the china syndrome hots up

The Pindo-China conflict threatens war
Andre Damon, WSWS, Aug 24 2019

On Friday, as world leaders gathered in France for this weekend’s G7 summit, Trump unleashed a barrage of invective, all but declaring economic war on China. Trump called Pres Xi Jinping an “enemy,” announced massive tariff increases on all Pindo imports from China, and “hereby ordered” Pindo companies to stop doing business in the country. Shortly before noon, Trump condemned what he said were insufficient actions by the Federal Reserve to devalue the Pindo currency and make Pindo exports more competitive against China and other countries. In an extraordinary condemnation of both a Pindo government boxctop and the head of a sovereign state, Trump tweeted:

This outburst, along with previous statements, marks a demand that Pindostan weaponize the dollar, the primary reserve currency of the global economy, in a currency war that threatens the foundations of every institution of economic, and political, life all over the world. Trump continued:

The rising trade war comes amid rapidly escalating military threats and provocations against China by Pindostan. Before Trump’s Twitter outburst, Pindostan sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait, following a major new Pindo arms sale to Taiwan. Faschingstein has also vowed to stand by Vietnam in its escalating conflict with Beijing over disputed territory in the South China Sea. Earlier this month, after Pindostan officially pulled out of the INF treaty that restricted the production of certain nuclear missiles, Sec Def Esper said that he would like to begin deploying medium-range missiles near China within a matter of “months.” This week, Esper said the Pentagon must focus on preparing for “high-intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China,” declaring that Pindo production of weapons banned by the INF treaty is necessary to “deter Chinese bad behavior.” Trump’s “order” for Pindo companies to leave China marks a milestone in the global eruption of economic nationalism, protectionism and preparations for military conflict. This process finds its most direct expression the clash between the two largest economic powers: Pindostan with a GDP of $20t and China with a GDP of $13t. Since the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, the Pindo corporate oligarchy has used China as a giant sweatshop, extracting profits from its massive working class while using the threat of “offshoring” to drive down wages within Pindostan and internationally. But the entry of China-based companies into high-value-added industries such as semiconductor design and production, cell phones, high-end machine tools, medical devices and optics, has placed them in direct competition with Pindo-based companies, threatening their control of the pool of profits sweated out of the international working class. Trump’s rantings ultimately reflect the desire of Pindo capitalism to secure its flagging dominance through threats, and, when required, by the use of military force. Trump, in his brutal and thuggish worship of power, threats, and violence, represents the essential characteristics of the Pindo ruling elite: its endless greed, its brutality and its belief that “force works.” Earlier this month, Pompeo made an extremely revealing statement. Pompeo said:

I’ll hear folks talk about trade and economic issues as separate from national security. Let’s make no mistake about it, China’s capacity, the People’s Liberation Army’s capacity … is a direct result of trade relationships that they built.

In other words, China’s economic growth is seen by Faschingstein as a military threat to be countered by anything from trade conflict to full-scale war. Pompeo’s words are in keeping with the doctrine of great-power rivalry against Russia and China embraced by the Pentagon last year, which declared:

Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of Pindo national security.

The waging of such “great-power” conflicts will require a “whole-of-society” approach, the Pentagon declared, referring to what is more conventionally called total war. This starkly poses the significance of Trump’s “order” for Pindo companies to leave China. Under normal circumstances, Pindo presidents have no such power, but presidents have asserted sweeping powers to mobilize the economy in wartime, and Trump’s statements have such dictatorial overtones. In this context, his repeated references to extending his presidency beyond its constitutionally mandated term limits and his “jokes” about cancelling the 2020 election take on an air of plausibility. What makes the situation exceedingly dangerous is that there exists no politically articulated opposition to Trump’s policies, which are bringing Pindostan on a collision course with the world’s most populous country. For three years in a row, the Demagogs have voted for Trump’s record military spending increases, raising defense spending from $619b in 2016 to $738b in 2020. The NYT, the unofficial house organ of the Demagog Party, has demanded that he take a harder line against Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE. An op-ed this year blustered:

We need to untie the Pindo economy from China.

NYT columnist Bret Stephens wrote an op-ed titled “Pindostan Needs More Nukes” that fully backed the White House’s violation of the INF treaty and its nuclear buildup against China. As Steve Bannon commented:

The Demagogs are just as hard on it (China) as the Thugs.

Robert Daly of the Kissinger Institute wrote:

There is a bipartisan consensus that China is America’s greatest long-term strategic challenge.

Virulent nationalism, xenophobia, protectionism, dictatorship, all the filth that characterized fascism in the 20th century, is spewing out of every orifice of Pindo capitalism. No one should have any illusions. It was not hollow rhetoric when Esper asserted that the Pentagon is preparing for “high-intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China.” Pindo imperialism, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, is on the warpath. But the Pindo working class, whose sons and daughters would go off to fight abroad, and who would die in the smoldering ruins of Pindostan’s cities in a nuclear holocaust, do not want war. And they, along with workers in China, Russia and internationally, are the only social force that can stop it. As the International Committee of the Fourth International wrote in its 2016 statement, “Socialism and the Fight Against War:”

The struggle against war must be based on the working class, the great revolutionary force in society, uniting behind it all progressive elements in the population. The new anti-war movement must be anti-capitalist and socialist, since there can be no serious struggle against war except in the fight to end the dictatorship of finance capital and put an end to the economic system that is the fundamental cause of militarism and war. The new anti-war movement must therefore, of necessity, be completely and unequivocally independent of, and hostile to, all political parties and organizations of the capitalist class. The new anti-war movement must, above all, be international, mobilizing the vast power of the working class in a unified global struggle against imperialism.

Since the publication of that statement, the working class has entered into struggle all over the world: from China and India, to the “yellow vest” protests in France, to the fight for democratic rights in Hong Kong and Puerto Rico, to the strike of auto parts workers in Mexico, and, in just a matter of weeks, an explosive battle by Pindo autoworkers for decent jobs, wages and conditions.
It is the vast and immensely powerful social force of the international working class that must be mobilized to stop the war plans and dictatorial schemes of the capitalist ruling elites.

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