Weaknesses of the National Security Strategy 2022 – Part 2 False equating of the USG with a golden vision and China with a “darker vision”

We’ve been discussing the claims made within the National Security Strategy 2022, which I refer to as Sullivan & Biden’s NSS, though whether or not National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is the actual author is unknown.

Claim 2. The US Government (USG) is in the midst of a fierce international competition; winning the competition is vital and will make a huge difference in the daily lives of ordinary people and in the ability of light to prevail over darkness. The National Security Strategy 2022, which I refer to as Sullivan & Biden’s NSS, revolves around these three themes: the USG will compete with its adversaries, the USG will cooperate with its allies, and the USG is the best qualified to lead the world.

If the USG, or, as they would have us believe, the American people themselves are in the midst of a fierce competition and this competition is the primary focus of the NSS, one would think the NSS would clearly spell out what the competition is over, who’s trying to achieve what and why, where they’re trying to achieve this in the world, whether what the different competitors want to achieve is mutually incompatible, whether the populations of the nations participating in this competition have voted to compete, how the outcome of the competition will affect the daily lives of the relevant populations, whether there’s an option of not being in the competition, and why a competition is necessary even if there are different goals amongst different groups.

But we don’t learn any of that. The NSS2022 is all quite vague. And vagueness, sometimes peppered with specific cherry-picked stories, is a key tool of the demagogue, the crowd-stirrer who takes advantages of the passions and frustrations of the crowd to channel them into hatred and violence against his own enemy—supposedly for the crowd’s freedom and safety but actually for his own selfish purposes.

To prevent such vague wording and demagogic dynamics from steering the world into biological and nuclear war, let’s get down to specific details that we all can understand. As leaders of the United States, Sullivan & Biden should be able to participate in a public, cooperative dialogue, preferably with representatives from the governments of China and Russia, and answer these questions:

How would Sullivan & Biden describe a typical day in the life of an average American and an average Russian if the USG were to win the “race to the top”? And to be more precise, can we get a comparison of the lives of poor, lower-class, middle-class, upper-class, and super-wealthy Americans and Russians in the event of a USG win of this “race to the top”?

And how would they describe a typical day in those lives if Russia or China won the competition?

What precisely are we talking about with regard to how this competition and its outcome affect the daily lives of a spectrum of ordinary people, including those of different socioeconomic classes, genders, and ages, outside the social and business circles that run US foreign policy?

Are Sullivan & Biden actually able to make these descriptions? Are their notions of the outcomes actually just fuzzy guesswork? Or does the competition’s outcome really only affect a very small group of Americans within certain social and business circles?

How would Russian and Chinese policymakers respond to these same questions?

Americans deserve nothing less than answers to these questions.

As described in Part 1 of this NSS series, Sullivan & Biden’s claim that the competition is over the ability of the USG to continue to pursue its vision of freedom, openness, prosperity, and security is clearly far-fetched and not supported by evidence. So the next clue we get as to the nature of this competition and what it’s all about is that the USG will cooperate with those nations that share its “interests” and “vision” for the world.[1] Of course, we already know that when the USG says “interests,” they don’t mean the interests of the American people, they mean the financial and psychological interests of those social and business circles who determine US foreign policy.

I don’t recall anything about life in the United States getting better over my lifetime. In fact, things are worse, especially with regard to the environment, overpopulation, traffic, money, the general competence of people, and the sickening escalation of wars and weapon exports. Yet if every US president for the past several administrations has been supposedly pursuing and satisfying “US interests,” wouldn’t you think our lives would be improving by now if those “interests” were really about us?

If the USG wins this competition, it won’t increase my access to wild nature that’s free from tick-borne diseases so I can kick through the leaves carefree with my dog. It won’t result in less excavation and fresher, sweeter air. It won’t create more trees and habitat for animals. It won’t make my National Grid and Spectrum bills decrease so I can better afford groceries. It won’t improve my chances of getting published or getting a satisfying job. It won’t improve work place cultures.

A USG win won’t improve public school culture. It won’t stop the oppression and sleep deprivation of children in the narrow-minded push for good grades. It won’t make American children on the school bus and in the school cafeteria friendlier to one another. It won’t improve the quality and variety of music on the radio or on grocery store speakers. It won’t put less broken glass in the park. It won’t keep cats from wandering loose outside and killing rabbits and birds. It won’t keep violence and sex from dominating the movies. It won’t give me access to incandescent light bulbs. And it won’t make computer monitors revert back two decades to their former, gentle lighting that didn’t damage the eyes.

