It is a tragedy of our age that society has been locked in a zero-sum operating system for so long that many people living in the west cannot even imagine a world order designed in any other way… even if that zero sum system can ultimately do nothing but kill everyone holding onto it.
Is this statement too cynical?
It is a provable fact that if one chooses to organize their society around the concept that all players of a “great game” must exist in a finite world of tension as all zero-sum systems presume, then we find ourselves in a relatively deterministic trajectory to hell.
You see, this world of tension which game masters require in today’s world are generated by increasing rates of scarcity (food, fuel, resources, space, etc). As this scarcity increases due to population increases tied to heavy doses of arson, it naturally follows that war, famine, and other conflict will rise across all categories of divisions (ethnic, religious, linguistic, gender, racial etc). Showcasing this ugly misanthropic philosophy during a December 21, 1981 People Magazine Interview, Prince Philip described the necessity of reducing the world population stating:
“We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed-not just for the natural world, but for the human world. The more people there are, the more resources they’ll consume, the more pollution they’ll create, the more fighting they will do. We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation, and war.”
When such a system is imposed upon a world possessing atomic weapons, as occurred in the wake of FDR’s death and the sabotage of the great president’s anti-colonial vision, the predictably increased rates of conflict, starvation and ignorance can only spill over into a global war if nuclear superpowers chose to disobey the limits and “norms” of this game at any time.
Perhaps some utopian theoreticians sitting in their ivory towers at Oxford, Cambridge or the many Randian think tanks peppering foreign policy landscape believed that this game could be won if only all nation states relinquished their sovereignty to a global government… but that hasn’t really happened, has it?
Instead of the relinquishing of sovereignty, the past decade has seen a vast rise of nationalism across all corners of the earth which have been given new life by the rise of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and broader multipolar alliance. While these impulses have taken on many shapes and forms, they are united in the common belief that nation states must not become a thing of the past but rather must become determining forces of the world’s economic and political destinies.
The Case of the Bi-Polar USA
Unfortunately, within the USA itself where nationalism has seen an explosive rise in popularity under President Trump, the old uni-polar geopolitical paradigm has continued to hold tight under such neocon carryovers as Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Esper, CIA director Gina Haspel and the large caste of Deep State characters still operating among the highest positions of influence on both sides of the aisle.
While I genuinely believe that Trump would much rather work with both Russia, China and other nations of the multipolar alliance in lieu of blowing up the world, these aforementioned neocons think otherwise evidenced by Pompeo’s October 6 speech in Japan. In this speech, Pompeo attempted to rally other Pacific nations to an anti-Chinese security complex known as the Quad (USA, Australia, Japan and India). With his typically self-righteous tone, Pompeo stated that “this is not a rivalry between the United States and China. This is for the soul of the world”. Earlier Pompeo stated “If the free world doesn’t change Communist China, Communist China will change us.”
Pompeo’s efforts to break China’s neighbours away from the Belt and Road Initiative have accelerated relentlessly in recent months, with territorial tensions between China and Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei being used by the USA to enflame conflict whenever possible. It is no secret that the USA has many financial and military tentacles stretching deep into all of those Pacific nations listed.
Where resistance to this anti-China tension is found, CIA-funded “democracy movements” have been used as in the current case of Thailand, or outright threats and sanctions as in the case of Cambodia where over 24 Chinese companies have been sanctioned for the crime of building infrastructure in a nation which the USA wishes to control.
Pompeo’s delusional efforts to consolidate a Pacific Military bloc among the QUAD states floundered fairly quickly as no joint military agreement was generated creating no foundation upon which a larger alliance could be built.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi accurately called out this regressive agenda on October 13 saying:
“In essence [the Indo-Pacific Strategy] aims to build a so-called Indo-Pacific NATO underpinned by the quadrilateral mechanism involving the United States, Japan, India and Australia. What it pursues is to trumpet the Cold War mentality and to stir up confrontation among different groups and blocs and to stoke geopolitical competition. What it maintains is the dominance and hegemonic system of the United States. In this sense, this strategy is itself an underlying security risk. If it is forced forward it will wind back the clock of history.”
