FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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:
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail