EIR Keynotes China Conference on Sino-American Relations under Trump

EIR Washington Correspondent Bill Jones was invited to give one of the keynote speeches at a conference on May 18-20 at Hangzhou’s Zhejiang University. The conference consisted of about 40 Chinese scholars from mainland China, from Taiwan and from Hong Kong, who deal with various aspects of “Grand Strategy.” The foreign speakers, including Jones, who were on the keynote panel, also included a senior fellow from the Royal Institute of International Affairs and John Glaser, the director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. While the other two speakers gave lackluster but unobjectionable speeches describing the various “schools” of thought within the Western think-tanks on U.S. policy, Jones gave a historic overview of U.S. policy toward China since the first ship, financed by Robert Morris, was sent to China in 1784, outlining the various China policies under Lincoln, Grant, FDR and John F. Kennedy, who, in addition to announcing the peace policy with the Soviet Union in his American University speech, intended to establish relations with China during his second administration.

Jones then pointed to the more recent role of Lyndon LaRouche in developing a similar peace policy with President Ronald Reagan in his proposal for the SDI and the role of LaRouche and his wife, Helga, in developing the Eurasian Land-Bridge proposal, the seminal element in the BRI. Jones then briefly discussed the countervailing tendency of British infiltration into the U.S. institutions through Wall Street and “Rhodes scholarship-like” programs since the beginning of the 20th century, in their attempt to establish a “special relationship,” politically and and ideologically with Great Britain. He noted how Trump was attempting to break that relationship and establish a relationship of “major powers,” in the face of the British-led revolt of the Anglo-American faction in the U.S. against any change.

The reaction from the scholars to Jones’s speech was not immediate since the presentation was somewhat “off script” of the usual discussions on “grand strategy” and caught people by surprise. The skepticism about the Trump Administration policy toward China was quite strong. During the course of the next two days, Jones continued to intervene in much of the Q&A after the various speeches by the Chinese scholars, which were often characterized by a firm belief that the U.S. was solely motivated by a fight for “hegemony.” At one point, Jones criticized the folly of trying to weed out some “grand strategy” from the Trump Administration because of the tremendous infighting now going on, and called for more of a focus on that internal struggle, the outcome of which would determine U.S. policy. Interestingly enough, he was backed up by one woman, a scholar who had served in the PLA, who also indicated that talking about the U.S. “grand strategy” was really missing the point, because so much was in flux in the relationship, and perhaps caused more confusion than clarity.

Other scholars came up during the course of the next two days and asked where he had gotten the Roosevelt-Churchill exchange on “18th-century methods.” The Cato fellow also said that he had learned a lot from Jones’s presentation. When Jones went up to the RIIA representative, a Mandarin speaker working out of Hong Kong, and expressed his hope that he had not taken too hard Jones’s attacks against the British, he said, “Oh, no. We have done some terrible things in our time. And there are still people who hold fast to these ideas today.”

During the course of his time in Hangzhou, Jones also gave a short version of his presentation to some 200 students at the Zhejiang Police University, where he was staying for a time. It was also quite interesting to note how much some of this history, the Burlingame story, the Grant-Li Hongzhang relationship, is often better known in China than in the U.S. Mark Twain, who was close to Burlingame and to Grant, is also well-known for his positive attitude to China and the Chinese people.


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