THE BLINDING LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
U.S. history, as most U.S. citizens learn it, is largely mythical, delusional, and laughably self-congratulatory. It is no surprise, therefore, that U.S. foreign policy– carried out by the elected representatives of a clueless populace– tends to be based more on fantasy than on reality. Worse yet, this persistent embrace of self-delusion prohibits the U.S. from learning from its own worst mistakes. Case in point: after the debacle in Vietnam, it took less than three decades for the U.S. government to step in its own excrement again, this time in Iraq.
U.S. citizens’ unwavering faith in their own nation’s inherent righteousness and superiority is the manifestation of a hubris that is bringing the U.S. experiment to a rapidly approaching (by historical standards) end. Not thirty years after celebrating its bicentennial, the U.S. is threatening to send itself the way of the Incas. While right-wing blowhards and other publicly exposed nitwits bleat on and on about the ‘clash of civilizations’ between ‘the West’ and the ‘Islamofascists,’ a more logical and comprehensive danger is being created beyond the opposite ocean.
No Longer the “Lone” Superpower
Coming to Terms with China
By Chalmers Johnson
Japan still possesses the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, which at the end of January 2005 stood at around $841 billion. But China sits on a $609.9 billion pile of dollars (as of the end of 2004), earned from its trade surpluses with us. Meanwhile, the American government and Japanese followers of George W. Bush insult China in every way they can, particularly over the status of China’s breakaway province, the island of Taiwan. The distinguished economic analyst William Greider recently noted, “Any profligate debtor who insults his banker is unwise, to put it mildly. . . . American leadership has . . . become increasingly delusional — I mean that literally — and blind to the adverse balance of power accumulating against it.”
The Bush administration is unwisely threatening China by urging Japan to rearm and by promising Taiwan that, should China use force to prevent a Taiwanese declaration of independence, the U.S. will go to war on its behalf. It is hard to imagine more shortsighted, irresponsible policies, but in light of the Bush administration’s Alice-in-Wonderland war in Iraq, the acute anti-Americanism it has generated globally, and the politicization of America’s intelligence services, it seems possible that the U.S. and Japan might actually precipitate a war with China over Taiwan.