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China Daily Global / 2021-05 / 21 / Page011

Sputnik moment figment of imagination

China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-21 00:00

After the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite Sputnik-1 on Oct 4, 1957, shocking many in the United States who assumed that it would be the first nation to achieve that historic feat, the US passed its National Defense Education Act on Sept 2, 1958, to try to do all it could to catch up.

On Monday, two days after China's Tianwen 1 spaceship carrying a rover successfully landed on Mars, the US Senate voted 86-11 to move forward on the Endless Frontier Act to increase the country's input in technology, industry and security to counter what Washington views as a technological challenge from China.

Introduced by the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Todd Young, two hawks in the anti-China vanguard, the act is likely to pass the Senate by June.

Serving to bridge the partisan divide in the Senate, the bipartisan legislation shows how domestic politics in the US is being hijacked by a handful of China hawks, and then being used by them to manipulate the country's China policy, irrespective of the harm that will do to the already soured Sino-US relations.

By prompting more US people to wrongly see the country's major partner in economy, trade and global affairs as its greatest threat, the escalation of tensions with China will then set the stage for more antics by the China-bashers.

That's how a vicious circle is being formed pushing the most important bilateral ties in the world from bad to worse.

In saying that "We can either have a world where the Chinese Communist Party determines the rules of the road for 5G, artificial intelligence and quantum computing-or we can make sure the United States gets there first," Schumer has exposed his true colors as a peddler of a red menace. He clearly feels no qualms about promoting another confrontational Sputnik moment, irrespective of how times have changed over the past more than six decades, and the extent to which the US' relations with China are different from those it had with the Soviet Union.

An important reason why the Endless Frontier Act deserves attention, and has sparked opposition in the US society and market, is that the practices it will introduce, as its name indicates, will by no means be based on normal market rules or be restricted to normal practices, as it will serve to provide the China hawks with a solid legal basis to carry forward the previous US administration's strategy aimed at decoupling the US from China.

That vote in favor of the act signals the handful of China-bashers after several months' respite are claiming the stage again in Washington. If they are not checked, the already fraught economic, trade and business relations between the world's two largest economies will continue to deteriorate.

It will not only be the two countries, but also the rest of the world that will pay for their foolishness.


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