[This is a sharp-eyed look at the madness of a major neocon talking-head regarding China policy. But for perspective-by-analogy, let me ask you a question about Iran. Ever wonder what would have come about in Iran had the Central Intelligence Agency not fomented an illegal coup d'etat against democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh? He moved to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, triggering the wrath of the American economic hitmen who engineered his sudden overthrow in 1953. That clever piece of finesse brought the bitter ordeal of the bogus Shah of Iran, his notorious Savak secret police, the 1979 Shiite revolution, and the eventual sabotage of the entire Carter Presidency - which was, let's remember, the last hope for a timely mitigation of Peak Oil. And now they're in something called the Axis of Evil.
The Iranian example is just as relevant for Venezuela, where Uncle Sam recently tried and failed to repeat the trick, as it is for China, where he can't. In every case, guys who haven't read Verse 61 of the Tao Teh Ching take it upon themselves to intervene in other people's affairs in the pursuit of their own short-term advantage. They do so in the name of "realism," because that category acts like a mirror to those who would operate under its cover: my policy reproduces an existing world of scarcity and danger and resentment; by comparison, yours is unrealistic - therefore, I'm the credible adult in charge, and you're the dreamer on the margin.
The Realist's low expectations of others are a mask for his desire for their goods. He wants to raid his neighbors, so he laments aloud that they are such a hostile people, it will be necessary to destroy them. In wrecking the place, the Realist makes the world match his vision of it, then boasts that he was right. --JAH]
China in America's cross-hairs:
Robert D. Kaplan and neocon hawks clamor for new Cold War
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June 20, 2005 1100 PST (FTW) The feature story of the June 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly is Robert D. Kaplan's "How We Would Fight China: The Next Cold War". This inevitable war, according to Kaplan, "will link China and the United States in a future that may stretch over several generations." By comparison, "the Middle East is just a blip."
Kaplan's provocative China piece, detailed below, coincides with increasingly confrontational rhetoric by the Bush administration, the growing influence of neocon hardliners, growing concern about China within the elite cadres of the New World Order (from the G-7 to the Bilderberg Group), tensions between China and Japan (the US proxy in the region), and more East-West trade bickering (currencies, etc.). In February 2005, new CIA Director Porter Goss issued a warning to China regarding its military modernization. One day later, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued a similar warning.
Does the militaristic Kaplan article, afloat upon the growing hostilities between the US and China, mark the beginning of a dangerous new phase of conflict and superpower war?
Who is Robert D. Kaplan?
In a post-9/11 political landscape crawling with warmongering policymakers and military-utopian intelligentsia, Kaplan deserves singling out. It is not Kaplan's wild views, but his influence - the fact that he has the ear of top military and intelligence brass, and enjoys a symbiotic relationship with elites at the highest levels - that is of greater importance.
Kaplan is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and the author of nine books on international affairs, including Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, and international travel books with distinctly political biases, such as Balkan Ghosts and Eastward to Tartary.
Fascinated (some would say obsessed) with military/intelligence and war, Kaplan's upcoming book, Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground is one of several books he is writing about the US armed forces.
Kaplan's essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on C-SPAN and CNN. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls Kaplan among the "most widely read" authors defining the post-Cold War (along with Francis Fukuyama and Harvard's Samuel Huntington).
Kaplan is a favorite of both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. According to U. S. News & World Report, "President Clinton was so impressed with Kaplan, he ordered an interagency study of these issues, and it agreed with Kaplan's conclusions." Kaplan was invited to meet with George W. Bush in the White House - and brief Bush on foreign policy.
Kaplan is also a consultant to the US Army's Special Forces Regiment, the US Air Force, and the US Marines. He has lectured at military war colleges, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the FBI. Kaplan has lectured at the State Department. More recently, Kaplan was embedded with US forces during the attack on Fallujah, and has spent considerable time with the US military over the past three years. In other words, Kaplan is a military-intelligence insider.
Kaplan has a reputation for being one of the first American writers to forecast (from as far back as the 1980s) the Clinton-Bush administration wars in the Balkans and Central Asia, and the current 9/11 War (Afghanistan, Iraq).
