Stop the Cold War on China Now and Become Partners–for the Common Good of Humanity

EDITORIAL, 3 May 2021

#691 | Jan Oberg, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

The conflict between the US/West and China will shape humanity’s future more than any other conflict. Therefore, it is not a bilateral issue but a global concern. I believe it ought to be on top of the agenda at the peace research institutions that have not turned state-dependent and/or US-mainstreamed.

Both the Trump and the Biden Administrations have determined that what is going on in Xinjiang in China is a genocide and lots of mainstream media, editorials, policy statements and experts have spread this ”determination” as the truth. However, not one has checked the accusation’s documentation, the stated “independence” of the producing institutes or the experts’ ideological connections.

The world has a right to expect that the extremely serious genocide accusation is based on rock-solid evidence.

To find out what this is really about we decided to examine the allegedly most authoritative report on the matter, the March 8, 2021 report from the Newlines Institute in Washington and the Raoul Wallenberg Center in Montreal.

We found that it doesn’t hold water and is clearly driven by motives less noble than a genuine concern for human rights. And that is to formulate it diplomatically. It’s basically rooted in the circles that make up the MIMAC – Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex spiced with values of foreign policy hawks, Christian fundamentalism, Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Israel interest groups.

With this TFF report, TFF does not take a stand on whether or not this is a genocide – for that we would have to get on the ground in Xinjiang. Read/download our analysis here and please share it.

The Newlines/Wallenberg report is part of a huge US/Western concerted effort at developing a new Cold War with China. You have surely noticed that there are only 7 negative stories in Western mainstream media – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, dictatorship, threatening military build-up (South China Sea) and exploitation of China’s partners in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And not one story about positive developments.

Western media have nothing to say about humanity’s most impressive development experience in just 40 years, the education, basic human need satisfaction, alleviation of poverty, unique infrastructure development – or how China has already put Covid-19 behind it. In the first quarter of this year, the US economy grew 1.6 %, the EU -0.6 and China 19%. If a country does not define democracy, freedom and development the same way as the West, there is no reason to be even curious. Instead, it’s all about demonising, confrontation, sanctions, accusations (as the TFF report shows), military games close to China and insisting in one report after the other that China is the threat of today and the long-term future. And only a threat.

Just listen to President Biden’s speech to Congress on April 29. First, he says that

“The US never ever-ever stay down; Americans always get up, America is rising anew, choosing hope over fear, truth over lies and light over darkness” and ”we are ready for take-off again; we are working again, dreaming again, discovering again and leading the world again.” 

He talks about the necessity of winning the competition with China. And he is totally convinced that Chinese President Xi Jinping is

“deadly earnest about [China] becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world. He and others – autocrats – think that democracy can’t compete in the 21st century with autocracies, because it takes too long to get consensus. To win that competition in the future, we also need…”

It is negative energy, confrontation, competition and win-lose. Former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo – when issuing his ”determination” that Xinjiang is the place of a genocide – hinted that China’s policies in Xinjiang can be compared with the Holocaust, thereby also implying that Xi Jinping is a modern-day Hitler. And earlier he stated that the free world must change China or ’China will change us.’

A growing number of Western intellectuals, from Jeffrey Sachs to Henry Kissinger and a long series of experienced experts on China – and I myself as no China expert – consider this view of China outdated and self-defeating for the United States, indeed for the West as a whole. But do such voices reach decision-makers anymore in Washington? Do we have a chance in the media in the West? No, no longer. If you wonder why, you just have to consult the US Congress Bill S. 1169 – Strategic Competition Act 2021 from April 2–which documents the US wish to fight China and use American and other ’free’ media to spearhead   the propaganda efforts with hundreds of millions of dollars.

If anybody could – and still can – influence the US to choose a more constructive path, it would be friends and allies in NATO and the EU. But, regrettably, it must be acknowledged that the EU has shown zero capacity to manifest itself as an alternative to the US and that it has also been unable to shape a policy on Yugoslavia at the time, refugees, Covid-19, Libya, Syria, Russia, Iran and China different from that of Washington.

