#97 China – Not a New Cold War?

President Biden has declared the U.S. is “not seeking — I’ll say it again — we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.

Actions speak louder than words. Biden’s statement of not seeking a new Cold War and a world divided into rigid blocks is laughable. Historically Washington will use a position of strength to force its diplomacy upon other nations. China, on the other hand, tends to do what is best for China. Not what the U.S. wants.

Three Red Lines
China will not back down or buckle on issues contrary to its foreign policy. China has spelled out three red lines for the United States and has warned Washington not to cross them. The three red lines:
1) not challenging China’s political system;
2) not disrupting China’s development; and
3) not interfering in China’s sovereignty issues such as matters in Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan

Cold War 1950’s and 60’s
In 1949 Mao Zedong and the communists defeated the U.S. backed Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang), led by Director-general Chiang Kai-shek to take control of China. The U.S. portrayed China under the dictates of Mao as the ultimate rogue state. In the 1950s and 1960s, China was far more radical than its Communist ally, the Soviet Union.

Chairman Mao Zedong’s policies led to the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Beijing also fought two undeclared wars against the U.S., in Korea and Vietnam; it promoted insurgency and revolution in the developing world.

During the 1950s, the President Dwight D. Eisenhower administration put extreme economic and military pressure on Beijing in hopes that Mao would make excessive demands for support from Moscow. Washington’s Cold War narrative was that the US-led international rules-based order must preserve against revisionist states like China and the Soviet Union.

A 1965 Washington memorandum best outlines Washington’s strategy on China. It points to four blocs required to contain China; the USSR (Russia) on the north and northwest, the Japan-Korea front; the India-Pakistan front; and the Southeast Asia front. The U.S. was diligently maintaining an economic and military advantage in these blocs.

Korea and Japan Bloc
Three fronts, identified in 1965, are still maintained by the U.S. The U.S. currently has tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed along the Japan-Korea front. Washington continues to cite the threat of North Korea as justification for the installation of THAAD missile defense systems. However, it is no secret that THAAD is to defend U.S. installations from Chinese retaliation, not a North Korean attack.

India-Pakistan Bloc
Regarding the India-Pakistan front, the U.S. has most recently included India in another attempted anti-China front, the Quad Alliance. The US has armed and backed separatist militants in the Baluchistan, southwest region of Pakistan. These militants have for years attacked Chinese-led infrastructure projects that form the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). An assassination attempt targeting China’s ambassador to Pakistan, in Baluchistan, was aimed at disrupting China’s Belt and Road Initiative against the Chinese.

Southeast Asian Bloc
US-backed anti-Chinese opposition groups’ attempts to seize power in the respective Southeast Asian States have promoted an arc of instability. Dubbed the “Milk Tea Alliance,” the common denominator besides their anti-China agenda is their U.S. government funding funneled through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and adjacent corporate-funded foundations, including Open Society.

Nixon Goes to China
Fifty years ago, in 1971, Henry Kissinger took a secret trip to Beijing. It began a U.S.-China effort to discuss issues that had divided them since the 1949 Communist take-over. The move changed the strategic geometry of the Cold War and proved to be a high point in Sino-American relations. Taiwan was the final stumbling block for the U.S.-Sino diplomatic relationship.

The Kissinger meeting was followed by a President Nixon visit the following year. This diplomatic change created the global conditions for China’s rise. Washington understood that re-establishing ties required moral compromises — such as abandoning Taiwan and toasting Mao.

China expected Washington to break formal ties with Taipei as a condition of Sino-American diplomatic normalization. Nixon was reluctant to give up on Taiwan, but he knew that the success of his 1972 trip depended on U.S. admission that it did not seek “two Chinas or a “one China, one Taiwan solution.”

Outmaneuvering Moscow and winning the Cold War was the greater benefit. The Soviet Union had to contend with two powerful rivals working to counter it. It had a two-front confrontation against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and China.

China pulled away from the Soviet Union driving a dagger into the heart of Moscow’s stagnate socialist model. The Soviet Union would have to contend with two powerful rivals, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and China.

After Mao’s death, the new partnership facilitated reforms. China moved toward capitalism and its relationship with the world changed. China received valuable intelligence, technology, and military goods from the U.S. from close American allies such as Japan. China received aid, trade, and investment.

Illiberal China

Many had believed that China would eventually become more democratic as it grew rich, like Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. It never happened. A democratic wave swept across the communist world from 1989 to 1991. As the Berlin Wall fell, Germany reunified, the Soviet Union collapsed, the Iron Curtain tumbled, democratically elected governments replaced the communist regimes of Eastern Europe – China chose bullets.

The Tiananmen Square human rights crackdown in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later ended the 1971 marriage of geopolitical convenience between the U.S. and China. The U.S. unipolar moment led them to double down on engagement with China.

Washington believed that the forces of globalization and liberalization would transform China into a more liberal and less brutal regime. China had no interest in being transformed. The inertia of that policy, plus the fact that the U.S. got hooked on trade with China, has pushed Washington in the direction of a new cold war.

Recent U.S. Actions
Washington will keep tariffs and sanctions in place and continue to add additional rounds until Beijing changes its tune on trade and human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The militarization of the Asia-Pacific will continue to unbalance the power structure in favor of Washington.

To counter China, the U.S. regularly conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations(FNOPs), sailing U.S. Navy warships through waters claimed by China. Then points to the 1982 Law of the Sea of Conventions which provides for certain rights and freedoms and other lawful uses, of the sea, to all nations. (the US is not a signatory)

Washington demands that Beijing backs down on Taiwan and the South China Sea and then ultimately resigns itself to the reality of a permanent American military presence in its backyard. These policies reiterate that normalized relationships will only happen on Washington terms.

The AUKUS and the Quad
The U.S. has inserted itself into otherwise ordinary and long-standing disputes in the South China Sea. To justify the growing naval presence in the region, they have been escalating minor regional disputes into a global conflict. To help advance U.S. foreign policy, encircle and contain China, they have recruited nations into belligerent alliances like the Quad and AUKUS.

AUKUS
Following the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration appears to be reorienting its foreign policy with China. Confrontation with China will most definitely ensue. Leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia launched a new strategic partnership, AUKUS, an alliance aimed at China.

Biden should explain how the AUKUS alliance between the U.S., U.K., and Australia fits his not seeking a new Cold War narrative. Defined as an enhanced trilateral security partnership to foster the integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains will deepen cooperation of security and defense capabilities.

Maybe Biden should be asked to explain how providing Australia with nuclear-powered submarines with offensive attacks and not defensive needs deepens information and technology sharing?

To suggest that AUKUS would protect China’s shipping lanes from China is paradoxical. AUKUS appears to be the primary threat to international commerce. Added physical force will only strangle free trade over the open seas.

World Reaction
Asked about AUKUS, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called it an extremely irresponsible move. Zhao continued, “Seeking [a] closed and exclusive clique runs counter to the trend of the times and the aspirations of countries in the region,” and those sticking to this “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality… will only end up shooting themselves in the foot.”

In a recent article, Malaysian politician Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said, “You have escalated the threat blasts Australia.” He reports, “this agreement indicates you openly regard China as a possible enemy and that if it comes to the crunch, you might even go to war. Just imagine what war would do to Southeast Asia.”

Hugh White, a former Australian defense official, told the New York Times, “the Australian decision to go this way is not just a decision to go for a nuclear-powered submarine. It’s a decision to deepen and consolidate our strategic alignment with the United States against China.” White added, “This just further deepens the sense that we do have a new Cold War in Asia,” he continued, “and that Australia is betting that in that new Cold War, the U.S. is going to emerge victoriously.”

The QUAD – (United States, Japan, India, and Australia)
Biden boasts that the Quad partnership is to counter China. Their biggest concern is its perceived challenge to maritime security posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing has built military installations on reclaimed islands in the South China Sea, a global waterway and trade route. Quad members see that as a potential threat to free trade and travel.

In March, the Quad leaders issued a joint statement about the importance of the rule of law [and] freedom of navigation. Clearly about what all four countries consider as China’s illegitimate claims in the South China Sea.

The United States, Japan, India, and Australia presented a united front amid shared concerns about China. Last week, the leaders pledged to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific region undaunted by coercion. They claim to stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity.

Nations in the region have disputes not only with China but among the other neighboring countries. There is a series of overlapping territorial claims over the South China Sea. Is it presumptuous, or is it predictable that the U.S. would single out China as the bully?

#96 – 90 Years Later, War is Still a Racket

In the 1930’s, Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient, made a nationwide tour giving his speech War is a Racket. In 1935 he published the book War is a Racket. Butler points out how industrialists, subsidized by public funding, can generate substantial profits, making money from mass human suffering.  

In a September 13, 2021 paper entitled, Profits of War: Corporate Beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 Pentagon Spending Surge, William D. Hartung examines Pentagon spending that has benefited weapon makers, logistics firms, private security contractors, and other corporate interests. His paper echos the same conclusion that Smedley Butler made almost 100 years ago. 

Hartung points out that the financial benefits from a war economy include much more than just the weapons industry. Although one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years have gone to just five weapons contractors: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman, there has been an abundance of booty to be had.

Heidi Peltier reported that roughly half of the Pentagon 2019 budget went to military contractors. These funds were both for war-related and ongoing peacetime activities. The FY2020 indicates, the spending for these contractors grew to $420 billion. It includes logistics and reconstruction firms like Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), Bechtel, and armed private security contractors like Blackwater and Dyncorp. 

The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud, and abuse in the two war zones as of 2011 had totaled $31 billion to $60 billion. Taking advantage of the less rigorous oversight under wartime conditions is what is called war profiteering. The war industries are guilty of overcharging, shoddy construction, and outright theft by contractors. 

Overcharging violations in 2004, KBR refunded the U.S. $27.4 million for potential over-billings at dining facilities in Iraq and Kuwait. Shoddy work has had tragic human consequences, like the electrocution of at least eighteen military personnel in several bases in Iraq due to faulty electrical installations and lack of grounding. 

The list goes on; $43 million on a never used gas station, another $150 million on lavish living quarters for U.S. economic advisors, and $3 million for patrol boats for the Afghan police that were also never used.

A Congressional investigation found that a significant portion of $2 billion worth of transportation contracts to U.S. and Afghan firms ended with kickbacks to warlords, police officials, or payments to the Taliban. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that a source of funding for the Taliban was the protection money paid from U.S. transportation contracts.

The use of private contractors reduces transparency and accountability in war zones, accompanied by disastrous results. In 2011 contractors represented more than half of the U.S. presence in the contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, at times employing more than a quarter-million people.

A 2017 analysis by Brown University’s Costs of War project documented abysmal labor conditions and human rights abuses inflicted on foreign nationals working on U.S.-funded projects in Afghanistan. Including false imprisonment, theft of wages, and deaths and injuries in areas of conflict.

Activities of private contractors like Blackwater and its 2007 massacre of 17 people in Baghdad’s Nisour Square have occurred. Contractors like Titan and CACI International firms involved in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. Their activities included interrogators and translators on the ground at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison where inmates were tortured.

Failures like DynCorp, a primary contractor to train and develop the Afghan police force between 2002 and 2017, are rewarded instead of terminated. By 2009, over half of DynCorp’s revenues were coming from the Iraq and Afghan wars. The same company paid $1.5 million to settle fraud allegations for a scheme in that DynCorp officials received kickbacks from subcontractors. The same company agreed to pay the U.S. $7 million to settle a lawsuit for submitting inflated charges.

Smedley Butler wrote: ”War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war, a few people make huge fortunes.”

The ultimate solution for stopping war profiteering is stopping war. Until then, slash the Department of Defense budget and change the U.S. foreign policy. Prioritizes real diplomacy, not gunboat diplomacy.

#95 – American Tune

“Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken”

In August 2021, after a bomb was detonated at the Kabul airport, killing thirteen Marines, President Biden declared that he would seek revenge. The terrorist attack was to goad the U.S. government to overreact, which it did. Three days later, a drone strike on August 29, 2021, incinerated Zemari Ahmadi’s entire family. 

Zemari Ahmadi, was a family man. He had a wife and seven children. He was working diligently to obtain refugee visas to the United States. Zemari Ahmadi was a U.S. aid worker, an electrical engineer by training, worked for a California-based NGO, Nutrition and Education International. Who would believe that carrying water and transporting colleagues around town in a white Toyota Corolla would be a death sentence?

“And many times confused”

Revenge justice became an injustice for Ahmadi and his family. While the Pentagon believed that the target was behaving suspiciously, in fact, he was going about an ordinary day of running errands. Security camera footage of Ahmadi moving about with colleagues, holding laptops and empty plastic water containers. The Pentagon interpreted the water bottles and laptops as evidence of an imminent terrorist attack. 

In press conferences after the strike, officials maintained that a large secondary explosion showed that the car contained bombs. They surmised that the non-existing bombs were to be used to disrupt the evacuations underway at Kabul airport. However, independent weapons experts enlisted to assess the damage at the scene found no evidence of a secondary blast. They found no damage to peripheral structures and no indication that the destruction of the car and the deaths of ten human beings resulted from the missile of a U.S. drone, only.

“Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken”

During the Vietnam War, hatred and fear of communism led U.S. government administrators to devise immoral programs such as Phoenix, which resulted in widespread civilian carnage. In the 1970s, the Church Committee and the Pike Committee reined in the CIA and the Pentagon. A moratorium was put on assassination by President Ford in 1976 through Executive Order 11905. However, in response to the events of September 11, 2001, the Global War on Terror ended the moratorium on assassinations. 

After the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government launched a War on Terrorism. Under the Geneva Convention, it was illegal for a soldier to execute an unarmed enemy soldier point-blank. In the Drone Age, it is perfectly permissible for an operator located thousands of miles away from a “battlefield” devoid of allied soldiers to push a button and eliminate a suspected enemy combatant, along with anyone who happens to be around him at the time.

And certainly misused

The drone program assumes that it is perfectly acceptable to execute anyone anywhere based on purely circumstantial evidence. In addition to cellphone SIM card data, drone video footage and the testimony of bribed informants on the ground are also used to add names to hit lists. “Crowd killing,” entire groups of men of unknown identity have been eliminated under the assumption of guilt by association.

Politicians and the populace have been “tricked” into believing that a soldier located in a trailer in Nevada could kill a person without being provided the right to surrender or be allowed to prove that he was not a terrorist. Many of those executed were unarmed, innocent, women, and children. 

U.S. taxpayers funded this large-scale program of mass murder. Yet this killing was ignored by most citizens, in large part because the mainstream media outlets choose not to discuss the matter, deferring to the Pentagon pretext of national self-defense. Their truth is corrupt as military bureaucrats convinced the populace that was doing nothing wrong, even when, under the guise of national defense, they killed scores of human beings at gatherings such as funerals and weddings. Hell, they have even bombed hospitals.

These premeditated executions, formerly known as assassination and considered illegal under international law, were rebranded as targeted killing and embraced as a new standard operating procedure of was billed as “smart” war. Remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) or lethal drones was good news for politicians who promoted the drone program without thinking about the consequences for the people on the ground. Lethal drones made it possible for war without the troops risking their lives without boots on the ground. 

“Oh, but I’m alright, I’m all right”

Daniel Hale, who worked in the drone assassination program in Afghanistan he stole and shared top-secret documents. “The Drone Papers,” were published online by Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept and later in his book, “The Assassination Complex.” The documents reveal; little analysis is giving to ensure the safety of innocent civilians, that the people killed were of entirely unknown identity, the targets were considered guilty without any ability to prove themself innocent. 

I’m just weary to my bones

For whistleblowing, Hale will spend 45 months in prison for violating the Espionage Act. His defense, “I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless.” He went on to say that he felt a need to share what “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

*Sub titles taken from Paul Simon’s lyricsAmerican Tune

#94 Mandate – What Can We Do?

A plan to force all federal workers to get the COVID-19 jab mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for others, weekly tests, and crippling fines for those who don’t comply. President Biden assures us that “this is not about freedom or personal choice.” No, at issue is power.

Biden’s order is a usurpation of executive power. Hell, human freedoms and rights are only secondary issues. People are angry that one man has the power to make health decisions for them regardless of their ability to make rational judgments concerning their own body, medical history, and overall health.

It is personal when a needle, filled with liquid, is forced into the arms of reluctant people: people that may have; natural immunities; never opted for a flu shot; no fear of exposure to the pathogen; concerns about being part of an experiment; or any other reason. People get mad, especially after they are still forced into masks and denied other essential rights.

The mandate presumes that everyone is equally susceptible to severe outcomes from getting exposed to the virus. We have known this is not true since at least February 2020. However, there has been little information about the range of demographic gradients in infection. Age and overall health are the most susceptible gradient.

Scientists for hundreds of years have worked to understand pathogens. Their effect on the body, the range of susceptibility to both infection and severe outcomes, the demographics of vulnerability, how we become protected from them, and the opportunities and limits available to people to protect themselves and others.

The Biden mandate pretends that the only immunity is the vaccine, not natural. Natural immunity is long-lasting and broader. Science, for centuries, has been telling us this. Why have we not been inundated with this tidbit of science?

Biden appears to believe that vaccines stop the infection and spread. He has claimed this many times, with certainty that this is not the case. The CDC admits it. The best guess at this point is that it can help in preventing hospitalization and death. However, currently, statistics indicate that most cases in the developed world are occurring among the vaccinated.

The vaccine may provide more protection for those with natural immunity. However, the vaccine is new and untested relative to most drugs approved by regulators. This vaccine was approved much faster than any drug in our lifetime. People are concerned about possible side effects. There is no one in a position to say with certainty that the skeptics are wrong.

Modern society has, until now, focused on protecting human freedom, individual rights, and public health while preserving peace and prosperity. However, in the last 18 months, this work and knowledge have been shredded, replaced by superstition masquerading as some new science of social and pathogenic control.

One year ago, we had the opportunity to embrace the wisdom of the Great Barrington Declaration to protect the vulnerable while letting society otherwise function. This proclamation was censored and ignored. Instead, travel restrictions, capacity limits, business closures, school shutdowns, mask mandates, forced human separation (“social distancing”), and vaccinations have produced no successes.

In his July 4th, 1776 Declaration of Independence, Jefferson proclaims that the citizens of the United States have certain unalienable rights. He lists Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Biden’s mandate violates the truths that Jefferson described as being self-evident.

Jefferson proclaimed, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” He is clear that there are consequences for a dereliction to uphold this responsibility. “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

Today’s governments have attempted to demonstrate to the world that they are powerful enough, smart enough, educated enough to outsmart and manage any living organism, even an invisible one that has been here amongst us since humans existed. They have failed. What can we do?

Much of this blog is the work of Jeffrey Tucker. (link below)

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/september/10/science-denied-the-biden-vaccine-mandate/