We’ve been talking about the claims made within the National Security Strategy 2022. It’s not known whether or not National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is the actual author, but I refer to it as Sullivan & Biden’s NSS.
Claim 3. Nations that don’t open their markets and resources to us are bad. Throughout the NSS 2022, Sullivan & Biden continually state that the USG supports a world that is “free, open, prosperous, and secure.” One might think they mean “free” from oppression and “open” about the truth, but it seems they’re primarily referring to “free” markets and “open” access to the markets, resources, and investment opportunities of other nations. For example, they write, “The United States will work with other regional states to keep the Indo-Pacific open and accessible and ensure that nations are free to make their own choices, consistent with obligations under international law.”
But “open” is not grouped with any word meaning honest or truthful, it’s grouped with the word “accessible.” They also state that China “benefits from the openness of the international economy while limiting access to its domestic market, and it seeks to make the world more dependent on the PRC while reducing its own dependence on the world.” Again, “openness” is connected with economics, and Sullivan & Biden sound cross that US businesses can’t access the giant Chinese market to sell their stuff and invest. Sullivan & Biden also state that, “We will expand our regional diplomatic, development, and economic engagement, with a particular focus on Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.”
It seems that China’s “darker vision” has to do with its not giving US businessmen the opportunities for profit that they want. And because those American businessmen are stymied, the rest of us Americans have to fork over our tax money to support an even bigger military budget for next year, to subsidize the USG’s near-future militant attempts to gain access to China’s markets.
Of course, access to China’s markets, resources, and investment opportunities is the access the USG’s been coveting since the brutal Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, a war of subjugation that resulted in large amounts of US-inflicted torture and the deaths of at least 200,000 Philippinos largely due to wartime famine and disease. In 1900 Senator Albert Beveridge spoke of the riches of the Philippines and access to the markets of China just beyond:
“The Philippines are ours forever. . . . And just beyond the Philippines are China’s illimitable markets. We will not retreat from either. . . . We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world. . . .
“The Pacific is our ocean. . . . Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer. . . . The Philippines give us a base at the door of all the East. . . .
“No land in America surpasses in fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and cocoanuts, hemp and tobacco. . . . The wood of the Philippines can supply the furniture of the world for a century to come. At Cebu the best informed man on the island told me that 40 miles of Cebu’s mountain chain are practically mountains of coal. . . .
“I have a nugget of pure gold picked up in its present form on the banks of a Philippine creek. . . .
“My own belief is that there are not 100 men among them who comprehend what Anglo-Saxon self-government even means, and there are over 5,000,000 people to be governed.
“It has been charged that our conduct of the war has been cruel. Senators, it has been the reverse. . . . Senators must remember that we are not dealing with Americans or Europeans. We are dealing with Orientals.”
More than a century later, in the same bold vein, Sullivan & Biden declare, “The prosperity of everyday Americans is linked to the Indo-Pacific and the United States has long been a regional trade and investment leader.”
Imagine that. So you and I are expected to believe that we need USG leadership in the Indo-Pacific and supervision over China so that you and I can get our daily bread and prosper. The Chinese need to embrace lower standards of living—perhaps even war and poverty—so that Americans can prosper. The nation that’s supposedly so great, whose workforce can “outcompete” anyone, that has so much “resilience,” “grit,” and “creativity,” can’t make it economically unless the USG leads in the Indo-Pacific and gets China under its thumb.
To get a better grasp of why the USG views China as having a “darker vision,” it’s worthwhile examining the history of USG relations with China and the US motivations for those relations. A few years prior to the violent subjugation of the Philippines, USG interest in China was prodded by heavy lobbying for railroad concessions from the American China Development Society (ACDS), organized in 1895, which included bankers and businessmen representing Rockefeller, Morgan, Edward Harriman, and Kuhn, Loeb, and Co. The ACDS’s attorney helped set up the Committee on American Interests in China, which became the American Asiatic Association, which supported a more aggressive US foreign policy to secure their access to money-making opportunities in China. In the decision to acquire and conquer the Philippines in the Philippine-American War, US policymakers viewed the Philippines as a gateway to penetrating China’s market to sell US products and services.
In keeping with the belief that other people’s resources and markets exist to be seized, the USG also helped European powers suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. This rebellion was a violent, nationalist action taken by Chinese who were fed up with foreigners’ infiltrating and controlling their nation and dividing it into spheres of influence. Foreigners’ actions were threatening to break China apart completely, but US policymakers were unable to empathize with or care about the Chinese.
Ignoring Chinese feelings and China’s right to economic sovereignty, US President Taft was trying hard in the early 1900s to get a deal for American investment in a railway through China’s Manchuria. It’s unbelievable that this is a duty of the US president, who clearly represents certain segments of the upper class more than anyone else. Do US presidents ever work this hard to promote the financial security of middle-class, lower-class, and poor Americans? Do they work personally to guarantee access to food and shelter for the poor?
Taft, with a twist on the concept of equality that makes it not so noble anymore, wanted “equal participation” by American investors in the railway loan since European nations were already involved. Incidentally, while Taft was calling for equality, a US law of 1904 forbade people to immigrate to the United States if they were Chinese. Of course, now that the USG is on top economically, it doesn’t like to think about equal economic participation with other nations, such as Russia, especially in the fossil fuel and weapon export business. The USG just tries to push Russia out the door.
Still beset by foreign infiltration, the Chinese Revolution of 1911 was motivated in part by resentment over unwelcome foreign intrusions into China, whose sovereignty was repeatedly violated by various competing nations.
This motivation of avaricious greed for wealth, of winning rivalries with other business and nations to come out on top, even at the cost of violating China’s sovereignty, is not a favorable trait of the USG, so it’s exceedingly difficult to view it as possessing a brighter, lighter vision than that of China. It’s also ironic that the USG views China as a major adversary that threatens the world when it is the United States that has a history of military intervention in China—not the other way around.
As documented by the activist group Women Against War, the US militarily intervened or militarily stationed itself in China in 1894–1895, 1899–1900, 1922–1927, 1927–1934, and then, allegedly to evacuate Americans before a Communist victory, in 1948–1949. Perhaps Americans were being evacuated, but, as William Blum writes in Killing Hope, no later than two weeks after the close of WWII (1945), what the US military was really doing in China was participating in China’s Civil War by trying to help the unpopular Chinese ruler Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) and Chinese Nationalist forces fight Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) and Chinese Communist forces.
According to Blum, during WWII, while the Chinese Communists had worked with the USG and provided intelligence about the Japanese occupiers, Chiang’s military effort had primarily been directed against fellow Chinese—Chinese Communists—rather than against the Japanese. Nonetheless, at the close of WWII, the USG favored Chiang and transported 400,000–500,000 Nationalist troops across China in an effort to get to key sites and ports before the Communists did. Truman also sent 50,000 Marines to guard sites from the Chinese Communists and make reconnaissance flights to scout out their positions. As in South Korea following WWII, the Americans worked with their former enemies, the Japanese, whom they’d only recently been gleefully burning up, to subjugate left-wing forces in China. In 1946, roughly 100,000 US military personnel were still stationed in China supporting Chiang. Not until 1947 did the USG begin to withdraw some troops.
The USG apparently didn’t and still doesn’t perceive its intrusive behaviors in Chinese politics as out-of-line or as a violation of China’s national sovereignty. It didn’t care that Chiang Kai-shek was enormously unpopular amongst the Chinese. The USG refused to see that the Chinese themselves might be attracted to Communism and might be repulsed by the cruelty, tyranny, corruption, and decadence of Chiang’s government. Instead, US policymakers were convinced that the USSR was behind China’s Communism, despite all the evidence to the contrary and despite the poor relations between the USSR and China.
The Chinese, fed up with extreme degrees of foreign intrusiveness since at least the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, now had to endure the “wisdom” of US foreign policymakers such as Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk who evidently believed they knew the Chinese better than the Chinese knew themselves and who claimed that Chinese Communism was not actually Chinese but Russian. Since it was allegedly not truly Chinese, it was then presumed that the USG had the right and responsibility to help destroy it to save the Chinese.
In 1949, when Chiang fled to Taiwan, where his forces had previously massacred 18,000–28,000 Taiwanese, and Mao established the People’s Republic of China, many Chinese Nationalists fled to Northern Burma, where the CIA began to form them into an army and train and arm them to initiate several violent incursions into China in the early 1950s. The army eventually numbered 10,000, and the CIA hoped that attacks would provoke China into attacking Burma, in order to help push Burma into the USG orbit. The CIA won further military cooperation for its secret army through its involvement in developing Southeast Asia’s heroin trade.
Again, considering the incessant USG economic and military hounding, pestering, and attacking of China, its involvement and exacerbation of China’s civil war, the CIA’s heroin involvement, and the brutal CIA and USG behaviors in Southeast Asia resulting in millions of deaths in Laos and Cambodia alone, it’s simply unbelievable that it is China that is viewed as the aggressor, as the malicious threat with the “darker vision.” Meanwhile, even though the USG had shown no signs of supporting Tibetan autonomy from China during WWII, the USG now took advantage of ethnic politics, and the CIA began to recruit Tibetan refugees and fly them to Colorado for paramilitary training.
As with its anti-Communist foreign policy towards the USSR, Europe, Latin America, and Africa, the USG’s anti-Communist militarism throughout Asia was probably motivated by a mixture of paranoia, ignorance, obsessiveness, competitiveness, greed, prejudice, and groupthink, as well as by a misguided search for personal and national worth, and an enormous dosage of anger over the existence of an alternative economic system that didn’t cater to US investors’ perceived need to continually expand their investments and profits abroad in order to survive and succeed.
Decades later in the 1970s, when President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger improved relations with China, greed for profit was still a major motivator, along with the desire to have greater power against the USSR. Nixon was prodded in this direction by a committee of financiers and businessmen including Kendall, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., Westinghouse, and David Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank.
Despite the history of US aggression and greed in China, including NATO’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, the NSS 2022 labels China as the adversary with the “darker vision.” Sullivan & Biden, noting the existence of numerous Chinese-Americans, assure us they have nothing against the Chinese themselves. US leaders, as they’re killing people abroad, like to reassure their targets that they’ve nothing against their religion or their ethnicity, so their killing is all very ethical. I’m sure the hearts of Iraqis and Afghans, as they watch their loved ones blown to bits by US weapons, fill with warmth, joy, and tremendous relief knowing that the USG has nothing against Islam, Iraqis, or Afghans.
Having offered that reassurance that they’ve nothing against the Chinese, Sullivan & Biden proceed to warn us: “We have entered a consequential new period of American foreign policy that will demand more of the United States in the Indo-Pacific than has been asked of us since the Second World War. No region will be of more significance to the world and to everyday Americans than the Indo-Pacific. We are ambitious because we know that we and our allies and partners hold a common vision for its future.”
Great. So the involvement Sullivan & Biden demand is greater than when the USG was occupying South Korea, killing millions of innocent people in the Koreas, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and helping Indonesia kill hundreds of thousands in their own country. That stuff was small potatoes compared to what’s coming. And it is this “common vision”—as vague as it may be—that gives Sullivan & Biden the moral, legal, and Constitutional right to be ambitious in planning for this colossal war ahead that will likely make the planet uninhabitable for all species of life. And don’t forget, since US policymakers are not acting in a racist way against the Chinese and have nothing against them personally, it’s evidently okay to fly over there and kill them.
Sullivan & Biden pervertedly try to make their up-and-coming colossal war sound glorious and exciting: “more. . . .than has been asked of us since the Second World War.” Wouldn’t Senator Albert Beveridge be shivering with excitement if he were here! The phrase makes it sound like it’s not the mere mortals Sullivan & Biden who decided the USG has to go to the Indo-Pacific, it’s something bigger than them, it’s the new period of time that is demanding this of the USG and all Americans. Perhaps it was the same impersonal divine call that drew Americans westwards across the continent, pursuing their Manifest Destiny. Perhaps it was that same impersonal call of fate that compelled former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, even though China warned her that her visit would be seen as a serious provocation. She couldn’t help it. The time calls for Americans to go there. And to refuse would be defiance of the Call.
For more recent information on the attitudes and current ideas of China’s policymakers, I encourage you to turn to the Transnational Foundation at https://transnational.live where you can view many articles and videos by Jan Oberg and others. In particular, TFF’s “Behind the Smokescreen Report” by Gordon Dumoulin, Jan Oberg, and Thore Vestby is a thoughtfully written document that validly questions “the scholarly quality of the Western accusations against China” and also “questions the right of the US/West to point fingers at China when it [the US/West] is so obviously a systematic—and in many ways a much bigger—violator of human rights.” Moreover, the authors urge, “the world needs to witness more intelligent conflict-handling attitudes and policies than confrontation, demonisation, withdrawal from cooperation and condescending policies rooted in one of the most pervasive racist ideas in Western culture: the age-old Yellow Peril idea.”
The report also provides a link to a speech delivered in July 2020 by former President Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. The speech is a bewildering mixture of paranoia, ignorance, lies, black-and-white thinking, dramatic thinking, xenophobia, religious zealotry, and a fervent belief in a providential national destiny. While it seems unbelievable that these qualities are even allowed into our leadership, it becomes more believable when we see them repeated administration after administration.
Ignoring the stream of provable lies issued by the USG, including the current libelous statements that US policy and media makers issue about Russia’s Putin, Pompeo exhibits his bigotry and ignorance of Communist movements when he maintains, “‘Communists almost always lie. The biggest lie that they tell is that they speak for 1.4 billion people who are surveilled, oppressed, and scared to speak out.’” I think US policymakers lie when they claim to speak and act for all Americans. We’re given no voice whatsoever in foreign policy and no real choice in candidates from which to vote, a choice that would enable us to elect a new president who would actually work cooperatively with those so-called “adversaries.”
Pompeo’s speech exhibits a missionary-type fervor for triumph over alleged evil that has startling similarities to the attitudes displayed and acted upon during the 1950s by the fervently anti-Communist John Foster Dulles, President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State. Pompeo insists: “Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it because our founding principles give us that opportunity.” Summoning up the stale, unproven “beacon of freedom” imagery—imagery that also motivated US killing in Iraq to “free” Iraqis, he insists: “And it’s our government’s job to secure those rights. It’s made us a beacon of freedom for people all over the world, including people inside China.”
Pompeo then seems to try to goad us to agree to war by suggesting we’re weak if we don’t. He even quotes scripture to make the entire mission of killing Chinese, or rather, “freeing” Chinese from their allegedly cruel and aggressive masters, seem ordained by God: “We have the tool. I know we can do it. Now we need the will. To quote scripture, I ask is ‘our spirit willing but our flesh weak?’” Then, sounding like the “shape them before they shape us” notion of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC), he maintains, “If the free world doesn’t change—doesn’t change, Communist China will surely change us.”
After describing how the Chinese military has grown “menacing” and the economy allegedly threatening to American prosperity (or at least threatening to the desires of certain American social and business circles for more wealth), Pompeo brings up the phony “way of life” defense of Bush Jr. in his War on Terror and the discredited “free world” lingo of the Cold War and declares, “As President Trump has made clear, we need a strategy that protects the American economy, and indeed our way of life. The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.”
It’s critical that we point out the falseness in the words and imagery conveyed by speeches such as Pompeo’s. We cannot have such ignorant, self-deceptive, prejudiced ideas steering US foreign policy. These policymakers are advocating war, but they try to deceive us and likely deceive themselves that they are motivated by goodness, by desires to free the Chinese, to save Americans from dire consequences they can’t quite describe, to spread America’s missing-in-action glowing principles around the world. But this is exceedingly dangerous, and their belief in their own goodness makes their violent ideas even more dangerous. As with the Cold War against the USSR, this Cold War against China drapes pseudo-democratic ideas about freedom and pseudo-religious ideas about national destiny over what is likely the base avarice of certain Americans who, like US policymakers in the early 1900s, want to make more money off China.
At the same time that we stand adamantly against such ideas and policies and remove such attitudes from power, it’s important to look with compassion at the individuals and the psychological and cultural causes of such thinking. I imagine that both Dulles and Pompeo, as well as numerous others displaying similar attitudes, including Sullivan & Biden, are likely motivated in part by a misguided search for self-worth, national worth, and meaningful purpose in life, a faulty quest to feel good, to feel worthy about themselves and their nation, whether through conquest, military victory, the acquisition of wealth, or false ideas about liberating Chinese.
