Already in his first year in office – on 13 November 2009 – in a keynote speech to his Pacific allies in Tokyo US President Barack Obama described himself as the “first Pacific President” of the USA, because the “history of America and of the Asia-Pacific region has never been more closely connected”.1
At the same time, he announced a stronger engagement in the Asian countries and emphasised the USA’s claim to world leadership.
At the beginning of October 2011, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlined the new foreign policy of her “first Pacific” president as a “swing to Asia”: “The future of policy will be decided in Asia, not in Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be at the centre of the action,”2 she said, adding that “thus the relocation of the US military’s operational focus from the Middle East to Asia is inevitable”.
And on 9 February 2012, Admiral Samuel Locklear spoke plainly in the Defense Committee of the US Senate on the occasion of his nomination as Chief of the US Pacific Command: “We are a great power in Asia. The Chinese and the other countries in the region must understand that the US is prepared to defend its national interests there.”3
TRADOC document 525-3-1
At the beginning of October 2014, at the conference of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), high-ranking officers and representatives of the US Department of Defense presented the vision of future armed conflicts. Amidst lobbyists from the weapons industry, whose companies presented the latest weapons systems, the new TRADOC document 525-3-1 Win in a Complex World 2020 – 20404 was presented. The United States Army “Training and Doctrine Command” (TRADOC) is one of three commands of the armed forces at army level and thus one of the most important commands of the US armed forces.
Through this event Bill van Auken and David North were brought to write a sharply-worded article in the mouthpiece of the “International Committee of the Fourth International” (ICFI): “US Army drafts blueprint for World War III”.5 From the text of the document both authors deduce that there are extremely threatening implications, because for the armed forces reducing the threat coming from Russia and China was mentioned in the first place, in second place the threat coming from North Korea and Iran and only in the third place the threat by terrorism.
Under its first “Pacific” president the American military successfully shifted its capacities massively towards Asia.
Then Donald J. Trump came. During the 2016 election campaign while still a presidential candidate, he published the book “Great Again”. In the chapter “Foreign Policy: Fighting for Peace” he predicted that China would replace the USA as the world’s largest economy in the next ten years, and stated: “We surrendered without a fight. There are people,” Trump continued, “who wish I didn’t call China our enemy, but it is!”6
This attitude of Trump towards China is unlikely to have remained hidden from Chinese President Xi Jinping. On Trump’s election day, Xi congratulated and expressed the hope for cooperation “with respect and without confrontation”.7
“The rise of China is a thorn in the side of the US”
But the rise of China is a thorn in the side of the United States. After the catastrophe in Libya, China has started to intervene successfully in the United States’ intervention and regime change plans in Syria and Venezuela.
Unnoticed by the Western public, the Chinese kite has made a huge leap forward technologically, economically, but also in terms of prosperity in recent decades.
Comparison: Shares of global gross domestic product (GDP) in per cent8
In his book “Destined for War. Can America and China Escape Thucydide’s Trap?“ Graham Allison, political scientist, reperesents in 2017 the thesis that China today is in the role of the rising European land power that Germany had had at the beginning of the 20th century. What the USA is today was then the global naval power Great Britain. The "Thucydides Trap" describes an apparently recurrent process from the descent of a great power and the rise of a secondary power, a process that often ended in war.8 Chinese State Councilor and Secretary of State Wang Yi alluded to this so-called Thucydides trap when he said in 2017: “China has the confidence to avoid the historical precedent by improving dialogue and coordination with the US side.”9 Wang sees only one possible choice in an international cooperation – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS countries and the new “One Belt, One Road”. In a networked world, the interests of the emerging and established powers must be reconciled in a satisfactory manner for all sides. According to Wang, conflicts would only lead to a loss-loss situation. Germany and Great Britain were able to prove this impressively after the First World War.
But will the United States – after all, highly indebted to China – simply accept this competition?
Where is the Trump administration’s China policy going?
Ten years after Obama’s keynote speech and four years after the TRADOC strategy paper, the Trump administration appears committed to “to defeating China in a struggle for global economic, technological, and military supremacy”.10
In the usual way, the well-known operational cutlery is now unpacked: agitation and propaganda, sanctions, destabilisation of other China residents by Islamic terror groups (such as ISIS as the successor to the terrorist group al-Qaeda launched by the USA), match in the streets of Taiwan as well as on the Chinese western border. And let’s not forget the turmoil in Hong Kong. All in accordance with the 1994 TRADOC paper. It defined the role of the United States Armed Forces in the 21st century, a century of world war of opposing ideologies. You are in a dynamic era, a “world in transition” – a flowery paraphrase for bloody wars. The “Operation Other Than War” (OOTW) instruction was newly introduced there.11 With the help of civilian support, peace operations, disaster relief, etc., structures are to be built and the road to war to be paved.
Hong Kong, Uyghurs, etc.
While in the east of China, in Hong Kong, masked activists block roads, throw cobblestones and incendiary devices, in the west of China – in the province of Xinjiang – the Uyghurs, a predominantly Sunni Turkic people, can be brought into position against Beijing. In the war on terror, the USA had captured 22 Uyghurs and imprisoned them in Guantánamo. Now Washington recognised the revolutionary potential of the Uyghurs and began to find host countries for the prisoners. Five found asylum in Albania, the remaining 17 were to be taken in by the Federal Republic of Germany, which was finally rejected. In return, the largest Uyghur community outside Xinjiang was formed in Munich thanks to a Uyghur employee of the US radio station Radio Free Europe.12
The significance of the Uyghur revolutionary potential is once again moving Afghanistan into focus. From north-eastern Afghanistan, the Wakhan Corridor – a 300 kilometre long stretch of land at the foot of the Pamir Mountains – runs eastward into the southern part of Xinjiang. This strategically important corridor must remain open for the intentions of the USA – which is why there is no withdrawal from Afghanistan. Since 2002, German soldiers have been patrolling the plug to the corridor – there is no end in sight.
For weeks Western leading media – from the New York Times to the Tagesschau (German national and international television news service) – have been orchestrating the suffering of the Uyghurs: “Leak to Uyghur camps‚No mercy’” (Tagesschau) and New York Times report on China’s gulag system, Beijing’s “People’s War” against the Uyghurs (Spiegel). The propaganda war against China is in full swing. It seems to be only a small step to the accusation of genocide. In western China, the world view of China and its neighbour Russia collides with that of the USA and its primarily western allies. For Willy Wimmer, the disintegration of the Soviet Union “should not lead to endless wars in Central Asia on both sides of the Tien Shan Mountains. Hence the Shanghai cooperation based on the CSCE model. This successful European model”, Willy Wimmer continued, “encountered the sabotage attitude of the United States in Asia. Not a peaceful settlement, but the fight for American interests to the end was the order of the day, right down to the last Uyghur”.13
The role of Great Britain and NATO
Long before Donald Trump entered the White House, the corresponding strategy papers were adopted. The US military, including all US intelligence agencies and other government agencies, was able to prepare for a long Quasi-War, “which included both growing economic and diplomatic pressure on China and the building of military forces along its periphery”.14
Since the current president took office, such initiatives have escalated into a Cold War style struggle.
White (Western) pawns are moving on the chessboard, some of which have overlapping and some diverging interests.
The declining great power, the USA, has to hold down its rival China, while the representatives of the former British Empire – and here above all the City of London – have other priorities. They could use the decline of the US to revive the old Empire. That is where the brexit makes perfect sense. The bank HSBC (Honkong & Shanghai Banking Cooperation Holdings) is a major British bank with its headquarters in London – according to Forbes it ranks 9th among the branches and offices in the entire Asia-Pacific region. If China rises, HSBC will make significant profits.
Thus, the City of London will have little interest in a full-scale war in China. And while the circles around Trump would avoid a war against Russia if possible, since, among other things, it would be too costly, the London strategists once again see an opportunity to weaken the continent permanently by a war between Germany and Russia. In this war big profits would also attract, because Great Britain would not have to fight on the continent thanks to Brexit.
Now it will be up to the warring parties to mobilise suitable auxiliary peoples. In Asia, Japan, India and Pakistan could be won or involved in conflicts, while in Europe the Baltic states and Poland would have to be mobilised for a war against Russia. The French head of state considers NATO to be brain dead. He is probably wrong. NATO’s command structures end at the Pentagon. It would be a big mistake to underestimate the military potential of the USA and its ability to exert influence (see Maidan). The EU, on the other hand, is probably brain-dead.
The new leadership is firmly integrated into transatlantic networks and will instrumentalise the EU in the interests of the US. •
1 “Obama umwirbt Asiens Staaten” (Obama wooing Asian countries) at www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/us-praesident-in-tokioobama-umwirbt-asiens-staaten-a-661256.html
2 Clinton, Hillary. America’s Pacific Century from 11 October 2011 at https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/americas-pacific-century/
3 Nominations Before The Senate Armed Services Committee, Second Session, 112th Congress www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-112shrg80073/html/CHRG-112shrg80073.htm
4 https://www.tradoc.army.mil/Portals/14/Documents/TP525-3-1%20The%20Army%20Operating%20Concept.pdf of 31 October 2014
5 https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/14/pers-o14.html of 14 October 2014
6 Trump, Donald J. Great Again! Wie ich Amerika retten werde (Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America). Kulmbach 2016, p. 60
7 Gehen China und USA auf Konfrontation? (Are China and the USA going to confront each other)? At www.hintergrund.de/politik/welt/gehen-china-und-usa-auf-konfrontation/
8 Achten, Peter. “China als Supermacht. Die Falle des Thukydides”, (China as a Superpower. The Thukydides Trap) from 20 Jnauary 2019, see www.cash.ch/news/politik/china-als-supermacht-die-falle-des-thukydides-1266222
9 quoted from Achten, Peter. “China als Supermacht. Die Falle des Thukydides” (China as a Superpower. The Thukydides Trap)
10 Klare, Michael T. War with China? It’s already under way, from 17 February 2019, tomdispatch.com at www.zeitschrift-luxemburg.de/krieg-mit-china/
11 OOTW: Military activities during peacetime and conflict that do not necessarily involve armed clashes between two organised forces TRADOC PAMPHLET 525-5, FORCE XXI, Operations, “A Concept for the Evolution of Full-Dimensional Operations for the Strategic Army oft he Early Twenty-First Century” from 1 August 1994
12 Effenberger, Wolfgang. Das amerikanische Jahrhundert – Teil 2 Wiederkehr des Geo-Imperialismus? (The American Century – part 2 Return of Geo-Imperialism?) Norderstedt 2011, p. 205/206
13 Wimmer, Willy. Die Deutschen an die Front (Germans to the front), from 18 November 2019 unter https://de.sputniknews.com/kommentare/20191118326002987-deutschland-militarismus-kommentar/
14 Klare, Michael T. War with China? It’s already under way, from 17 February 2019, tomdispatch.com at www.zeitschrift-luxemburg.de/krieg-mit-china/
(Translation Current Concerns)
* Wolfgang Effenberger, born in 1946, is a publicist and author of books, including “Wiederkehr der Hasardeure. Schattenstrategen, Kriegstrei-ber, stille Profiteure 1914 und heute” (gemeinsam mit Willy Wimmer), (Return of the gamblers. Shadow strategists, warmongers, silent profiteers 1914 and today) (together with Willy Wimmer), 2014 (ISBN 978-3-943007-07-7), “Geo-Imperialismus. Die Zerstörung der Welt” (Geo-Imperialism. The Destruction of the World), 2016 (ISBN 978-3-86445-323-6), “Europas Verhängnis 14/18. Die Herren des Geldes greifen zur Weltmacht”, (Europe’s Doom 14/18. The Lords of Money Reach for World Power), 2018 (ISBN 978-3-943007-19-0), “Europas Verhängnis 14/18. Kritische angloamerikanische Stimmen zur Geschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs”, (Europe’s Doom 14/18. Critical Anglo-American Voices on the History of the First World War), 2018 (ISBN 978-3-943007-20-6) and “Europas Verhängnis 14/18. Revolution, Rätewirren und Versailles”, 2019 (ISBN 978-3-943007-24-4), (Europe’s Doom 14/18. Revolution, Council Confusion and Versailles).
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