Nihilism and mass murder
A self-professed "nihilist" who is inspired by Machiavelli, Kaplan views such places as Central Asia and the Middle East as "laboratories of pure power politics" in which human rights, social order and democracy have no meaning and no relevance - but where US force must be constantly and "creatively" applied. The "highest morality," in Kaplan's words, "must be the preservation - and wherever prudent, the accretion - of American power."
In his book Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, Kaplan declares that "good government - and, likewise, good foreign policy - will always depend on an understanding of men's passions, which issue from our elemental fears" and that "the internationalization of democratic individualism is futile and inherently dangerous." Furthermore, according to Kaplan, human rights "are only advanced in practice by resolving power relationships in ways that allow for more predictable punishment of the Unjust."
Kaplan's worldview hails from the same lineage as Samuel Huntington ("Clash of Civilizations") Zbigniew Brzezinski (The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives), Frances ("End of History") Fukuyama, Henry Kissinger, and the neocons (Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Michael Ledeen, Project for the New American Century, American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, etc.).
Huntington identified the "Islamic-Confucian world" (Eurasia, from the Middle East to China) as "an arc of crisis" overrun by enemies ("Islamic-Sinic alliances") that must be tamed by the forces of the West, and declared that a war between the US and China will break out by 2010, centering on the oil lanes of the South China Sea.
In "Looking the World In the Eye", Kaplan echoes his mentor's thesis:
"It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. "
In one of his most notorious pieces from 2003, "Supremacy by Stealth", Kaplan lectures on how the United States must "speak Victorian, but think pagan":
- A world managed by the Chinese, by a Franco-German-dominated European Union aligned with Russia, or by the United Nations (an organization that worships peace and consensus, and will therefore sacrifice any principle for their sakes) would be infinitely worse than the world we have now.
- And so for the time being, the highest morality must be the preservation - and wherever prudent, the accretion - of American power.
- Precisely because they foment dynamic change, liberal empires - like those of Venice, Great Britain, and the United States - create the conditions for their own demise. Thus they must be especially devious [my emphasis-LC]."
Kaplan lays out the rules for how the United States will go about its "amoral management" of the world using military force, covert operations, the planting and guiding of in-country functionaries (spies, compradors, intelligence assets), terrorism, and assassination.
One of the most important of Kaplan's "rules" is to "bring back the old rules":
- Refer to pre-Vietnam War rules by which small groups of quiet professionals would be used to help stabilize or destabilize a regime…Covert means are more discreet and cheaper than declared war and large-scale mobilization…Impending technologies, such as bullets that can be directed at specific targets the way larger warheads are today, and satellites that can track the neurobiological signatures of individuals, will make assassinations far more feasible, enabling the United States to kill rulers like Saddam Hussein without having to harm their subject populations through conventional combat.
As for the rule of law, Kaplan is openly contemptuous:
- "Bringing back the old rules would help to circumvent the UN Security Council which in any case represents an antiquated power arrangement unreflective of the latest wave of US military modernization in both tactics and weaponry.
- The war on terrorism will not be successful if every aspect of its execution must be disclosed and justified - in terms of universal principles - to the satisfaction of the world media and world public opinion."
In a November 2002 editorial, Kaplan spelled out the recipe for the "dismantling" of Iraq", and the expansion of war into Iran and the rest of the Middle East - a formula that has, not coincidentally, become official Bush administration policy. Kaplan wrote:
- Our goal in Iraq should be a transitional secular dictatorship.
- Iraq could become America's primary staging ground in the Middle East. And the greatest beneficial effect could come next door, in Iran.
- Our dismantling the Iraqi regime would concentrate the minds of Iran's leaders as little else could. Iran, with its 66 million people, is the Middle East's universal joint.
- (Iraq)…is the most logical place to relocate Middle Eastern U.S. bases in the twenty-first century.
- Iran, with its 66 million people, is the Middle East's universal joint…we will have to deal directly with the radicals, and that can be done only through a decisive military shock that affects their balance-of-power calculations.
