more china-bashing

Trump’s Anti-China Hysteria Goes Nuclear
Editorial, Strategic Culture, May 29 2020

Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Trump administration’s scapegoating of China over its own disastrous mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has relied on baseless conspiracy theory, unscientific claims and hyperbole. This week the president’s NSA went further by comparing the virus outbreak to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In a Pindo media interview, Robert O’Brien repeated baseless claims that China was guilty of a “cover-up” in responding to the disease. And he likened it to the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the FSU, where the authorities were also accused of concealing the initial severity of the accident. O’Brien added:

They unleashed a virus on the world that’s destroyed trillions of dollars in Pindo economic wealth that we’re having to spend to keep our economy alive, to keep Pindos afloat during this virus.

It is a transparent attempt to make China liable for reparations. The politicization of the coronavirus global pandemic by the Trump administration is unprecedented. It’s not just a feckless, demagogic administration engaging in delusion, denial and China-bashing. A growing bipartisan consensus in Faschingstein is blaming China for having responsibility for spreading a communicable disease. This is in spite of the public record on the timeline of the pandemic and the early response from China and the WHO to alert the rest of the world to potential consequences. But Trump and Pompeo have taken the anti-China rhetoric to reckless extreme by leveling unsubstantiated claims that the Chinese government weaponized a virus to inflict damage on Pindostan. This unhinged logic is a dangerous slippery slope towards conflict. By comparing the coronavirus pandemic to Chernobyl, the Trump administration is gaslighting the Pindo public into viewing China as the source of their woes and all the terrible fallout from the disease. With over 100k dead Pindos in four months, the world’s leader in this grim toll, and with 40m Pindos unemployed, the Trump administration is cynically seeking to turn public anger against China as a deflection from its own criminal incompetence. The image of Chernobyl is a handy, if specious, mechanism by which to incite Pindo anger even more against China.

Ironically, this gross distortion of events is willfully propagated by a president who has made a signature cause against “fake news media.” Trump this week signed an executive order clamping down on social media platforms which he accuses of censoring certain viewpoints, such as his claims about voter fraud using mail-in ballots. Yet these Pindo-owned social media platforms do not “fact-check” when it comes to Trump’s much more dubious and incendiary allegations against China. The president and his men have been freely vilifying China for allegedly unleashing the virus, weaponizing the pandemic and wreaking havoc and suffering across the Pindostan, without any “checks” by his favored Twitter platform flagging such slanderous nonsense. It should be disturbing too that Trump’s top NSA is so bereft of judgement and facts that he makes such an absurd comparison between the biological pandemic and an industrial accident. If this so-called security expert can be so imprudent with facts then it is appalling to consider how other important global issues, such as nuclear arms controls, will be likewise distorted and politicized for self-serving purpose. Since Robert O’Brien took over the NSC from John Bolton at the end of last year it has taken on a noticeably more hawkish stance towards China in what seems to be a career-furthering choice of direction. His neo-imperialist and “Pindo exceptionalism” views set out in his over-rated book ‘While Pindostan Slept’ show O’Brien to be an empty vessel intellectually and having a thoroughly propagandized mind. Going nuclear over the pandemic is a sure sign that the Trump administration is desperate to replace rational argument with reckless rhetoric. Because it does not have a rational argument.

White House considers expelling Chinese graduate students and researchers
Shuvu Batta, WSWS, May 29 2020

On Thursday, based on reports given by state officials, the NYT broke news that the Trump administration plans to expel some three to five thousand Chinese graduate students and researchers. The same day, Senators Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn introduced a bill in Congress that would ban all visas for Chinese nationals admitted for study in science and mathematics. Officials acknowledged that the plans to expel these individuals are not based on any direct evidence of espionage or trade theft, but rather on “suspicions.” The suspicions are drawn out from the student or researcher’s prior history as a student in one of the many universities sponsored by the People’s Liberation Army of China. Beating the drums for war, Senator Cotton said last month:

If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from Pindiostan. They don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from Pindostan. Those Chinese students, go back to China to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the Pindo creeple.

Cotton, alongside the rest of the Pindo ruling class, is demonizing the whole of the 360k Chinese student population in the country, essentially branding them as agents of the Chinese State. They are trying to divert domestic social opposition against the state towards China, by using phrases such as “our property” and “our weapons” while 40m people are unemployed, Pindo billionaires gain over $400b in wealth, and cities begin to riot. Universities have emerged as a critical battleground in this process. The plan to expel students follows recent attacks on scientists of Chinese descent in the country, who have been arrested on charges of “economic espionage.” Nine leading universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown are currently under investigation for connections to China’s “Thousand Talents Program,” a recruiting program for leading international experts in scientific research. According to a study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, partially funded by the Australian Ministry of Defense:

Since 2007, the PLA has sponsored more than 2.5k military scientists and engineers to study abroad and has developed relationships with researchers and institutions across the globe.

