uh, this is having a, a deleterious effect on the U.S. economy and U.S. policy because it’s preventing the United States from truly understanding the directions and goals of China’s military modernization and its, uh, its general modernization as well. Representative Randy Forbes, the chairman of the China caucus in the House of Representatives estimates that China spends upwards of one hundred million dollars annually, uh, on these influence operations. Unfair trade practices and currency issues, as well as, uh, uh, intellectual property theft. These issues are fairly well known, but I would like to highlight one issue surrounding the whole trade question. The main policy for the United States towards China has been to trade with China as a way to seek a liberalized Chinese government and political system. Unfortunately, the idea of trading with China as a liberal, a liberalizing factor is not working. In fact, just the other, just the opposite is happening. Uh, many feel that China’s buildup, its military buildup is being benefited by its economic growth, but yet we have seen little or no political reform in China. This is a, a very serious source of trouble for the United States. On human rights abuses, I would also point out how, at its core, China has never fully resolved that the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, when pro-democracy protesters… JAMES HARDING
[OVERLAPPING VOICES] One minute. BILL GERTZ
…occupied the square. Um, as well, religious re-, repression is also in this field, as well as environmental degradation. Uh, as many as seven out of ten Chinese major rivers are now dead. This debate has often been couched as, as between engagement and contained, but really, the, the issue here is that what China needs is Democracy, and that is really the, the solution to mitigating these sources of trouble for the United States. [APPLAUSE] JAMES HARDING
Bill Gertz, many thanks indeed. A model of timeliness. Now to, um, stand against the motion “Beware the Dragon: A booming China spells trouble for America,” I call upon Stapleton Roy. [BACKGROUND NOISE] J. STAPLETON ROY
Good evening. Let me begin with a dangerous confession. I love Fu Manchu novels. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] I have read them all, I have seem every movie version that I can get my hand on.
Nothing sends shudders up my spine so much as contemplating sinister Chinese scheming to control the world. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] So when I was confronted with the question of whether a booming China spells trouble for the United States, my natural instinct was to think of Fu Man Chu, and to give a resounding yes.
But then I remembered that I had majored in History in college, not in the world’s great literature. When you look at what’s happening in China in terms of history and not in terms of fantasy fiction, you are forced to a very different conclusion.
I grew up in wartime China, I was in China as a high school student at the time of the Communist revolution in 1949, I visited China three times during the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. When I visit China now, the situation is so different and so much better than China was in those days. Nevertheless, the question before you is a serious one. Any country of 1.3 billion people can spell trouble for us or for the global system.
I have dealt with China professionally for over thirty years, it has been troublesome throughout that period, our relations have improved, we have done well. But this is true that China can cause trouble, whether it’s in boom or bust.
A China that is floundering with a sense of grievance against the world and disaffected with the international system would be a greater danger than a booming China that can feed and clothe its people, educate them domestically and abroad, buy vast amounts of U.S. goods and services, and benefit from the international system.
That’s a far preferable outcome. Can we handle China’s troublesome aspects? Of course we can. We’re the world’ premiere military power. We have the most large, we have the largest and most productive economy in the world. We’re improving our military technology at a rate faster than China is.
We have the world’s, I mentioned the economy, we’re a global leader in science and technology, our schools and graduate schools are the envy of the world. The one requirement for handling any trouble that China causes is that we manage our domestic and international affairs so that we don’t squander the enormous advantages that we have. Remember, trouble for us spells even bigger trouble for China.
The advantage is on our side, not China’s. Seven successive U.S. presidents over a space of thirty-five years have discovered that contain-, that containing troubles and developing common interests with China benefits us. Three successive generations of Chinese leaders have come to the same conclusion. Such a track record should give us confidence. What’s more, experience over the last fifteen years of China’s rapid growth shows clearly that a booming China offers enormous opportunities for the United States, and holds out the prospect of positive change in the future.
China’s rapid growth has created an enormous middle class, concentrated in China’s coastal provinces. This new middle class enjoys a level of affluence unthinkable in the 1970’s. These middle class Chinese are educated, entrepreneurial, and outward looking.
They have more in common with the middle classes elsewhere in Asia than they have with the on-, the backward parts of their own country. They represent the building blocks for China’s eventual transition to a more representative form of government.
China’s society is remarkably more open than it was before. Hundreds of thousands of China’s best and brightest have been sent to the west, and primarily to the United States to study, the work, and the spend years here. Western educated Chinese now occupy significant positions at all levels of government, business, and education in China. Totally absent thirty years ago. In essence, China has abandoned Marxism and Leninism and class struggle in favor of Marxism eco-, uh, market economics [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER], and promotion of a harmonious society.
Obviously, as China’s economy continues to grow, and as its military capabilities improve, we have to consider the possibility that a more powerful and prosperous China will become a security threat.
A highly nationalistic China under poor leaders or under bad leaders would pose serious problems for us and for the global community. Two aspects are of particular concern. China’s military spending has been growing at double digit rates for the last fifteen years, China’s defense forces are preparing for Taiwan scenarios, that include the possibility of U.S. intervention. Does this mean we should sound the alarms, and assume that conflict with China is inevitable over Taiwan? The answer is no. The situation calls for vigi-, vigilance, not for alarm.
U.S. military leaders are not sitting on their thumbs. They’re constantly improving our force posture, they’re pointedly confident that we can handle any challenges and they believe that conflict can be avoided. Such confidence is warranted.
We in China have developed an effective framework from ma-managing the Taiwan issue. Both countries, the United States and China have stated that they are opposed to unilateral changes in the status quo with respect to Taiwan.
In addition, enormous common interests have developed on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, interests missing, before we befriended China. Taiwan has brought over a hundred billion dollars of investment into the mainland. Millions of Taiwanese visit the mainland.
Taiwan exports more across the Taiwan Straits now than it does to the United States. In the meantime, Taiwan runs its own affairs, it elects its own presidents, and it benefits from membership in the World Trade Organization and in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.
In per capita GDP terms, Taiwan ranks just behind the European Union and ahead of countries such as Spain, New Zealand, and South Korea. It would require ineptitude on a massive scale in Beijing, Washington, and Taipei for this situation to generate into a military conflict.
To conclude, an alarmist view of China exaggerates the dangers and obscures the opportunities. JAMES HARDING
One minute. J. STAPLETON ROY
China’s economy is now ten times larger than it was in 1978 and our relations with China are better. And China has significant defense liabilities. Its most modern, advanced military equipment comes from Russia, an unreliable source.
After years of rapid growth, China now in defense spending, China now spends approximately the same percentage of GDP that we do, but its GDP is much smaller than ours. Its, its defense budget is less than half of the combined defense budgets of the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, all part of the European Union with a common defense policy.
My experience in Asia has made me an optimist. I lived in Taiwan under an authoritarian regime. It’s now a thriving democracy. I lived in Thailand twice under military-dominated governments, only to see it move to, for a period uh, to thriving parliamentary democracy.
I was in Indonesia when an authoritative – JAMES HARDING
Stapleton Roy, I'm afraid I’m going to have to stop you there. J. STAPLETON ROY
Gave way. To sum up, the troubles produced by China booming are manageable, the opportunities are encouraging, the outlook is hopeful if we display the traditional qualities that made us a great country – JAMES HARDING
And the speech is coming to a close. J. STAPLETON ROY Dragons are mythological – JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] This debate will be retitled “Beware the Moderator.”
Um, we now turn to Michael Pillsbury who is going to speak for the motion. MICHAEL PILLSBURY Thank you very much. As all of you know, here in sophisticated New York, State Department and Defense Department often don’t get along.
So it may come as a surprise to you – it certainly comes to a surprise to me – that I agree with every word of what Stapleton Roy just said. In fact, I believe our team wants to adopt him as a fourth member of our team, because he essentially is speaking in favor of the motion uh, as we see it.
And I want to ask for your support for the motion in the way we define the two key words in the motion. The first word is “beware.” And we take that to mean be wary, be wary. The second key word, Bill Gertz went over eleven examples, is “trouble,” “spells trouble.”
In other words, the burden on the other team to earn your vote is to say you should not beware, you should be blithely sort of confident that there will be no problems at all with China. They have to sustain that case. Then they have to sustain the case that there will be no trouble from China, forever.
It seems to me it should be unanimous tonight that our team is going to win, especially since Stapleton Roy essentially is working for us.
I do want to say he characterized the Defense Department’s view of China quite correctly, that’s very accurate. Uh, going back for fifteen years now, Secretaries of Defense and chairmen of the Joint Chiefs have said over and over and over that China is not a threat to the United States.