- Achieving an altered Iranian foreign policy would be vindication enough for dismantling the regime in Iraq. This would undermine the Iranian-supported Hezbollah, in Lebanon, on Israel's northern border; would remove a strategic missile threat to Israel; and would prod Syria toward moderation. And it would allow for the creation of an informal, non-Arab alliance of the Near Eastern periphery, to include Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Eritrea.
- Our success in the war on terrorism will be defined by our ability to keep Afghanistan and other places free of anti-American terrorists. And in many parts of the world that task will be carried out more efficiently by warlords of long-standing, who have made their bones in previous conflicts, than by feeble central governments aping Western models.
- Likewise, the Middle East is characterized by many weak regimes that will totter on until the next cataclysm - which the U.S. invasion of Iraq might well constitute."
Kaplan's exuberant fanaticism, swaggering contempt for law, and unapologetic cries for savagery deserve to be the subject of extensive psychological analysis. Instead, his views are, quite literally, Bush administration foreign policy.
Kaplan applies "pagan ethos" to China
Kaplan's views on China are consistent with his "kill or be killed" paranoia about everything else. China's emergence cannot be "accommodated." Apply force (covert as well as overt, in violation of international law) to intimidate. Bring back the "old rules" (unleash covert operations; return to the "Ugly American" racism of the Vietnam era). Militarily encircle, and establish dominance over resources (oil). Defy the UN, and maintain secrecy. Consider regime change.
For the maximum horror, Kaplan's dangerous piece should be read in its entirety. But these excerpts alone speak volumes:
On the coming war
- The Middle East is just a blip. The American military contest with China in the Pacific will define the twenty-first century. And China will be a more formidable adversary than Russia ever was.
- ...this second Cold War… will link China and the United States in a future that may stretch over several generations.
- …the defining military conflict of the twenty-first century: if not a big war with China, then a series of Cold War-style standoffs that stretch out over years and decades.
- Therefore the idea that we will no longer engage in the 'cynical' game of power politics is illusory, as is the idea that we will be able to advance a foreign policy based solely on Wilsonian ideals. We will have to continually play various parts of the world off China, just as Richard Nixon played less than morally perfect states off the Soviet Union. This may lead to a fundamentally new NATO alliance, which could become a global armada that roams the Seven Seas."
China as "terrorist" threat
- China will approach us asymmetrically, as terrorists do. In Iraq, the insurgents have shown us the low end of asymmetry. The Chinese are poised to show us the high end of the art. That is the threat.
- In the coming decades, China will play an asymmetric back-and-forth game with us in the Pacific, taking advantage not only of its vast coastline but also of its rear base - stretching far back into Central Asia - from which it may eventually be able to lob missiles accurately at moving ships in the Pacific.
- The effect of a single Chinese cruise missile's hitting a US carrier, even if it did not sink the ship, would be politically and psychologically catastrophic, akin to al-Qaeda's attacks on the Twin Towers.
- All over the globe, in such disparate places as the troubled Pacific Island states of Oceania, the Panama Canal zone, and out-of-the-way African nations, the Chinese are becoming masters of indirect influence - by establishing business communities and diplomatic outposts.
- According to one former submarine commander and naval strategist I talked to, the Chinese have been poring over every detail of our recent wars in the Balkans and the Persian Gulf, and they fully understand just how much our military power depends on naval projection - that is, on the ability of a carrier battle group to get within proximity of, say, Iraq, and fire a missile at a target deep inside the country. To adapt, the Chinese are putting their fiber-optic systems underground and moving defense capabilities deep into western China, out of our missile range - all the while developing an offensive strategy based on missiles designed to be capable of striking that supreme icon of American wealth and power, the aircraft carrier."
US Pacific Command as regional conqueror and police
- …the functional substitute for a NATO of the Pacific already exists and is indeed up and running. It is the US Pacific Command, known as PACOM.
- PACOM is not nearly as constrained as CENTCOM by Washington-based domestic politics.
- …because of the vast economic consequences of misjudging the power balance in East Asia, American business and military interests are likely to run tandem towards a classically conservative policy of deterring China without needlessly provoking it, thereby amplifying PACOM's authority. Our stance toward China and the Pacific, in other words, comes with a built-in stability - and this, in turn, underscores the notion of a new Cold War that is sustainable over the very long haul.