A USG win also won’t decrease traffic. It won’t give us more options of petroleum-free and chemical-free clothing that doesn’t make us break out into a sweat. It won’t stop manufacturers from pouring more and more fever-inducing chemicals into bed mattresses. It won’t keep lead from contaminating dark chocolate. It won’t require manufacturers to reveal heavy metal and chemical content. It won’t stop the despicable slaughter of cattle, pigs, lambs, and bison. It won’t counter overpopulation. It won’t reduce crowd density at the beach. It won’t give me access to a quiet lake to swim where my feet can’t touch the bottom.

A USG win won’t stop the sound of leaf blowers and bring back rakes and brooms. It won’t improve the quality of life. It won’t improve my health. It won’t give any quality, uncontaminated land back to the Native Americans. It won’t improve the dismal state of US mental health care. It won’t relieve American depression or anxiety. It won’t offer Americans any easier access to opportunities to earn a living from their own creative skills and talents rather than from selling their souls as worker ants in local chain stores.

A USG win won’t increase the accountability of US presidents and high officials to international law. It won’t improve the mostly dismal choices we’ve so far been given every four years for US president. It won’t stop US presidents from spending millions swirling about in fancy clothes at their inaugural balls which we’re expected to admire. It won’t stop NATO from performing its idiotic, taxpayer-funded war simulations. It won’t stop the CIA and National Endowment for Democracy from facilitating coups. It won’t stop the US weapon industry’s grip on US foreign policy. And it certainly won’t decrease the amount of lies in the US propaganda that inundates mainstream media.

So whatever “interests” they’re talking about, they have nothing to do with me, and most likely they don’t have anything to do with you.

In fact, a better clue as to what these interests pertain to come from investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill’s Blackwater. Scahill describes the way in which the Clinton administration pounced to promote US corporate pipeline interests in the region of the Caspian Sea following the much-dreamed-of-by-US-policymakers dissolution of the USSR, a dissolution with capitalist reforms that brought poverty and crime to the former republics of the USSR. Already by 1997, Unocal, Amoco, Exxon, and Pennzoil had invested billions of dollars in Azerbaijan. But look carefully at Scahill’s quote of reporter Stephen Kinzer:

“‘The list of private American citizens who are seeking to make money from Azerbaijani oil or to encourage investment here reads like a roster of the national security establishment. Among the most prominent names are former Secretaries of State Henry A. Kissinger and James A. Baker 3rd, former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, former White House chief of staff John Sununu, and two former national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski.’”[2]

So these are the interests of the people that write things like the National Security Strategy. They’re looking to use US foreign policy, taxpayer-funded US military security, and taxpayer-funded private military contractors to secure their own financial interests abroad. That’s what national security is likely all about.

Sullivan & Biden describe their vision as “a world that is free, open, prosperous, and secure.”[3] As mentioned above, the USG’s dedication to these characteristics is bitterly laughable. But notice too: there’s nothing in that vision pertaining to a world that is friendly, joyful, loving, caring, just, honest, truthful, intelligent, wise, healthful, or clean. And, as you can tell from reading further on in the NSS, “open,” it turns out, doesn’t even mean honest, it means having markets that are open to US investors. China, for example, is specifically condemned for not being “open and accessible” and for having its markets closed off to investors. Sullivan & Biden must be just as peeved as US policymakers who sent Commodore Matthew Perry to physically intimidate Japan into opening up to US trade in 1853.

Sullivan & Biden state, “The People’s Republic of China harbors the intention and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order in favor of one that tilts the global playing field to its benefit, even as the United States remains committed to managing the competition between our countries responsibly.”[4] How would the USG’s “responsible” management of competition affect our lives in a way that is better than the irresponsible way that Sullivan & Biden imply would be used by China to manage this competition? This is not merely a rhetorical question. Sullivan & Biden have a responsibility to answer it thoroughly.

We get a definite sense that Sullivan & Biden perceive this competition, or want us to perceive this competition, in terms of moral competition, between good and evil, but considering the USG’s support following WWII for Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) in China, a brutal dictator infamous for his cruelty, tyranny, corruption, and decadence, a dictator whose forces massacred the people of Taiwan prior to taking over the island for themselves, it would be foolish to assume that the USG is on the side of goodness.[5] And considering the USG’s history since at least the early 1900s of struggling to access markets and investments in China, it would be naïve not to consider: is the USG’s blessed “vision” simply one in which US policymakers and businessmen make the most profit and investments, and the “darker vision” of its adversaries, such as China, is one in which China and other nations make more profits and investments? Is this the alpha and omega of US policymakers’ vision of morality?

