Intellectuals in the United States do have different but more rational voices when their president Donald Trump riles the international community with trade protectionism.
L. Rafael Reif, the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has recently expressed his opinions in The New York Times, saying that China's challenge is America's opportunity. Reif urges "farsighted national strategy" to address competition from China.
In an op-ed piece published in The New York Times, Reif enumerates China's technological success in the fields of quantum computing, 5G technology, bullet trains, mobile payment, and facial and speech recognition, describing China is a world leader in such technological fields.
"China is not an innovation also-ran that prospers mainly by copying other people's ideas and producing them quickly at low cost. The country is advancing aggressively to assert technological supremacy in critical fields of science and technology," Reif writes.
"It would be a mistake to think that an aggressive defense alone will somehow prevent China's technological success — or ensure America's own," he adds. Rather, the most important action the US can take to protect its global leadership role is to redouble its core strength in innovation, starting with ground-breaking federally funded research.
Reif elaborates tremendous assets that the US holds, including the immense global strength of American technology sector. He calls for changing focus, urging the US to build a farsighted national strategy.
"If all we do in response to China's ambition is to try to double-lock all our doors, I believe we will lock ourselves into mediocrity. But if we in the United States respect China as a rising competitor with many strengths we can learn from, that view will inspire America to be its incomparable best," Reif urges.