In this perspective, we are in my view heading for disaster. The Himalayan tragedy of it all is that no one is out to get the US. Rather, it is committing a slow suicide through warfare, denial, visionlessness and inability to adapt to the emerging new and very different world. It seems to not be able to live without enemies and without seeing itself as ”leading the world again.”

Why is it that the US sees China as a mortal danger?

I shall here avoid the usual factors of economy, trade, accusations of theft of intellectual property, Huawei, and the 7 stories above. I think we need to go deeper and offer these less material points.

  • The US itself is declining as a super power; it’s empire is growing old, there is no long-range vision or real political innovation, an increasing reliance on military power/warfare/intervention/regime change – rather than diplomacy. And there are the classical indicators of decline and fall such as over extension, militarism, and lack of legitimacy in the eyes of others. The US empire is increasingly resembling the old grumpy patriarch who, frail (infrastructural decay), insists to have his way no matter what but fundamentally doesn’t see that the world out there has changed. He clings to an old version of greatness and prepares nothing for a changed future – he has always gotten his way by threats and intimidation, so why not in the future too? 
Elements of Biden’s speech above may serve as illustration of this point, and all this is internal psycho-political denial and dynamics.
  • China is a gigantic challenge because it is creating a sociopolitical model that has never been tried before built on the eclectic idea of mixing (both/and) elements which in the West cannot be mixed (either/or) such as capitalism with socialism and communism; market and state; centralisation with decentralisation and local participation; private capitalism with state capitalism, etc.
  • It has one leading party (and some smaller ones) with 90 million members making up the central leadership while having a contract with the people and allowing lots of local initiative and bottom-up expressions of ideas that are processed centrally.
  • It is based on a family/collective self-understanding in sharp contrast to the individual Western stereotype – on asking what you can do for your country and not the other way around – à la Kennedy but never done in the US.
  • It thinks long-term and has a long-term vision of 40-50 years, the West operating on 4-year election periods.
  • And – with reference to Xinjiang – it has handled a serious terrorism problem effectively in the sense that there has been no terrorist attacks the last 3 years in Xinjiang whereas the US Global War on Terror has lead to numerous wars, the displacement of 38-50 million people from their homes and hundreds of thousands killed – from Afghanistan to Syria – as well as hundreds of millions of innocent people suffering suffocating sanctions. China has, in this perspective, won the war on terrorism, the US has lost it.
  • It has lifted 600-800 million people out of poverty, in just 30+ years, while the West and its ”developing” countries are still burdened by the shame called poverty, hunger, lack of health, clean water, etc. while unimaginable wealth has accumulated with a ”1%” Western elite.
  • China operates deep down and every day on Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism which the political West and its media never bothered to try to understand – whereas the Chinese have learned a lot about the Western cultural code and also learnt English. One may serious ask what elements of culture, philosophy, principles and ideology the West is running on today (without having already violated them itself).

In other words, China is different in lots of ways and cannot be understood by Western ways of thinking. To understand China and to cooperate with it, you need to accept that it is fundamentally different, that Western concepts and norms cannot be imposed on it and that your basic attitude should be curiosity – exactly as the Chinese have been curious about the West for centuries and as it has learned what it need from it – however without becoming Western. In my view it never will.

In Conclusion

The West – and humanity – will win by curiosity, dialogue and cooperation – a very good recipe for conflict-resolution – and it will lose by confrontation, China-bashing/Cold War and by trying to apply old-fashioned missionary methods to make it Western. The choice should be clear when you look at the political, economic, cultural and scientific ’correlation of forces’ on a horizon of 5-50 years.

Particularly when you are old and declining, try to get the best out of it or you’ll get the worst – which is not necessarily war (but can be it as Kissinger has recently warned the world). The worst Western scenario will be self-isolation and marginalisation, a future life as a museum of a time gone – alternatively a tragic island-like, locked-down dictatorship of the last believers.

