Saturday, March 11, 2006

Is China the Nemesis in a New Cold War?

Thomas Barnett commented on this piece by saying:

Although a bit harsh on the U.S. and ignoring the huge differences between the globalization model pushed by colonial England compared to US, as well as the different security "exports" offered by each, this is still an interesting analysis that gets closer to what needs to be said about the China "threat" than most of the bullshit from people like that Wash Times whack job. Worth reading and pondering.

Is China the Nemesis in a New Cold War?"
by Emanuel Pastreich

There was nothing surprising about Bill Gertz's inflammatory article in the Feb. 15 Washington Times speculating about "secret underground arms facilities" in China. The drive to paint China as a threat akin to the Soviet Union in the American mind serves those corporate interests that manufacture weapons systems while obscuring the true nature of the predicament in which United States finds itself.

The implied analogy between the Soviet Union of the 1960s and the People's Republic of China today found in such journalism may serve to prop up an obsolete Cold War security system that refuses to adjust to the true dangers of a globalized world, but it does so by diverting attention from the palpable challenge that China poses for the United States.

The relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China today bears a far greater similarity to the bitter rivalry between Great Britain and the United States that played out between 1910 and 1970. That contest, although obscured by contemporary ideology positing Great Britain as America's closest ally, was not a military conflict, but rather a global struggle over markets, finance, technology and cultural authority. Unfortunately, after winning that contest decisively in the last century, the United States is blithely walking down the same path that England did in the previous century, but at a faster pace.

Great Britain maintained undisputed dominion in the economic, diplomatic and military realms at the start of the twentieth century. Although England had its rivals, the British navy controlled the shipping lanes, the British Sterling served as the universal currency, English culture carried awesome authority, and the sun never set on the Empire.

As Britain's rival for global domination, the U.S. did not offer military confrontation with Britain, even as it increased the size of its military considerably. Rather, the U.S. calmly set to work in other areas, ultimately supplanting Great Britain as the dominant political, social, and economic world power.

Great Britain actually helped the U.S. in that process much as the U.S. aids China today. Britain's ensnarement in two debilitating world wars during the 20th century taxed its resources to the limit and encouraged reliance on the United States for both finance and manufacturing. For example, during the Second World War, it was not that the United States forcibly took control of shipping lanes from England, but rather the U.S. Navy stepped in to protect shipping lanes when the British Navy proved, due to overextension and other commitments, unequal to the task.

It requires no stretch of the imagination to envision a scenario in which the United States concedes its dominant status to China, not because of China's nuclear arsenal, but rather because the U.S. has unnecessarily mired itself in a global "War on Terror" that, because the term "terror" is so broad in meaning, recognizes no end and promises to harm America's prosperity, curtail its traditional freedoms, and leave a moral blot on its reputation among the community of nations. Read the rest here

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