US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for “an alliance of democracies” to confront China. It amounts to a new Cold War in which nations are being forced to side either with Washington or Beijing.
It’s a classic tyrannical power-play by Washington, yet ironically it is the Americans who are accusing Beijing of being the “new tyranny” in the world.
However, such polarized demarcation of the planet as designated by Washington is impossible in a global economy which is highly integrated, from consumer and financial markets to supply chains.
A news report this week once again underscores how even the American military is reliant on China for supplies of rare earth metals used in its weapon systems.
Indeed, the entire US economy is dependent on China which is America’s biggest trade partner. In 2019, the US ran a trade deficit of $345 billion with China despite three years of ‘Making America Great Again’ policy under President Donald Trump.
The deficit with China accounts for about half of the US’ total trade imbalance with the rest of the world. And it’s been that way for many years. So the high-handed notion of “cutting China off,” as Trump says he intends doing, is facile.
That’s what makes ratcheting up the Cold War hostility toward China so futile too. The shutting down of consulates and issuing of indictments for alleged espionage are only leading to a standoff which the United States cannot really enforce or afford – literally.
The same goes for American allies whom Washington is pushing to join in a Cold War battle. Australia, Britain, Canada, among others, are being caught in an ideological crossfire which will result in severe casualties to their economies. Australian farmers are already paying a painful price after China canceled export orders due to Canberra being perceived as a proxy for Washington over provocative coronavirus claims against Beijing.