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Cold War mentality burns for 60 Minutes: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-27 20:43

Despite his candidness, United States Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns' interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, which aired on Friday, offered little that was fresh.

Burns has made good use of the past two years since he came to China to cultivate a friendly and open image. But as the interview revealed, the veteran US diplomat, who has served both Republican and Democratic administrations, still harbors a Cold War mentality, a defining feature of the China hawks who inhabit Washington.

He echoed their typical scaremongering, claiming that China, which has repeatedly stressed otherwise, wants to overtake the United States as the dominant country globally. Ringing a fearful alarm, Burns told Lesley Stahl, a reporter of the CBS News program, "We don't want that to happen. We don't want to live in a world where the Chinese are the dominant country".

Burns arrived at that point after taking the initiative to hype up the Chinese mainland's higher rate of "air activity and naval activity" near the island of Taiwan since then House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to it in August 2022, which he decried as "intimidating, meant to intimidate".

As a senior and professional diplomat and a scholar in international relations during the Cold War, Burns should have a very clear understanding of the Taiwan question, and thus how provocative Pelosi's visit was, and how provocative it was meant to be. He will also be well aware that it is Washington that has been playing the Taiwan card to try and intimidate Beijing, in violation of the promises and the commitments that it has made.

Burns should also be reminded that many nations do not want to live in a world where the US remains dominant as a rogue country that defies the accepted rules of behavior at will, and engineers confrontations, conflicts and wars.

Like China, they want a multipolar world that is fairer, more peaceful and stable, and an international system that fosters common development and shared security.

If the US thinks that China represents a threat to the world, it is telling the world that maintaining an unfair system, starting wars and keeping the development gap are exactly what it wants.

By presenting a false picture that there is "a competition of ideas" between "America's big idea of a democratic society and human freedom" and China's ideas as a "communist state", Burns only showed how US minds remain mired in the Cold War era.

US ideas have benefited the world tremendously. But true democracy and freedom are open to the ideas of all. Diversity, inclusiveness, harmony and mutual learning are the practical ideas that China offers the world as a "communist state".

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