Home / Forum / World affairs

Is Sanders’ prescription for US woes better than that of Washington hawks?



Jun 22, 2021, 13:52

In an opinion piece for the journal Foreign Affairs entitled "Washington's Dangerous New Consensus on China" on Thursday, US Senator Bernie Sanders spoke out against a "dangerous" chorus that is pushing for a new Cold War with China. He said it is "distressing and dangerous" that "a fast-growing consensus is emerging in Washington that views the US-Chinese relationship as a zero-sum economic and military struggle." 

Sanders believes compared to organizing US foreign policy around "a zero-sum global confrontation with China," there is a better way forward. He suggested the US makes itself more competitive with China by revitalizing American democracy, restoring people's faith in government by addressing the long-neglected needs of working families, creating millions of good-paying jobs, rebuilding US crumbling infrastructure and combating climate change. He also called for cooperation with China in areas such as climate change, pandemics, and nuclear proliferation. 

Sanders views US domestic contradictions through the lens of China-US relations, and from perspective of restoring US global leadership. As the US is plagued by various social ills including weakening democracy, enlarging wealth gap, and a growing unemployment crisis, he believes the US should focus more on domestic challenges rather than confronting China. 

The current US policy elites are stuck in a Cold War mentality when dealing with China, but Sanders thinks they have prescribed Washington the wrong medicine in handling relations with China. "Sanders is pushing forward a prescription that he thinks is less dangerous and could help resolve US domestic problems," Li Haidong, professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. 

Sanders is right that the US shouldn't engage in a "zero-sum global confrontation with China." But in his article, Sanders also writes that Americans should oppose China's so-called intellectual property theft and human rights abuses, and called for concern for "China's aggressive global ambitions." This is no deviation from the new consensus on China formed in Washington that he opposes. 

Zhang Tengjun, an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said that accusing China of violating human rights has become a political correctness in the US, and although Sanders supports strengthening cooperation with China in certain fields, he won't challenge the political correctness and has to cater to mainstream voices toward China. 

Sanders also argued that the decision to grant China "permanent normal trade relations" status over 20 years ago, which he opposed at that time, was disastrous. In his view, it didn't lead to China's economic liberalization but allowed US companies to move out of the country, resulting in the loss of a large number of jobs at home. However, he neglects the fact that the US as a whole has also benefited hugely from normalizing trade relations with China. What has gone wrong is the US wealth distribution system, under which the profits big US companies gain from the China market are not fairly shared with the US public.  

The US now is facing many thorny domestic challenges. Incidents such as the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots have suggested that there is deep discontent fermenting inside the US society. The country needs a thorough reform to solve the domestic crisis. Can the US summon its strength and pull itself together? However, instead of mulling over how to tackle domestic headaches, US politicians and policy elites are more keen on shaping countries like China and Russia as enemies and advocating a confrontational approach. It's unclear how politicians such as Sanders can help correct the US' reckless China policy.

3 558
markwu post time: 2021-06-25 08:49

You are more than correct!
Hidden in US pledge is dominance with capitalistic power through its paper currency with goods production and military power to subdue all potential competitors. USSR fell prey with its leaders whose minds were dead long before swearing into office.

Unfortunately, not all of them will be as it is demonstrated by the new leader!


Results are the only metric for policy relevance. What has the US achieved by going against China so far?  Before Biden meets in G20, he should review the tortured direction of his US' malevolent policies on China so far.

The US trade war on China has only enlarged its deficit while burdening US industries and consumers and making a mockery of WTO rules. Moreover, US multinational manufacturers in China have not reshored back to the US while a few smaller assembly-types have only moved to a few countries which can only make to smaller scales, at the same time still dependent on parts inputs from China. Will the US therefore be tariffing them as well and thus making a mockery of its own presumption of international rules-based free trade mantra?

Its technology sanctions on China have only reduced its own access to its biggest technology market, increased the costs of imports which use its technology, forced China to start creating her own indigenous technologies, and disrupted the global technology supply chain at a time when cooperation would have recovered more economies while also solving the chip shortage problem which hampers its own auto and other industries. Those sanctions have also lost Americans fair choice of best-priced and quality products from China that would have passed any diligence test on national security protocols and helped them achieve their dreams through lower household expenditures.

Its currency manipulation accusations have fizzled out. In a repeat of its 2008 financial crisis, its US treasury headed by China hawk Yellen now eats humble pie by appealing to China to buy more US bonds after Powell had to hint that the US interest rate will have to be increased in order to stem any inflationary pressure; meanwhile US debt has been increasing at USD1 Billion, a day.

It is not lost on anyone that the US can never pay off its debts ever because the only way to do so is to print more dollar notes that in turn will affect the value of any US bond cashed out which underpins the very foundation of the US financial system, now relegated to manipulated gyrations of its stock market indices.

At the same time, its USD1 Trillion infrastructure budget now approved will have reduced impact from increased costs of building materials like iron besides the shortage of workers from paying relief as incentive not to work through covid-19 aid programs.

Similarly, the US sanction on Xinjiang's polysilicon exports will increase the cost of its own domestic solar-panel manufacturing which in any case is globally dominated by China makers. The US decarbonization plan will then be half-stymied before it even starts.

Maybe countries should just abandon the US dollar as reserve trade currency which has been a scam all along, and go digital with China.

To reinforce that, China should just increase the export gate prices of her products, use the extra margins to do more basic research in technology materials and processes, and watch how the US scrambles to tackle its inflation buildup.

