Economic, social interdependence between U.S., China makes decoupling impossible: Joseph S. Nye

2021-11-04 13:28

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Given the economic and social interdependence between the United States and China, it is impossible for the two countries to decouple, an American political scientist has noted.

"While some voices in Washington talk about 'decoupling,' it would be foolish to think we can separate our economy completely from China without enormous costs," Joseph S. Nye, dean emeritus of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, wrote in a guest essay published Tuesday in The New York Times.

Nye criticized the Cold War thinking by some U.S. politicians as a "lazy and potentially dangerous" idea that is "bad on history, bad on politics, bad for our future."

Those politicians have locked their minds into a traditional two-dimensional chess model, where a country, without economic or social connections from another, can take on the latter largely through its military strength, Nye wrote.

However, the relationship between the United States and China is based on a three-dimensional premise, featuring "a distribution of power at each level -- military, economic and social -- not just one," he noted.

While the United States and China are "deeply interdependent" on the economic level, the social fabrics of the two countries are also "deeply intertwined," he wrote, adding that U.S. politicians should therefore "carefully plot" their moves.

An article published Monday in The Wall Street Journal also pointed out that the two biggest economies in the world depend much on each other.

Labor shortages, ravenous demand for goods and inflation in the United States juxtaposed with power outages, weak consumption and plummeting real estate activity in China will at least help "contain the vicious cycle of escalation that has poisoned the global investment environment and raised fears of more serious conflict over the past three years," the article said.

"Supply snarls and policy decisions in both countries are magnifying the imbalances and mutual dependencies that contributed to the emergence of 'Chimerica' to begin with," it added.
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