In fact, often they embellish and say China, for the foreseeable future, will not be a threat. So that’s the public position of the Pentagon. It’s not looking for a war, there’s a very high level of confidence uh, that we will prevail in any conflict with China.
Um and what you actually get is a series of factual reports each year that come out that list the eleven examples of trouble that Bill Gertz gave as factual matters. But Mr. Roy, Ambassador Roy is correct that there’s a sense of confidence and not seeking any sort of conflict from China in the Pentagon.
There’s a sense of , that China is not a threat. And frankly, I have, since we’re telling autobiographical stories, I have had about thirty-five years meeting with Chinese generals uh, from the first meet up here in the United Nations not far from here all the way to last week when the Delegation of Generals was hosted by us in the Pentagon.
Enormous changes have taken place but not necessarily for the, for the better. If you go back all the way to the beginning of the U.S. Military relationship with the Chinese Communists, it’s really 1944 that we began to do some intelligence cooperation against the Japanese in the middle of World War II.
That came out of something called the Dixie Mission that some of you, I think in the audience, look like you remember it. But six years later, six years later we’re at war with China. Tragic, tragic war where the Chinese to this day claimed they warned us.
They used this strange phrase about “we won't put our hands in our sleeves” and that was supposed to mean we’re going to send three hundred thousand troops in and destroy American forces. We didn’t understand it that way. And a tragic, avoidable war took place.
Twenty years of containment passed, another cycle began of military cooperation between the U.S. and China. Uh, our generals and theirs have met hundreds of times. We in the eighties, under President Reagan, who certainly would yield to nobody in his anti-Communism, President Reagan authorized the sale of six American sophisticated weapon systems to China.
Again a peak, by the end of 1944 when we were cooperating closely with the Chinese. You almost couldn't have had more security cooperation than we did under President Reagan with China. Three years later, 1989, it had to all be canceled and not far from here out in Bethpage, Long Island, two Chinese jet fighters sort of MiG23 jet fighters had to be crated up and sent back to China.
And we refunded part of their money because of the Tiananmen incident and the heart wrenching effect it had on American hopes for democracy and human rights in China. Then in the last fifteen or sixteen years, there have been ups and downs as Stapleton Roy correctly pointed out.
But we’ve never gotten a pledge from China not to use force against Taiwan. We’ve never settled, we’ve never really gotten credit for what Henry Kissinger did. Uh, President Nixon withdrew American nuclear weapons from Taiwan. President Nixon severed the military connection.
President Carter severed the fact that we kept two American generals there, one for arms supply, one to plan war with the Defense of Taiwan in mind. The Chinese take that, those major concessions from us as though they never happened.
And the Chinese rhetoric today continues to talk about how the U.S., if it even sells one bullet to Taiwan, this somehow strengthens the independence forces on Taiwan. It’s simply not true. We have enormous self-imposed restrictions on our arms sales to Taiwan.
So across the board, we have a lack of progress in Chinese nationalistic attitudes toward America. If you pull out an average Chinese Youth Daily article today and you look up what does it say about the United States, it’s not very friendly.
We have fifteen major programs now in foreign aid, in helping their banking system through our Treasury Department. Our Labor Department has a mediation service, going to help them with labor disputes. Every department of the U.S. government has what, in my view amounts to an aid program, a program of engagement with China. Very seldom mentioned in the Chinese press. If you're a young Chinese, you have the impression that America is trying to dismember China, that America poses a military threat, that America’s working with India and Japan to somehow crush China or contain its rise.
All of this nationalistic rhetoric ought to be banned in the Chinese press. We don’t say these things in our press, but it hasn’t stopped the worst was 1999, I might point out, when the front page of the Communist Party Daily, People’s Daily, carried a long article called “The Seven Ways America is Worse than Nazi Germany.”
And it went into detail about which kind of gas the Nazis had used in their camps, and then there was a paragraph, I’ll never forget it, saying the Americans are even worse than that. JAMES HARDING
One minute. MICHAEL PILLSBURY So to support our side of this debate, you have to be wary, that is look for possibilities that might happen in the future where things may not be as rosy as we may have hoped. And you have to admit there’s trouble.
That’s, that’s all we, we ask for our side. And I hope it will be unanimous, but we don’t, we don’t have to be, our side doesn’t have to be extreme. We don’t have to be alarmist about China, we don’t have to forecast an inevitable war. We don’t have to say that we should break off all relations. I mention to you the fifteen aid programs, I want to close my last sentence with just one of the most impressive, to me, we have more than fifty agreements, governmental agreements to transfer American scientific findings to China for free.
Our National Science Foundation, our White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are in charge of this—Chinese don’t really make a big deal out of it, but it’s an amazing program… JAMES HARDING
Michael Pillsbury, I'm afraid your time is up. MICHAEL PILLSBURY
Thank you. JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] We now turn to Daniel Rosen who is speaking against the motion. DANIEL H. ROSEN Thank you very much James and uh, it’s a pleasure to be here this evening. I want to start by saying welcome to New York uh, to those supporting tonight’s proposition. While neo-cons and liberals alike uh, down in the Beltway in Washington and from other places around the country debate the theory and these concepts of grand strategy to do with China, we here in New York have been working very, very hard of course in our many professions to try to understand the nature of its reform, its growth,
and make sure that we benefit as a nation from what’s the epic changes taking place in this country, making sure that we don’t gauge China against the uh, abject failures of thirty, forty, fifty years ago, some of which have already been cited.
But instead, recognize that China is not at all standing still uh, and is very much a work in progress. So I for one, very much look forward to the chance to debate these issues here tonight, the notion that China’s strengthening is bad news for us, which is really what we’re talking about of course. China’s boom is essentially economic at its core. So the role that uh, has been cast for me is to lay out three critical economic arguments uh, for why, whether you're a New Yorker or not, uh, you should be very much against the motion that we have on the table before us this evening.
First argument, China’s boom is benefiting others in a big way, not just China. Secondly, that its growth is very much helping its people, not repressing them, and thus mitigating, in an important way, many threats that we’d have to deal with if China were not growing.
And thirdly, that we the United States together with China, have larger economic responsibilities of a global nature that demand our mutual respect and our enthusiasm, in fact, instead of confrontation with China over its growth and strengthening.
Which indeed is what uh, is what we’re, we’re here to debate. Let me exch-, uh, explain each of these very briefly.
First of all, China’s growth is benefiting the economies of rich and poor nations alike. Japan, with merely forty percent of the labor force that the United States has, exports ten billion dollars worth of goods to China every month. The United States only exports half that amount.
Germany, with a mere one-quarter of our labor force, has run a net trade surplus with China over the period 1992 to today. The point of this is China is not an economy that is closed to rich-world exports at all. It’s very much open to them.
Developing nations, in Southeast Asia, in Latin America, in Africa, are also benefiting in a way the World Bank couldn't have imagined a few years ago from China’s dynamic growth. It’s embracing China as a new destination for exports.
Even Taiwan, that’s of such concern to us all here at this table, is in fact enjoying a sixty-six billion dollar a year trade surplus with its archenemy uh, the People’s Republic of China, a trade surplus which has grown from fourteen to forty percent every year of this decade so far.
Taiwan in fact is moving away from the attitude behind the motion on the table this evening, away from confrontation and toward a working out of things in a peaceful manner, a deepening and integrating its economy with the mainland’s.
Bottom line: our fortunes here depend on what we do, on how we compete with China, not on what China does. We should spend more time competing with Germany and Japan, in fact, for the Chinese market, and less time blaming China for all of our troubles.
Of course the United States is already a major beneficiary of China’s economic activity. If we cut off all trade with China tomorrow, we would create very few American jobs, we would import practically everything we import from China, but from other countries at a higher price, which wouldn't really benefit anybody in this country.
Second major argument I want to make: China’s growth benefits its people and by doing so, mitigates profound troubles that would eventuate, if that were not the case. The real threats, the existential threat, threats to the United States today come from impoverished and stagnant states writhen by discontent and insecurity.
North Korea, Iran, Iraq, the Middle East in general, stagnant economic situations in Sudan, in Venezuela, these are what, these are the engines that breed terrorism and nihilism which are the true threat and trouble we should be concerning ourselves with.
China could have been among those. In fact the China of 1978, before the dreaded boom that we’re here to debate this evening, would have been one of those, by embracing our economic model in fact, which is what they’ve done, they’ve grown beyond that danger.
