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Economic coercion as American as apple pie

China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-17 10:22

An American flag flies outside of the US Capitol dome in Washington, US, Jan 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

When it comes to "coercion" in international relations, the concept has been invented, and acted on, by the United States.

In 1971, Alexander George, a professor at Stanford University, first proposed the concept of "coercive diplomacy", which was used to summarize US policies towards Laos, Cuba and Vietnam. The core of this concept is that the US uses threats of force, political isolation, economic sanctions and a technological blockade to force other countries to make the changes it desires. Thus it can be seen that the "economic coercion" of the US is an integral part of its "coercive diplomacy".

China is now a major target of the US' "coercive diplomacy", particularly "economic coercion".

The US has already made it clear that it will take advantage of the upcoming G7 summit in Japan from Friday to Sunday to gang up with the other members of the group to form a united front against China. It expected that the G7 nations will roll out "unprecedented" multilateral investment restrictions on China covering almost all high-tech sectors.

In fact, a technological blockade is a common means of "economic coercion" by the US under the disguise of protecting its "national security".

In addition, unilateral sanctions are also a means of "economic coercion" of the US. Washington is good at concocting all kinds of excuses to do that. So far it has put more than 1,000 Chinese entities on its sanctions lists. And globally, the US had imposed about 9,400 unilateral economic sanctions on nearly 40 countries and regions by the end of 2021, affecting nearly half of the world's population and resulting in massive humanitarian disasters in many places.

Even the US' allies are not immune to its "economic coercion". Companies, such as Toshiba of Japan, Siemens of Germany and Alstom of France, have all been suppressed by the US without exception when they outcompete US companies in their respective fields. Since the 1980s, the US has repeatedly imposed economic sanctions on Japan, suppressing Japan's competitive industries such as semiconductors by any means, and even pushing for major structural surgery on the Japanese economy, which can be described as textbook "economic coercion".

The Inflation Reduction Act of the US, which authorizes the US government to provide unfair subsidies and tax credits to support locally produced clean energy products, distorts the market law and is another attempt of the US' "economic coercion" that harms the interests of the rest of the world, particularly the other G7 members, which are leaders in the green economy.

If the US wants the G7 group to talk about how to respond to "economic coercion", it must first explain its own track record in this regard.

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