United States Foreign Policy Blunders Update 2 – confrontation vs. accomnodation

In an article from the Asia Times, Mr. Chalmers supports (at great length) essentially what I wrote in my post “Help Wanted – a Political Oculist” regarding the misguided policy of both the Japanese and Americans vis-a-vis China.

He posits:

“It is popular nowadays to refer to the US as the “lone superpower”. This is a myth: there is now a new superpower, China – a fact that Washington and Tokyo ignore at their peril. The current US policy of encouraging and even accelerating Japanese rearmament, and both allies’ self-delusion over Taiwan, are huge and very dangerous foreign policy errors.”– Chalmers Johnson, President of Japan Policy Institute.
For the complete article see the link below
The real ‘China threat’

In this post, I should like to return to that same subject and amplify on it.

The United States has a seeming genius for setting priorities that work against its national interests; supporting the wrong causes, ones that invariably come back to haunt the US. Israel is the first and most obvious of those errors, but a half a world away from Israel another and equally disastrous policy is taking shape.

Condolezza Rice, a.k.a. Dominatrix, has been busy pursuing the neo-con agenda of confrontation with China by enlisting the aid of one of the most reviled countries in Asia, Japan.

Having worked hard to achieve a breakthrough in relations with China in 1971, the US is now intent on provoking and alienating the Middle Kingdom. Why? Surely, it would be in America’s interest to work with China not against it. Perhaps, the US is labouring under the mistaken notion that China is another USSR, a cultural hodge podge held together only by dint of force and fear; or perhaps the US thinks its recipe for success in destroying the old USSR can be applied to China

The US should have another look at China and recognize that it is the largest ethnically homogenous country on the planet, not a Soviet Union made up of fractious culturally incompatible republics. It is a country which is experiencing increasing pride in “Chineseness”; looking to its return to once great glory as a major Civilisation after allowing itself to be exploited by America and the European powers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Yesterday Rice was preaching the same tired gospel of Democracy to China hoping to achieve the same result as in the USSR. The old USSR, economically depleted within, and unable to maintain the pace of the arms race without, collapsed. Then, before it was ready to walk, it attempted to run by buying into the false promises and benefits of overnight instant democracy promoted by the US. The drunken buffoon Yeltsin was made to order for the designs of the US and with the help of America he finished off the state and put it on the path leading to its present sorry state. One has to grant credit to the United States in this regard. It succeeded far beyond its hopes in eliminating in a matter of only a few years its only competitor to global supremacy.

However, China is not about to be led down the same garden path, being even less inclined to do so after seeing what happened to Russia and its grand experiment with democracy. China is not a country living on the brink of financial collapse as was Russia; it has the fastest growing most vibrant economy in the world. Unlike the USSR and the United States it is not on a mission to impose its ideology on other countries so it is not wasting its intellectual and financial resources on such a hopeless objective. In its own sweet time China will evolve politically, but on its terms and in concert with its priorities of the economy, education and health. Militarily too, China is not the shoddy Soviet scarecrow that the US overestimated for several decades. It has the world’s largest standing army; it has a nuclear missile delivery capability and is in the process of building blue water navy. Notwithstanding the arms embargo foisted upon it by the US, China’s military will continue to grow, so any thought of dealing with China by force would be a mistake of gigantic proportion. General MacArthur once cautioned against mounting a land war any place in Asia, the consequences of which he suffered in Korea. Nevertheless, the United States repeated the mistake two decades later in Vietnam with even worse results. The mind boggles to think of an undertaking of that sort in China.

The US must realize that with its neo-con policies in tatters and its military already stretched beyond capacity in Iraq that it cannot afford another major conflict. So what to do in Asia? Neo-con answer – develop Japan as a counterweight; encourage the nationalistic Japanese samurai regime of Koizumi to rearm and support the US’s myopic policy with regard to Taiwan. This, of course, plays nicely into the hands of the pro-military, Japanese right wing throwbacks, the descendants of the ones who brought us Pearl Harbour and the Pacific War; the ones who invaded China in 1931 and massacred 400,000 Chinese in 1937 in Nanjing; the ones who refuse to acknowledge the war crimes committed in China, not to mention the crimes in Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries under their boots in WWII.

Considering that history, China and other countries in the region can surely be forgiven if they take umbrage with the US machinations and attempts to revive Japanese militarism.

As I wrote above, as bad as it is, US foreign policy is nothing if not consistent. Its inability to recognize the cultural and historical factors have also led it to ignore the fact that the entire Asian region would prefer to ally itself with an economic powerhouse such as China rather than with a country with Japan’s history. Unlike Japan, even at the peak of its strength, China has not aspired to conquer the countries of Southeast Asia, nor does it wish to do so now.

The US appears to be hell bent on antagonizing China rather than seeking an entente whereby China and the US can be friendly competitors. America’s single minded obsession with democracy and its determination to impose it upon China and other countries can only lead to heightened tensions; China, mistrustful and fearful of Japanese military renaissance, might well believe it better to mount an attack on Taiwan now and before Japan does rearm. The threat of an armed and dangerous Japan can only spur China to accelerate its military build up, not slow it as the US would like. As usual, US foreign policy results in making matters worse, not better, for both America and the world.

In this regard, I should like to insert yet another quote from Mr. Chalmers which harks back to my previous post on America’s indebtedness and the precarious position it is in with its creditors. (see my post “America’s Deficits, Debts and Diplomacy” 18 February)

My admonition in that post was: “Above all, the US should cease talk of a shifting balance of power in the Taiwan Straits. The presumption that there could be a “balance” between China and the island of Taiwan exemplifies the unrealistic and myopic US policy toward China. To do so is not solely a question of mollifying a potetnial threat, it is also for the purpose of assuring a malleable and friendly creditor – better a banker your friend than one who wants to foreclose on your farm.”

Mr Chalmers advanced a similar warning in his article : “Japan still possesses the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves, which at the end of January stood at around $841 billion. But China sits on a $609.9 billion pile of dollars (as of the end of 2004), earned from its trade surpluses with the US. Meanwhile, the US government and Japanese followers of George W Bush insult China in every way they can, particularly over the status of China’s breakaway province, the island of Taiwan. The distinguished economic analyst William Greider recently noted, “Any profligate debtor who insults his banker is unwise, to put it mildly … American leadership has … become increasingly delusional – I mean that literally – and blind to the adverse balance of power accumulating against it.” The Bush administration is unwisely threatening China by urging Japan to rearm and by promising Taiwan that, should China use force to prevent a Taiwanese declaration of independence, the US will go to war on its behalf. It is hard to imagine more short-sighted, irresponsible policies, but in light of the Bush administration’s Alice in Wonderland war in Iraq, the acute anti-Americanism it has generated globally, and the politicization of America’s intelligence services, it seems possible that the US and Japan might actually precipitate a war with China over Taiwan.”

America has become the Dr, Frankenstein of International Affairs. In attempting to create new, or transform existing, political entities into its own image, in the end the US succeeds only in giving birth to malformed and dangerous national states. By trying to thwart the inevitable development of China with rearmament of Japan, the US risks drawing the region and the world into an unimaginable conflagration. The present US foreign policy has become arguably the greatest threat to global security, a negative, reckless and dark force.


Categories:China, Geopolitics, USA

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