And though eight hundred million Chinese are still poor by our standards, they’re striving toward prosperity and not toward extremism. Those people, those toiling Chinese are the boom that we’re here to pass judgment on this evening.
And while their toil brings competitive challenges for us, we would be gravely mistaken to try to turn back the clock to the failed state China was before this boom began. Prosperity is not an alternative to political change in China. In fact, it’s been the handmaiden of it.
The totalitarian government ruling two hundred dollar per capita China in 1978 bears practically no resemblance to the Chinese government managing a two thousand dollar per capita economy today.
Likewise, the Chinese government that runs ten thousand dollar per capita China tomorrow will be vastly different than the one we deal with today.
Third major argument: beyond our narrow economic interests – and theirs – lie global economic responsibilities that must be addressed cooperatively. Tonight we’re debating whether the benefits of a stronger China are worth the trouble it brings us along the way, or rather, whether the troubles of a stagnant China would suit our interests better, because that’s really the question.
It’s which set of troubles suits the American interest and which does not? It’s a reasonable question, but such a narrow-minded calculus of self-interest alone does not befit a great power and certainly does not befit the United States.
Economic success, foremost ours and now China’s as well, is creating a great economic, political, and indeed security challenge, climate change and an environmental crisis globally. The U.S. has refused to address its responsibility to carbon, on carbon emissions.
And the reason given: China. A con-convenient fits-all-purposes ex-excuse not to act when you don’t want to act. China, interestingly enough, has refused to exact uh, except carbon commitments for the same reason. JAMES HARDING
One minute. DANIEL H. ROSEN The United States should go first. This log jam is fueled by the mistrust that tonight’s motion puts forward, and indeed it cannot be permitted to stand. We have an economic responsibility to the planet to deal with this together or we’re going to lose more than anybody does.
To finish, let me say this, I have a private practice in addition to being a think tanker and professor. And my customers are troubles. They’re troubles I’d like to have more of, frankly. I don't have a problem with troubles, we have more troubles with Canada economically than we do with any other country.
Is that bad news for the United States? It’s not, it’s part of a mature relationship. Those in favor of tonight’s motion counsel a strategy meant to leave China in ruins using a play book last used in the Cold War, building up our military instead of our economy.
Who will join us in such a strategy? I urge you to vote against tonight’s motion. The troubles of a stagnant, unbooming China – JAMES HARDING
Daniel Rosen, your time is up. DANIEL H. ROSEN Far, far outweigh – JAMES HARDING Your time is up. DANIEL H. ROSEN The challenges of its growth. Thank you. [APPLAU.S.E] JAMES HARDING
Thank you. Now I turn to John Mearsheimer, the last speaker uh, for the motion, “Beware the Dragon: A booming China spells trouble for America.” JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER
The question on the table is does a rising China spell trouble for the United States. Or in slightly different words from an American perspective, is a powerful China likely to be bad for the United States? I think the answer is axiomatically yes.
And I say this not because I feel any personal hostility towards the Chinese, which I certainly don’t, or because I think China is particularly aggressive because it was or is a Communist country or it is run in an authoritarian political form.
I think that matters very little and I don't say it because I think China’s likely to behave irrationally in the future. My argument is that the best situation for the United States from the perspective of maximizing its security is to be the most powerful state in the international system.
The bigger the gap between you and everybody else, the more secure you are. To put it in Pentagonese, you don’t want a peer competitor in your national system. To give you two examples that highlight this point, think about the United States and its two immediate neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
As you know, we are much more powerful than either one of those countries. None of you go to bed at night worrying about Canada or Mexico attacking the United States tomorrow, next week, or next year. That’s simply not going to happen because we’re so powerful.
Would you trade the present situation for one where Canada and Mexico or Canada or Mexico was twice as powerful as the United States? Of course you wouldn't, it’s much better to have a situation where we’re the most powerful state in the Western hemisphere.
Same basic logic applies to China. If China has two choices, one it can have a Japan in Asia that’s five times more powerful than China, or a situation where China is five more, five times more powerful than Japan.
Which one of those alternatives do you think the Chinese will choose? It’s an open-and-shut case. They’d much prefer to be five times more powerful. And the same basic argument applies to the United States and China. Today, tomorrow, or at any point in time.
If you have a choice of being as powerful or less powerful than China, or being more powerful, which would you choose if you're interested in maximizing your security? An open and shut case.
Let me spell out the logic that underpins my argument. Principal goal of any state in the international system, it’s not the only goal, but the principal goal is survival. And the reason is, if you don’t survive, you can’t pursue any other goals.
The problem that states have is they operate in an anarchic system. That’s political science speak for saying that they operate in a system where there’s no higher authority that you can turn to if you get into trouble. [In other words, if you dial 911 in a crisis in international politics, there’s nobody at the other end. In a system like that, where you're dealing with other states whose intentions you can never be certain of, and you want to understand here that it’s impossible for the United States to discern what Chinese intentions will be ten years from now, twenty years from now, thirty years from now.
We don’t know what those intentions will be. In a system where you can’t discern intentions, and where there is no higher authority that you can turn to when you're in trouble, the best way to maximize your chances of surviving is to make sure that you are by far the most powerful sys-, state in the international system.
To put it in colloquial terms, you want to be the biggest and baddest dude on the block, so that nobody fools around with you. To put it in political science speak, you want to be a hegemony.
Now the question is, what does the system look like today? Situation today from an American point of view is ideal. We’re by far the most powerful state on earth. We dominate the Western hemisphere. There’s no state in our uh, region of the world that could possibly challenge us. We have tremendous power projection capabilities, which is why we’re called the only superpower in the world.
And in Asia and in Europe, the two areas of the world where there are other great powers or potential great powers, we have no peer competitor. There’s no imperial Japan, there’s no imperial Germany, there’s no Nazi Germany, and there’s no Soviet Union.
From an American point of view, that’s a wonderful situation. Now, what is the future going to look like if in say, twenty years, China continues to grow economically the way it has grown over the last twenty years?
What you're going to get is a country that’s economically pretty close to being as strong as the United States, and you could rest assured that China’s going to turn that economic might into military might. They’d be foolish if they didn’t.
You’ll then have a country that’s roughly uh, the military equivalent of the United States, or at least close to it. That country is going to try to dominate Asia the way the United States has successfully dominated the western hemisphere. They’d be fools to do otherwise.
Do you think the founding fathers and their successors in this country were fools because they had attempted to establish, and did establish a Germany in the Western hemisphere? Of course not. They did it for good security reasons.
The Asians will do the same, the Chinese will do the same thing in Asia. We have a Monroe Doctrine here in the United States. Most of you know it very well. We basically tell the European and Asian great powers that they have to stay out of our hemisphere. We don’t want them here.
Don’t you think the Chinese are going to feel the same way in Asia when they’re powerful enough to think about dominating Asia? Furthermore, they’re going to dominate, develop significant power projection capability just like we have developed power projection capability.
They’re going to develop a blue water navy and that navy is going to be designed to go into the Middle East, much the way our navy is designed to go in the Middle East. When I was a young boy, my mother used to say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
If it’s good for the United States, why don’t you think it’ll be good for China to try and dominate Asia and to try and develop significant power projection capability? Of course this all raises the question then, how is the United States likely to react? It’s very simple.
We have a clear record here of how we’ll react when other countries try to dominate either Europe or Asia. We go to great lengths to stop them. Imperial Germany, imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and the former Soviet Union, they’re all on the scrap heap of history.
And we played a key role in putting them there. The United States will not tolerate a situation where China tries to dominate Asia. And as I said, China will try to dominate Asia just the way the United States has tried to dominate and has succeeded at dominating the Western hemisphere.
What is my bottom line here? My bottom line is straightforward. The present situation is better for the United States and more stable than a world – JAMES HARDING One minute. JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER In which China is as powerful or almost as powerful as the United States. In other words, if China rises, trouble is in store for the United States. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] JAMES HARDING
John Mearsheimer, thank you very much. And now finally, Jim McGregor speaking against the motion. JAMES MCGREGOR Well I, my name is Jim McGregor and I’ve lived in China for twenty years. And I'm just grateful that I did not make Bill Gertz’s list of eleven threats from China. [LAUGHTER]
Um it’s kind of intimidating being here among all these Ph.D.s and well studied men. I ended up in China because I was expelled from high school. Um, I joined the army when I got expelled from high school, they sent me to Vietnam, that turned my head towards Asia, led to me becoming a journalist.
