FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

US v. China: In Washington, Hyper-Hawks Center Stage

Photo by tonynetone | CC BY 2.0

Today, the inevitable arrived. With Trump’s declaration of trade war on China – which POTUS seems to relish – Washington has initiated the first head-on confrontation between itself and Beijing.

For more than two decades, the US Empire had watched with growing alarm as China steadily and persistently closed the gap between them in terms of power and global influence. Many around the world hoped that the West’s elites would somehow find a way to accommodate, coexist peacefully with the Chinese, who were painfully hauling themselves out of a 200-year nadir in their long history.

Beijing showed its good intentions by adopting economy- and trade-centered policies, guided by an ethos of non-belligerence, cooperation and mutual benefit. But the Empire’s rulers realized recently that China was not following their script by evolving into a liberal democracy practicing neoliberal capitalism. In the zero-sum, Manichean mindset of the West, that was the final straw. Washington’s fear & loathing reached boiling point.

Trump, in his typically brash, schoolyard bully style, decided he would be the one to pull the trigger. The visceral venom he harbored towards the Chinese – à la the “China, China, China, China, China” ejaculations of his presidential campaign – came pouring out. When his initial round of tariffs on steel and aluminum backfired by seeming to hit US allies harder than China, Trump quickly followed with his latest assault: $60 billion in unilateral, punitive levies that are illegal under WTO rules, targeting China exclusively. In a bid to dampen tensions, Beijing announced retaliatory tariffs of only $3 billion.

Equally ominous are the latest appointments to top positions in the revolving-door Trump government. Peter Navarro, a notorious anti-China trade hawk and author of Death by China, is now chief economic adviser to the White House. John Bolton, an ultra-hawk who advocates military action against Iran and North Korea, has just been named national security adviser. And the new secretary of state is former CIA chief Mike Pompeo, a Tea Party congressman who backs regime change in Pyongyang and the scrapping of Washington’s nuclear accord with Tehran. This is a team that makes the Empire’s “globalists” and “deep state” look like pussyfooting moderates.

China, of course, is prepared for the worst, on a much broader front than just trade. The People’s Liberation Army has been upgrading rapidly in recent years. And such defensive considerations are a key reason China’s collective leadership is overhauling, streamlining the entire power structure, as well as vesting President Xi Jinping with great authority and on an indefinite basis. All these moves came to the fore during the recently-concluded “Twin Sessions” (the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top advisory body) in Beijing.

China expects a lot of trouble from the Empire over a sustained period, especially as its transformative megaproject, the Belt & Road Initiative, unfolds across EurAsia in the decades ahead. Under such conditions the nation needs strong, unified and efficient leadership.

There are many other, subtler indications. One is Beijing’s new insistence that Chinese citizens not simultaneously have a US green card, which makes them vulnerable to blackmail from Washington and easier to recruit as agents for the Empire. Beijing is battening down the hatches, even while pushing ahead with its development-centered policies.

Trump’s latest moves and appointments mean the world is entering a very dangerous time. Even the Washington establishment’s foreign-policy guru, Richard Haass, appears rattled. Now, warns the longtime president of the Council on Foreign Relations, is “the most perilous moment in modern American history.” Perhaps in world history too.

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail