The American hybrid war on China kicks into top gear
Taking a cue from the Democratic party that continues to blame the existence of Russia on every domestic problem in the United States, the Republicans have now joined the bandwagon of mass hysteria directed at foreign scapegoats only this time China is the target. Yesterday, US Vice President Mike Pence accused China of working to meddle in US elections and even implied that Beijing is attempting to remove Donald Trump from office due to dissatisfaction over the present trade war. The timing of Pence’s evidence free provocation coincided with a revelation published in Bloomberg stating that US big tech firms whose goods are produced in China have been subject to Chinese state espionage. While the narrative that US officials are dog-whistling to American and other non-Chinese tech firms is that “China is stealing your trade secrets”, the liberal mainstream media interpreted Bloomberg’s un-evidenced report to mean that the Chinese government is spying on the private data of US citizens.
Taken in totality, there clearly exists a perfect storm of Sinophobic hysteria on the horizon that is likely to outdo the current wave of anti-Russian racism. However, beyond the perception of the Sinophobic campaign among ordinary Americans, the geo-economic/geopolitical implications of the manifold American hybrid war against China are far more pressing than that involving Russia.
While Russia always had few and now has fewer and fewer economic relations with the US, China is an economic superpower whose imports continue to dominate all economic sectors in the United States. Prior to the present trade war, China also represented one of the most important foreign markets for US farmers, while prior to the recent stoppage of US oil exports to China, US oil on the Chinese market represented a sector that was growing at the staggering rate of 1,994% since 2016.
China will not indulge western insanity as Russia has done
But while the economic interests of the US and Chinese economies are far more mutually bound than Donald Trump seems ready to admit, the other big difference between the US hybrid war on Russia and that being waged against China is that while Russian officials tend to indulge the absurd accusations from western nations in order to bolster a kind of reactive “trolling narrative” against manic western politicians, China does not see the black humour within the black propaganda the way some Russian officials self-evidently do.
While the Russian sense of humour that remains widely misunderstood outside of Russia has led to Moscow engaging in a rhetorical tango with its western antagonists, China will do no such thing. As China’s Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is higher than that of the United States, China’s own internal market now represents the strongest in the world. This fact combined with the fact that virtually every nation on earth is dependant on Chinese goods means that China can survive without the US and is willing to make the necessary adjustments and take the short term medium to small sized economic blows implicit in this reality in order to avoid falling into a Japanese style recession which occurred in the early 1990s after Tokyo agreed to overvalue its currency in 1985 at the behest of the US and its western partners. In other words, China will neither indulge the insane accusations of its antagonists nor will China capitulate in the face of provocations and geopolitical bullying tactics.
China isn’t spying on Americans – America is spying on Americans
But while China’s economy is ultimately the most resilient in the world and will likely continue to be so even in the midst of a full scale trade war, American military provocations in the South China Sea and a US led infowar against Beijing, when it comes to the liberties of ordinary Americans, China is clearly not the problem irrespective of what one might think of the Trump administration’s anti-Chinese policies.
Apart from the fact that there is no evidence that China is spying on ordinary Americans through their smartphones, computers and smart televisions, there is also no clear motive for why China would even want to do so. However, there is clear evidence that the US government is in fact working with big tech companies in order to spy on Americans without due process.
In March of 2017, Wikileaks released Vault 7, a set of high level leaks which demonstrated how the CIA is working with multinational (though mostly American) big tech firms to help turn people’s personal computers, smart televisions, smartphones and even their highly computerised modern vehicles into devises of digital espionage.
This of course came after whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed the extent of secret NSA spying on Americans (and foreigners) which effectively meant that no form of electronic communication was safe from the American government while major tech companies including Facebook, Google and Apple were all on board the vast assaults on the liberties constitutionally guaranteed to every American.
From the Patriotic Act of 2001 up to the present day, the electronic equipment made by American companies and used in American homes have not been safe to use in respect of being protected from government meddling, eavesdropping and large scale data theft. The unholy alliance between the US public and private sectors should also worry about anyone genuinely concerned with civil liberties and a separation of elected power from corporate monopolies. The recent Cambridge Analaytica scandal demonstrated how privately owned American social media companies are now able to steal people’s sensitive private data without facing any meaningful justice from the authorities. After all, it was these authorities who introduced the model of high level data theft that was later merely co-opted by a corrupt private sector.
These are major constitutional and ethical problems facing the American people and while much of the physical technology (like most other household items) is made in China, it is owned and operated by American companies working hand-in-hand with an anti-civil liberties US government. Thus, while one can and should blame the US government, both Republicans and Democrats, the US intelligence community and major American big tech firms for this massive assault on civil liberties, the Chinese government has nothing to do with the fact that American spies are pursuing dark deals with American corporations in order to more effectively violate the constitutional freedoms of American citizens living in the United States.
While the post-2001 US government is uniquely grotesque in its flippant violations of the constitutional rights of its own citizens, throughout history, most forms of oppression and stifling of freedoms are the result of one’s own government rather than a foreign one. A foreign government typically does not have the motive nor ability to make life miserable for a foreign population outside of a state of war (including a trade war). Thus, if ordinary Americans and American media outlets are genuinely concerned about people being spied on without due process, they should not point the finger at Beijing but at Washington.