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Henry Paulson: I’m worried about a militarization of the U.S. view of China

The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

By Henry M. Paulson, Jr. (original source The Dallas Morning News)

We are strategic competitors with China, and we shouldn’t shy away from saying so. United States concerns about Chinese choices and behaviors are real. But I worry that there has been a militarization of the U.S. view of U.S.-China relations.

For 40 years, economic integration between the two countries was thought to be a force that would mitigate security competition. But now national security concerns are bleeding into virtually every aspect of the economic relationship, thus refracting nearly every other issue, from investment to scientific collaboration, through the prism of military thinking, defense requirements, and the zero-sum “win-loss” nature of military competition.

Battles are won and lost, as every general knows. But when people trade a good or service, they can both benefit. So the problem with this general militarization of approaches to U.S.-China relations is that nearly every area of the relationship will be viewed in the zero-sum, “win-loss” terms of the battlefield.”

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