How would BH Liddel Hart put it? The other side of the PACRIM Pivot maybe?
When it comes to the "Most Important Relationship in the World" distrust betwixt Collectivist China and Great Satan"s long term intentions ("strategic distrust") has grown to dangerous degrees bay bee!!
Beijing realizes that China-U.S. cooperation must be based on mutual strategic trust. Meanwhile, in Beijing’s view, it is U.S. policies, attitude, and misperceptions that cause the lack of mutual trust between the two countries.
Chinese strategic distrust of the United States is deeply rooted in history. Four sentiments reflecting recent structural changes in the international system contribute to this distrust:
The feeling in China that since 2008 the PRC has ascended to be a first-class global power;
The assessment that the United States, despite ongoing great strength, is heading for decline;
Emerging powers like India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa are increasingly challenging Western dominance and are working more with each other and with China in doing so;
The notion that China's development model of a strong political leadership that effectively manages social and economic affairs provides an alternative to Western democracy and market economies for other developing countries to learn from.
In combination, these views make many Chinese political elites suspect that it is the United States that is “on the wrong side of history.” Because they believe that the ultimate goal of the U.S. in view of these factors is to maintain its global hegemony, they conclude that America will seek to constrain or even upset China's rise.
Oh snap! Say it ain"t so! Only it is so!!
America's democracy promotion agenda is understood in China as designed to sabotage the Communist Party’s leadership. The leadership therefore actively promotes efforts to guard against the influence of American ideology and U.S. thinking about democracy, human rights, and related issues. This perceived American effort to divide and weaken China has been met by building increasingly powerful and sophisticated political and technological devices to safeguard domestic stability.
U.S. arms sales to Taiwan despite vastly improved cross-Strait relations—and close-in surveillance activities off China's coasts—contribute to Beijing's deepening distrust of U.S. strategic intentions in the national security arena. Washington’s recent rebalancing toward Asia further contributes to this sense of threat. American diplomatic positions spanning North Korea, Iran, and countries in Southeast Asia are discomfiting and increase Chinese suspicions of U.S. intentions.
China’s criticisms of, and resistance to, some of America’s international policies and actions toward the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere reflect the suspicion that they are based on injustice and narrow U.S. self-interest that will directly or indirectly affect China’s interests.Trust. Ein zwei weg strasse, nicht wahr?
Strategic distrust of China is not the current dominant view of national decision makers in the U.S. government, who believe it is feasible and desirable to develop a basically constructive long-term relationship with a rising China. But U.S. decision makers also see China’s future as very undetermined, and there are related worries and debates about the most effective approach to promote desired Chinese behavior.
Underlying concerns of American leaders are as follows:
Various sources indicate that the Chinese side thinks in terms of a long-term zero-sum game, and this requires that America prepare to defend its interests against potential Chinese efforts to undermine them as China grows stronger. PLA aspirations for dominance in the near seas (jinhai) potentially challenge American freedom of access and action in international waters where such freedom is deemed vital to meet American commitments to friends and allies. The context for this is that, as China’s strength in Asia grows, it is more important for America to maintain the credibility of its commitments to friends and allies in the region.
Economically, the United States worries that China’s mercantilist policies will harm the chances of American economic recovery. China-based cyber theft of American trade secrets and technology further sharpens these concerns.
China’s one-party governing system also induces distrust in various ways. Americans believe democratic political systems naturally understand each other better and that authoritarian political systems are inherently less stable and more prone to blaming others for their domestic discontent.
Authoritarian systems are also intrinsically less transparent, which makes it more difficult to judge their sincerity and intentions. What Americans view as human rights violations (especially violations of civil rights) make it more difficult for the U.S. to take actions targeted at building greater mutual trust.
While the U.S. welcomes a wealthier, more globally engaged China, it no longer regards China as a developing country that warrants special treatment concerning global rules. Washington also looks to Beijing to take on some of the responsibilities for international public goods that major powers should assume, and it worries when Beijing declines to do so.
American leaders are especially sensitive to Chinese actions that suggest the PRC may be assuming a more hegemonic approach to the region. Washington saw evidence of such actions in 2010-2012.
The U.S. military sees the PLA apparently prioritizing development of weapons systems particularly targeted at American platforms, and it worries about lack of transparency in China’s military plans and doctrines.
The scope and persistence of China-based cyber attacks against U.S. government, military, and private sector targets has alarmed American officials in charge of cyber efforts and raised very serious concerns about Chinese norms and intentions.
And U.S. intelligence officials see increased evidence of zero-sum thinking in Beijing regarding the U.S. and also increased Chinese espionage efforts in the United States.
Pic - "Zero Sum"