South Asia and Beyond

Confront, Constrain, Cooperate Or Combine All Three?: Harvard Professor Tony Saich On U.S. China Report

NEW DELHI: The U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission (USCC), a bipartisan body created by the American Congress has submitted its 2020 Annual Report and policy recommendations. In Chapter 3, the report says, “Some evidence suggested the Chinese government had planned the (Galwan) incident, potentially including the possibility for fatalities.” Under key findings in the same chapter, the report notes, “Shortly after China’s defense minister urged Beijing to use military force to stabilise its periphery, a violent clash on the China-India border in June led to the first loss of life between the two countries since 1975.” Professor Anthony Saich, who testified to the USCC speaks to StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi in this interview. The Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School says, “historically, most border clashes were actually instigated by the Chinese, despite what they may have said at the time that it was a defensive action.”

“President-elect Biden will be somewhat hemmed in by policies of the Trump administration,” the Daewoo Professor of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School assesses,” because he’s not going to want to back away.” Biden will “seek the support of allies, those aggrieved or affronted by China’s actions to put more joint pressure,” the faculty chair of the China Programmes says, adding, “that’s one of the things China likes least-the sense it’s being ganged up on.”

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Professor Saich also discusses the report’s 19 recommendations and the difficulty in implementing them, decoupling, the Chinese Communist Party’s weak spots, problems with its growth model and mounting debt, Xi Jinping cementing his position and the Thucydides trap debate.

Amitabh P. Revi

Russian language speaker and conflict journalist. Amitabh Revi has been there, done that—from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to sublime Russia, Australia and the United States. Along the way he's picked up the Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship, the Ramnath Goenka award for coverage of the Iraq War and RT's Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria.