【编者按：马克斯·布特是《华盛顿邮报》（Washington Post）的专栏作家，美国外交关系委员会（Council on Foreign Relations）的高级研究员，著有《未选之路:爱德华·兰斯代尔和美国在越南的悲剧》（The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam）。】
例如，1964年，（美国）国会通过了《东京湾决议案》（Gulf of Tonkin Resolution），授权对北越采取军事行动。当时，参议院仅二人反对，而众议院则全票通过。后来人们才意识到，该决议建立在错误的事实基础上（北越并没有对美国驱逐舰发动所谓的两次攻击，其中的一次几乎可以肯定没有发生），进而带来了灾难性的后果。美国被卷入败战的泥潭，超过58000名美国人战死。
为了不被当前两党在中国构成的危险方面达成的共识冲昏头脑，我们应当牢记这段历史。上周，众议院美中战略竞争特别委员会（House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)）在其第一次听证会上，两党在中国方面的共识被展现的淋漓尽致。众议员是以365-65的投票结果成立这个委员会的。
委员会主席迈克·加拉格尔（Mike Gallagher）（R-Wis.）和少数党负责人拉贾·克里希纳穆尔蒂（Raja Krishnamoorthi）（D-Ill.）是两党“英雄所见略同”的典范。
四位证人——前美国国家安全委员会顾问赫伯特·雷蒙德·麦克马斯特将军（Herbert Raymond McMaster）、前副国家安全委员会副主任博明（Matthew Pottinger）、中国的异见分子童毅和商业说客斯科特·保罗（Scott Paul），都敦促美国在中国问题上采取最强硬的路线。
康奈尔大学教授白洁曦（Jessica Chen Weiss）是倡导对中国采取更慎重的政策的著名学者之一，她对我说：“加拉格尔的所作所为导致所有质疑美国政策的人都会被轻易污蔑成中共的朋友……证人的选择让人无法相信委员会能接纳不同的观点。”
事实上，包括德国、日本、韩国、越南和墨西哥在内的许多制造业发达的国家和产业自动化的发展，都需要为美国的就业岗位的流失负责。此外，据《哈佛商业评论》（Harvard Business Review）分析，虽然“21世纪初，与中国的贸易导致美国部分地区制造业工作岗位流失……但这种趋势已经结束”。
美中贸易全国委员会（U.S.-China Business Council）指出：“2021年，美国公司向中国出口了1920亿美元的商品和服务，占美国出口的7.5%……对中出口给美国带来了超过100万个就业岗位。”同时，直到如今，廉价的中国商品推动了美国的繁荣，给美国带来了低通胀。除此之外，还有许多好处没有被提及。
虽然中国为了收复台湾在扩大军备，但中央情报局（CIA）局长威廉·J·伯恩斯（William J. Burns）警告说，现在中方尚未决定发动攻击，战争也并非“无法避免”。然而，委员会对中国的威胁进行了大肆渲染，丝毫不提及这一中肯的评估。
这次听证会的意义到底是什么？“我们希望能告诉同事们，告诉美国人民CCP为何构成了威胁”，加拉格尔说。我想，美国人民对此已了如指掌。目前，美国人民对中国的正面看法处于有史以来的最低水平。根据皮尤研究中心（Pew Research Center）的数据，2022年，82%的受访者对中国有负面的看法。
中美之间的紧张局势日益恶化，对此，委员会可以为处理中国问题制定中肯、精细的方案，提供实在的服务。但委员会并没有这么做，相反，它在为两党内的危言耸听火上浇油。正如一位前国家安全委员会（National Security Council）官员所说：“委员会并没有基于有效的证据定义美国的长期利益及其与中国的关系。相反，它不过是一台中国似曾相识的宣传机器。”
Democrats and Republicans agree on China. That’s a problem.
Opinion by Max Boot
March 6, 2023
In these ultra-partisan times, pundits often bemoan the decline of bipartisanship. I’ve done so myself. But we should remember that when the two parties agree on an issue, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are right. It could mean they are falling prey to a collective delusion.
In 1964, for example, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing military action against North Vietnam. There were only two dissenting votes in the Senate and none in the House. Only later did it become clear that the factual basis of the resolution was fallacious (one of the two supposed North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. destroyers almost certainly did not occur) and that its impact was catastrophic: It would drag the United States into a losing war that left more than 58,000 Americans dead.
Nearly four decades later, in 2002, Congress authorized U.S. military action against Iraq by smaller (but still large) bipartisan majorities (296-133 in the House, 77-23 in the Senate) — setting the United States on the path to another disastrous conflict.
That history is worth keeping in mind lest we become too giddy in celebrating the current bipartisan agreement about the dangers posed by China. That consensus was on display last week in the first hearing of the newly formed House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which had been created by a vote of 365-65.
Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and ranking minority-party member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) were a model of bipartisan comity.
In fact, Krishnamoorthi insisted that Congress must be united because “the CCP wants us to be fractious, partisan and prejudiced.” But while the hearing was bipartisan, it was also disturbingly one-sided.
All four of the witnesses — former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, Chinese dissident Tong Yi and business lobbyist Scott Paul — urged the hardest of hard lines against Beijing.
Utterly missing were any of the numerous experts in the China-watchers community who would have warned of the risks of reckless confrontation, advocated dialogue with Beijing to reduce tensions and pointed out that there are issues (such as trade, global warming and the North Korean nuclear program) where cooperation with China is in our own interest.
In fact, Gallagher — a moderate by the standards of the House Republican caucus — implied that those who urge a less hawkish approach are Communist dupes: “The CCP has found friends on Wall Street, in Fortune 500 C-suites and on K Street who are ready and willing to oppose efforts to push back,” he said.
Jessica Chen Weiss, a political scientist at Cornell University who is a leading advocate of a more measured policy toward China, told me: “Gallagher has set the stage for anyone who raises questions about U.S. policy to be smeared as a friend of the Chinese Communist Party. … The initial selection of witnesses gives little reason to believe that the committee will invite differing viewpoints.”
The testimony about the threat from China wasn’t so much wrong as it was one-sided and misleading. For example, Krishnamoorthi displayed a chart juxtaposing U.S. manufacturing employment against the U.S. trade deficit with China from 1973 to 2015. “It starts out at roughly 18.8 or 19 million American jobs in manufacturing, and it goes all the way down to about 12.4 million jobs in 2015,” he said, implying that all of those jobs were lost to trade with China.
In fact, lots of other countries with robust manufacturing sectors, including Germany, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Mexico, have contributed to U.S. job losses. So has automation. Moreover, an analysis in the Harvard Business Review found that while “some U.S. regions lost manufacturing jobs as a result of trade with China in the early 2000s … that trend has ended.”
Completely unmentioned were all the benefits of trade with China. The U.S.-China Business Council notes: “American companies exported $192 billion in goods and services to China in 2021, constituting 7.5 percent of U.S. exports … Exports to China support over 1 million U.S. jobs.” Meanwhile, cheap Chinese exports have fueled U.S. prosperity — and, until recently, with low inflation.
Trying to decouple the U.S. and Chinese economies, as the committee advocates, is undoubtedly necessary for some strategically important commodities, but it will come at a considerable cost. The Tax Foundation estimates that President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China will reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $55.7 billion and cost 173,000 full-time jobs. But anyone who watched the committee hearing would not have heard a peep about such sobering statistics.
Even when it came to China’s military buildup and its increasingly assertive foreign policy — where the threat to U.S. interests is clearer — the committee and its witnesses neglected to mention some important facts. There was much discussion, and appropriately so, of China’s attempts to take over the South China Sea and Taiwan. But no one pointed out that China has been much more cautious in the conduct of its foreign policy than Russia. While President Vladimir Putin has launched several wars since taking power in 2000, China hasn’t done so since its conflict with Vietnam in 1979.
And while it’s true that China is building up its military to enable an invasion of Taiwan, CIA Director William J. Burns cautions that no decision to attack has been made and that war is not “inevitable.” But that balanced assessment went unmentioned amid the committee’s relentless hyping of the Chinese threat.
What was the point of this hearing anyway? “Our goal is to communicate to our colleagues and the American people why the Chinese Communist Party is a threat,” Gallagher said. I think it’s safe to say that the American people have already received that message loud and clear. Americans’ views of China are at the lowest levels ever recorded. In 2022, 82 percent of respondents told the Pew Research Center that they have an unfavorable opinion of China.
The problem today isn’t that Americans are insufficiently concerned about the rise of China. The problem is that they are prey to hysteria and alarmism that could lead the United States into a needless nuclear war. Witness the unhinged reaction when a Chinese surveillance balloon drifted across the continental United States.
Many Americans acted as if Beijing were actually attacking us — rather than surveilling us, something that both the United States and China routinely do with their spy satellites. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) actually claimed that Beijing was trying to send a “message” that the “United States is a once-great superpower that’s … in decline.” In fact, there are indications that the balloon flew over the U.S. mainland only because strong winds blew it off course.
With U.S.-China tensions ratcheting up at a dangerous rate, the select committee could perform a real service by presenting a balanced and nuanced picture of how the United States should deal with China. But that’s not what it is doing. It is engaging in bipartisan alarmism. As one former National Security Council official told me: “This isn’t an evidence-driven exercise to identify America’s long-term interests and how China relates to them. It is a propaganda exercise that Beijing would find easily recognizable.”
Max Boot is a Washington Post columnist, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.”