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
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Ted Rall
If This is a Democracy, Why Don’t We Vote for the Vice President Too?
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Robert Koehler
FBI, King and the Tremors of History
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail