China, United States, Kevin Riders discussed on Between The Lines
Student of China since he was 18 years old as an a and new undergraduate, Kevin riders lived for a number of years in the U.S. where he's the chief executive of the Asia society in New York. His new book is called the avoidable war. The dangers of a catastrophic conflict between the U.S. and Xi Jinping's China. That's published by has shed Australia. Kevin Rudd, welcome back to the program. Good to be with you, Tom. Now you say China is retreating from wolf warrior diplomacy, yet it's still advances its strategy for dominance. Tell us more. Well, what's the difference classically in the Chinese understanding? Between tactics and strategy, China's strategic ambition, which is to become the dominant power in East Asia and the west Pacific and to become the dominant global strategic and economic power. Remains in place. But I think there is an analysis in Beijing, the tactically, the flurry of wolf warrior diplomacy, and episodic thuggery, which accompanied it, has not necessarily in the tradition of Dale Carnegie being the best things for winning friends and influencing people. In fact, it's gone in the reverse direction. So I noticed the wolf warriors in recent times have been rained back in again. It doesn't mean that operationally Chinese diplomacy or foreign policy or national security policy is going to be on the defensive. But simply that the public tonality of it for the period ahead may well change and soften. Does all this mean then that Australia and the west have been incredibly naive in engaging with China during the last three decades. Now, before you answer that, let's hear from your old sparring partner on this program, Kevin. This is professor John Misha from the University of Chicago on the folly of western engagement in the post Cold War era. What engagement says is that if we can integrate China into the international economy that the United States helped create during the Cold War. We can integrate it into that economy, integrate it into institutions like the World Trade Organization. It will be calm, a very powerful country, but it will become a peaceful country and a so called responsible stakeholder in the international system. Now, for a realist like me, this was a crazy policy. This was remarkably foolish because what you were going to do in my story was you were going to create a very powerful China that was then going to try to dominate Asia, push the United States out of Asia and develop power projection capability that could be used outside of Asia to change America's dominant position in the world, engagement was a major mistake. As professor John me Sharma on between the lines last December, Kevin Rudd, you've been a strong advocate of China engagement, but in more recent times you've described yourself as either a brutal realist or a hopeful realist, do you now recognize that we in the west, as John may sharman just put it, we've just been feeding the beast. Well, miss schemers analysis is firstly a historic and B deceptive. Let me go to those points in sequence. A historic in the sense that engagement has been pursued by the United States with multiple countries in the past, not least of which has been post war Japan and post war Germany. They were invited to join the table of the liberal international order. They became powerful, but they chose to remain within the order. Now, a similar approach was adopted, of course, a generation after that, or two generations after that, in terms of post 78, U.S. engagement with China and particularly post 2002 engagement with China when China was admitted to the World Trade Organization. And the results, of course, as we see with China's carrot assertiveness and determination to establish an alternative to the real international order, has not been successful. But the second point is this, this is where he's been misrepresenting what the United States, I believe, was doing over that period of time. The argument often used by those on the far right, of which I associate with which I associate mere shime is this. Is that the United States under successive American presidents from bush through back through Clinton or from bush one through Clinton through bush two and then Obama, et cetera. Had been engaged in engagement unqualified until we had the Moses on Mount Sinai moment of Trump and national security adviser for the Trump administration, HR McMaster, producing the new national security strategy of late 2017. It's an inconvenient truth that engagement was never unqualified. It was engagement plus hedge and remember hedge equaled contained to have the military capability to act in the eventuality that engagement failed. That's within that framework. That's why, for example, Obama administration engaged in the pivot to Asia militarily and embrace the trans Pacific partnership in order to hedge against any emergence of Chinese assertiveness and or regression. So that's been conveniently left off the mere charming recollection of history. I'd have to say having known me and Sharma will for 20 years, he's not on the far right. He's a pretty mainstream intellectual. He's just a hardcore realist when it comes to foreign policy, but leaving that aside. How many of these have you seen on the far left recently? Well, I think he's in the middle, but nevertheless, well heavily bull was a realist. As you know, heavily bull from a new, one of the great Australian realists and he was a man of the left, but leaving that Assad, you acknowledge that China wishes to become the dominant economy in the political system in the strategic power, not just in the Asia Pacific, but globally over time. That's what you're saying in your book, but this process, let me submit this to you. Let's not just take in a few years. That's been happening over decades, hasn't it, so I'll ask again, why are you and so many former western leaders so late in recognizing the China threat? I think the other thing I would add to what you just said before is that headley ball was also the father of the English school of international relations, which was not the American school of realism. The English school of international relations had two traditions within it. One a realist analysis of the balance of power, but secondly, the construction of a system of international institutions, which could militate against the possibility of rolling crisis conflict and war. So therefore, I respond to your last point because I think it needs to be corrected. In terms of your general assertion that there has been a level of strategic naivety about engage and hedge, which is the accurate description of U.S. strategy over a long period of time and that of its allies. You may recall that back in 2009, as prime minister of Australia, I presided over a defense white paper which was produced which said, we need to be vigilant about the emergence of a more assertive China militarily in our region. It formed the strategic basis for the Australian defense white paper of 2009, which commissioned two things, a doubling of the submarine fleet, and an increase in the surface fleet by a third, our Chinese friends went nuts when we produced that, because they thought it was far too overt and direct in describing what China operationally had already begun to do during the second term of the Hu Jintao administration. So that's my response.