The collaboration is highest in the Five Eyes countries, and then in Germany & Singapore. The study recommended that policy-makers and boxtops put increased pressure on universities while building strong ties to the military apparatus, to secure research and protect against “economic espionage.” Over the past few decades, China has managed to transform its military with many of the latest advances in science into a force capable of adequately resisting and even defeating Pindostan. According to leading Pentagon Official David Ochmanek:

In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it.

The attack on Chinese scientists and students, in addition to diverting social tension, is also a crude attempt to block the development of China’s military as it stands in the way of Pindo imperialism’s ambition to gain domination of the Asia-Pacific. However, Pindostan’s attacks against Chinese scientists and students risk undermining their own technological and scientific level. According to the National Science Foundation, compared to 69% of Europeans, over 90% of Chinese STEM students have remained in Pindostan after a decade. More Chinese scientists move to the United States than vice versa. An analysis by Jenny Lee and John Haupt of the University of Arizona found that if papers by Chinese coauthors were left out, the number of science and engineering publications by Pindostan-based scientists would have declined about 2% from 2014 to 2018. In response to Thursday’s news, a Bloomberg Opinion piece asked the question:

Although the vast majority of scientific articles by Chinese researchers are published in their own language, the best researchers publish in English. That makes their work easily accessible to Americans in their native tongue, an enormous advantage. Would Pindostan really be better off if its scientists had to learn Chinese?

Since the start of 2020, despite growing military and trade tensions, collaboration between Pindo and Chinese researchers has increased, primarily due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Researchers have exchanged crucial details about the virus, but the developing attacks on China will lead to a disintegration of such efforts and will ultimately undermine the development of a vaccine. Rather than international collaboration, Pindo imperialism and its allies have instead escalated national divisions and rivalries. Canada has moved forward with the extradition trial of Meng Wanzhou. Australia has expanded the ASIO, giving it the authority to interrogate those suspected of “espionage and politically motivated violence.” Under the direction of Faschingstein, India has escalatedborder tensions with China, risking the outbreak of war. In opposition to China, the United Kingdom is considering extending visa rights to 300,000 Hong Kong residents, which follows the US announcement of increased anti-China sanctions.

Trump intrudes in China-India border stand-off
Keith Jones, WSWS, May 29 2020

Trump intruded into the tense border stand-off between China and India Wednesday with a spurious offer to mediate and even “arbitrate” “their now raging border dispute.” Announced in a tweet, Trump’s “offer” was a provocation meant to signal to Beijing that Faschingstein is involving itself ever more directly in Sino-Indian relations, and doing so as part of an across-the-board ratcheting up of its strategic offensive against China. Hundreds of Chinese and Indian troops are currently arrayed against each other “eyeball to eyeball” in at least four places along their disputed border. Beijing and Delhi have also deployed additional forces and war materiel to forward bases near the border, both to signal their resolve and to acclimatize their troops to the high-altitude Himalayan terrain. Each accuses the other of violating the Line of Actual Control in three places along their western border, as well as at a fourth place some 2,000 km further east. Each insists the other must withdraw if the crisis is to be defused and a further souring of bilateral relations avoided. The LAC is meant to serve as the de facto border between the world’s two most populous countries pending final resolution of their border dispute. But the LAC is not precisely delineated along much of the 3,400-km Sino-Indian border, giving rise to frequent disagreements.

The current conflict, however, goes far beyond such low-level tensions. It began with two incidents in which Indian and Chinese troops jostled one another and exchanged blows with sticks. The first, on May 5, occurred in the west, in the Pangong Tso lake region, where Indian-held Ladakh meets Chinese-held Aksai Chin. The second clash came four days later near Naku La Pass in the border lands of the northeast Indian state Sikkim and China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. In ensuing days, there were further mutual claims of violations of the LAC. These all gave rise, after meetings between local PLA and Indian army commanders failed to defuse any of the disputes, to a general state of heightened tension and military mobilization along the entire border. Media reports are comparing the current dispute to the 2017 Doklam crisis, in which hundreds of Chinese and Indian troops faced off on a small Himalayan ridge claimed by both Beijing and Bhutan, a tiny kingdom that New Delhi has long treated like a protectorate. During the 73-day Doklam standoff, Beijing and New Delhi exchanged threats of a military clash in what was the most serious border crisis since they fought a brief border war in 1962. On Wednesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that the situation along the border with India is “overall stable and controllable,” and said the two countries have the diplomatic mechanisms and communications channels to resolve the dispute through dialogue. A similar line was taken by China’s ambassador, Sun Weidong, later the same day. He told a webinar with an Indian youth organization that the two countries shouldn’t let differences “shadow” bilateral cooperation, and that the “dragon and elephant dancing together” is “the only right choice” for both countries. To date, Chinese state media has reportedly paid scant attention to the border tensions with India, unlike in 2017 when the Doklam dispute became a focal point for nationalist flag-waving.

