The China-bashing speech US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday bore the moldy smell of the Cold War playbook, and harkened back to the rhetoric of McCarthyism.
By claiming that "They (China) will determine whether our children and grandchildren inherit an open world of rules and rights — or whether they face emboldened autocrats who seek to dominate by force and fear," the top defense chief of the United States was speculating on manufacturing terror and anxiety.
Austin has made several trips to Asia in recent years where his painstaking attempts to peddle the China threat theory have repeatedly been met with cold shoulders.
But he presumably acquired some first-hand knowledge during his trips of the close economic and trade cooperation between China and other Asian countries, and how much countries in the region value regional stability and prosperity.
Austin is also one of the few senior US officials to have maintained regular contact with his Chinese counterpart and he should therefore be well aware of China's commitment to putting Sino-US relations back on the right track of healthy development. He should also be aware that it is the US that has been saying it doesn't seek to confront China even as it tries to encircle and contain it with its allies.
The US moves not only destabilize the region but also affect the global supply chains, which explains why few US allies are truly willing to be dragged into a new Cold War the US is trying to instigate.
Instead of making irresponsible remarks, the US defense chief should provide some insights on Sino-US relations to US society, if he really wants the two countries to focus on their common interests and properly manage their risks and divergences.