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Will Trump’s Hawkishness on China Become Joe Biden’s ‘New Normal’?

by | Feb 1, 2021

Will Trump’s Hawkishness on China Become Joe Biden’s ‘New Normal’?

by | Feb 1, 2021

Pexels Manuel Joseph 19872

Since 2020, Americans have been implored, even trained, to accept fiat realities at home that would not so long ago have seemed inconceivable. The “new normal” includes arbitrary lockdowns, curfews, censorship, the burgeoning domestic terror war, and a de facto government economic assault on small businesses, the poor, and the middle class. The American people have been encouraged to wear two masks and binge Tiger King on Netflix instead of rightfully objecting to this faux humanitarian tyranny.

Now it seems the ruling class is preparing us to not only accept but support an ever intensifying, hostile stance against China. This other potentially catastrophic “new normal” is rapidly morphing into a war footing.

Even during this pandemic and financial crisis, cash strapped Americans are expected to pay the tab, one way or the other, now or in the future, for military budgets and government spending levels greater than those of the George W. Bush and Barrack Obama years. This is in accordance with the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s absurd priority to redouble efforts toward so called ‘great power competition’ with Russia and China. In keeping with this new strategy, President Joe Biden said, while on the campaign trail, that he expected the military budget to increase during his rule.

Picking up where Obama’s “Asia Pivot” left off and under the cover of the coronavirus, now former President Donald Trump’s war cabinet seized the opportunity to drastically step up provocative interventions in East Asia. They say never let a good crisis go to waste. The year 2020 saw myriad escalatory military maneuvers there, often termed Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), particularly in the South China Sea. These FONOPS represent the U.S. unnecessarily inserting itself, often using the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, into disputes between regional actors there who all have overlapping claims on the waters including various, sometimes unmanned, rocks, reefs, islands, and archipelagos. In July, the U.S., under the hawkish neoconservative Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, formally rejected all of China’s claims in these waters. Biden’s recently confirmed and ultra-hawkish Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has already reaffirmed the U.S. rejection. This anti-Beijing policy, including the FONOPS, began in earnest during the latter Obama years and is not expected to change during Biden’s reign. The Trump era saw U.S. troop levels increased by more than 23,000 in East Asia. In September, record numbers of U.S. warplanes and spy planes near China’s coast were recorded.

As Dave Decamp, news editor at reported,

According to a Beijing-based think tank that monitors flights in the region, the U.S. flew at least 60 warplanes near China’s coast in September, The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) recorded 41 US flights over the disputed South China Sea, six over the East China Sea, and 13 over the Yellow Sea.

In a report released on Monday, the SCSPI said, based on refueling activity, the U.S. could be preparing for long-distance attacks on targets in the South China Sea. The report said the US sent planes from Guam to refuel surveillance planes over the South China Sea.

In July, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative reported “three to five” U.S. reconnaissance aircraft flights each day. Back in November, naval exercises, designedly challenging China, were also held between the U.S. and its allies including India, Japan, and Australia. These states make up the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad. Some hawks hope to soon combine these states into an East Asian NATO equivalent. These Malabar drills, in the Bay of Bengal, were the largest held between the above allies in more than a decade.

Throughout this last year, U.S. warships and aircraft carrier groups, strike forces, sailing in the South China Sea were constantly reported, albeit not on the front pages of The New York Times or The Washington Post.

The anti-China panic was sent into full swing as the neocons both inside and outside the Trump administration, as well as assorted right wingers in the media, etc. often sneeringly referred to the ‘Wuhan virus’ or the ‘China virus.’ As early as January last year, Bill Gertz, who peddled Iraqi WMD and Iranian nuclear weapons program lies, even went so far as to baselessly blame China for originating the COVID-19 virus in a Wuhan lab supposedly linked to a covert bioweapons program. Right wing figures Steve Bannon and his partner, the notorious neoconservative Frank Gaffney, ramped up the rhetoric through a revamped Cold War era think tank renamed the Committee on the Present Danger: China.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson inflamed the anti-China mania before his audience on an almost nightly basis. Considering Carlson’s resume includes working for Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard, hosting shows on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and applying for a position with the CIA, one wonders how he has been able to so successfully market himself as a populist, anti-establishment hero. Vis a vis China, he has essentially assumed the Rachel Maddow role. This all seems less puzzling given who his father, Dick Carlson, was. Richard W. Carlson was the public liaison for the U.S. Information Agency, director of Voice of America during the Cold War’s final years, and President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Tucker now plays an anti-neocon on TV, but bizarrely from 2003-2011, his father was the Vice Chairman of the anti-Iran, neoconservative think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

From his father’s profile,

Other significant aspects of Carlson’s term as director included opening a Moscow bureau and coverage of the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations in 1989, the end of Soviet jamming, and establishment of the Creole Service. He also oversaw the newly-launched Radio Martí broadcasting to Cuba.

It seems obvious where Tucker gets his knack for assisting America’s propaganda campaigns against its Cold War foes.

In their insatiable bid for global “primacy” and “full spectrum dominance,” the neoconservative imperialists know they need the American people to be brought along, at least passively or preferably with enthusiasm, into this new Cold War paradigm pitting the U.S. against Moscow and Beijing, targeted governments armed with nuclear weapons. The TV eye presents a distorted reality that would lead one to believe that at least half the country hates China and the other half hates Russia. The evidence-less Russiagate scandal followed and consolidated the gains of a previously existing and multi-faceted US media campaign against Vladimir Putin. Together these media blitzkriegs stoked fear and vastly grew Americans’ suspicion of Russia and Russians. Hillary Clinton, during an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the former’s podcast, even suggested Trump may have been taking phone calls from Putin during the January 6th Capitol protests. The Trump years’ anti-China climate has made great progress toward these ends as well.

The early days of Biden’s tenure as President should serve as a warning to us all. Ostensibly Biden was elected to mercifully restore “normalcy.” However, he has already continued to turn up the heat on Washington’s cold war with Beijing. Four days into his term, Biden sent an aircraft carrier group into the South China Sea. Seven U.S. warplanes were spotted flying in the area as well.

Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on Conflicts of Interest. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as and Counterpunch, as well as the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96

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