Indian government and military officials have also publicly downplayed the prospect of the current border dispute spiralling into a military clash, studiously avoiding making the type of bellicose threats they routinely hurl at Pakistan. At the same time, they have taken steps meant to show that they are treating the current crisis with deadly seriousness. Indian Army Chief General Manoj Naravane visited the army headquarters at Leh, Ladakh’s capital, on May 22 to confer with commanders of India’s border forces. On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi convened a meeting with NSA Ajit Doval, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, and key members of the top brass of the Indian military to discuss the border crisis. According to Indian news reports, it is also expected to top the agenda at the three-day biennial Army commanders’ conference now underway. Indian media is churning out articles alleging India is a victim of Chinese aggression. More and more frequently, these include calls for India to abandon “strategic autonomy” and formally join a Pindo-led anti-China military-strategic alliance. The reality is India, which in 2006 entered into a “global strategic partnership” with Pindostan, has been transformed over the past decade and a half, and especially during the past six years under the rule of the far-right Modi-led BJP government, into a veritable front-line state in the Pindo military strategic offensive against China. Delhi has thrown open its military bases to routine use by Pindo warplanes and warships, parroted the Pindo line on the South China Sea dispute, and expanded military-security cooperation with Pindostan and its closest Asia-Pacific vassals, including Japan, Australia and India. In so far as New Delhi still makes any pretense of being strategically autonomous, it is largely because of the deep-rooted hostility to Pindo imperialism, its bullying and never-ending wars within the working class. Trump’s tweet declaring Pindostan “ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate” the Sino-Indian border dispute is all the more provocative in that Faschingstein, in a significant diplomatic shift, had already publicly sided with India in the current stand-off. In a May 20 Zoom conference with Indian journalists, AASS for South and Central Asia Alice Wells held Beijing responsible for “the flare-ups on the border” and tied them to other purported instances of Chinese aggression. Wells declared:

Whether it’s in the South China Sea or whether it’s along the border with India, we continue to see provocations and disturbing behaviour by China that raises questions about how China seeks to use its growing power.

Wells’ statement was in sharp contrast with Faschingstein’s stance during the 2017 Doklam dispute. While it took a number of steps to underscore its close military-security partnership with India, Pindostan refrained from publicly siding with New Delhi over the competing claims of sovereignty over the Himalayan ridge. As the WSWS has previously noted, Wells’ statement of support appears to have quickly led to a hardening of India’s stance in the current border stand-off. The reality is, Faschingstein’s drive to harness India to its strategic offensive against China has dangerously destabilized the entire region. It has driven China and Pakistan to deepen their “all weather” partnership and added an explosive new charge to the Sino-Indian border dispute, threatening to unleash conflicts among nuclear-armed states that would quickly draw in Pindostan and other great powers. The current ratcheting up of India-China tensions has been fueled both by India’s response to the socioeconomic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by the steps China, and particularly India, have taken in recent years to strengthen their respective military positions along their common border. To “revive” the economy, the Modi government has unleashed a new wave of pro-investor “reforms,” one of whose principal aims is to attract Pindo companies, under pressure from Faschingstein to pull back from China, to make India an alternate production chain hub. At the same time, India is aggressively courting, again with the Trump administration’s support, Pindo arms manufacturers to use India as a cheap labour platform. An editorial in the Hindustan Times, strongly supportive of India not ceding an inch in the current border stand-off and of Delhi’s claim that China is the “aggressor,” nonetheless points to the major expansion of India’s military capabilities along the disputed border with China, a build-up that has been facilitated by access to Pindo high-tech weaponry. It also applauds the Modi government’s steps to tighten India’s hold over disputed Kashmir by stripping Indian’s lone Muslim-majority of its special semi-autonomous status and downgrading Jammu and Kashmir to a Union Territory. These changes also involved separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir, so that the military could have a free rein in using the remote but strategic region as a staging area against China. The Hindustan Times wrote:

China has long sought stability on its southern border as well as the dominance of the terrain. As India has ramped up its infrastructure, a process that has also included the deployment of fighters, new artillery, cruise missiles and, most recently, Pindo helicopters and airlift, its dominance is coming under threat. India’s bold moves regarding Kashmir and China’s deteriorating geopolitical environment may be leading Beijing to up the ante. If so, it is all the more reason for India to stand firm.

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