Xi has made China’s challenge to the West clearer but its economic prospects darker
American leaders once wanted China to be rich: “strong, peaceful and prosperous,” as President George W. Bush said in 2002; “strong, prosperous and successful,” as President Barack Obama said in 2009.
Times have changed. In the last 10 years, the U.S. has come to see China as a competitor rather than a partner, bent on displacing the U.S. as leader of the global economic and geostrategic order.
This has two somewhat unsettling implications. First, while the U.S. doesn’t want China to be poor, it is no longer as supportive of it becoming rich—since this would make it a more potent competitor.
So while the Biden administration says it isn’t trying to contain China, its sweeping new restrictions on Chinese access to semiconductors, equipment and talent have that intent. The restrictions go beyond simply maintaining a U.S. technology lead to “strangling large segments of the Chinese technology industry—strangling with an intent to kill,” wrote Gregory Allen of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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