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Keeping an eye on the coming war with China

Recent events in the Rogue Valley, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Almeda Fire, inequality, poverty, homelessness, climate change and our historic heat wave, make it very understandable that we turn our hearts and minds closest to home.

There is, however, a very dangerous development unfolding in Washington: a new Cold War with China. This will drain resources needed to manage our problems at home and it carries the potential of a nuclear war.

Despite the talk about a deep division between Democrats and Republicans — evident on domestic matters — there is no partisan division when it comes to feeding the military-industrial, congressional, university, and think-tank complex that has fomented violence and destruction around the world. Trillions of dollars have been spent over years for the Department of War to continue the “forever wars” the nation has been fighting since 1945. Regardless of which party is in power, U.S. aggression abroad has had strong and unified support in Washington.

The foreign policy establishment currently views China as the greatest long-term threat to U.S. global domination. The Pentagon has requested $715 billion in military expenditures for 2022. According to scholar Michael Klare, these funds will be to used build advanced ships, planes, and missiles intended for a potential “high-intensity” war with China. Another $38 billion will go to support the design and production of nuclear weapons (Tom Dispatch, July 14).

But Congressional Democrats and Republicans argue that these funding levels are not enough. Thus, the public has to be softened up for what’s increasingly seen as an inevitable war with China. We will hear militaristic messages about China from the corporate media and politicians, portraying it and its leadership as evil and bellicose, often in racist terms: coercive, repressive, hostile and bent on world domination. The Biden administration is simply continuing Trump’s anti-Chinese policies.

Domestically, we have seen a sharp rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, especially those assumed to be Chinese. This began when Trump attempted to deflect blame for his mishandling of the COVID pandemic by calling it the “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu.” Attacks on Asian Americans have continued after Biden took office and began to vilify the Chinese for its human rights abuses.

Strong majorities of both parties favor increased military spending on weaponry. No Biden administration figure argues for caution about another Cold War that could end up as a hot nuclear one. As Bernie Sanders wrote in Foreign Affairs, “It is distressing and dangerous … that a fast-growing consensus is emerging in Washington that views the U.S.-Chinese relationship as a … military struggle.” This comes at a time when this planet faces ever more severe challenges from climate change, pandemics, and economic inequality.

The corporate media distort our perception of this dangerous issue. They and leading politicians do not want citizens to oppose the increasing Cold War and demonization of China that will take huge financial resources that we need to heal the nation and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

The corporate-political elite also work to cultivate ignorance among the public, since an informed citizenry is the greatest enemy against the elite’s increasing anti-Chinese madness. For example, 42% of Americans in a recent poll are unaware that the U.S. is fighting wars in the Greater Middle East and Asia.

One cure for Washington’s increasing threats against China rests upon the public’s accurate understanding of U.S.-China relations. The U.S. military is actively involved in 85 countries. It has some 400 bases encircling China in Asia and the Indo-Pacific area, with 400,000 military personnel and about 800 bases world-wide. China has one foreign military base, and no military bases or armed forces in our hemisphere. The historical record shows that it is the U.S. that seeks global predominance. It is the aggressor nation, building on a 245-year history that began by ruthlessly disposing and annihilating Native Americans who were singled out in the Declaration of Independence as “merciless Indian savages.

The father of the Constitution, James Madison, warned: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Thomas Paine wrote that war represented “the art of conquering at home” by the “predatory classes” to prey on the “productive classes.” Our “forever wars” have fulfilled Madison’s and Paine’s warnings, creating the imperial presidency, crippling democracy, and deepening bigotry. What have we learned from our wars since 1945 in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria?

John Marciano lives in Talent.