Until the 1970s, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China represented the "bad guys" for the United States and its allies in the West. It was more or less the same thing in Moscow and Beijing. Wanting to tighten the noose around the Soviet Union, U.S. President Richard Nixon agreed with Mao in 1972. Afterwards, China was engaged in the global economic system. Manufacturing in the West, especially in the U.S., shifted to China. Within 40 years, China became the world's second-largest economy.
Different stories have been told at every stage of the US-China relationship. First, China was second on the 'bad guys' list. The next story was that China was not as bad as the Soviets. Reminiscent of American cowboy movies, China was removed from the "Wanted" posters. In the West, there was a revival in the publications aimed at understanding China. To give an example, in the 1970s, French diplomat and politician Alain Peyrefitte's "When China Awakens" and Italian author Maria Antonietta Macciocchi's "On the Word of China" sold millions of copies.
American capitalists and financial institutions have made incredible money from dealing with China. The shift of production to China adversely affected the situation of the White-American working class. In the process, some of the money from China flowed to think tanks to strengthen the 'new China' narratives. The essence of these narratives was that engagement in the global economic system would shift China in favor of Western values. The U.S. Congress passed legislation to support these narratives. The American media also played a role in creating public opinion in favor of China.
During this period, the 'fascinating' role played by the growth of the manufacturing sector in China's modernization was praised. In the new narrative, China was a dazzling success story. China was now seen as an indispensable partner for global capitalism's capital accumulation. China's flaw was that it did not remain "the global workshop of industrial capitalism." Eyebrows knitted as China began to step out of its assigned role. At this stage, "Chinese skepticism" came to the fore in "Chinese narratives". This time, they began to say, "I guess these Chinese are not quite what we think." According to later narratives, China was the "wolf in sheep's clothing," lurking in ambush to eat America as soon as it weakened. In some novels, the Chinese were behind the Russians and North Koreans, who harmed the United States in various ways.
Of course, American companies that continue to benefit from China are not in favor of hostile competition with China. Globalist liberals also put forward views titled “Chimerica” or “G-2 (U.S.-China) advocating US-China cooperation. Accordingly, the U.S. and China should have a say as equal stakeholders in the global system. At this point, those who support these views seem to be in the minority. In fact, some writers who defended these views preferred to change their stance.
In new, dominant narratives, China is now the "baddest of the bunch" for the U.S. It is so bad that even the former Cold War villain, the Soviet Union, remains innocent compared to China. Since the Soviet economy and the Western economies were not intertwined, Moscow was the "enemy outside." In the new narratives, however, China is the "enemy within" who has made a commitment to displace the US, the boss of the global order. According to these narratives, China has metastasized to all areas of the global economy.
The "New Villain" narrative as "existential danger" is a cover for the "fear of being displaced by China." This concept is convenient to justify actions against the 'bad guy' that should be prevented. The Biden Administration declared the New Cold War against China as a confrontation between “techno-democracies” and “techno-autocracies”. If we remind that the U.S. supports many autocratic regimes, it is obvious that this confrontation does not match the facts.
Different strategies and different stories were told at every stage in the relationship between China and the USA, from negative to positive, from positive to negative. At the new stage, American strategic perception engineers portray China as a "dragon" that wants to swallow the world and breathes fire from its mouth.
As an example of new narratives involving "The China Scare," Dr. We can point to Rush Doshi's book "The Long Game: China's Grand Strategy to Overthrow the American Order" published last year. There is no need to go into details, the title of the book leads readers to prejudge China. Dr. Doshi is the "Chinese Director" of the White House National Security Council.