- …the vitality of NATO itself, the Atlantic alliance, could be revived by the Cold War in the Pacific.
- The better road is for PACOM to deter China in Bismarckian fashion, from a geographic hub of comparative isolation - the Hawaiian islands - with spokes reaching out to major allies such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and India. These countries, in turn, would form secondary hubs to help us manage the Melanasian, Micronesian and Polynesian archipelagoes, among other places, and also the Indian Ocean. The point of this arrangement would be to dissuade China so subtly that over time the rising behemoth would be drawn into the PACOM alliance system without any large-scale conflagration - the way NATO was ultimately able to neutralize the Soviet Union.
- The alternative will be to turn the earth of the twenty-first century into a battlefield.
- PACOM's objective, in the words of a Pacific-based Marine general, must be 'military multilateralism on steroids.'"
- We will keep our bases in Central Asia, close to western China - among them Karshi-Khanabad, in Uzbekistan, and Manas, in Kyrgyzstan, which were developed and expanded for the invasion of Afghanistan.
- We need to go more unconventional….increasingly, what we will need is, in essence, three separate navies: one designed to maintain our ability to use the sea as a platform for offshore bombing (to support operations like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan); one designed for littoral Special Operations combat (against terrorist groups based in and around Indonesia, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines, for example); and one designed to enhance our stealth capabilities (for patrolling the Chinese mainland and the Taiwan Strait, among other regions). All three of these navies will have a role in deflecting China, directly and indirectly, given the variety of dysfunctional Pacific Island republics that are strengthening their ties to Beijing.
- The Special Operations navy will require lots of small vessels, among them, the littoral-combat ship being developed by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin."
The "old rules": covert operations, black ops
- The more access to bases we have, the more flexibility we'll have - to support unmanned flights, to allow aerial refueling, and perhaps more important, to force the Chinese military to concentrate on a host of problems rather than just a few. Never provide your adversary with only a few problems to solve (finding and hitting a carrier, for example) because if you do, he'll solve them.
- And we will establish what are known as cooperative security locations. A cooperative security location can be a tucked-away corner of a host country's civilian airport, or a dirty runway somewhere with fuel and mechanical help nearby, or a military airport in a friendly country with which we have no formal basing agreement but rather, an informal arrangement with private contractors acting as go-betweens. Often the key role in managing a CSL is played by a private contractor.
- In Asia, for example, the private contractor is usually a retired American noncom, either Navy or Air Force, quite likely a maintenance expert who is living in, say, Thailand or the Philippines, speaks the language fluently, perhaps has married locally after a divorce back home and is generally liked by the locals. He rents his facilities at the base from the host country military, and then charges a fee to the U.S. Air Force pilots transiting the base. Officially he is in business for himself, which the host country likes because it can claim it is not really working with the American military. The private contractor also prevents unfortunate incidents by keeping the visiting pilots out of trouble - steering them to the right hotels and bars, and advising them on how to behave.
- Particularly as the media become more intrusive, we must acquire more stealth, so that, for example, we can send commandos ashore from a submarine to snatch or kill terrorists, or leave special operators behind to carry out missions in an area over which no government has control.
- [Kaplan quoting a former CIA operative.-LC] "'Getting into a war with China is easy,' says Michael Vickers, a former Green Beret who developed the weapons strategy for the Afghan resistance in the 1980s as a CIA officer and is now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. 'Ending a war with China,' Vickers says, 'may mean effecting some kind of regime change, because we don't want to leave some wounded, angry regime in place….ending a war with China will force us to substantially reduce their military capacity, thus threatening their energy sources and the Communist Party's grip on it. The world will not be the same afterward. It's a very dangerous road to travel.'"
Confrontation versus engagement
In "Cornering the Dragon" (February 22, 2005), Conn Hallinan details the schizophrenic approach of the Bush administration's China policy, and how the long battle between American policymakers who favor engagement with China has begun to tip in favor of those who advocate confrontation and encirclement - the old "China lobby," which includes neoconservatives associated with the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and other groups.
One notes with horror that the views of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger - brutal architects of modern world dictatorship - are temperate compared to Kaplan's.