And as time went on, I wanted to get back to Asia as a journalist, so I went to China in ’85 and backpacked through the country. Um, ’87, I moved to Taiwan to learn Mandarin and I’ve lived in Beijing since ’90, both as a journalist and a businessperson.
All of the theories that I’ve heard tonight, I’ve read many times. My view is more kind of grass roots what China looks like on the ground and what I’ve seen. Um, when I first moved to China as a reporter, I had secret police following, my phone was tapped.
Even the maid who took care of our nanny who helped us with our daughter was from the foreign ministry and made reports on us. Um and this was a country that was just really emerging from the forest fire of the Cultural Revolution.
And what I’ve seen since then has been kind of documented by other speakers here tonight on the fast growth. I’ve watched, the first uh, financial person I met in China was a guy named Milen Xiong [PH] who was a, a steel worker who had cornered the market on the four stocks on the illegal Shanghai stock market.
Um and now China’s um, doing the world’s largest IPOs and in fact Chinese stocks were the top performers on NASDAQ last year. When I first got to Beijing in the fall, you had big piles of cabbage on the corner because that was the only vegetable they got.
People would bring it home, they’d shove it under their bed or in their cabinets and over the winter, you’d tear away the rotten leaves and you could eat the fresh leaves inside. Well as you know, now, if I don’t see a new high rise everyday, I get a little jittery, it’s moving so fast.
Um international sophistication, when I went there in ’85, people would come up to me on the street and show me around for the day because they were so excited to learn about the outside world. While we’ve had six hundred thousand students alone from China come to the United States, Chinese people are very international,
traveling the world, doing business um, and even being involved in uh, academic uh, endeavors in the United States.
So we’ve learned that China’s a very formidable country tonight and we better be scared of them um, because why? Well China has grown very fast and it’s moving very fast, but what has happened during this period?
China has been shoving all kinds of problems under the carpet. The carpet’s getting lumpy and the country will trip on these problems and it’s going to be very busy for the new few decades fixing this. Environment, China is trash.
Sixteen of the twenty worst air-polluted cities in the world are in China. I’ve traveled every province of China and I’ve never seen a clean body of water that was not in a bottle. Um, healthcare, from a fairly decent healthcare system has become very commercial.
Two-thirds of people don’t have healthcare. If you're a peasant and your kid gets cancer, what do you do? You beg, borrow, and steal money to get them to a hospital in a city. Uh, you have to deposit the money for your kid to be in that hospital. If you run out of money, they kick your kid out of that hospital.
Um the have and the have-not issue is growing and growing. There was eighty thousand demonstrations two years ago. Last year they went down because they realized they better not be reporting on how many they had. Um and on and on party corruption, etcetera.
So this is this uh, colossus that’s going to take on the United States. What does China really want? From a military standpoint, China wants to protect its wealth. It’s been a country that’s been colonized.
It also wants to have the military projection to be able to protect it, protect its own sea lanes. Um from natural resources, China, the rocks have not been kind to China. They’re as dependent as we are or more on imported oil and other mat-, in iron ore and other raw materials.
Um the government. The government is running scared of its own people. You’ve got to realize when you have ten, ten, ten percent economic growth for twenty years and kids are growing up under that kind of growth, they expect exponential improvement every year forever.
And the government has really no credibility other than economic growth and giving people a better life.
So where does the United States have to worry? Where do we really eclipse China? You can’t be a global leader without a leading ideology and China right now has no leading ideology other than getting rich. Uh, right now the United States isn’t so popular around the world uh, with Iraq and other issues.
China is out working the world, but I’ll tell you, people are looking for U.S. leadership. We will not have trouble competing with China diplomatically. Financial world. New York um, you can walk down the street here and throw a rock in any direction, you're going to hit a trillion dollars in hedge funds.
Um the Shanghai Bank still don’t have check-clearing mechanisms for private accounts. China’s moving ahead in, in the financial world. They’ve got a trillion dollar foreign exchange surplus and they’re in fact putting together a hundred twenty billion dollar hedge fund.
But they are going to have to dependent on the U.S. and our financial system and cooperating with us for their money to be deployed well as well as the capital they need. Education. China’s built seven hundred universities in the last fifteen years.
However, it still has stuffed ducks-style education where people are taught to memorize, not to think for themselves and not to analyze. The world, the world comes to America as long as we give them the visas to have the best in the world education system.
We can absorb the brains of the world and stay ahead of anybody in the world.
Um finally, I'm looking at my opponents here. I'm on the good guys team here on the left and uh, my opponents here, these are all learned men, they’re all PhDs. But take a look, there’s not a bit of suntan on any of those heads. Um they have, they have been sitting in offices in Washington and Chicago um, reading reports and putting together the world under, under theories. And that’s quite good, I'm happy to say that. And I'm not here, I'm not here to defend China. I'm here to defend America because um, if you say that we can’t handle the rise of China um, then you're voting against America tonight.
I believe that you really have to vote no because if you vote yes, then you're voting against America. America can handle the rise of China. China’s got a lot of problems. And we’re going to, we’ve, we’ve handled many things in, in the life of this country.
And we will handle this quite well. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] JAMES HARDING
Jim McGregor, thank you very much. Now uh, before we turn to the uh, Q&A uh, part of the evening, I just wanted to let you know how you all voted um, before the uh, debate began. Um, before the debate, and I’ll just remind you, the motion is, “Beware the Dragon: A booming China spells trouble for America.” Before the debate began, you voted 41.05 percent of you, 41 percent of you voted for the motion, 37.4 percent voted against the motion, and 21.5 percent said you were undecided. So quite a thin margin for the sun-drenched team against the motion to sway them.
Before we get started, I thought I’d abuse my position as a moderator here to just ask a couple of questions. And I guess I uh, wanted to start by um, directing a question at John Mearsheimer. Um you couldn't help but feel, feel that Michael Pillsbury gave the game away a little bit when he said, you know, on our side of the motion, we don’t need to be alarmist, we don’t need to talk about war. And yet, within a few minutes’ time, you were saying, the U.S. will not tolerate a situation where China tries to dominate Asia.
And I guess my question is, to you, how does China have a hope of fulfilling its promise of a peaceful rise if people like you are standing up and saying we will not tolerate China that seeks to dominate the region in which it lives? Is this not just warmongering that is dressed as prudence?
And uh, I have a question I uh, also – [LAUGHTER]. I, I have a question uh, out to Stapleton Roy um, which is listening to you, you can’t help but fear that, that your position is, is don’t worry be happy. Uh, we have a politically unstable superpower with a foreign policy that is unclear even to itself.
And clearly that is going to, at the very least, threaten U.S. preeminence in the world. And I guess my question to you is looking back over the last thirty years, even if you take into account the benefits of engagement, has not commercial engagement with China made it more difficult for the U.S. to engage on issues from Tibet to Taiwan?
And how much will the U.S. be forced to compromise its foreign policy positions in, if it’s going to ignore the threat that China poses? So first to address, Mearsheimer. JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER
Uh, the question of whether or not China can rise peacefully is a somewhat different question than the one that is on the table, and there’s no question, as our moderator said, that I’ve bumped into the question of whether China can rise peacefully.
Now he said in effect, aren’t I creating a self-fulfilling prophecy here, because China wants to rise peacefully in the story uh, but yet the United States, because it’s being prudent, is creating a situation where you’ll have a clash down the road. It’s not uh, necessarily that you’ll have a shooting war.
But you’ll certainly have an intense security competition as a result of my story. There’s no question about that with the possibility of the war. My argument is that the United States really has no choice. Because as China gets more and more powerful economically, the United States constantly bumps into the question of what China’s intentions will be ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road.
And he says, the moderator, that China wants to rise peacefully. But he can’t assure me that China wants to rise peacefully or will rise peacefully. There’s just no way of knowing. And in a world where you have a state that’s becoming increasingly powerful, nearly as powerful as you, you have to assume worst case about its intentions to protect yourself in case there is trouble.
Because as I said to you before, if you do get into trouble, there’s no 911 that you can appeal to. And in a very important way, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and this is why I titled the book that I wrote on this subject, the tragedy of great-power politics.
This is a tragic situation. The United States simply has no choice but to assume the worst about China and the end result is that you’ll get that for sure. [LAUGHTER] JAMES HARDING
And on that happy note, Stapleton Roy. J. STAPLETON ROY I spent my career as a diplomat and somehow the world wasn’t this Hobbesian picture that has been presented to us. Just think about it for a moment.
