Biden Xi USA China G20
US president Joe Biden (R) and Chinese president Xi Jinping met at Bali, Nov 14, 2022. Biden said they discussed their responsibility to prevent competition and find ways to work together.

The Empire is going to face competition in the Asia-Pacific. It was unimaginable to the Empire years ago. The competition will be tougher.

To the Empire, the Asia-Pacific was its own yard, a self-sphere for maneuvering, for forward positioning to counter then Soviet Union and China, for dominance, for exploitation of resources and labor. The region’s all economic potentialities were within easy reach of the Empire. That was the reality. This reality will perpetuate – that was the Empire’s imagination.

But the planet has circled the sun many times, and basis for that imperial imagination is drying down. The Empire, now, hears different sounds in the region. All are not as obedient as the Empire expects, as the Empire’s capacity is weakening.

Xi Jinping, the President of China, has echoed the changing reality: the Asia-Pacific is no one’s backyard.

To the Empire, this statement sounds strange. But this is today’s reality. This region is none’s yard, neither backyard nor front yard.

For years, the Empire was eyeing the Asia-Pacific to turn it into its new ground for military power play. That’s a requirement of the Empire. Its economy needs this region. Its war industry’s need it’s.

Since the defeat in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the Empire was in urgency for its greater military presence in the region. Its so-called War on Terror diverted it attention and resources to other regions. The region it considers as its backyard – the Latin America – was having developments annoying to the Empire. But it was failing to ignore the importance of the Asia-Pacific in its global dominance design. Since Obama’s time, the Asia-Pacific was pronounced pivotal to its design, therefore.

Initiatives were taken. Changes in administration in the Empire found no change in the geostrategy related to the region. Those are being pursued now with extra-vigor.

This imperial action now face an emerging reality as Xi announces: The Asia-Pacific should not become an arena for a big power contest. No attempt to wage a new cold war will ever be allowed by the power or by our times.

The Chinese leader, with a mild tone, just reiterated the reality, nothing more: “The 21st century is the Asia-Pacific century. We, members of this region, have come a long way in pursuing economic development, and we will surely write an even more brilliant chapter in the years ahead.”

It’s, a more brilliant chapter, a reiteration of aspiration of the region.

Who wants war? None, other than the imperialists require war. War is a postulate to imperialist economy. Its source and character necessitates war. Imperialist economy can’t survive without endless-expansion; and to have an expansion-ever, imperialist economy incites, provokes and fuels war, organizes war-like situation and war-games; thus, pumps life to its heart – a well-known fact. Now, the Empire is engaged with such old, well-known steps.

Contrarily, Xi, in his statement made on November 17 at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO summit in Bangkok, presented a six-point proposal:

[1] Bolster foundation for peaceful development.

[2] Take people-centered development approach.

[3] Pursue greater openness.

[4] Strive for higher standard of connectivity.

[5] Build stable and unimpeded industrial and supply chains.

[6] Promote economic development.

None of these feed the war industry imperialism relishes. On the opposite, the war industry looses niches with these.

Xi’s statement cautioned by stating an aspect of today’s economic condition in the region: The industrial and supply chains in the region required years of endeavors; and disruptions will send these to a cul de sac.

Xi proposed cooperation on development and security in the region. He rejected attempts by interested parties to initiate an Asia-Pacific version of Cold War.

The existing reality in the region, in the empire, and in the Empire-led camp carries elements of initiating Cold War Asia-Pacific version. This is evident in acts of provocation that began with that Pelosi-Taiwan move, and followed by a number of similar moves in Taiwan, and in other areas.

This reality of provocation, inciting tension, initiating arms race led the Chinese leader to say: The Asia-Pacific shouldn’t be turned into an arena of big power rivalry. No attempt to organize a new Cold War will be allowed by the people and by our time.

Xi’s statement signals against dominance, as he said: Unilateralism and protectionism, attempts to politicize and weaponize economic and trade relations should be rejected by all.

It appears absurd that proponents of free trade and free flow of capital are resorting to protectionism. The party is unilaterally determining rules of business. Then, it’s demanding all should go by rules – Rules-based International Order – although it was not determined who defined which rule. It was not also determined who authorized who to define rule.

This unilateral way of defining rules is impossible to accept not only by China, but by all, as the ruler, the power unilaterally defining rule, may at its convenient moment determine that certain trade regimes, and economic and political measures aren’t rule-based; and, then, it can unilaterally resort to counter-measures.

Already China has strong trade relations with many countries in the region. It has an increasing trend. China is Japan’s largest trading partner, and Japan is China’s fourth largest trading partner. South Korea-China trade is not negligible. In 2021, South Korea’s trade volume with China was near equal to the country’s trade with Japan, EU and US. China is the biggest trading partner of almost all ASEAN countries. Detail picture of trade relations between China and countries in the Asia-Pacific carries significant meaning. In this area – trade, the Empire is yet to gain powerful position – a lack of competitiveness from the empire’s end. The source of this weakness is within the Empire.

So, the Empire resorts to all sorts of measures and tricks required to stop China’s trade-journey. Along with these measures, there’re military moves.

What shall happen if the situation turns confrontational, if the existing environment of increasing trade relations is curtailed? Today’s war-hit Europe stands as a living answer to the question.

Do capitals engaged with these trade and other economic activities in this region prefer a confrontational atmosphere? Shall that atmosphere contribute to furthering interests of those capitals? Today’s war-charged Europe stands as an answer to the question.

Essentially, a competition between China and the US is going on in this region. Today, the competition is in the area of trade; tomorrow, it’ll be politics and arms and war.

To capitals in the region today, the most important question is: Which side, China or the US, can deliver more opportunity, bigger gain, more profit? In a number of areas, the Empire is losing ground.

This makes the Empire more aggressive, more war-oriented, more reckless. Additionally, in a charged situation, in war-like situation, the war industry benefits. The war industry needs fodder.

It’s, therefore, found: The Empire is increasingly engaged with issues of [1] the South China Sea, [2] Freedom of navigation, [3] Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits, [4] deployment of war ships, [5] organizing military alliances and military exercises. Even, attempts are being made to drag NATO into this region. Hillary Clinton, once US secretary of state, identified this region as an area of US national interest! The Empire’s national interest is strewn out the world over! All should believe this assertion!

Now, it’s the choice of capitals in the countries in the region with 50% of the world economic output, one of the fastest growing regions in the world – which side to be preferred. This preference will be made on the basis of gains by the capitals, gains from competing sides. A charged situation narrows down this scope of choice. Today’s sanction-wielding EU, now turned into an arm of NATO, is also an evidence on this question.

At the same time, this atmosphere of competition between capitals is going to impact peoples in countries – their livelihood, and their struggle for democracy. It’s the pro-people political forces’ choice – Whether or not to oppose imperialist design, war alliance, warmongering, economic regime being imposed.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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