A decadent Roman Empire was ultimately brought down by vigorous Germanic tribes, which it viewed as ‘barbarians’. The Pax Americana is being brought down by ancient civilizations that whose commitment to freedom of thought does not lead to freedom to act, whether vis a vis other nations, or individual behavior.
Backing up, as presented to the American public, the standoff with both China and Russia is born of Washington’s ‘disappointment’ in their failure to become more ‘open’ as they became more prosperous. (In reality, being ‘open’ means bowing to American claims of superiority based on is mastery of ‘progress’.) According to a recent, much publicized speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “Beijing bit the international hands that were feeding it,” rebuffing America’s blandishments. Interestingly, the same complaint has been made about Russia’s refusal to become an American. According to the official American narrative, after the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO only moved beyond Germany’s eastern border because Russia ‘believed’ it had inherited its predecessor’s power. As China challenges the US on the economic front, a similar argument is used:
“We opened our arms to Chinese citizens, only to see the Chinese Communist Party exploit our free and open society. China sent propagandists into our press conferences, our research centers, our high-schools, our colleges, and even into our PTA meetings.” (PTA: parent teacher association that help run schools.)
According to Pompeo, prominent American companies have removed references to Taiwan from their corporate websites, so as not to anger Beijing, a gesture that happens all over the world. “I have lost count of the number of times European diplomats have told me they want to work with the US on China but get nervous and reluctant whenever ideology is broached.”
The reason for that seemingly opaque statement is simple: Since the end of World War II, Socialist parties have routinely participate in, or lead, European governments, so voters are immune to warnings over ‘Marxism-Leninism’. America’s Secretary of State, however, can still traumatize Americans by emphasizing that ‘the Chinese Communist Party’ — a more threatening moniker than its real name, ‘the Communist Party of China’ — is oh my God, ’Marxist-Leninist’, its leader Xi Jinping a ‘true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology’.
According to Pompeo, an authority on all things foreign: “It’s this ideology that informs his decades-long desire for global hegemony of Chinese communism. America can no longer ignore the fundamental political and ideological differences between our countries, just as the CCP has never ignored them.” (That’s not what we have always claimed!) “People of good faith can debate why free nations allowed these bad things to happen, perhaps we were naive about China’s virulent strain of communism, or triumphalist after our victory in the Cold War, or cravenly capitalist, or hoodwinked by Beijing’s talk of a ‘peaceful rise’.” (Pompeo provides no proof that China is not interested in a peaceful rise.)
Americans have not yet connected the dots, but that ‘virulent’ strain of socialism has not only lifted 1.3 billion people out of abject poverty, it has enabled them to challenge American economic primacy. Pompeo complains that ‘trading with China is not like trading with a normal, law-abiding nation. Beijing treats international agreements as conduits for global dominance’ — taking a page from West Side Story’s: “Anything you can do, I can do better…”
But there’s more! “We know that the People’s Liberation Army is not a normal army. Its purpose is to uphold the absolute rule of the Chinese Communist Party elites and expand a Chinese empire, not to protect the Chinese people.” Well, our military’s duty is to ‘protect’ the Constitution — and uphold the Pax Americana, by occupying a thousand bases across the five continents.
Pompeo wants the US to “engage and empower the Chinese people – a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.” (Who would all those people be who fill the the CCP’s halls at regularly scheduled meetings, not to mention the thousands of local officials who run the country?) With his ‘outstretched hand’, Pompeo is trying to foment a major color revolution, which may succeed in Hong Kong, but not with citizens raised on Confucianism, a twenty-five hundred year old philosophy that emphasizes personal and governmental morality, correctness in social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity.
A similar reality characterizes Russia, the other ‘barbarian’ nation, ruled by a ‘ruthless former KGB officer’, the KGB being the Russian equivalent of our CIA, which was run by George HW Bush before he became the president that led the first Gulf War that contributed to the birth of the Wahhabi terrorism we are still fighting — while being told that it’s Shia Iran that is fomenting terrorism by backing Hezbollah, a militia that participates in the Lebanese government on Israel’s border.
In 2016, among those who voted for the Green candidate rather than Hillary Clinton, were Americans who considered that Trump had a saving grace: a rejection of war against Russia, which continues to this day. When recently asked whether he had accused President Putin of paying bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan, he said they had discussed a much more important topic: the avoidance of nuclear war. (Trump’s reassignment of some American troops from Germany acknowledges Eastern Europe’s participation in NATO’s march up to Russia’s Western border, which happened long before his watch.)
None of Trump’s critics appear to realize that the United States, far from being threatened by ‘barbarians’, is sandwiched between two opponents whose rise is backed by millennial civilizations. In the 9th century, the first Russian Prince converted his country to Christianity, while Taoism (which enjoyed a Western revival in the 20th century), arose in China five hundred yeas before Christ! China is offering a 1 billion dollar loan to make its coronavirus vaccines accessible to countries across Latin America and the Caribbean — as Mexican citizens languish in American cages.
Deena Stryker is a US-born international expert, author and journalist that lived in Eastern and Western Europe and has been writing about the big picture for 50 years. Over the years she penned a number of books, including Russia’s Americans. Her essays can also be found at Otherjones. Especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”