If your goal is to keep everybody else down, you shouldn't be surprised to discover that nobody else shares that goal. Now successful foreign policies are based on finding common interests with other countries, not in trying to keep them down.
If we try to keep China down, we’ll have to keep India down or whoever the next person is. What kind of a foreign policy and kind of a country are, are we if that’s our approach? Think of it in another way.
If our goal is to ensure the security and prosperity of the American people, in a world in which other countries have an equal right, if they can do so responsibly, to improve the prosperity and security of their people, then we have a world in which there are common goals, and which other countries can also raise the living standards of their people and meet their security needs better.
The goal then of our foreign policy is responsible behavior in the international community. That’s a shared goal with most other countries and it’s an achievable goal. But it requires that we also set a good example.
Now remember also the Western hemisphere is the only region of the world in which one power can be the hegemony. China is surrounded by Japan that has a conventional military capable, that’s equal to China’s. It’s surrounded by Russia, a nuclear power, by India, a nuclear power.
By Vietnam which is no patsy, by Korea which is no patsy, and the United States is a permanent factor in the region. Chinese leaders do not spend their time thinking about dominating Asia through power. The way that they are increasing our influence is through influence.
They’re reassuring their neighbors. They’re behaving in a way which leaves the Southeast Asian countries in the lead in promoting an East Asian community, not China. So it’s the country that throws its weight around that loses influence.
And the country that uses its influence to promote its interest that is doing so more effectively. We ought to learn something from this. We are actually very good at playing this game when we realize that we cannot accomplish our goals or keep a peaceful world if we rely on power as opposed to the right balance of power and influence.
We certainly need to keep ourselves strong enough so a rising China does not threaten our prosperity and our security. But we don’t need to do so in a world where we have to keep everybody else down because of a threat to our hegemonic position. JAMES HARDING
Thank you. MICHAEL PILLSBURY May I, may I just say I still consider Ambassador Roy to be the fourth member of our team. Thank you, thank you very much for those comments. A balance of power is in fact the right approach. JAMES HARDING
Michael Pillsbury is uh, is being a dissident. Uh, within the process, we uh, you know, need to keep the lines of the left and right absolutely clear here. Now we get to the interesting bit which is uh, over to you.
Uh, what I’d like to do is uh, ask you to um, uh, you know, come forth with questions for the panel. Please make clear who you're directing them to. Please, if you wouldn't mind, stand up when you ask a question. Um if you're a member of the press, would you say so? And would you identify yourself. And one final thing, would you do what I didn’t, which is keep your questions short and succinct. Right, there are two people here. There are people with mics, two up, two up at the front here. Thanks very much. This lady right in the middle. FEMALE QUESTIONER Um, hi, and my name is Lily [UNCLEAR], um, for John Mearsheimer. Uh, you say that we should want to maintain superiority to China, but just as the part of the fabric of America, shouldn’t we also want to concern ourselves with the human rights and the, uh, conditions in China? JOHN MEARSHEIMER My… JAMES HARDING [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Actually, uh, John Mearsheimer, if you don’t mind, we’re going to take a couple of questions, two or three together, and then we’re going to go on. Thank you very much. So there’s a gentleman over here who has a question. MALE QUESTIONER Uh, yeah, my name is Mike Endacott [PH], um, this question is for Daniel Rosen. Um, does the example of Hong Kong, and uh, China’s before towards Hong Kong give us any clear picture of their future intentions? JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. Let’s start with those two, John Mearsheimer, should we not pay more attention to human rights than just our own interests? JOHN MEARSHEIMER 01:0?:35 The point that I tried to make in my comments was that the state can have a variety of different interests, and promoting human rights, or protecting human rights and promoting democracy can be, and often are legitimate goals of states, especially the United States.
But the highest goal always has to be, uh, protecting your security, maintaining your survival. And the point that I tried to make clear here is that the best way to maximize your chances of surviving in the system are to make sure that you are by far the most powerful state, because then nobody can fool around with you.
And once you have ensured your survival, you are of course then free to pursue those other goals. JAMES HARDING
Thank you. Daniel Rosen, what does Hong Kong tell us? DANIEL ROSEN
Hong Kong tells us a lot. Uh, the, the motion we’re debating tonight, with regard to the meta-phenomenon of China’s strengthening, uh, and coming back into a position, uh, of relative strength after a century of relative weakness could easily have been debated in the more narrow context of Hong Kong ten years ago.
About ten years ago today, in fact, uh, almost. Uh, or, or a month away. Uh, people assuming that China’s reassumption of control over Hong Kong would necessarily bring, uh, a cauldron of concerns and troubles about Hong Kong’s fate. [
:02] In fact, uh, things have played out entirely differently than that. Uh, China has left Hong Kong to manage its own affairs, in the same way at Beijing, to a great extent, is allowing many regions of the country within mainland China to manage their own affairs. Probably too much so. We probably need a stronger Beijing rather than a weaker one, in fact. Uh, Hong Kong is prospering. Its success or failure stands on its own competitiveness.
This is precisely what we should learn form the situation. Hong Kong can do better or worse, it has less to do with Beijing than it does to do with Hong Kong. The United States can benefit or be at a relative loss as a result of China’s economic growth. It has everything to do with the choices we make, and how we choose to respond, instead of trying to adjust our game to respond to what China wants to do instead. JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. Right, yeah, the two gentleman, just up, uh, then let’s take a couple of, uh, questions from you two please. Uh, and then, uh, I saw there’s someone right up at the back. Thank you. MALE QUESTIONER Thank you. My name is Gerry Ohrstrom [PH]. Given Frederic Bastiat’s empirically proven statement where goods cross borders, armies won’t, I’d like to ask the friendly Mr. Pillsbury if he truly believes that a wealthy China poses a greater threat to America and to the world and to the region than an impoverished China.
Others, I think Mr. Hilsh-, Mearsheimer clearly an-, answered that question. I’d like to get your direct answer. JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. So the gentleman in the back. MALE QUESTIONER Hi. Uh, I guess this is for Mr. Mearsheimer. He was saying that the, the uh, military strength is the key to controlling China, but it seems that we can’t really do anything in Iraq to control Iraq. How are we ever gonna control China?
And really, economically, since they have trillions of dollars pouring into their country, and we’re running a major, major deficit, how would we ever possibly finance a military that could overcome China?
I mean, they have so much more money in the bank now, and it seems like in the foreseeable future, that’s going to be the case. So shouldn’t we focus on being economic partners with them and trading partners as Ambassador Roy said, and seek common ground rather than sort of pursue this military concept, which isn’t working anywhere for us? JAMES HARDING
Thank you. And the gentleman here in the bow tie please. MALE QUESTIONER Uh, my question also is to Mr. Mearsheimer. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] Um, so-, sorry to pile on you, but um, why do you believe contrary to, uh, every example in recorded history that the United States can continue, uh, to be the most powerful nation in the world?
And in what way are the citizens of those countries which used to be the most powerful nations in the world, Sweden, the Netherlands, Great Britain, uh, any worser [(sic)] off now that they are no longer citizens of the most powerful nation in the world? JAMES HARDING
Thank you for that very understanding question. Uh [LAUGHS] [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER], let, let’s um, let’s start first, uh, though with the question, uh, for Michael Pillsbury about a, a wealthy China surely being better for America and the world than an impoverished one. MICHAEL PILLSBURY Uh, I prefer a wealthy China to a poor, angry China. Uh, I think the, the issue though… PANELIST [OVERLAPPING VOICES] I think Michael just joined our side. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] PANELIST 2 [OVERLAPPING VOICES] It’s about time. PANELIST [OVERLAPPING VOICES] It’s an even trade. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] PANELIST 2 State Department’s always thinking the allies. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] MICHAEL PILLSBURY I think the issue is really democracy, and a wealthy democratic China is a better partner for us, a better ally, a better friend than a poor, than even a poor democratic China. The problem is how to get from here to there without being foolishly naïve in building up China’s economic strength in a way that they also maintain their nationalism.
They maintain their anti-American views, and they, uh, it ends, the situation ends up that we have been gullible and naïve over a fifteen or twenty year period. And this has happened before.
If you read John Mearsheimer’s most recent book, it really chronicles a number of times this has happened in world politics. So if you really want to support our side of the resolution, you need to be thinking about this phrase the moderator used, which I love, I think he’s working for us too, “Don’t worry, Be Happy.”
Because that’s what their side really is advocating. What I am saying, be wary in the following four or five ways. We need to continue our military exchange program with the Chinese military, and let them see that we’re not their enemy.