In a May 2005 visit to Beijing, Henry Kissinger (a lifelong "China Hand" who brokered meetings between eight US presidents and generations of Chinese leaders, and a major business investor in China) stated that he is "very confident about the future development of bilateral ties," and that "China and the U.S. should seek coexistence in a cooperative attitude for the common interests of the two nations."
In Grand Chessboard itself, Brzezinski declares that "even by the year 2020, it is quite unlikely even under the best of circumstances that China could become truly competitive in the key dimensions of global power," while conceding that China will be regionally dominant, and a competitor for energy resources in the South China Sea and elsewhere.
Brzezinski's post-Grand Chessboard books, including Living with China, Europe and Russia (2000), Iran: Time for A New Approach (2004) (coauthored by former CIA Deputy Director/NSC Robert Gates) both advocate carrot-stick engagement with China.
A publisher's synopsis of The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership (May 2004) reads as follows:
"While not ruling out unilateral action by America, Brzezinski believes the ultimate solution to the region's problems involves the slow expansion of the trans-Atlantic zone of prosperity and cooperative institutions. In his survey of other security threats, Brzezinski says that as China's economy grows and Japan drifts toward remilitarization, America should help build an equivalent to NATO for the Pacific. Brzezinski warns that globalization's reputation as disruptive, undemocratic and unfair could provoke a virulent anti-American ideology. To avoid becoming a 'garrison state,' America must establish a 'co-optive hegemony,' leading a global community of shared interests.'"
In Big Dragon: China's Future - What It Means for Business, the Economy and the Global Order (1998) (a highly recommended book that details the last few decades of Sino-US relations) authors Daniel Burstein and Arne DeKeijzer provide a Brzezinski quotation that is almost doveish: "Our fashion is to have the enemy of the year. China is big, it's large on the map, it's yellow, so there is an under-the-surface racist element, and it fits nicely an obsessive state of mind. I imagine that it will last a couple of years, because China is big enough to sustain this obsession."
Interestingly, the same June 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly that runs Kaplan's article also contains the editorial "Managing China's Rise" by the publication's National and Literary Editor Benjamin Schwarz. Patronizing title aside (the "management" of another country), the piece reads like a counter to Kaplan's bellicose article, as if the latter necessitated some sort of tacit retraction from within the offices of the publication itself.
- When (the emergence of China as a peer competitor) "eventually" may roll around is a matter of intense debate between moderates and hardliners. The moderates have a better case.
- We must examine our own stance toward the world, and the way we define threats to our national security. In other words, to understand the consequences of China's (slowly) growing ambitions, we have to understand our own."Hardliners and moderates, Republicans and Democrats, agree that America is strategically dominant in East Asia and the eastern Pacific - China's back yard. They further agree that America should retain its dominance there. Thus U.S. military planners define as a threat Beijing's efforts to remedy its own weak position in the face of the overwhelming superiority they acknowledge the United States holds right up to the edge of the Asian mainland. This probably reads more about our ambitions than it does about China's. Imagine if the situation were reversed, and China's air and naval power were a dominant and potentially menacing presence on the coastal shelf of North America. Would we want to offset that preponderance?
- China's emergence as a great power may be inevitable, but it's going to be a long process, which we should seek to manage with Beijing. Far from discouraging the rise of China and other independent powers…Washington should recognize the significant benefits that can result. [Engagement] reduces America's globe-girdling defense commitments and the concomitant international suspicion towards the United States. The alternative in the long run is to create enemies where none need exist."
To which drumbeat will the American Empire march - that of Kaplan and the confrontationists, or the internationalist engagement wing? The confrontationist faction is winning.
From the other side
The saber rattling of Washington's hawks and Kaplan-esque hardliners is nothing new to the Chinese leadership. In China's New Rulers: The Secret Files (2002), authors Andrew Nathan and Bruce Gilley revealed the views of leading Chinese Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) members towards the United States:
Hu Jintao: "America's strategic eastward movement has accelerated. [The United States] has strengthened its military deployments in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthened the US-Japan military alliance, strengthened strategic cooperation with India, improved relations with Vietnam, inveigled Pakistan, established a pro-American government in Afghanistan, increased arms sales to Taiwan, and so on. They have extended pressure points on us from the east, south and west…the core of American policy toward China is still to 'engage and contain.'"
