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Our Real Security: Preventing a New Cold War with China

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/09/our-real-security-preventing-new-cold-war-china

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I would have loved to see what Voltaire would have done with Trump’s clumsy China policies whilst having his MAGA hats produced there. It would have been an excoriating treat.

If we take on China where is Fisher-Price going to produce those Barbie and G.I. Joe Jeeps for Christmas? Oh the horror, the horror. The iPhone? Would DOD really deprive me of my next iPhone? That might just cause civil unrest.

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“We share common interests with the Chinese people…”

This is the biggest point that must be stressed to those who fall for the demonization of other cultures by our government leaders. It doesn’t matter who the country is, all the people of all nations have common interests with each other. It’s usually each country’s resources, or lack there of, that cause most wars.

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And what empire might Thucydides say would be the first to use nuclear
weapons in the Asian Pacific–now after he had some 2,500 years of world history: American genocide against Japan, its WWII nuclear bombing, Korean war and carpet bombing, and the U.S. invasion and genocide in Vietnam? Yellow skin, a terrorist for sure.

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At the time of the start of the ridiculous Iraq War, I talked with my husband about having him look for a position overseas. He suggested that China was the best opportunity for him, and I began studying to teach ESL and volunteering for practice. When our last youngster graduated, he retired and we went. My hope in this venture, since the US doesn’t usually make war with English speaking countries, I will help China learn English! All of Chinese children learn English from second grade through the first year of college.

I took a contract in a different part of China just about every year. So I have lived all over China. I had to leave this year along with most foreign teachers I know due to COVID restrictions limiting our ability to exit and reenter yearly per visa requirements.

My students, usually at a university and coming from all over China, generally admire and respect the US. They harbor strong feelings of inferiority to the West that I usually find one-sided. They think they are less beautiful (I tell them that is absurd, all people are beautiful!). They think China is poorer, mention that China is a developing country. I comment on the plethora of public parks and spaces, the cheap price of food and medicine, excellent and affordable public transportation everywhere, and Xi’s elimination of hunger.

I have read recently that China’s economic status in the world has been recalculated and upped.

Now I am in the US, teaching online to my old school. War is dumb. Sickness is miserable.

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Regarding China’s defense, try comparing the map of mainland USA with a map of mainland China. The US can ship and receive from three long coastlines which have little interference from any other outlying countries–only Cuba and the Bahamas are out there. Now look at China. One coastline about as long as the US East Coast, and filled with many other countries all disputing everyone else’s boundary.

No wonder they are in a huge rail-building project! No wonder they are worried about warships cruising along their only coastline.

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It is imperative that the United States, Russia and China come to terms and disarm in order to save the planet from certain destruction in about 50 years from global heating. The hand writing is on the wall for those who have eyes to see. While we are at it, we are mutually threatened by the coronavirus.

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I certainly and wholeheartedly agree with this reasonable and important article. But where is the peace movement we once had? Oh, and living here in HK, I have access to all the western social media I have ever rejected. And in Mainland, anyone who wants such uses a VPN.

“one coastline about as long as the US east coast…”

Hi, Helen, if you remember I said over here years ago that I might return to teach in China again. Alas until today I never found the time to do so.

About that coastline, from mid-Fujian province to Hainan at the southern tip the waters is known to the Chinese as the Southern Sea or Nanhai, but was called by Europeans as the South China Sea. That was partly because until the last 300 or so years the only Asian country with ships big enough to sail regularly over the vast area was China. Earlier than that, during the Ming dynasty, Chinese ships - each three times bigger than Vasco da Gama’s vessels - had stopped there en route to India, the Middle East, and Africa. Many people, especially Cantonese fishermen, still have old maps and drawings used to navigate those islands and shoals. At the end of WW2 it was the US navy that ferried officials from a very poor, wartorn China, under the KMT, to one of those islands to accept the return of the said islands from the Japanese.

Until the last couple of hundred years the Philippines and Indonesia did not exist as nation states, and much of Vietnam was still part of the Chinese Empire until the French tore it away from the Qing. So the “claimants” don’t have much history behind them. Nevertheless, these ASEAN countries are today not only China’s biggest trading partners: they also prefer to negotiate with China. President Duterte, for example, has made that choice and is obviously angered that outside forces wanted him to confront China in a hostile manner. Vietnamese leaders too said they want a peaceful resolution with China. And former Malaysian PM Mahathir Muhammad used to say that for thousands of years China never attempted to conquer them: as soon as the Europeans arrived, however, even tiny Portugal had thought it fit to invade Malacca and turned it into a colony. During the past century or so, only one foreign nation from thousands of miles away had bombed several Southeast Asian countries to stone age.

As for the article’s assertion that China regarded Taiwan as renegade terrority since 1949, that’s only a half-truth. From 1949 till the late 1960s it was Taiwan - still officially known today as the Republic of China (ROC), that insisted that the mainland had fallen under Communist bandits and must be brought back under ROC (Taiwan) control. During the early 1960s Congress had even debated about using American forces to back up the KMT’s invasion of the mainland. The project was given up only because the CIA testified to Congress that the majority of mainlanders would support the Communists over the ROC.

It was only after the mainland became a nuclear power that the ROC lost all hopes of taking back Beijing. Recently, some writers pointed out the danger of war in the Korean peninsula because an armistice was reached but no peace treaty was signed. On the Taiwan straits the matter is even more serious: there is no armistice and the civil war continues until the matter is officially settled.

Left alone, there is no doubt that the PRC and the ROC would settle the matter peacefully. After all, both sides share the same ancestors and speak and write the same language, though the people on Taiwan are on average better in Mandarin than the mainlanders.

Today, the Chinese diaspora respect the mainland for their rapid economic progress. However, the vast majority are still more comfortable under a less regimented government than is found on the mainland. The trend on the mainland, however, has been more and more relaxed governance in an increasingly market-oriented economy. Besides, what Helen says is true: there is, in almost every Individual Chinese, a huge respect for Westerners. But such is the paradox that, if the warhawks in the West are followed, that respect could turn to undying hate. And that would a tragedy for all sides.

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