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The New Great Game Between China and the US


The New Great Game Between China and the US

Pepe Escobar

The U.S. is transfixed by its multibillion-dollar electoral circus. The European Union is paralyzed by austerity, fear of refugees, and now all-out jihad in the streets of Paris. So the West might be excused if it’s barely caught the echoes of a Chinese version of Roy Orbison’s “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” And that new Chinese dream even comes with a road map.


Fascinating. Makes one wonder how different the world might be if the USA had been building up its own green economy and spreading that to the ME instead of bombs.

However, why all reliance on fossil fuels in this "new" world? That may well be its death sentence.


"According to the Washington-dominated Asian Development Bank (ADB), there is, at present, a monstrous gap of $800 billion in the funding of Asian infrastructure development to 2020 and it’s yearning to be filled. Beijing is now stepping right into what promises to be a paradigm-breaking binge of economic development."

Meanwhile, the U.S. under thrall to its Military Industrial Complex sees most "development" in the form of those 1000+ bases lily-padding the globe.

Back in my college days (mid l970s), my roommate's father gave me a book entitled, "The Late Great Planet Earth." Its author, Hal Lindsay was convinced BACK THEN that China was going to take over the world.

The implications are prophetic.

As Nick Turse explains with rigged detail, U.S. M.I.C. forces are busy training armies in Africa and building covert bases while it's the Chinese that are designing infrastructure, cleaner energies, and working to improve the living standards of the "Dark Continent."

Perhaps it will be the Chinese who grant living proof to the idea that Power does not come from a gun... or weapons, in general.

Hmm... a paradigm beyond Mars rules. How refreshing!

"After all, in China’s stunningly ambitious plans at least, its Eurasian project will end up covering no less than 65 countries on three continents, potentially affecting 4.4 billion people. If it succeeds even in part, it could take the gloss off al-Qaeda- and ISIS-style Wahhabi-influenced jihadism not only in China’s Xinjiang Province, but also in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Imagine it as a new kind of Eurasian war on terror whose “weapons” would be trade and development. After all, Beijing’s planners expect the country’s annual trade volume with belt-and-road partners to surpass $2.5 trillion by 2025."


There was mention of huge solar power stations in the Gobi Desert, and an allusion to China pursuing a Green Revolution, too.


i logged in to say something very similar: The USA had the chance - literally decades ago - to begin long-term strategic investment in coordinated high-speed rail and information infrastructure.

As to the US-empire-centered question "Who lost Eurasia," clearly all the groupings of blundering strategic planners around Kissinger, Brzezinski, CFR, PNAC, Dick Cheney's secret oil strategy meetings, etc. have been so idiotically focused on 1) Control of world fossil fuel supplies and 2) US military supremacy to ensure it, that they missed the train when it left the station.

Which also provides the reason why the planning in paragraph one never took place. Policy dominance by the self-interested fossil-fuel, automobile, and war industries have thoroughly warped US strategic and economic development.

And still do! The idiots can't look directly at what China is doing, without imagining their own insane strategic plans to win WWIII.


Pepe Escobar always delivers in analysis, but I'm appalled by the continued distortion of the original Islamic meaning of "jihad". For shame, Pepe. For such a skilled wordsmith it smacks of riding the language colonizing badwagon, I mean bandwagon.

"Chess" as the simile might also be further respectfully refined by referencing "GO" a much more subtle ancient precursor to chess. The principles are deceptively simple while arguably cognitively, temporally and spatially expansive. To play with the gist of the ideas here's a computerized interactive walk-through of GO basics. Enjoy!


I'm thinking of Schumacher's critique of distance shipping...local production being more "economical." Hope the tracks can convert to electric and "lite," but that would mean more solar collectors than one could imagine (then what would you ship?). GMO crops may fare worse with the heat than Nature's. Antibiotics are already failing. The roads or tracks could end up like Rome's roads. Are there enough Rare Earths, or would we go back to big PCs? So, how many of those treasury bonds has China cashed in? Surely they're still holding many. Would we end up a totally fracked debt colony?

I was just reading about how Hitler wanted to modernize retail. He aimed to kick the Jews out of it, and put in Aryans from the countryside who weren't producing much on farms. Was he competing against our directions? Is China still competing against our wonderful low wage models now? Did we start all this?


Wow. Good questions.

I would like to see more localized "greening," as well. Definitely local, organic farms or your own garden are by far the best. And local, non-GMO, as little else as possible are next best on my list. Preferably, electricity home by home, but barring that, public-owned, municipal systems. High speed rail would be national, and I'm not sure how we might run it. Had to laugh that the first one we are building here is b/w LA and Vegas.

I guess what caught my attention was that a huge country sees the potential in helping other countries live better instead of bombing them. Imagine, even if it wasn't totally pure, how much better life would be here and around the world if we put the trillions we now put into war and warrior activities into making life better and more free for ourselves and for the countries we supposedly want to "save." We'd save a ton of fossil fuels just by switching gears.


My long response just got wiped out. Windows 8, Explorer, or this ridiculous keyboard...I dunno which. Replacement will be bare bones.

Agree with you re farms. Your question re burning fuel is crucial.

We're used to thinking X number of gold plated technologies will be "transformative economic missions." But it's always changing. The Cubans want to help make better lives...with medicine. What's China doing in Africa re medicine (we are screwing up there royally mostly IMO)? Diseases are coming. More humans are coming. Growing conditions are worsening. Water is scarce. There are lousy regs re vaccines for chickens in India...industrial farming (Wikipedia). I'd favor medical advances. They could teach us about tofu! Real acupuncture, not slip shod acupuncture. Energy healing...maybe the Cubans are into that too (believe I read they're into acupuncture).

