The biggest factor that has led the US government to initiate a hostile relationship against China involves the concept of empire. An empire wants to be the only empire or at least the dominant empire. That is, it wants to control everyone and everybody within its realm, which ideally encompasses the entire world.
That was the way it is with the US Empire, whose core is the US national-security state, which encompasses the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.
As the Soviet Union was dismantling with its unilateral decision to end the Cold War in 1989, the US empire found itself to be the only empire standing in the world. Given the scope, range, and money of the US national-security state, that meant putting countries all over the world under US control and dominion.
Throughout history, empires have hated the rise of other empires because they pose a threat to the control and dominion of the already-existing empire. Rising empires have long been considered by existing empires to be “rivals,” “opponents,” “competitors,” “adversaries,” and even “enemies.”
In a free market, when an existing business is confronted by a competitor, rival, opponent, or adversary, or enemy, to maintain its market share the business must continue offering a product or service that customers want more than the product or service being offered by competitors.
That’s not the way it works with empires. They will inevitably resort to force against rising competitors in order to keep their dominate position in world affairs.
Since 1990, the US Empire has been embroiled in wars, conflicts, and hostilities in various parts of the world as part of its imperial mission to maintain “order” and “stability” in the world. Most of the violence has centered around the Middle East and Afghanistan, but the Empire also has been wreaking death and destruction in other parts of the world with such policies as sanctions, which target the citizens of foreign countries as a way to induce their regimes to comply with the edicts of the Empire.
Meanwhile, China was doing things completely differently. A couple of decades ago, the Chinese communist regime began loosening its economic restrictions on the economic activity of the Chinese people. Consequently, there was tremendous amount of wealth accruing in society and also growing standards of living. That, in turn, increased tax revenues for the Chinese government.
Thus, while the US government was making friends around the world through force of arms and hostility, the Chinese government and Chinese citizens were making friends around the world through investments, grants, and loans. This included countries in Latin America, where the US Empire has left a dark legacy of military intervention.
Moreover, war weakens a nation from within. As the US Empire was now engaged in a policy of perpetual war, it knew that China, although still weighed down with a large amount of socialism, was gaining strength.
That’s when US officials knew that they had a problem on their hands — an empire problem. That’s when they, and their supporters in the mainstream press, began referring to China as a “rival,” an “opponent,” an “adversary,” a “competitor,” aand even an “enemy.”
At that point, the objective became to strike at China before it grew any stronger and threatened the worldwide dominion and hegemony of the US Empire.
That’s what President Trump’s trade war was all about — to bring China down a peg, even if it hurt American producers and consumers in the process. That’s also what US sanctions on China and Chinese enterprises, such as Huawei are all about. It’s what the criminal prosecution of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is all about. It’s why Trump is considering banning the Chinese social network TikTok from the United States.
Of course, the Covid-19 crisis did US officials a big favor by adding significantly to China’s economic woes.
If none of this works to the satisfaction of US officials, then another possibility is war, which is a most effective way to bring a rival or adversary or competitor down. After all, as Iraqis and Afghans have learned, what better way to destroy the productive capability of a nation than with bombs dropped on factories, businesses, and people?
When it comes to empire, US officials will stop at nothing to ensure that the US Empire maintains its sole dominion and power around the world.
Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.