The West must learn to live on an equal footing with The Rest, in unity of diversity not uniformity under US leadership/dominance. And that is, in my view, something it will have to learn within the time of the Biden administration.

__________________________________________

Prof. Jan Oberg, Ph.D. is director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF and a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. CV: https://transnational.live/jan-oberg
https://transnational.live


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 May 2021.

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3 Responses to “Stop the Cold War on China Now and Become Partners–for the Common Good of Humanity”

  1. Poka Laenui says:

    Mahalo Jan Oberg for this very much needed opinion piece. What an interesting concept of trying cooperation rather than competition! Isn’t it a social axiom that when parties cooperate, they are able to achieve far more than when they work against each other and compete? I remember this lesson was learned during grade school. Somehow the dehumanization process has substituted competition, domination, and exclusion as values to achieve “political maturity” in the West.

    Sometimes we blame it on the West deep culture of Domination, Individualism and Exclusion (D.I.E.) which suggest that this type of competitiveness is natural and normal. Yet, we see the East, especially the Chinese concepts of Yin/Yang, the “and” rather then the “or” option, and the whole idea of fluidity of action given the different realities in the world to be a contrary deep culture which may be far more productive and protective for the world.

    Again, thank you for this piece.

  2. Prof. Jan Oberg’s article is excellent and I would agree with him on everything, had I not developed a different view as to what the meaning of ‘dialogue’, ‘agreement’, cooperation’ and ‘conflict resolution’ mean. This happened to me 60 years ago, when I went to further my music studies in Geneva and paid for my living by teaching piano to children of UNO diplomats and politicians or their spouses and sometimes to the diplomats themselves, keen music lovers who made time for daily practice and a weekly lesson. This is how i ‘discovered the United Nations’ was NOT a created to ensure there is Peace in the world, but a League of Nations – creators of World War II – with a different name.

    I realized, only months after my 7 Swiss years started, that what Mr Olberg calls “The conflict between the US/West and China” was mainly “the US/West conflict with the Soviet Union” was not a conflict at all, but a very civilized ‘agreement’ between countries to ‘play enemy’ and it is totally ‘bilateral affair’. China, in fact, benefitted very much from the game and this made her a very wealthy and modern country. So wealthy that over the years it has invested many billions of dollars in the US and vice versa. There are almost more McDonalds in China than in America.

    As I was occasionally invited to lunch at the UN restaurant (excellent) I saw all the so called ‘enemy’ diplomats eating and drinking together, laughing, exchanging all sorts of political jokes about East and West, or Communism versus Capitalism. For them it was all very funny.

    Of course weapon deals or war projects were not discussed at lunch in front of others, but individual diplomats negotiating a war (civil or against another country) met in their respective offices or privately outside the UN building. I witnessed several diplomats, many from African countries, improve their their standard of living in the most impressive way, thanks to their acceptance of money for promoting the Belgian, French, American, Canadian, Swiss, Russian, Swedish, Israeli and Chinese military industries, by organising civil wars, wars with a neighbouring country, massacres, genocides.

    Two give just two current examples, look two African presidents, the Ugandan Yoweri Museveni, in his 35th year in power, for ‘playing the game’ better than Idi Amin and Paul Byia, President of Cameroon for 39 years, allowed to preside his country, including a lot of civil conflicts and death from the comfort of the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, where he rents the entire third floor, protected by the United Nations.

    Jan Olberg says the US/West-China issue ought to be on top of the agenda at the peace research institutions, as if Governments were interested in what peace institutions say. Governments only like to listen to think tanks that help them fulfil their war plans.

    In the UK we have RUSI, who won the 2020 ‘Best Think Tank of the Year’ Award. Their Seminars (now Webinars) are all about ‘has Government allocated enough funds to the Armed Forces?’, ‘are we well prepared for a big international military conflict?’ ‘how does our Air Force compare with the Chinese?”

