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Decoupling from China will be detrimental to US: Analyst

China's President Xi Jinping (left) and US President Donald Trump

Decoupling – the notion that the US should sever all relations with China – will be to the detriment of the United States and disrupt American industrial production, according to Patrick Lawrence, an American political analyst and foreign affairs journalist.

With tensions continuing to rise between the US and China, experts warn that the two rivals are potentially heading into a new “cold war” that could prove damaging to the global economy.

President Donald Trump has raised the possibility of a “complete decoupling” from China. Decoupling, the process of breaking the deeply intertwined economic links between the two countries, would represent a major change in US-China relations.

Inconsistent messaging from the White House, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s drive to limit Hong Kong’s autonomy, has led to frictions between the world’s two largest economies far beyond tariffs or targeted sanctions.

Lawrence, a writer and columnist in Norfolk, Connecticut, said he doesn’t think the United States is “in a new Cold War with China yet but I think we're headed in that direction.”

“A couple of things to say here. One, I think certain factions in Washington want one, notably Secretary of State Pompeo and those around him, but there's no, there's no unity in Washington as there was during the first Cold War with the Soviet Union,” he stated.  

“Second, there's no unity among the Western countries. The Europeans to their credit are not buying this idea that we must cultivate a hostile relationship with China as a strategic adversary. They value their relations with China economically, of course, and they're not really buying into the Trump administration's proposals,” Lawrence told Press TV in a phone interview on Tuesday. 

“So, those are good signs. Finally, I would say the Chinese are not interested in one. And I don't think they're making some of the mistakes the Soviet Union made. They're not fighting one. Ever since the modernization began in 1980, they wanted a constructive cooperative relationship with the United States in the Pacific,” he noted.

“And I think they're deeply disappointed, but they are not enthusiastically countering the United States with some great massive military buildup, or any of that. So that's to their credit,” he said.

“At the same time, my final point, the Chinese President Xi represents a new posture among the Chinese. We must not forget the psychological dimension of this situation. The Chinese are now past their century of humiliation as they call it and they are very attached to the notion of achieving parity with the West. I think other nations are too, including the Islamic Republic,” he said, referring to Iran.

“And this is important. So while they're not fighting a Cold War and don't want one, they are, they certainly can be expected to hold their ground against continuing American aggression,” he said.

“Decoupling was a fashionable term here in the United States some while back. I suppose we're counting in months, perhaps a year. The notion being that we would sever all relations with China indeed as part of this advance toward a Cold War situation with them, but the people putting this forward, they're ideologues with no real understanding of economics, of markets, of trade, of interdependence,” he observed.

“The interdependence of the Chinese and US economies and indeed, China's place in the world economy is very dense. It's a very dense weave let us say, right. I think the idea of decoupling, it’s a fancy term sounds very compelling. I don't see there's a lot of reality to it. I just don't see that it's going to go very far at all,” he said.  

“And we ought to note here how do we measure the move toward decoupling so far. Since it's been in the debate for a while, how do we measure the move toward decoupling so far, there has been none. There has been none. Right,” he said.

“I think however far the United States presses this notion will be to the detriment of the United States and the disruption of American industrial production and so on. And once more to note the Europeans don't even know the word. They're not at all talking about decoupling. I think it's an idea rooted in ideology and anti-Chinese emotion and so on. But I don't think it will go very far,” he concluded.

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