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This past Thursday US Senator Josh Hawley gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation — a warmongering think tank with immense influence in the DC swamp — that is a perfect representation of a couple of interesting dynamics occurring in US foreign policy thought today.
The Trump-endorsed Hawley is a perfect example of the faux-populism in the "MAGA" branch of the Republican Party: a rich Ivy League alum who makes a big display of standing up to the elites on behalf of the little guy, while consistently advancing the longstanding agendas of western oligarchs, DC neocons, and secretive US government agencies.
Hawley's latest performance of pretending to fight the Deep State while directly assisting the Deep State appears in his speech titled "China and Ukraine: A Time for Truth," wherein he denounces the “endless proxy war in Ukraine,” the "Uniparty” of “neoconservatives on the right and liberal globalists on the left,” and the way US wars in the Middle East cost "billions of dollars there and lost hundreds of American lives" (a massive understatement on both counts).
In typical MAGA Republican fashion, Hawley then takes all this populist-sounding rhetoric and uses it to argue that all the wealth, resources and military firepower that's going toward those foreign policy blunders overseas should instead be used to help prepare for war with China over Taiwan. It's no wonder that Hawley is a favorite guest of another faux-populist, the virulent anti-China propagandist Tucker Carlson, who often makes the same argument.
Calling China “a new imperially-minded power” (in comparison to World War II Axis powers, not the United States), Hawley claims that PRC president Xi Jinping “wants control of the Pacific,” and will swiftly move from taking over Taiwan to militarily encircling the United States if he isn't stopped.
After fearmongering about mass product shortages "of everything from basic medicine to consumer electronics" should Beijing take Taiwan, Hawley then began describing a "dark future" in which the world finds itself surrounded by Chinese war machinery, even in Washington's neck of the woods:
If China takes Taiwan, it will be able to station its own military forces there. It can then use its position as a springboard for further conquest and intimidation—against Japan, the Philippines, and other Pacific islands, like Guam and the Northern Marianas.
As Asia’s new reigning power, China could restrict U.S. trade in the region—perhaps block it altogether. Maybe we’ll be allowed in, but only on terms favorable to China.
There’s more. We recently witnessed a Chinese spy balloon cruise across the American heartland. But things can get much worse.
Imagine a world where Chinese warships patrol Hawaiian waters, and Chinese submarines stalk the California coastline. A world where the People’s Liberation Army has military bases in Central and South America. A world where Chinese forces operate freely in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Yeah, imagine that Josh. Imagine a strange, dark timeline where China is encircling the US with military bases and weapons of war. You know, in literally the exact same way the US is doing to China right now.
I recently did a write-up on a freakish bit of war propaganda put out by Sky News Australia about the threat of "China's aggression" provoking a third world war. Hilariously, about halfway through the special, Sky News flashes a graphic showing the immense sprawling military presence that the US has built up around China in "a vast network of operations that extend from Hawaii all the way to India."
The Sky News special is titled "China's aggression could start new world war," but your brain would have to be made of soup not to look at that graphic and understand who the real aggressor is here. The US is plainly acting aggressively, and China is plainly reacting defensively to those aggressions. This is obvious because the US would never tolerate China doing to it what it has been doing to China, as evidenced by the fact that people like Josh Hawley describe that exact hypothetical as the absolute worst-case "dark future" nightmare scenario.
If Hawley wants to play a game of imagining things, perhaps he should imagine what the United States would do if China suddenly began doing the things he described. Chinese warships sailing around near California and Hawaii, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, under the same aggressive "freedom of navigation" exercises that US warships routinely perform in waters near China to the anger of Beijing. People’s Liberation Army military bases in Central and South America, like the network of military bases the US has set up around China and continues to build up to this very day.
Imagine that, Josh.
It's not pleasant to imagine what would happen in such a situation, because it would mean an immediate world war. The US would immediately regard China's building up a military presence in the western hemisphere as an act of war and begin attacking those forces like hostile invaders. We all know this is true because of the way US empire managers like Josh Hawley talk about such a prospect.
It will never stop being funny to me the way American supremacists melodramatically rend their garments over the idea of nations like Russia and China asserting small spheres of influence over former Soviet states and the South China Sea, meanwhile they themselves insist on asserting a sphere of influence that looks like this:
It's nonsensical for US empire loyalists to continually kvetch about foreign governments doing things the US empire does constantly. Stop creating the dynamic you claim to oppose. If you sincerely want peace, stop waging endless wars. If you sincerely oppose spheres of influence, stop asserting them yourself far more egregiously than anyone else. If you sincerely want an end to things like election interference, espionage and propaganda, stop being the world's worst perpetrator of them. If you sincerely don't want a world war, stop accelerating toward one. Be the change, bro.
Of course none of those changes will be made by the drivers of the US empire, because they do not sincerely want those things. What they want is power and global domination.
One of the strangest things the mainstream worldview asks us to accept is that the US government (A) should be the leader of the entire world and (B) wants to be the leader of the world solely for righteous and beneficent reasons.
Anyone else who wants to rule the world gets called a megalomaniac. We all grew up watching movies and shows about evil villains who want to rule the world. Yet the mainstream worldview asks us to accept that the US government wants to rule the world solely because it loves us all and wants to give everyone freedom and democracy.
This whole imperial song and dance is the most ridiculous thing in the world.
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The profound hypocrisy in the way the U.S. dumps its treasury into the military while willfully neglecting the needs of its own citizens and screaming humanitarian talking points from the rooftops is truly breathtaking on a scale that is almost impossible to bear. "We return you now to your regularly scheduled programming."
Empires always claim to be acting out of the most noble of motives.