Why I’m Still (Kind of) Rooting for China in the New Cold War

Surfing through the news, it seems like every other motherfucker and his brother is flipping their proverbial wig over the supposedly literal threat China poses to the future of western civilization. Over on the center-right of what passes for the left in this country, we have our very own dear leader, Old Man Biden, hitting every summit from Geneva to the Country Kitchen Buffet, talking up his great power competition between the autocrats and the autocrats who pretend to be democracies and owe us money. Flip the channel farther to the right and you have neocon hose-bags foaming at the mouth because Biden isn’t throwing enough battleships into somebody else’s fucking ocean. Even America First true believers like Tucker Carlson have forfeited their trendy isolationist pose to call for total war against those sneaky batfuckers in the Chinese Communist Party. They’re all so damn pissed off at each other that sometimes you can lose site of the fact that they’re all scared shitless of the same evil empire and this time it’s not an act.

There is a very twisted part of me that views this partisan circus with sick glee and shouts from the gallows, “Good! It’s about fucking time you capitalist motherfuckers got shoved in your place by a boogeyman strong enough push back hard!” You see dearest motherfuckers, before Snarling Nicky embraced the evils of the free market and became the genderfuck anarchist muckraker you know and love to hate, I was a pissed off agoraphobic tankie, cutting pictures of Putin into hearts from the safety of my closet. By my early twenties, I had become so furious watching American regime after American regime mow down Third World countries like dandelions that I was willing to embrace any motherfucker who could actually put up a fight. I cheered and roared with laughter watching Russia punk out my imperial homeland from Georgia to Crimea. I welcomed the meteoric rise of BRICS and Eurasia with open arms. As far as I was concerned, anything was better than another genocidal American Century, and sometimes I’m still tempted to feel this way.

I now do my damnedest to resist such petty urges because I realize now how fucking stupid I had been. I had bought into the same shallow neocon comic book view of the globe. I just decided to root for the villains instead of the superheroes, but they’re all fucking villains. Vladimir Putin isn’t the second coming of Vladimir Lenin. He’s just another neoliberal oligarch who just happens to be a little craftier on strategy than his drunken predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. And China isn’t some shining beacon of hope in a dim world. In spite of their commie pose, they’re just another gutter capitalist empire looking to make a buck off the back of the nearest prole within whipping distance. Yet even with this sobering foresight, I still can’t help but to root for a Chinese victory in our new cold war. Only my reasons now are far more Machiavellian than Sputnik leftist.

A lot has been made of the fact that a number of prestigious think tanks have ran simulations showing China beating America in a head to head conflict. In spite of the fact that most of these studies have been heavily funded by arms corporations peddling new missile systems, I tend to believe them. China has the manpower, drunk on nationalism, and America has never won a ground war in Asia without their help. China also has a robust and growing economy that has many debt strapped time honored American institutions wrapped around its little dragon claw. But there is a catch here and it’s a big one.

While China has more men and boats, they’re almost all localized along it’s own shores and borders. America has a multinational military apparatus that spans the globe. China has 3 nuclear subs, we have 71. China has 2 active aircraft carriers, we have 11. China has somewhere around 90 ICBM’s, we have over 400. China is believed to have about 400 nukes, we have about 4,530. America has nearly 800 bases in more than 70 countries, while China has just one in the African parking lot of Djibouti. America’s defense budget more than doubles China’s. And while I believe that it is precisely this kind Freudian firepower superiority mentality that has fucked America in backwaters like Vietnam and caused us to go all but broke, it’s also what makes us too big to fail. A curse China doesn’t share.

To put it simply, China is just big enough to beat the American Empire without being big enough to replace the American Empire. Even China’s touted Belt and Road Project is largely dependent on other world powers like India and the European Union to operate. A hypothetical Eurasian Century really would be multipolar by necessity rather than ideology. All of this would put decentralized stateless movements like mine at a great advantage. A post-American Century would be full of more imperial blind spots than China would know what to do with. Anarchists would be granted a window of decades, if not longer, to dismantle Chinese power before it could reach the current capabilities of the American Empire. Mind you, all of this is very much dependent on Uncle Sam not going crazy enough to go nuclear and kill us all, but the longer America is up and running, the more likely that is to happen anyway.

With all this in mind, it bewilders me that more American anarchists are not committed anti-American anti-imperialists like me. It has actually become increasingly posh in anarchist circles to attack anti-imperialists like myself as being part of some silly red-brown alliance. There was a time when maybe you could make that argument about me, but my goals now are to take the biggest power I can get my hands on and dismantle it by any means necessary. We are not going to do this by picking fights with other radicals or fighting lesser tyrants in other peoples sandboxes like Rojava. We are going to do this by delegitimizing and destabilizing the greatest source of power on earth and today that is without a shadow of a doubt the United States of America. Tomorrow it might be China, but I say we boil that dragon when we get to it.

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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