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A growing number of U.S. congressmen and activist groups are voicing opposition to what has been described as a "new Cold War" as Congress has sought to move on anti-China bills seeking to consolidate "geopolitical competition" between the two countries.
Ilhan Omar, a Democratic progressive member of the House of Representatives, warned of the growing use of "China as a scapegoat for our own domestic problems" and against demonizing Chinese Americans, a trend which proliferated under the previous Trump administration.
The shift in sentiment on China from progressive democrats signals the first hesitation from Congress which has otherwise been uniform in its embracing of anti-China legislation, with many bills even being passed unanimously and void of any kind of opposition.
Undoubtedly, China hawks still dominate the body by an overwhelming majority, including Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. However, as the United States comes out of the pandemic and the China rhetoric espoused by Trump turns stale, space for more nuance is subsequently emerging, especially as America has to contemplate the consequences of its own actions.
The most fanatical of China hawks in the United States have sought to reimpose a Cold War environment in a globalized world, aiming to force countries to take sides and "decouple" the economies of Washington and Beijing. This is almost certainly the ambition of people such as Mike Pompeo.
Whilst the Biden administration has not been so zealous, it nonetheless sought to frame a geopolitical competition of democracy against authoritarianism, and spoke of "winning" the 21st century. Despite the president stating that America would "cooperate" with China when it was in the national interest to do so, there has been little evidence of such an approach so far.
For example, climate change "cooperation" has so far been about making demands, playing a blame game and attempting to undermine China's world leading renewable energy industries with false allegations of forced labor, rather than good faith partnership separate from contentious issues.
The Endless Frontier Act led by Schumer is likely to complicate things even further by attempting to legally lockstep a Cold War model of relations between the two countries.
It is obvious there are growing concerns about the implications of this within the Democrat Party, which sees the China issue as a justification for never-ending militarism, paranoia and by extension, racism.
These voices, nonetheless, do not propose a substantial alternative or concrete vision for what America's foreign policy should be. Likewise, they continue to pay lip service to the Xinjiang issue which has been deliberately designed by the previous administration to legitimate a path of confrontation against Beijing and a mandate for Cold War.
Whilst it is welcome to see new caution on where America's foreign policy is heading, the narrative is still the same and, likewise, the results will be the same. Are American progressives prepared to put their own careers at stake for opposing U.S. foreign policy? Or will they fall into line in voting through a path they know is wrong, like they have always done?
Either way, the message is clear: It's time for America to wake up.
The path it is taking on China is pillared with a dangerous set of misleading assumptions and caricatures put in place by an administration known broadly for its dirty and debilitating politics, which threatens the stability, prosperity and well-being of the world.
Biden styles himself as a return of American leadership, but what is leadership if one does not push against the grain and simply follow the dictates of Pompeo-like hawks?
To merely talk of cooperation is not a road map to prevent a new Cold War if the foundations of one are already in place. It is easy to talk tough on China for political gains, but it is time to be honest about the costs of doing so, and move towards a new stability.
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