Zeng Qinghong (who noted that the CIA and American intelligence have made the containment of China a top priority), said: "…the US wants both to dominate China's market and to find every possible way to contain its development."
Li Ruihauan: "To tell the truth, the United States is very clear about our power. It knows that China today is not a direct threat to the United States….they want to contain us, they want to implement a carrot-and-stick policy. It's useless for us to use a lot of words to refute their 'China threat theory'. The Americans won't listen."
China fattened for the kill: the new Opium War
While Kaplan and his peers articulate how US military and intelligence is being directed at China from the outside, the economic and social "opening up" of China has been in the works since the 1970s.
While a full examination of the important Chinese historical context is outside the scope of this piece, it's instructive to note the nightmarish parallels between the nineteenth-century Opium Wars, the first Sino-Western superpower conflict, and the one that is unfolding now.
In Good Deeds & Gunboats: Two Centuries of American-Chinese Encounters, Hugh Deane wrote:
"The Opium War initiated by the British in furtherance of trade generally and the opium bonanza in particular, exposed China's military weakness and its anachronistic view of itself as the civilized center of an otherwise barbarian world, and began a Chinese century of defeat, exploitation and humiliation. The Anglo-Indian assault added a new word to the English language - loot, from the Hindi and Sanskrit. The unequal treaties forced upon China by foreign powers and the division of much of China into Western enclaves and "spheres of influence" turned China into what Sun Yat-Sen later termed a "hypocolony," the colony of many nations…the revolutionary nationalist wrote, "Other men are the carving knife and serving dish, we are the fish and the meat."
Today's Opium War finds similar corrupt oligarchs, compradors, missionaries, spies, traitors - and citizens caught in the middle of a battle between corrupt powers, at the mercy of oppressors from within and without. Once again, another corrupt and shaky Chinese regime is engaged in a dangerous dance with armed-to-the-teeth foreigners eager for "trade" (loot), their warships prowling the Pacific. And the opium this time is free market capital, and the addictive promise of wealth and prosperity.
Just as Russia was manipulated and then pillaged following the fall of the Berlin Wall, China is being set up in a similar fashion. In the prescient 1986 book Towards Capitalist Restoration, Michel Chossudovsky detailed how the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1970s led to the modern "Open Door" policy, by which a desperate Chinese leadership opened itself to foreign capital. The incursions of the West's most notorious elites soon followed:
"The 1979 visit of Deng Xiaoping to the US was followed in June 1980 by the equally significant encounter in Wall Street of Rong Yiren, chairman of CITIC, and David Rockefeller. The meeting, held in the penthouse of the Chase Manhattan Bank complex, was attended by senior executives of close to 300 major US corporations. A major agreement was reached between Chase, CITIC,and the Bank of China, involving the exchange of specialists and technical personnel to "identify and define those areas of the Chinese economy most suspectible to American technology and capital infusion."
These original connections remain in place, and have blossomed through all subsequent US presidential administrations. Note that the Bush family has been involved with China and Chinese ventures for generations - indirectly through connections to the old Eastern Establishment opium trade, and directly since George H.W. Bush's tenure as Ambassador to China during the Nixon era. Prescott Bush had been a major powerbroker and investor in China and Japan, and a leader member of the US-China Chamber of Commerce. A scandal involving China and Neil Bush made headlines not long ago. This explains why, in response to the Tiananmen Square crackdown and massacre, then-President George H.W. Bush sent a friendship delegation to Beijing. Always follow the money.
The formal accession of China to the World Trade Organization in November 2001 opened China to full economic infiltration. Among the many numerous and wide-ranging commitments (subject to annual compliance), China has committed to opening the "commanding heights of the economy" (banking, insurance, telecommunications and accounting) to foreign capital, granting foreign corporations full rights to import/export, and allowing "market forces" to determine prices for traded goods and services in every sector. By 2006, all geographic and customer restrictions on foreign banks will be removed.