Europe seems safe re GMOs relatively, but China bought land in Ukraine to grow something or other. That could end up the pattern with more neoliberalism. I'd favor fewer executions there...don't know the organ selling scene at the moment there (Kerry mentioned it in his book). A lighter touch with regard to Tibet. If they've got money, maybe they should start multiplying original seed...of everything like Vandana Shiva advocates. Didn't China ban some kind of GMO corn imports? That's hopeful.

Actually, I think the trains would be great if more people could travel and see other places...MANY more than do by plane. China's sort of enigmatic. They lack a lot of redress (our access to same is waning), and I think everyone would like to believe they will improve the majority's lot magically in spite of this lack. That IMO is where we can still set some kind of example, but we will have to get BACK to that modality.


You said it polarbear. What China is proposing will fry the planet. Cement means mining. And mining and ports mean more pollution. Already, China has destroyed more pristine reefs in the
South China Sea than the US Navy ever did. They now have Four Long runways being built not 60 miles from me on top of endangered sea turtles and endangered Giant Sea Clam habitats. They are poaching these species right now, with their massive fishing fleet for sale to luxury seafood markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

You just wouldn't believe the destruction of my islands due to Chinese mining companies who have decimated whole mountains and washed entire villages out to sea when monsoon and typhoon rains return. Whole Armies of Chinese mining trucks have pulverized our tiny roads here and fouled many rivers with their toxic mining sludge of mercury to separate gold and Chromate tailings and toxic ponds just lying all over the place.

There's nothing green about China. It is a huge lie. They have NO EPA at all. I've actually been there and it's a hell on Earth. Right now the air is so foul in even Hong Kong, your chest hurts from breathing it. I've read that 10 million have died of lung cancer downwind of Chinese Industrial cities.

We don't want this King Kong development to metastasize. According to 60 minutes and backed up by steel numbers, Ghost Cities of condos that nobody can afford to buy sit empty for hundreds of miles. Seven percent growth will kill this planet. That means you double the size of the economy and hence, pollution every ten years.

Trains to replace private autos is a good idea however.

But doubling the polluting green house gases (and that's what seven percent growth does) is a death sentence for Mother Earth.

Pepe is wrong to fall for this slave-labor marketing pitch. China is Greenwashing polluting industries which increase millions of diesel tail pipes to our overtaxed atmosphere. China is the number one polluter in the world today.

This cannot go on.


The USA plays "chess" very badly. China plays "go" skilfully. In Chess one kills the opponents. In Go one surrounds areas till one's opponent is unable to move.

China is a quiet imperial power, operating through purchasing power, with Chinese buying real estate, farms, mines, and strategic industries such as power utilities and water utilities and public transport wherever the bloody fools who run our economies decide to "privatise" them. China has created a mass of absolutely filthy air that not only pervades China but which in northern Vietnam forms a massive brown blanket across rural NW Vietnam to a height of around 7000feet and which is so thick that at times one cannot see more than a couple of miles in some of the valleys.

China green? The author is deluded. China a benevolent power? Don't fool yourselves. Low- level armed force is being used to take over the Spratley Islands and dominate international waters in the South China Sea.

Remember the British East India Company? It started by simply buying spice in India and slowly grew until after about 120 years it was large enough to run its own security forces, play politics with the local corrupt Maharajahs, kick out the French and then work on taking over a fair swag of Asia. China is the British East India Company on steroids. It's that simple.


Go is indeed on helluva game. If one is a chess player one has no chance!


Had no idea, Thomas. Thanks for the post.


Thanks. And see Thomas Jefferson's post below on what China is doing near his home.


Again with the WE that posits that what elites/corporate moguls/military head honchos elect to do somehow distills to what The People have chosen.



"What are you talking about? i am a pompous ass in the Internet and an insult machine in the World Wide Web. Do you understand Pechorin at all --- Bad Duck in Korean, or Weak Chin in Mandarin?"


Teheran has a high speed train? Guess we showed them by cracky!

To put it simply, China is a right wing, ultra conservative, reactionary, authoritarian version of capitalism in quest of neocolonialism. 'Quiet' imperialism?

Capitalism as a means of conquest ? Well duh! Oh wait... I see now why we don't recognize what is happening? It isn't the economic imperialism of our corporations in third world countries like of old! It isn't the native populations of third world nations... It is us this time around.

How could this be? Simple... We did not account for scale... We thought the size of a #1 corporation meant big when it big actually meant 50 #2 sized corporations instead.

16,000 kilometers of high speed rail as compared to our... NONE? We stopped winning and never even noticed. We puff up our chest and point to our military that drains our economic strength and will condemn us to economic weakness and that will just as effectively end our capacity to maintain the costs of so large a military.

We are falling behind and refuse to see it . China conquers for itself an unchallengeable empire and we will be hard put to compete with it in the future. We are like what we did to third world nations who didn't have the infrastructure or economic resources to compete with our corporations.

We have let ourselves become the hare while China is the tortoise who is winning the race (economic dominance) by creating an empire that will be... the biggest thing around... the world.

The tortoise and the hare.

China is doing a Wall Street on our Wall Street. Their capitalism out performs ours and we think having a military that is bankrupting us shows strength?

16,000 kilometers of high speed rail looks pretty strong to me. What if there isn't a war? We will have simply wasted our money (thank the amorphous) and our last opportunity to play the game as an equal while yet we still had an economic edge.




Great post,

But I should point out that we have "Special Ops"/"Trainers" who shoot/drone people in over 20 some countries. Obomb'em put us into low-level wars all over the globe! And the nut has his own Death Squad: JSOcks or something....

1937 Berlin all over again....

Old Bernie's going to be handed a mess (if we can get some fair polling going on, like the Time Magazine one)


Pepe Escobar never fails to flesh-out the nuances of whatever he tackles and this piece is no exception. We need more from him here on CD. Thank you.