It’s likely that the USG, as it did during the Cold War, is masking its avaricious, low-minded ambition to win a competition for profits with a fraudulent cover of high-minded morality. And it’s also likely that in many US policymaker minds they’re deceiving themselves, seeing their greed not as greed but as victory for the good guys. Sullivan & Biden, please answer: if China did tilt the global playing field to its benefit, how would life be better, worse, or the same for a spectrum of Americans, Chinese, and people of several other nations around the world?

The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Wouldn’t it actually be fair to tilt the global playing field so that it’s not tilted towards the United States? Certainly, many Americans find it difficult to make ends meet, but the USG doesn’t need to profit unfairly off other nations to help Americans. The USG has never used its foreign-made profits to help the American population anyway. Those profits just enhance the lifestyles of the social and business circles that run US foreign policy—like the $1.3 million that four Biden family members gained collectively from deals in China, primarily from the Chinese energy company, State Energy HK Limited.[6] It makes you wonder: Is Biden trying for war with China in order to get US puppets in power over there, puppets, such as those connected with State Energy HK Limited, who will help certain Americans reap millions in profits?

There’s no need to tilt the international playing field towards such a wealthy nation as the United States, when other nations need much more help. And we can raise a similar point with regard to economic relations within the United States: wouldn’t it be fair to tilt the national playing field so that it’s not tilted towards the super-wealthy Americans? To help the American population, the USG needs to create policies that facilitate a much more egalitarian sharing and earning of the wealth within our nation so that certain players, such as weapon industry CEOs, don’t get an enormously unfair advantage. After all, how could one American’s hour of work be worth hundreds of times more than another American’s hour of work? And how could one American’s 50 years of work be worth thousands or even millions of times more than another American’s 50 years of work? It’s ridiculous to suggest that we should be angry with China or Russia for our lack of prosperity when we know it’s the fault of greedy Americans.

The NSS 2022 fails to offer convincing evidence that the USG has any type of golden vision worth pursuing. The document claims that adversaries have a “darker vision,”[7] but though such Star-Wars-type hints of “darkness” are likely intended to make us shudder and quake, Sullivan & Biden fail to describe this “darker vision” in any coherent terms, thus indicating the absence of such a “darker vision.”

It seems to me that achieving Sullivan & Biden’s vision of freedom, openness, prosperity, and security, as limited as it is, requires improving life within the United States by using our US tax dollars, energy, and talent to directly address problems that ordinary Americans face—not by using up US tax dollars on fighting foreign “adversaries” who have nothing to do with any of the constraints on that vision and who certainly shouldn’t be blamed much less killed over such false accusations. Are we supposed to assume that Russia and China will somehow destroy life for Americans more than Americans and the USG already destroy life for Americans? Unless the USG provokes them into attacking us, which it’s not above doing, that’s hard to believe.

It’s important that the questions raised in this essay, including questions regarding a typical day for various people depending upon who wins the “race to the top,” be answered. Cooperative dialogue would give Sullivan & Biden the opportunity to defend their positions by providing detailed answers to these questions. Or, perhaps they’ll see that the race is not so important to win after all, or that it can be a cooperative, enjoyable game that we all play—with no adversaries—rather than a race to the top with a single winner who wins not much more than a bigger fall into the mud.[8]

Kristin Christman has been independently researching US foreign policy and peace since 9/11. Her channel focuses on US-Russian relations at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-10lk-CwU-5vAElcg. Kristin graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Russian, and she holds Master’s degrees in Slavic languages from Brown University and public administration from SUNY Albany. She has been a guest with former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter and UNAC coordinator Joe Lombardo on Cynthia Pooler’s program, Issues that Matter, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDlaLNJih7UPeace Review: A Journal of Social Justice recently published her article on suicide, culture, and peace in their special edition on suicide, Vol. 33 No. 4.  [email protected]

[1] National Security Strategy 2022, Oct. 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov.


[2] Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (New York: Nation Books, 2007), 168-69.

[3] NSS 2022, 2.

[4] NSS 2022, 3.

[5] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, rev. ed. (London: Zed Books, 2014), 21-27.

[6] House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, “Comer Reveals Biden Family Members Receiving Payments from Chinese Energy Company,” Mar. 16, 2023, https://oversight.house.gov;

Russia Today, “Another Biden family member took foreign cash—report,” March 17, 2023, https://www.rt.com.

[7] NSS 2022, 7.

[8] Dr. Seuss, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, (New York:  Random House, 1986).

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