Groupthink can also contribute to making these ideas become reality, as US State Department policymaker George Kennan explained about US Cold War attitudes towards the USSR. Kennan had authored the provocative, ungrounded policy of containment towards the USSR, but Kennan himself admitted years later that US policymakers had become terribly carried away by their overactive imaginations. He
“later concluded that Americans, especially military planners, exaggerated Soviet behavior and created ‘the image of the totally inhuman and totally malevolent adversary’ and ‘reconjured [it] daily, week after week, month after month, year after year, until it takes on every feature of flesh and blood and becomes the daily companion of those who cultivate it, so that any attempt on anyone’s part to deny its reality appears as an act of treason or frivolity.’”
That’s just it! People who point out the goodness in China’s leadership or the goodness in Putin’s principles are branded as treasonous! This is ludicrous—and it’s contrary to democracy and democratic values of reason and dialogue. My own letters to the editor about Covid policies and libelous statements made by US policy and media makers against Putin—these letters were not accepted by the newspaper that for years had almost always accepted my material. There’s a nightmarish quality to US policy and media makers’ talk of removing “disinformation” from the news and social media, or removing ideas that disagree with public policy, for such censorship reeks of the power of a very ignorant groupthink taking over, as if millions of American and European minds must all bow down to one mind. Now how can that possibly be democratic? And how is it any different from dictatorship?
Instead of us all succumbing to the pseudo-religious groupthink that has taken over Pompeo, Sullivan, and Biden, if we could possibly talk with past and present US policymakers, including those such as Pompeo, in an atmosphere that is not intended to be threatening to them, it would be helpful if we could try to help them loosen up their thinking and recognize the rational and irrational origins of their thoughts.
Unfortunately, many such persons may be so lacking in a healthy sense of self-esteem that it might prick their feelings just to question their ideas. However, like George Kennan, people can change their minds over time, and they’re more likely to change their minds if they’re not condemned but rather coached and guided.
Many people are vulnerable to groupthink. All of us understand the desire to feel good, to feel that our lives have purpose. But the human mind can trick most of us—if not all of us—into thinking that what we’re doing at any moment is good and for the best, when in hindsight we may see how harmful it was. The human mind, in many ways, is quite frail and can be quite faulty. It’s both a strength and a tremendous weakness of our species. Sometimes it seems to be more an aberration of the species, a strange cerebral deviation that’s led to more problems than happiness and peace. Even language, thought to be a step of progress in evolution, often seems to cause more harm than good.
We must help each other overcome the weaknesses of this thing in human heads, but we cannot do it by censoring out our strengths. We’ve got to be able to use our intelligence to question our leaders, to point out the lack of substance and logic behind these callous Cold War attitudes towards both Russia and China as well as terrorists, and to reach beyond these attitudes to understand and connect positively with the nations and groups that our government tells us are our adversaries.
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=QDlaLNJih7U. Peace 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]
Recommended Listening: Traditional Chinese Erhu Music 2 – Lei Qiang.
 NSS 2022, 37.
 NSS 2022, 23.
 NSS 2022, 37.
 NSS 2022, 7.
 Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods, Jr., eds., We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now (New York: Basic Books, 2008), 88.
 Daniela Gioseffi, editor, On Prejudice: A Global Perspective (New York: Doubleday, 1993), Mark Twain and Others, “Massacre and Murderous Butchery,” 101.
 NSS 2022, 38.
 Thomas G. Paterson, J. Garry Clifford, and Kenneth J. Hagan, American Foreign Policy: A History Since 1900 (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath And Company, 1991), 241-42.
 Women Against War, “A Century of U.S. Military Interventions,” (Albany, NY 1999).
 William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, rev. ed. (London: Zed Books, 2014), 21-27.
 Paterson, Clifford, and Hagan, American Foreign Policy, 463-65.
 Blum, Killing Hope, 23.
 Blum, Killing Hope, 21-27.
 Rothbard, “Wall Street, Banks,” 37.
 NSS 2022, 25.
 NSS 2022, 38.
 Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), 8-10, 79.
 Paterson, Clifford, and Hagan, American Foreign Policy, 463-64.