On December 20 last year, Mr. Fu Gaoyi passed away. He is a heavyweight scholar who has had a significant impact on America’s Asia and China policy. After the death of Fu Gaoyi, many nostalgic voices appeared in the academic and public opinion circles in China.
My feeling is that these voices may also miss the era when the United States was able to confidently deal with China. Regrettably, Mr. Fu Gaoyi drove Hexi to the west, and he also “secretly” that era no longer exists.
Kurt Campbell, the “Indo-Pacific Coordinator” appointed by Biden, is called the “Asian Czar” by the outside world. The implication is that he is the chief steward of the Biden administration’s Asia and China policies.
Similar to Fu Gaoyi, Campbell is also a senior scholar. But the difference is that his infiltration in politics is much deeper, and Fo Gaoyi only briefly served as the intelligence officer in charge of East Asian countries in the National Intelligence Committee under the Clinton administration in the 1990s.
This also means that Campbell will have a more obvious and direct influence on US policy than Fo Gaoyi. The difference between the two will inevitably be reflected in the differences in US diplomacy with China.
I had a relationship with Mr. Fu Gaoyi. It was 2003 when I was a graduate student at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. It was a small-scale academic exchange, with a slightly cramped conference room. There were less than 10 students in total, including my attending students.
At that time, Mr. Fu Gaoyi had just passed his seventies, and there was no assistant by his side, just like an older professor from a nearby university came to visit. His face is kind and always smiling, so approachable that makes people unable to produce a sense of distance. The impression of him that time changed my impression of the United States more or less. The Bush administration was busy fighting the war in Iraq.
Among American scholars studying China, Fu Gaoyi may be the one who has visited China the most. He wrote in the “Deng Xiaoping Times”, I know that if the Chinese and Westerners can handle their relationship well, the future of the world will become better, and this requires both sides to reach a deeper understanding.
It can be said that the American “Fo Gaoyis” recognized the “injustice” of the Cold War confrontation, but the “Campbells” were more interested in the experience of winning the Cold War.
To promote understanding is one of the differences between him and Campbell. This difference is also an important reason why his understanding of Chinese history, culture and even nationality far exceeds Campbell. Therefore, when he looks at China, he is more detached than Campbell.
Fu Gaoyi, born in 1930, has a clear memory of the process of the Cold War, and he also has the same profound knowledge as his contemporaries. But his academic experience focused on Asia decided that he was thinking more not about defeating the Soviet Union, but how the United States should manage Asia. To some extent, Fu Gaoyi’s academic style naturally lacks a sense of confrontation.
Campbell, who was born in 1957, is different. His academic and political experience started in the United States and won the Cold War (he first entered politics in 1993 when he served in the Clinton administration). Therefore, scholars or officials like Campbell will naturally have a victor mentality in diplomacy, and their policy orientation will focus on how to preserve the fruits of victory, that is, the dominant position of the United States.
At this point, Campbell and Secretary of State Brinken (born in 1962) can be said to be of the same kind. With this kind of mentality and “mission”, such people are more sensitive and anxious about China’s rise.
For example, Campbell is the first scholar in the American academic circle to call for the relaxation of the Japanese military and jointly respond to the rise of China. The “united front” concept of the Biden administration’s China policy originated from Campbell’s policy ideas in the 1990s.
In July 2019, when the Trump administration’s new Cold War on China was raging, Fu Gaoyi and four other American scholars co-authored the writing, uniting more than one hundred American scholars, political and business people, and published the title “China” in the Washington Post. Not the enemy” article.
Fu Gaoyi has repeatedly emphasized that the United States should recognize China’s contribution to the world and treat China fairly. It can be said that the American “Fo Gaoyis” recognized the “injustice” of the Cold War confrontation, but the “Campbells” were more interested in the experience of winning the Cold War.
If the Biden administration does not want to repeat the history of the Cold War, then his foreign policy team must think outside of “empirical thinking.” Only by looking forward can the United States regain its confidence, and Sino-US relations will have a future.