We don’t want to call that off because “don’t worry be happy.” We need to continue the embargo on arms sales to China. We shouldn’t sell weapons to China. We should continue the Eur-, our support that the European Union has its embargo on arms sales to China, until human rights improves significantly.
We should continue to do something about Taiwan’s defense. We don’t have to arm them to the teeth, but we shouldn’t just walk away from Taiwan. And finally, we need to have technology limits on our most advanced technology that we transfer to China.
Right now, it’s very generous, but there are a few things we hold back, and some people say that was part of their successful test against the satellite in space, is that they had some western technology, uh, at their, at their service.
And frankly, I don’t know if all of you know as, perhaps as civilians, ninety percent of your military forces go through satellites. Communications, intelligence, also and every time you use an ATM card, that’s a satellite conveyed transaction.
So we are a highly vulnerable society with our four hundred satellites in space. This test is very serious in January, and the Chinese government after repeated requests has no explanation for it. They just say, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Don’t worry, be happy.” [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much… DANIEL ROSEN [OVERLAPPING VOICES] …let me see if there’s…. JAMES HARDING
…We’ll come back in one moment. Just to John Mearsheimer, could you take on both of those questions, essentially the question of whether or not American hegemony should or can afford to continue forever? JOHN MEARSHEIMER Yeah. You, you wanna let Daniel… JAMES HARDING
No, no, go ahead, John Mearsheimer, and then we’ll turn to Daniel Rosen in a moment. JOHN MEARSHEIMER
Oh, very quickly, on all three questions. The first one said where goods cross borders, armies don’t. Uh, I think that’s empirically wrong, and there was a tremendous amount of economic interdependence in Europe before World War I, uh, and World War I still happened.
And if you look at German-Soviet relations in 1941, there was actually a tremendous amount of economic intercourse, and yet you still had, uh, World War II. And during the Cold War, in fact, you had hardly any economic intercourse between the United States and the Soviet Union, and nevertheless you never had a shooting war.
Now on the question of whether or not we could possibly contain China, uh, which gets into two other questions that I was asked, uh, and the person pointed out, how could we possibly contain China when we can’t even deal with Iraq? Uh, I would vote that going to war in Iraq was a completely crazy idea from the beginning, and whether or not you can [APPLAUSE] fight the war in Iraq is a very different issue than whether you can contain China down the road.
And the analogy I would point to that makes this quite obvious is our experience in Vietnam, and at the same time our experience containing and defeating the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Vietnam War, like the Iraq War was a completely cockamamie idea. Uh, but nevertheless, the United States, even though it lost in Vietnam still won the Cold War. Uh, and there no question that the United States should avoid, should avoid fighting Iraqs down the road.
But it clearly has the wherewithal, uh, to uh, finance the defenses to, to contain China down the road. And this gets to the final question, which is, can the United States remain number one forever, and if we don’t, we’ll be, will we be that badly off?
Uh, first of all, nothing is forever, so the United States is not going to remain number one forever. But I would be willing to bet a lot of money that the United States is actually more powerful relative to the rest of the world over the course of this century, largely for demographic reasons, uh, than it is right now.
Uh, a lot of the doomsayers, who say that the United States is in real trouble down the road are simply wrong, in my opinion. And I think a powerful case can be made contrary to what we’re talking about up here that China won’t rise, uh, anywhere near as much as many people think it will.
And getting into the final points, are we worse off, or we will be worse off not being so powerful? Look at the Europeans. Well, if you look at Europe in recent times, that’s true. But let’s go back to 1900 and think about being a Pole anywhere from 1900 to 2007.
Think about growing up in France anytime between 1900 and 2007. Yeah, the last few decades have been pretty good, uh, but if you look at the broader sweep of history, it looks mighty nasty. And who’s to tell what the future looks like, many of you assume that it’s gonna be peace, love and [UNCLEAR] forever, right, I mean Europe has been pacified, war has been burned out of Europe.
Maybe, maybe not. I’m just a very prudent person. I don’t like to take chances. And that means that I just prefer to be much more powerful rather than [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] as powerful as the other states in the system. JAMES HARDING
Right [APPLAUSE] thank you very much, John Mearsheimer. A very quick response from Daniel Rosen. DANIEL ROSEN
This is gonna start to sound like a George Bernard Shaw play, but I’m with Pillsbury. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] Uh, a, a wealthy democratic China is clearly in the U.S. interest. Be wary of arguments that you can foster democracy in China by stymieing the boom.
A boom doesn’t guarantee democratization. A bust guarantees that you will not get there. That can be said pretty clearly. And we already see early evidence of democratization processes starting to take place.
People elect their own co-op boards. They decide who represents them in their parent-teacher associations in their schools. This is happening already. And everybody who’s been stymieing China sees it manifested. JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. Right, a few more questions. And, uh, I don’t want this New York audience to get a bad reputation, so if anyone wants to throw a punch at the side that’s against the motion, please feel free. The gentleman here on the left. MALE QUESTIONER I’ll see what I can do. Um, uh, if we held this debate, uh, twenty years ago, you’d probably insert Japan for China. Uh, at that time, and, and we see that that kind of played out a different way, despite what Michael Crichton might think. Um, that said, how does Japan kind of enter into the debate here? I mean, if you think about it, um, there is some, uh, scholarship or some theory that suggests that we should think about Japan as a bulwark against a rising China, and I’d like to get fielder’s choice from the panelists, what, how do they think Japan, um, plays in, you know, in terms of the constitution, in terms of rearmament.
How can they pl-, play a constructive role in perhaps bringing some coma-, accommodation in Asia? JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. And, uh, the gentleman up there in the blue shirt? MALE QUESTIONER Thanks. This is for the speakers against the motion. Um, you had said that China has no ideology, and yet if a booming China means that U.S. is increasingly dependant on China, and yet China has shown it’s ab-, um, it’s interest in supporting rogue or failed states, such as Sudan. And yet because of our dependence on China we’re-, that inhibits our ability to intervene in those situations, how would you respond to that? JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. Let’s uh, we’ll come to you in one moment. Uh, let’s start, Jim McGregor, do you want to deal with uh, Japan? And who’d like to deal with uh, China’s role in Sudan? Let’s start with Japan. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] JAMES MCGREGOR
Well no, I, I wanna address where he talks about us being dependant on China. Who’s dependant on whom here? Look at the eco-, I mean, no one’s talking about the Chinese people and the economic times. China’s oil companies, China’s banks, China’s telecom companies are all listed on overseas stock exchanges.
They’re, they’re, they were the second biggest buyers of U.S. treasuries. They’re completely tied into us, we’re not, we’re not dependant on China in any, in any way shape or form. We’re tied together, which is for the common good.
A country that is tied together that deeply and economically and we’re, and the, the amount of jobs that are created by the consumers in America, by the foreign companies, sixty-some percent of exports from China come from foreign companies.
So we’re so intertwined, uh, it, it just brings more stability. JAMES HARDING
But Jim McGregor, doesn’t this question cut to exactly that problem? We’re having two debates here this evening. On the right hand side, you have people who are talking about foreign policy and national security. And on the left hand side, we have people talking about economic growth and commercial opportunity.
