Global impact: U.S. defense's Manichean view and inevitable conflicts
The Pentagon is seen from an airplane over Washington D.C., the United States, February 19, 2020. /Xinhua
The Pentagon is seen from an airplane over Washington D.C., the United States, February 19, 2020. /Xinhua

The Pentagon is seen from an airplane over Washington D.C., the United States, February 19, 2020. /Xinhua

Editor's note: William Jones, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a former White House correspondent for Executive Intelligence Review. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Speaking in India on June 5 on a visit to establish closer defense ties to that nation, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asserted that the U.S. was not interested in establishing NATO in the Asia Pacific region. While making this claim, the same Secretary Austin, a few days earlier at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, proudly claimed the new "alliances" that the U.S. was building with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Philippines, taking pictures with the three foreign ministers, underlying the message that the U.S. was asserting control in the region.

This underlines the fact that the military-industrial complex of the United States is now calling the shots in Washington. The spectacular economic development of China as the main engine of global growth and the subsequent growing influence of Chinese diplomacy on a global scale has sent fears throughout that complex that the U.S. may not be alone in determining the fate of humanity.

In addition, the recovery of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union had again established that nation as a major factor in the political calculation of the U.S. Dismayed over the loss of what it felt was its absolute power on the world stage, and unable to adjust its thinking to the changing times, the U.S. has gone on a war footing and emerged as the greatest threat to global peace.

Having pushed Russia into a corner by its flagrant attempt of transforming Ukraine into a member of an anti-Russian NATO alliance since 2014, the U.S. is now intent on creating the same situation in the Asia-Pacific by organizing a coterie of nations into a coordinated military force prepared to confront China over the Taiwan question and the South China Sea.

Any outside observer seeing these developments could only conclude that the U.S. was set on a suicidal course, for if such a conflict were ever to occur, it would probably be the end of humanity as we know it. But the perpetrators have a decidedly Manichean view of history, namely, the view that there are the "good guys," on the one hand, namely those countries who align with the U.S., i.e. "the democracies," and the "bad guys," on the other, primarily Russia and China. In the Manichaean worldview, there can be no compromise between the two, and thus no harmony, only conflict and war.

This was most recently demonstrated at the annual conference of the U.S. defense think-tank, the Center for the New American Security (CNAC) from June 6 to 8. This American security is "new" since the founders organized CNAC to ensure the "Wolfowitz Doctrine," namely that the U.S. must remain the most preeminent military force in the world.

The national flags of China and the U.S. /AP
The national flags of China and the U.S. /AP

The national flags of China and the U.S. /AP

At the CNAC conference, every element of China-U.S. cooperation was viewed from this framework, from China's legitimate defense spending, its advances in quantum computing, its moves away from the U.S. dollar, its mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, even its attempt to mediate peace negotiations in Ukraine, were all interpreted as hostile acts aimed at the "hegemony" of the U.S.

If this view were to remain predominant in U.S. policy, it is hard to see that the world could avoid a conflict between these two major powers. There are, however, countervailing forces, which are beginning to play a major role.

Firstly, the U.S. economy, which is facing the worst crisis in recent history, cannot afford to relinquish its economic ties to China, which is why officials from the U.S. Commerce Department, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, and the State Department are working overtime to create the necessary conditions for moving forward with China on trade and investment. While the utopian thinkers of the defense establishment plan wars and destabilizations, the economy they depend on requires harmony and the lack of conflict to survive.

Secondly, despite the size of those forces who appear to align themselves with the U.S., who represent a major economic and political force, the "global majority," which includes the majority of countries in the developing sector, is more in agreement with the position of China on issues of global security than with the "small group" of Western allies.

That force is now organizing itself in institutions like the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and represents the majority in the G20 and the United Nations General Assembly. If the Manichean warmongerers can be prevented from plunging the world into a third world war in the short term, there is a good chance that cooler heads, even here in the U.S., will prevail, and the world can begin to develop a new paradigm and liberate itself from this nightmarish Manichaean vision.

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