Some American scholars and observers are growing more worried about the “U.S. being driven out of Asia.” Their reason for such an assessment is that China is exerting more influence in economic policy, trade, investment, and security in Asia and that it is working more closely with certain U.S. allies in Asia for its own benefit.
These pundits are making entirely incorrect judgmentsbecause of their lack of knowledge of Chinese culture. In particular, they must have missed the statements made by Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 21, 2014, at the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). President Xi said, “In the final analysis, things in Asia are done by relying on the Asian people, problems in Asia are resolved by relying on the Asian people, and security in Asia is safeguarded by relying on the Asian people.”
Without understanding the essence of President Xi’s statements and the traditional Chinese philosophical tradition, they jumped to the conclusion that China intends to exclude the U.S. in Asian affairs or simply attempt, in the long run, to gradually drive the U.S. out of Asia.
Actually, by applying the theory of materialist dialectics to the analysis of the situation and diplomacy of the world, and of Asia in particular, President Xi is expounding his views on the fundamental cause of developments and changes in Asia. Internal causes in Asia are fundamental, and also the basis of changes and developments in Asia, while external causes, such as interrelations and interactions with the other parts of the world, such the U.S., Europe or Russia，are secondary, and they become operative through internal causes in Asia. In Asia’s relations with other parts of the world, there is simply no such a question as exclusion of the U.S., or other countries and regions. In the philosophical Chinese perspective, the U.S., Europe, Russia or any other parts of the world cannot do things, or resolved problems, or safeguard security in Asia on behalf of the Asian people, for their interrelations and interactions with Asia are secondary in terms of causes of changes and developments in Asia.
U.S. scholars and observers will certainly find no problems when people say that in the final analysis, things in the U.S. are done by relying on the American people and problems in the U.S. are resolved by relying on the American people. In fact, the principle applied to the analysis of changes and developments in the U.S. is the same as that applied to the analysis of changes and developments in Asia. Why do U.S. scholars and observers have two entirely different perceptions of the application of the same principle? Their deep-rooted concept of the U.S. relations with the other parts of the world is an important reason, in addition to their lack of knowledge of the prevailing philosophical theories in China.
As the U.S. has been the only superpower in the world for the last several decades, quite a number of U.S. political leaders and scholars have held the notion that the U.S. has been playing a “leadership” role in the world and is of course “leading” Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world. Therefore, they generally cannot understand why the U.S. role in Asia, Europe, or other parts of the world is defined as “external cause of changes and developments” in Asia, Europe, or other parts of the world, and why its role becomes operative through internal causes there. It is a real example in our daily life that such a cultural gap in people’s concept and knowledge could lead to misjudgment of each other’s strategic intentions. When such misjudgment is exaggerated through repeated media reports, it could harm mutual political trust, or even in certain cases, disrupt the normal decision-making process, causing artificial troubles for the relationship between the U.S., and other parts of the world.
China and the U.S. are working hard together to establish a new type of major power relations, and have made visible progress in recent years. To continue the process of positive interactions between China and the U.S. in world affairs, and especially in Asia, the two countries will find it important, even imperative to further deepen mutual understanding in areas of culture and social science. It is a simple fact that the U.S. has long been playing a role in Asia, and that China welcomes and encourages the U.S. to continue its constructive role in Asia, both at strategic level and in specific multilateral programs, such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, Silk Road Fund and others.
But the difficult problem is that such simple facts could be denied or misunderstood through lack of knowledge of the cultural or social traditions of the other country. How to understand the differences in culture and social science between China and the U.S., and how to make further efforts to narrow those differences so as to avoid any possible misjudgment of the other side should be urgently brought to the attention of the academic circles and government departments concerned of the two countries.