And actually when you, when it, you come to it, when you look at a case like Sudan, when you look at China’s involvement in Zimbabwe, actually we’re failing to address or engage China in constructive diplomatic, uh, you know, work around the world. JAMES MCGREGOR Well if you look at, what have we done? China now is awash with money, and they’re looking to invest overseas. When they came to buy Unocal, uh, which pumped I think point eight percent of American oil, Congress looked at this at a national security threat and pushed them away. [
:08] And we’ve pushed Middle East out of Chin-, out of the U.S. already, they’re going to China. China’s now going out in the world to invest and we’re starting to push them away. This isn’t, this isn’t, uh, this isn’t the Philistines of the business community against the honorable people of the Ph.D. world. [
:26] This is commercial reality versus theory. JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] Uh, f-, a couple more questions, the lady up here, on the right hand side, middle of, down the, down here. And there’s a gentleman, uh, mauve shirt in the middle. FEMALE QUESTIONER Hi, my name is Jolie Hunt [PH]. This is for James McGregor. Speaking of commercial realities, I’m very surprised that censorship hasn’t come up, uh, especially as we’re against this motion. And it doesn’t seem like we’re, we’re comparing apples to apples here, it’s more like bullets to grenades. And if we have to act like responsible citizens, how can we not, uh, pay attention when China doesn’t. So, so the question comes to censorship and the notion that, uh, companies like Google and Yahoo, uh, have to, uh, make restrictions in news and information there and, and how can we compete with them in, in saying that America can take it? It seems to be rather naïve. PANELIST You’re not allowed to answer that. JAMES HARDING [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Thank you. Hmm? PANELIST [OVERLAPPING VOICES] You’re not allowed to answer that. JAMES HARDING [LAUGHS] [UNCLEAR]…and this uh, gentleman here? MALE QUESTIONER Um, hi. My name is John Silverman. Can you hear me? JAMES HARDING Yeah. JOHN SILVERMAN This is for any one of the gentlemen against the motion. Here’s my question. China’s ability to bring, uh, produce goods for far less than America has cost untold numbers of our citizens to lose their job. Doesn’t that mean that the China boom has already caused trouble for America? JAMES HARDING
Thank you very much. Um, who’d like to start with that question, Jim McGregor do you want to talk about the outsourcing problem? JAMES MCGREGOR
Uh, no, I’ll talk about censorship, because that’s [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER], I’m, I’m in the media. JAMES HARDING
OK, OK, you’re gonna, Do-, Dan, OK, let’s start, uh, Daniel Rosen with outsourcing. And we’re gonna have to keep it relatively short, I’m afraid. DANIEL ROSEN
Right, uh, the um, automobile industry was a terrible, terrible threat to the horse and buggy industry here in New York City. In fact, there’s practically, we’re down to about a hundred people in horse and buggy now, and they’re all in Central Park. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER]
Uh, the U.S., unlike, uh, almost every other, uh, great power that we’ve seen, has shown itself entirely open to change, to adjustment. Instead of trying to defend, uh, an increasingly uncompetitive status quo, we’ve found ways to innovate, the adjust, to continue to be competitive, despite the changes that necessarily take place in the world around us today.
Trouble is a given, change is a given. It’s unfortunate, it’s different for people that are faced with the immediate consequences of it, but there is really very little alternative to it.
Finally, we have a four and a half percent unemployment rate in this country. How much lower do we really want it to go? JAMES HARDING Thank you. BILL GERTZ
On the commercial realities part, I’d like to get in a word there, uh… JAMES HARDING Sorry, Bill Gertz, yes. BILL GERTZ
Yeah, uh, the issue of uh, China’s proliferation activities hasn’t been raised, but China, uh, as, uh, many of us know, gave nuclear technology to Pakistan in the, uh, ‘80’s and ‘90’s. That nuclear technology ended up going to Libya, and uh, Iran and North Korea.
And uh, they even found Chinese language nuclear warhead design documents when they dismantled Libya’s nuclear program. Uh, Chinese companies since 2001 have been sanctioned more than eighty times.
And uh, they’re doing this as part of a policy that’s usually denied by the central government, but in reality, uh, uh, China is helping these rogue states with its, uh, with weapons technology, both missiles and weapons of mass destruction. JAMES HARDING Thank you very much, Bill Gertz. And finally onto censorship. JAMES MCGREGOR
I, I, well I’m against that too, thank you. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] Um, on censorship, the quick answer is the internet has changed China, and, and China is fighting a losing battle every day with information. You wouldn’t believe what is on the blogs.
Um, Google handled it okay, Yahoo handled it terribly. What Google did is they had to be in that market, I’m glad they’re in that market because they’re pushing the envelope on, on freedom of information. And what they did is they labeled their searches that they’re censored, which drove the Chinese government crazy.
Yahoo, on the other hand, caved right in, gave them names of people that were using Yahoo email accounts. Um, we have to be there, we have to be pushing for freedom on information, and it’s happening, let the Chinese people do it. JAMES HARDING
Jim McGregor, thank you very much. Um, I know that many more of you have questions. I’m afraid, uh, we’re not gonna have time for them, but please feel free to maul our panelists after the debate. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] Um, the uh, we now, the final um, stage of this is that uh, each of the panelists gets two minutes, uh, to sum up. And we start with, Stape Roy. PANELIST Start with… PANELIST 2 Yeah. PANELIST Start with Jim McGregor. PANELIST 2 No, we’re starting with Jim. JAMES HARDING
Yeah, oh, I, I don’t really know what there is to add to this, other than we really haven’t been talking about the Chinese people at all. Why don’t we give them a chance? The Chinese people are, are moving ahead very quickly. They are not idiots, they’re very smart. They’re pushing their government every day. We’re trying to tell them you must be Democrats tomorrow. The last time they took an, a government system from the west, it was Communism.
They don’t want another one of those. Um, give them the time to find their own way. You talk about, uh, the string of pearls, uh, strategy. The string of pearls strategy I see every day in the markets when people are bargaining for pearls.
Uh, they don’t want to come and attack America, they want to come here and go to Vegas, they want to go to Colorado skiing, they wanna shop on Rodeo Drive. The Chinese are joining the world. This is not a, a country, uh, run by monsters who want to take over the United States. They just want to be somebody in the world, and if, if we handle them with some, uh, some skill and some, uh, some sympathy.
But also tough where they are violating international rules like proliferation and intellectual property rights, the U.S. and China can have a very good relationship. I would just like to, uh, say please, um, do not tell uh, uh, Secretary Gates that um, that Mr. Pillsbury who works at the Department of Defense has asked you to vote against America tonight.
[BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] America can, America can handle China. MICHAEL PILLSBURY
Thank you, thank you. JAMES HARDING Thank you very much, Jim McGregor. Now John Mearsheimer, for the motion. JOHN MEARSHEIMER Ambassador Roy made the point that Chinese leaders today don’t think about dominating Asia. And I think he’s correct. They don’t. And the reason that they don’t is because they do not have the wherewithal or anything near the wherewithal to think about dominating Ch-, uh, dominating Asia.
The question you have to ask yourself is how are the Chinese likely to think when they look something like the United States today, when they really are very, very powerful? To give you an analogy, it’s like having money.
Uh, I’ve gotten wealthier over time, which is not to say I’ve gotten wealthy. But I’ve gotten wealthier over time, I’ve accumulated more money. And I think about spending that money and doing things with that money in very different ways now that I have it than I did when I didn’t have two nickels to rub together.
And the point that I would make to you about China is that there’s gonna come a point, uh, in the story that we’re telling up here, where China is extremely powerful. And I think then, it will begin to think about subjects like Taiwan very differently.
Of course the Chinese don’t want to pick a fight with the United States now over Taiwan, they know what would happen, they would get clobbered. The question you have to ask yourself is in a world where China has a huge Navy, a much bigger and more efficient Army, more missiles, right, and the United States is at a significant disadvantage in East Asia, which is a great distance away from this country,
how do you think China will then think about Taiwan and the possibility of using threats? I’d bet a lot of money that they’ll think very differently and it won’t be to our advantage. JAMES HARDING
John Mearsheimer, thank you very much. Now against the motion, Daniel Rosen. DANIEL ROSEN So much has been said, two quick concluding points. Firstly, are we confident that our institutions, our way of going about growing an economy, spending our lives is profoundly superior, better to the way China is organized? To the problems of China we’ve discussed this evening?
I’m confident. And thus I’m confident that for China to match us in terms of wealth creation, prosperity over time, they’ll necessarily have to move in the direction of our institutions, our way of behaving in the world.
I have no doubt about that. Secondly, the problems that are existential in nature, really threaten our welfare today, are no longer realist in nature. Maybe unfortunately. The greatest force projection on planet Earth could not stop 9/11 from taking place in this city, could it? The challenges of global environmental change, climate chance, cannot be addressed in any way whatsoever with for-, force projection. We are in trouble already. Is there trouble down the road?
There’s trouble here today. The question is what evolution of China best serves our interest in addressing those troubles and minimizing the trouble our children will have to deal with, we’ll have to deal with for the rest of our careers. It seems abundantly clear to me that a China stronger, more prosperous, further down the road to Democracy as well, uh, is what we want to see as we turn to address all these problems which can no longer be dealt with just by the U.S. Navy. Thanks. JAMES HARDING
Daniel Rosen, thank you very much. Now for the motion, Michael Pillsbury. MICHAEL PILLSBURY Thank you. Uh, I forgot to quote from Nancy Pelosi a little bit earlier, uh, because you keep referring to us as the right, I thought perhaps you should hear a couple of sentences from the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She was attacking President Bush last April during the visit of Hu Jintao.
