Newly established U.S. House Select Committee on China faces criticism over hawkish agenda

Anatol Klass in Foreign Policy

25th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) A recent article by Anatol Klass in Foreign Policy has raised concerns over the newly established U.S. House select committee on strategic competition with China. The article argues that the committee’s policies and activities concerning China are in danger of falling into traps from the past.

Klass, a doctoral candidate in the history department at UC Berkeley, asserts that the committee prioritises political theatre over substantive inquiry. He argues that the committee invites testimony from individuals who confirm the members’ hawkish assumptions about China, rather than offering nuanced assessments. This could lead to a further deterioration in U.S.-China relations and push Washington towards increasingly confrontational stances.

Others have warned that the committee’s activities may contribute to the wave of anti-Asian hate that has endangered Asian American communities across the country. Klass argues that the committee’s explicitly hawkish agenda could antagonise Beijing and further escalate tensions between the two countries.

Klass also takes issue with the committee’s focus on the question “Who helped China rise?” He argues that if the committee’s hearings are spent looking for domestic culprits, they will necessarily ignore the fact that those culprits took their cues from several decades of Washington policy that supported China’s growth.

The primary concern raised by Klass is that the political climate in Washington will alienate the people whose expertise and connections might help Congress understand the Chinese government and its posture towards the United States. If this happens, it could further deepen the misunderstanding between the two nations and lead to a more confrontational approach from both sides.