    Prof. Oberg says “Both the Trump and the Biden Administrations have determined that what is going on in Xinjiang in China is a genocide and complains “No one in these two American Administrations has has checked the accusation’s documentation, the stated “independence” of the producing institutes or the experts’ ideological connections.”, something of no interest whatsoever to neither the American nor the Chinese Governments. All the two countries want is to promote military sales, no matter what.

    This is what US and China have agreed. This is why they sit so comfortably together on the ‘permanent’ UN Security Council.

    How right Prof. Olberg is when he states ” It’s basically rooted in the circles that make up the MIMAC – Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex” but not right when he says ‘spiced with values of foreign policy hawks, Christian fundamentalism, Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Israel interest groups.” the Military Industrial Complex may be the title given by an American (fighter war lover Dwight Eisenhower, of course “after he left Politics)) but it applies to China and to all countries, making, selling or buying killing toys.

    Confrontation, sanctions, accusations, military games close to China and insisting that China is the threat of today and the long-term future, is part of the World War III rehearsals. All discussed very congenially by Chinese diplomas in Washington and American diplomats in Beijing, with their respective hosts.
    “The US never ever-ever stay down; Americans always get up, America is rising anew, choosing hope over fear, truth over lies and light over darkness” and ”we are ready for take-off again; we are working again, dreaming again, discovering again and leading the world again.”

    Jan Olberg tells us about Biden talking “about the necessity of winning the competition with China. And that he is totally convinced that Chinese President Xi Jinping is”. but this is what Biden is supposed to say as President of America. His huge salary and being leant the magnificent White House as his home for 4 years, he has no option.

    What Prof. Olberg calls Biden’s word’s ‘negative energy, confrontation, competition and win-lose’. But the Governments of America and China think it’s very positive, for it promotes tension, fear of war and wins military contracts for both countries.

    Henry Kissinger may well be an experts on China, but he can allow himself to consider Biden’s view of China outdated and self-defeating for the United States’ because he’s not running the show.

    Jan Olberg would like to see organisations “influence the US to choose a more constructive path”, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Armed Forces exists to help politicians take “destructive paths”. And military manufacturers donate generously to political parties, but only if politicians help them win juicy contracts. How can politicians help their donors without organizing wars, prospects of war, fear of war?

    Nothing will change before the day the world achieves the Universal Abolition of Militarism.

    it would be friends and allies in NATO and the EU. But, regrettably, it must be acknowledged that the EU has shown zero capacity to manifest itself as an alternative to the US and that it has also been unable to shape a policy on Yugoslavia at the time, refugees, Covid-19, Libya, Syria, Russia, Iran and China different from that of Washington.

    We read in Mr Olberg’s articls that NATO as an alternative to the US, has been unable to shape a policy on Yugoslavia”, but to NATO and Americans alike the Yugoslavia division was a brilliant success. If made many political and military actors, Milosevic included, very wealthy. same with Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, etc, etc.

    Why is it that the US sees China as a mortal danger? asks Prof. Olberg. The answer is “because that’s what the Arms Trade wants”.

    If China operates deep down and every day on Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, it also operates the Left wing Politics agreed at the UN Security Council, to help the divide. To make the divide greater, originally China killed any intellectual who dared contradict their ideas. In the early sixties I knew several University professors who preferred to commit suicied rather than be killed by the Chinese authority.

    The hundreds of thousands of refugees created by bombs are also Big Busines for the UN authorities in charge. Antonio Guterres did so well for the UN coffers, presiding the Refugee Agency for 10 years, with a huge increase in refugees, that he earned the top job.

    To end, I’ll say again: “whilst Governments – or politicians’s (to be more accurate) financial success depends on weapons being manufactured, bought and sold, dialogue and cooperation will always lead to wars”

  3. […] Stop the Cold War on China Now and Become Partners–for the Common Good of Humanity […]

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