By Natylie Baldwin, OpEd News, July 30, 2020
“We, the freedom-loving nations of the world, must induce China to change, just as President Nixon wanted. We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.
We must start by changing how our people and our partners perceive the Chinese Communist Party. We have to tell the truth. We can’t treat this incarnation of China as a normal country, just like any other.”
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to bloviate on a litany of sins that the Chinese government is guilty of, and various politicians and media outlets continue their nonstop propaganda about how evil Russia is, it is clear that the goals is to keep Americans perpetually indoctrinated with the idea that these two nations are incorrigible enemies.
This is consistent with the National Defense Strategy (NDS) of 2018, which states that the main threats facing the United States in the foreseeable future are Russia and China. And while the terminology of “great power competition” is thrown around, there is emphasis placed on the implicit clash of values with the U.S.-led west, with several references to the “free and open international order” that these two nations are putatively in violation of.
This shares some continuity with the Neoconservative-inspired Wolfowitz Doctrine of the early 1990’s, which granted Washington the right to forcibly determine what values and political framework the rest of the world should adhere to while maintaining hegemony over the world. The Democratic Party has embraced similar foreign policy ideas. Even the “progressive” wing, represented by Bernie Sanders, touted a need to take on the world’s “authoritarians” who were threatening the enlightened west.
All societies throughout modern history have had to prioritize various issues that impact national survival and their populations: the balance between the individual and the collective good, or the impact of change vs group instability, democracy versus economic development, etc. Different societies have resolved these issues in different ways, with varying results.
But the United States, with its triumphalist attitude at the close of the Cold War, decided that its way of life had been judged to be inevitable for everyone in the world. This was summed up in Francis Fukiyama’s The End of History. Western, especially American, political values and norms have been assumed to be the only correct way to resolve the most basic questions of organized life, regardless of whether a country has had any meaningful experience with western values. If a country disagrees or chooses to prioritize differently, they have been deemed backward or illegitimate.
This leaves no space for pluralism, negotiation or peaceful co-existence. Instead, it leads to a world in which conflict is inevitable and differences are irreconcilable. Constant war and the threat of war, especially with the three most powerful players on the world stage – the U.S., China and Russia – having nuclear weapons arsenals at their disposal, makes this an immoral and unsustainable framework.
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