Kishore Mahbubani speaks during a CEO Dialogue forum via video link, ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit, hosted by APEC Malaysia, in this Nov 19, 2020 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING – The US President Joe Biden’s administration should reverse policies toward China by former US President Donald Trump’s administration, stop its geopolitical contest with China, and let reason return to US policymaking, a renowned scholar has said.

“There is a real danger that the Biden administration will retain many elements of Trump’s policies toward China. If so, America is heading toward a disaster,” Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore, said in an article published in the latest issue of Global Asia, a quarterly magazine that focuses on global affairs.

Noting that Trump’s policies on China, which were based on delusion rather than realistic assessment, had failed, Mahbubani said that if the Biden administration continues the Trump administration’s policies on China, it will only result in a “weakened America”.

“The Biden campaign described Trump’s trade war with China as ‘an unmitigated disaster’ that cost Americans money and jobs,” said Mahbubani, quoting political commentator Fareed Zakaria. “Hence, the rational response is to stop it.”

Refuting claims that the Communist Party of China represents a threat to American democracy, the scholar said, “none see China as an exporter of communism to undermine democracy”.

In Mahbubani’s eyes, the US government should also abandon its delusion that it could transform China.

“Future historians will be very puzzled that a young American republic, barely 250 years old, believed that it could single-handedly transform a 4,000-year-old civilization with a population four times its size.”

Regarding the “sad reality” that many Americans just don’t understand China, Mahbubani said some Americans “cannot even conceive of the realistic possibility that the Chinese people may be swimming happily in an ocean of Chinese norms and values, which create both a sense of a well-ordered moral society and psychological wellbeing”.

Viewing “the past 40 years” as “the best in the 4,000 years of Chinese history,” the scholar said, “by historical standards, the vast masses of Chinese people have never been better off”.