From today’s South China Morning Post:
Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs has said diplomacy is needed between the US and China to prevent “utter disaster” as he defended his controversial criticism of Washington’s targeting of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies.
The Columbia University professor faced a firestorm of criticism on social media after he accused the US of hypocrisy for its targeting of Huawei senior executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by the Canadian authorities last month at the behest of the US.
“The US attacks on Huawei, in my view, are not about Huawei’s actions but about technological competition,” Sachs said on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we should take claims against Huawei by the US at face value.”
“We need diplomacy to stop an IT arms race,” he said. “Right now we are on the path to disastrous cyberwarfare.
“This is reckless and should not be left to the hardliners on both sides. We need global rules, globally supervised, just as in the areas of other armaments.”
He added that the US targeting of Chinese firms should be seen against the background of the Trump administration’s attempt to assert American “exceptionalism” and to fight the perceived challenge of China and Russia to US power.
“It is a very dangerous and utterly false idea that China is ‘attempting to erode American security and prosperity,’” he said, referring to the US national security doctrine issued by the White House a year ago.
Sachs warned that conflicts like the continuing trade war and the targeting of Chinese IT firms “recall an early era of great power confrontation that eventually led to utter disaster”.
“China is not America’s enemy, unless such zero-sum thinking by the [US government] drives China in that direction … China is not a malevolent actor to be ‘contained’ by the US.
“China is a great and rightly proud civilisation that aims for the prosperity of its people. China and the US have every reason to cooperate. It would be insane and utterly self-destructive to do otherwise,” he said.