She said that she opposed the celebratory nature of the official visit. She said our own debt, uh, with China is growing so fast, they’ll soon be making our foreign policy. She said trickle-down liberty is not going to work, it’s an illusion. She said that we should avoid wishful thinking about China ever being a, becoming a responsible stakeholder. She said our trade relationship with China has been a disaster, despite more than a decade of concessions, the trade deficit with China has grown from four billion a year to more than four billion a week.
China continues to manipulate its currency, making its exports cheaper and U.S. imports more expensive than they would be in a free market condition. If President Bush kowtows to Beijing in ways that threaten our long-standing commitment to Taiwan,
members of both parties in Congress will be watching. She concluded by saying the American people wanted the administration to show resolve in standing up to Beijing. So all of you supporters in the audience of George Bush, be sure to vote for the other team. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] PANELIST You’re gonna vote with us then, right? MICHAEL PILLSBURY Because here is Nancy Pelosi, rather articulately saying “Beware the Dragon: The boom in China spells trouble for America.” [APPLAUSE] JAMES HARDING
An extraordinary Intelligence Squared moment there, Michael Pelosi, Michael, I was gonna say Michael Pelosi, Michael Pillsbury channeling his inner Nancy Pelosi, thank you very much. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER]
Stapleton Roy now going to channel, I don’t know who, I think Stapleton Roy finishing up against the motion. STAPLETON ROY
Let’s look at the process. China was outside the system, thirty years ago. It favored polar variation. We have had trouble with China every stage of the process, but it’s been moving toward becoming a more responsible part of the international community. It signed a nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1992. It signed a comprehensive test ban treaty two years later. It now cooperates with the missile technology control regime. We’ve sanctioned them in various way at every stage of this process, China has improved.
But it has been troublesome. So it’s not easy to deal with China. But look at the trend. Look at Asia. Asia is the one country in the, uh, the one region of the world where every authoritarian system that has gone through thirty to forty years of rapid economic development, has stayed open to the outside world, has been embedded in the global economic system, and it’s had friendly relations with the United States,
has moved from authoritarian systems of government to representative forms of government, no exceptions. South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia. China’s only partway along that. It’s a strategic gamble.
If China doesn’t become wealthier, it’s not going to become democratic. But if China becomes wealthier, it becomes more powerful. That’s a challenge for our diplomacy. Are we up to it? You bet we are. We’re good at it. When we give ourselves a chance. We know how to use the right balance of power and influence, and if we get it right, China can we a more prosperous, friendly country to the United States. It’s not going to run roughshod in its own neighborhood because it’ll be slapped down by not just the United States.
We don’t have to deal with China alone. If we have good relations with Japan, with Russia, with India, and with the other countries of East Asia, China is not going to have the opportunity. That’ s our challenge. It’s a good challenge.
I say neither beware nor embrace the dragon. Be realistic and advance our own interests intelligently… JAMES HARDING Stapleton Roy, your time. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]. PANELIST Bravo, bravo, [LAUGHS]. JAMES HARDING And finally, for the motion, Bill Gertz. BILL GERTZ
Yes, thank, I, I wanna thank the Intelligence Squared for this debate. I think it’s a very important, uh, debate. And the debate we’re having tonight I think is reflective of a debate that’s currently going on at the highest levels of the U.S. government.
And that debate can be characterized, uh, on the one side you have Condoleezza Rice going to Beijing shortly before she became Secretary of State and said, “We want a strong China.”
On the other side of the debate are people in the national security community, the Pentagon, who said, “Wait a minute. There are so many unknowns about China. We don’t know what takes place. We don’t know.” When we have all of these military exchanges that Mike Pillsbury talks about, one of the first questions is, “What is the extent of the military buildup of China?” The Chinese will not answer.
When you combine that with China’s use of deception, that is, deliberate strategic misinformation to misguide us. We know very little about it. Therefore it is, it is dangerous in my view that we should, uh, want to see a strong China, and that, uh, really we have to keep our powder dry until we can find out what goes on in the inner councils of, of the Chinese system.
Uh, and for that reason, I, I urge you to vote uh, for the motion tonight. JAMES HARDING
Bill Gertz, thank you very much. Well, that uh, brings to and end, the um, the talking, and now for the action. We return to these uh, crazy contraptions, your um, your voting pads. Please uh, pick them up again, and let’s see if I can get it right this time. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER]
Could you, in, in voting, press “one” if you’re for the motion, “two” if you’re against the motion, and “three” if you’re still undecided. So could you cast your vote now? [LAUGHS] Michael Pillsbury has just told me that it’s like American Idol, um… [LAUGHS] [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER]
I’m not sure on that basis, uh, who will win. [LAUGHS] PANELIST …they’ll kick us all off. JAMES HARDING
Exactly. Um, now before um, before I tell you the results of the vote, I just want to take care of couple of things. Firstly, I’d like to thank our panel of debaters, Stapleton Roy, Daniel Rosen, uh, Jim McGregor, Michael Pillsbury, John Mearsheimer, and Bill Gertz, thank you very much indeed. [APPLAUSE].
I also would like to thank you, the audience, for your, uh, thoughtful engagement, uh, here this evening. Don’t need to give yourself another round of applause [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER], that was more than good enough.
Um, but then of course I’d really like to thank, uh, Intelligence Squared, which was brought this, uh, the eighth, uh, and final debate of this season, um, uh, here to the U.S. Uh, it’s been an extraordinary success and brought really substantive and complicated issues to be, to be debated and be discussed, uh, in, in what I hope you’ll agree is a very en-, engaging and thought provoking way.
Um, you will of course be hungering for the next debate, and uh, it is “Spreading democracy in the Middle East is a bad idea.” [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER] Uh, it, that will be held, on uh, Tuesday, September the 18th. “Spreading democracy in the Middle East is a bad idea.” Um, before you maul our panelists, you may want to uh, rush out and uh, get tickets for the full season. And while I’m doing the plugs, let me tell you that if you want to go and listen to this whole thing all over again, you certainly should do on WNYC, uh, AM820 on Friday, May the 25th, at uh, seven in the evening. And we’re very uh, uh, much appreciate, uh, the support from them. And, and again, there are copies of books by Bill Gertz and Jim McGregor, you know, which are for sale upstairs. Uh, and there are also DVDs of previous debates available from Intelligence Squared. Uh, while I’m about it, I should tell you there are copies of The Times of London newspaper upstairs, so pick one of those up, they, they have the, uh, glorious advantage of being free this evening for you. [BACKGROUND LAUGHTER]
Uh, now, finally, let’s get to business. What are the results of the debate? Now, let me remind you where you stood before the debate. Forty-one percent were for the motion, and just so I do this properly, “Beware the Dragon: A booming China,” sorry, “Beware the Dragon: A booming China spells trouble for America.” Before the debate, forty-one percent for the motion, thirty-seven percent against the motion, twenty-one percent undecided. After the debate, 35 percent for the motion, 58.6 percent against the motion [APPLAUSE], 6.1 percent undecided. The team against the motion wins. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very much indeed. END OF DEBATE
Bill Gertz -
Defense and National Security Reporter for the Washington Times and the Author of several books
Bill has written many books, including Enemies: How America s Foes Steal Our Vital Secretsand... read bio
John J. Mearsheimer -
American Political Scientist & Professor, University of Chicago
John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison distinguished service professor of political scien... read bio
Michael Pillsbury -
Senior Fellow & Director for Chinese Strategy, Hudson Institute
Michael Pillsbury is a distinguished defense policy adviser, former high-ranking government official... read bio
Against The Motion
James McGregor -
Key Advisor to both the U.S. and Chinese Governments
A Mandarin speaker, James was the Wall Street Journal's China bureau chief following the 1989 Tia... read bio
Daniel H. Rosen -
The principal of China Strategic Advisory
China Strategic Advisory is a specialized practice helping decision-makers in the public and priv... read bio
J. Stapleton Roy -
Roy was promoted in 1996 to the rank of career ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign S... read bio
China’s rapidly developing military technology, including anti-missile defense systems, may compromise American security and interests.
A growing China will seek dominance in Asia, diminishing America’s influence in the region.
Popular culture in China is largely nationalistic and anti-American, and that sentiment will likely spread as the country gains economic and political capital in international relations.
China’s economic boom benefits everyone, including the U.S., as China grows as a trade partner and global consumer.
As China becomes more prominent and culturally exposed, its growing middle class will likely call for substantial government and social overhaul.
China does not have the political or economic infrastructure to deal with its unprecedented economic growth, and will likely face domestic upheaval that will stifle its ability to engage on the world stage.
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