While Bernie Sanders and many other luminaries like Joschka Fischer have railed against the US attempt at fomenting a Cold War 2.0 against China in the same way it had done so with Cold War 1.0 on Russia, Sanders however still harbours a binary optic on China when he expressed regret that China joined the WTO. 

After all, what would the US and the other G7's want China to do into the 21st century and future - be subservient and smearable to the whims and fancies of Anglo-Saxon and Imperial hubris of Chinese and canines not allowed? Western policiticans and media never asked and answer themselves the most fundamental question of their actions which is "what's next then?".

Multilateralism and globalization can increase global growth towards more prosperity and therefore peace for all, and provide means to increase investments that will solve the hollowing out issue of domestic manufacturing and jobs. 

If the US had instead of labelling China a national security and existential threat, strategic rival, most consequential competitor and what else, but work with her to open more vistas domestically for her to invest in US rustbelt jobs, then her sacrifice of her own exports which those US rustbelt makers can output will be seen as a more positive antidote to the prevailing sinophobia so that both US multinationals in China and US SMEs in the US can both benefit from the joint-ventures in both countries.

Now why did Sanders not say that? Still wanting to be politically correct like his Biden on the one hand and not attractig calumny from US anti-China rightwing hawks on the other hand? Fortuitously for the world, the US only has two hands (but many tentacles).

The past five years and more have seen the US hypocritically break every international rule that it says it champions. Forensics show each time it does so was only for its own ultimate interest.

Biden's "moral obligation" to Europe? To move its Nato forces into the Indo-Pacific after leaving India to die by delaying medical aid needed? To wax about donation of 1 billion doses of vaccine in protection of TPPed US pharma interests when 11 billion doses are needed? To tongue about human values when no elergy has been offered for the discovery of unmarked graves of indigenous Canadians that bespoke genocide, or the massacre by Australian special forces of Afghan civilians just because they were family witnesses to the extermination of farmers? To abandon the Kurds and Afghans when they were no longer useful to US strategic military interests?

With a friend like that, who needs enemies?

Hadn't he publicly lied by crowing to his crowd that other countries won't admire if US foverthrew regimes to fit its own interest.? See the master list then:

Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List
By William Blum

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

China 1949 to early 1960s
Albania 1949-53
East Germany 1950s
Iran 1953 *
Guatemala 1954 *
Costa Rica mid-1950s
Syria 1956-7
Egypt 1957
Indonesia 1957-8
British Guiana 1953-64 *
Iraq 1963 *
North Vietnam 1945-73
Cambodia 1955-70 *
Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
Ecuador 1960-63 *
Congo 1960 *
France 1965
Brazil 1962-64 *
Dominican Republic 1963 *
Cuba 1959 to present
Bolivia 1964 *
Indonesia 1965 *
Ghana 1966 *
Chile 1964-73 *
Greece 1967 *
Costa Rica 1970-71
Bolivia 1971 *
Australia 1973-75 *
Angola 1975, 1980s
Zaire 1975
Portugal 1974-76 *
Jamaica 1976-80 *
Seychelles 1979-81
Chad 1981-82 *
Grenada 1983 *
South Yemen 1982-84
Suriname 1982-84
Fiji 1987 *
Libya 1980s
Nicaragua 1981-90 *
Panama 1989 *
Bulgaria 1990 *
Albania 1991 *
Iraq 1991
Afghanistan 1980s *
Somalia 1993
Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *
Haiti 2004 *
Somalia 2007 to present
Honduras 2009 *
Libya 2011 *
Syria 2012
Ukraine 2014 *

Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?

A: Because there’s no American embassy there.

(ref: https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list )

The problem with the US is that it cannot accept anyone else as doing as well as itself.

Like the bulldog-faced crewcut schoolyard bully of indeterminate parentage, it considers the global school grounds as its personal turf so that anyone coming in and doing better in homework, school grades and friendship with others is to be considered solely a threat to its existence.

On China, it has opened its floodgate of dogs of war on the global narrative. It practices a jihadic form of democracy but looking at that list above, a democracy of its own concoction.

On the other hand, If citizens in China's vast rural areas can know and ask to visiting Americans about what's happening to US politics, isn't that a reflection that China as an autocratic regime is but a figment of US rightwing, leftwing, and bat-winged warped imagination?

Maybe it's due to a lack of culture.  The same paucity which can prompt a Jude Blanchette of the infamous CSIS to write something lately, unqualified for the fact he has never led a diverse country of 1.4 Billion before; maybe he is still as Zenzified as Patten, that exHK Governor now Oxford Chancellor who has never asked himself why HKers never had the chance to elect their own Governor if British HK was so high-faluting about democratic rights; he now stoops so low as to say that the mainland had wanted to sell the other island off; if that be the case, why did the late Chiang when he was alive move to the island and not stayed on in the mainland he said he led, the same mainland he was going to sell off to imperial japanese invaders by fighting her intrepid defenders instead until he had to be shanghaied by patriot Zhou to be shaken awake from his nipponization? 

It seems this world is still awash with midget Pompeo's as deadly as coronaviruses.

What else is China to do but to take more selfies on Mars whose entire project was run on an indigenous operating system.

The west should watch out for its next financial crunch in August.

(....tapping fingers on wooden table top :  Anything else?)


Belief in US means to kill oneself willingly and praise US for not doing it directly.