China is not Yesterday’s Enemies, by Peter Van Buren

To put China into the template of Cold War 1 ignores huge differences between that country and the old Soviet Union. Such ignorance could prove very costly. From Peter Van Buren at

The Biden Administration and the U.S. military are sticking to old playbooks instead of understanding a new situation.

Joe Biden’s China policy is unnecessarily adversarial. It is impractical and dangerous. It plays out as if it is being run by WWII reenactors.

China was artificially reimagined as an enemy-in-a-box as the wars of terror sputtered out and America needed a new villain. Biden envisions China as an autocratic foil for democracy to wage a global struggle against. “On my watch,” Joe said, “China will not achieve its goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world.” Biden went on to claim the world was at an inflection point to determine “whether or not democracy can function in the 21st century.” In Biden’s neo-Churchillian view, the U.S. and, what the hell, the whole free world he believes he is president of, are in a death match with China.

But there is unbelievable hypocrisy in America’s claimed role. Biden seems oblivious as the U.S. mowed down Muslims by drone even while self-righteously tsk tsk-ing China for abusing its Uighur minority. After our two-decade hissy fit of invasions and nation building brought kleptocracies to lead countries, we dare bark that China is not democratic. We seem not to notice our imperial lack of clothing when we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with tyrants and dictators strewn around Africa and the Middle East. We see no issues demanding democracy in Hong Kong while not having had much to say about it when the place was a British colony stolen by war from Chinese sovereignty.

Apart from sheer hypocrisy, there are other reasons to wonder how China ended up America’s sworn enemy for Cold War 2.0. The relationship otherwise does not look much like that of our old nemesis, the Soviet Union. The Russkies had a nasty habit of rolling tanks across borders, as of course did the U.S. Sometimes it was even in the same country—how’d that Afghanistan thing work out?

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