In the view of James Petras ("China and the World"), the die is cast:
"… Essentially, the entry into the WTO and the harsh conditions with which China will have to comply, spell the end of financial controls and a new phase of China's relations with Euro-U.S. imperialism….enticement, entrapment, crises and recolonization. U.S. imperial dominance represents a major strategic threat to independent Chinese development. Washington and Wall Street are increasingly major forces in both Asia and Europe. The pursuit of world economic domination requires that it pursue the role of world policeman."
Dr. Joseph Gershon of the American Friends Service Committee agrees:
"In the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S. is enforcing its 21st century "Open Door" policy by means of the IMF, the World Bank, APEC, bases and forward deployments, the Seventh Fleet and its nuclear arsenal; as it seeks to simultaneously contain and engage China, to dominate the sea lanes and straits through which the region's trade and supplies of oil must travel, the "jugular vein" of Asia Pacific economies…." (Also see "Empire and Resistance in an Increasingly Dangerous Era".)
New Cold War smokescreens hide race for energy
In his Atlantic Monthly editorial, Benjamin Schwarz noted, "when President Bush took office in 2001, the dominant national security issue for his administration - and for most foreign-policy analysts, whether Republican or Democrat - was not terrorism or even Iraq but China. The issue, specifically, is that China will eventually emerge as what Pentagon planners call a 'peer competitor' to the United States in East Asia."
But the most intense "peer competition" does not revolve around Chinese military expansion (which many experts, including the 2004 Independent Task Force on Chinese Military Power, believe is exaggerated). Nor is it the continued evolution of the Chinese economy (which is a boon for Western and Chinese elites and multinational corporations, and is controlled through the WTO, the IMF, etc.). The true "threat" to the West is the intense Chinese competition for the last remaining energy reserves of a planet facing Peak Oil. In every key region of the world, China has emerged as a major player, and in some cases, the obstacle to Anglo-American control. Rhetoric aside, world policy planners agree that China is the end game for oil.
"Beginning of Oil End Game"
"China's Offshore Claims"
"China moves fast to claim Canadian oil sands"
"Russia to 'Respect Commitments' on Oil to China"
(also "Russian pipeline decision")
"Construction begins on Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline"
"China faces coal shortage by 2010"
In Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, William Blum wrote:
"During the Cold War, US foreign policy was carried out under the waving banner of fighting a moral crusade against what cold warriors persuaded the American people, most of the world, and usually themselves, was the existence of a malevolent International Communist Conspiracy. But it was always a fraud."
Variations on the old Cold War fraud - from the "war on terrorism" fraud to the "weapons of mass destruction" fraud, and increasingly aggressive "national security" (see America's New National Security Doctrine) - are now being applied to the "emerging China Threat."
The superpower race for oil has intensified the need for incendiary propaganda from the likes of Kaplan.
Shots across the bow
It is upon the flamethrowing of ideologues like Kaplan that empires are built, and unspeakable atrocities are rationalized.
Years from now, we may look back at Kaplan's "How We Would Fight China" as a signal that hailed the beginning of the biggest, and perhaps final, conflict. Wars begin with ideas and words. These become policy, and then doctrine. Pay heed to Kaplan's words, and counter them.
There is blood on Kaplan's hands, and there will probably be more.
An understanding of current Sino-US conflict demands a grasp of Chinese history and prior Sino-Western warfare. In addition to general histories of China, the following are just a few suggestions.
The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire to the Corruption of Another by Travis/Hawes/Sanello. (Sourcebooks, 2004)
From the Opium War to the May Fourth Movement by Hu Sheng. (Foreign Languages Press, 1991)
Good Deeds & Gunboats: Two Centuries of American-Chinese Encounters by Huge Deane (China Books & Periodicals, 1990)
Big Dragon: China's Future by Daniel Burstein and Arne De Keijzer (Simon & Schuster 1998)
China's New Rulers by Andrew J. Nation and Bruce Gilley (New York Review Books, 2002)
Origins of the Boxer Uprising by Joseph Esherick (University of California Press, 1987)
To Change China: Western Advisers in China, 1620-1960 by Jonathan Spence (Penguin Books) 1980.
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