FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?

by

Trust mainstream media commentators to get their priorities right! While they dished out hell to Donald Trump the other day over his 10-minute conversation with the president of Taiwan, they could hardly have been more supportive all these years of a rather more consequential American affront to mainland China: Barack Obama’s so-called “pivot” to Asia.

As the London-based journalist John Pilger points out, the absurdly named pivot, which has been a central feature of U.S. foreign policy since 2012, is clearly intended to tighten America’s military containment of the Middle Kingdom. In Pilger’s words, Washington’s nuclear bases amount to a hangman’s noose around China’s neck.

Pilger makes the point in a searing new documentary, “The Coming War on China.” Little known in the United States, Pilger has been a marquee name in British journalism since the 1960s. First as a roving reporter for the Daily Mirror and later as a television documentary maker, he has spent more than fifty years exposing the underside of American foreign policy – and very often, given London’s predilection to play Tonto to Washington’s Lone Ranger, that has meant exposing the underside of British foreign policy also.

Pilger built his early reputation on opposition to the Vietnam war; more recently he jawsofdragonemerged as a scathing critic of the Bush-Blair rush to invade Iraq after 9/11.

In his latest movie, Pilger, a 77-year-old Australian, argues that the “pivot” sets the world up for nuclear Armageddon. The Obama White House probably disagrees; but, not for the first time, Pilger is asking the right questions.

This is not to suggest that Washington doesn’t have legitimate issues. But its China strategy is upside down. While it rarely misses an opportunity to lord it over Beijing militarily, its economic policy in the face of increasingly outrageous Chinese provocation could hardly be more spineless. Instead of insisting that China honor its WTO obligations, U.S. policymakers have looked the other way as Beijing has not only maintained high trade barriers against American exports but, far worse, has contrived to force the transfer of much of what is left of America’s once awe-inspiring reservoir of world-beating manufacturing technologies.

In the case of the auto industry, for instance, Beijing’s proposition goes like this: “We’d love to buy American cars. But those cars must be made in China – and the Detroit companies must bring their best manufacturing technologies.” Such technologies then have a habit of migrating rapidly to rising Chinese rivals.

By indulging China economically and provoking it militarily, the Obama administration would appear to be schizoid. But this is to judge things from a commonsensical outsider’s perspective – always a mistake in a place as inbred and smug as Washington. Seen from inside the Beltway, everything looks perfectly rational. Whether Washington is giving away the U.S. industrial base, on the one hand or arming to the teeth against a putative Chinese bogeyman on the other, the dynamic is the same: lobbying money.

As the U.S. industrial base has been shipped machine-by-machine, and job-by-job, to China, America’s ability to pay its way in the world has correspondingly imploded. Although rarely mentioned in the press (does the American press even understand such elementary and obvious economic consequences?), this means America has become ever more dependent on other nations to fund its trade deficits. The funding comes mainly in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. And guess who is the biggest buyer? The Communist regime in Beijing, of course. In effect, the bemused Chinese are paying for the privilege of having nukes pointed at them!

That is not a sustainable situation. Beijing no doubt has a plan. Washington, tone-deaf as always in foreign affairs, has not yet discovered there is a problem. We have been fated to live in interesting times.

Pilger’s documentary will air in the United States on RT on December 9, 10, and 11. For details click here.

Eamonn Fingleton is the author of In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008). 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail