Time to blame China again

November 6, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

In the months before September 11, 2001, I was startled to hear many politicians and media outlets drumming up potential military conflict between the United States and China. I remember this well, because my wife and I had recently adopted a Chinese baby, and she was our second Chinese daughter.  I feared that this wild lashing out China would make the United States a bad place to raise our babies.  Here’s a sample of the kind of things that you would see back then, this excerpt from a report issued by the Rand Corporation:

According to a newly released Rand Corp. report, China’s military is narrowing its technology gap with the U.S. armed forces using U.S. commercial technology. Beijing is developing advanced systems and its military capabilities may approach or equal the United States in some areas, the study says. . . According to Jack Spencer, a defense analyst and fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the Chinese military is preparing itself for a future war with America.

Consider also this excerpt

The Bush administration has made hostility to China one of its foreign policy principles. Bush attacked the Clinton-Gore administration during the 2000 elections, declaring that China was a “strategic competitor,” not a “strategic partner” of the United States. A series of initiatives in the last three months have been directed against Beijing—moves toward a US missile defense focused on China, reversal of US policy for a rapprochement with North Korea, and plans to supply sophisticated naval and air weaponry to Taiwan.

But then 9/11 happened and we forgot about China, because we had a fresh new enemy with the necessary prerequisites: just like the Chinese, people from the Middle East didn’t look like us or talk like us. Further, we had been painting Middle-Eastern people as dangerous for years in movies and television.  So while we went off to joust at oil wells in the Middle East, China  worked hard to remake itself.   It also worked hard to develop deep and lasting relationships with various African nations that are rich in natural resources.

And now, here in 2010, now that our military involvement in the Middle East has been exposed as an expensive sham lacking any military objectives, we need a new enemy. Let’s see . . . what country seems to have discipline to set and attain meaningful goals in manufacturing, energy and technology? What country is implementing cool new super-speed trains? China! Let’s drum up a war against China! The Chinese must be causing our economic woes! Why? Because we say so.

New York Mayor Bloomberg hears this anti-China rhetoric loud and clear.

“I think in America, we’ve got to stop blaming the Chinese and blaming everybody else and take a look at ourselves,” he said.

And consider this quote by Zachary Karabell of the NYT:

When did we collectively go through the looking glass and end up in this distorted economic universe? The idea that the U.S. is not responsible for its own economic stagnation, housing bubble and unemployment is a black-is-white, up-is-down view that only insecurity can breed. It’s not us; it’s them and their cheap goods.

When religious zealots are running the country rather than pragmatic politicians (the religion being Christian Free Market Fundamentalism), it’s a lot easier to find external enemies (liberals, African-Americans, gays, Europeans, and people from anywhere else) than to look in the mirror.



Category: American Culture, Military, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    And speaking of xenophobia, Oklahoma voters may have accidentally outlawed the 10 Commandments in Oklahoma Courts. http://www.examiner.com/populist-in-national/okla

    Here's more: "Oklahoma voters have approved a measure that would forbid judges from considering international law or Islamic law when deciding cases. Republican Rex Duncan, the sponsor of the measure, called it a "pre-emptive strike" designed to close the door on activist judges 'legislating from the bench or using international law or Sharia law.'"


  2. Jim Razinha says:

    We can't not have an external enemy, for as you point out so succinctly, our predicament can't have been our fault. Some administrations are better than others at creating an enemy to deflect attention from themselves, and win re-election. Some "man up" and don't try to raise the Orange Alert magician sleight of hand when they are losing.

    And every four years, it seems the political strategists make one of your token real-world-non-issue targets a major issue, whether it be immigration, Muslim, gay rights, or whatever. I wonder what the non-issue fulcrum will be in 2012.

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