China Responds with Class
China’s response to this pompous threat to peace was classy to say the least with Wang Yi teaming up with Yang Jiechi (Director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission) who jointly embarked on simultaneous foreign tours that demonstrated the superior world view of “right-makes-might” diplomacy. Where Wang Yi focused his efforts on Southeast Asia with visits to the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore, Yang Jiechi embarked on a four-legged tour of Sri Lanka, the UAE, Algeria and Serbia.
While COVID assistance was a unifying theme throughout all meetings, concrete economic development driven by the Belt and Road Initiative was relentlessly advanced by both diplomats. In all bilateral agreements reached over this past week, opportunities for cooperation and development were created with a focus on diminishing the points of tension which geopolticians require in order for their perverse “game” to function.
In Malaysia, the $10 billion, 640 Km East Coast Rail link was advanced that will be completed with China’s financial and technical help by 2026 providing a key gateway in the BRI, as well as two major industrial parks that will service high tech products to China and beyond over the coming decades.
After meeting with Wang Yi on October 9, Indonesia’s Special Presidential Envoy announced that “Indonesia is willing to sign cooperation documents on the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Maritime Fulcrum at an early date, enlarge its cooperation with China on trade and investment, actively put in place currency swap arrangements and settlements in local currency, step up the joint efforts in human resources and disaster mitigation, and learn from China’s fight against poverty.”
In Cambodia, a major Free Trade Agreement was begun which will end tariffs on hundreds of products and create new markets for both nations. On the BRI, the New International Land-Sea Trade corridor and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation plans were advanced.
In the Philippines, Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Locsin discussed Duterte’s synergistic Build Build Build program which reflects the sort of long term infrastructure orientation characteristic of the BRI which are both complete breaks with the decades-long practices of usurious IMF loans which have created development bottlenecks across the entire developing sector.
In Thailand Wang Yi met with the Thai Prime Minister where the two accelerated the building of the 252 km Bangkok-Korat high speed rail line which will then connect to Laos and thence to China’s Kunmin Province providing a vital artery for the New Silk Road.
In the past few years, the USA has been able to do little to counter China’s lucrative offers while at best offering cash under the rubric of the Lower Mekong Initiative established under the Hillary-Obama administration in preparation for the Asia Pivot encirclement of China that was unleashed in 2012. This was done as part of a desperate effort to keep China’s neighbors loyal to the USA and was meant to re-enforce Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership which Trump thankfully destroyed during his first minutes in office.
Yang Jiechi’s Four-Legged Tour
In Sri Lanka, a $90 million grant was offered by China which will be devoted to medical resources, water supplies and education and which the Chinese embassy website stated “will contribute to the well being of Sri Lankans in a post-COVID era”. Another $989 million loan was delivered for the completion of a massive expressway stretching from Central Sri Lanka’s tea growing district to the Port of Hambanota. While this port is repeatedly used by detractors of the BRI like Pompeo as proof of the “Chinese debt trap”, recent studies have proven otherwise.
In the UAE, the Chinese delegation released a press release after meeting with Prince Zayed al-Nahyan stating: “Under the strategic guidance of President Xi and the Abu Dhabi crown prince, China will enrich the connotation of its comprehensive strategic partnership with UAE, cement the political trust and support, promote alignment of development strategies, and advance high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road.”
In Algeria, Yang offered China’s full support for the New Economic Revival Plan which parallels the Philippines’ Build Build Build strategy by focusing on long term industrial growth rather than IMF-demands for privatization and austerity that have kept North Africa and other nations backward for years.
Finally in Serbia which is a vital component of the BRI, the Chinese delegation gave its full support to the Belgrade-Budapest railway, and other long term investments centered on transport, energy and soft infrastructure, including the expansion of the Chinese-owned Smederevo Steel Plant which employs over 12 000 Serbians and which was saved from bankruptcy by China in 2016. By the end of the trip, Prime Minister Brnabic announced: “Serbia strongly supports China both bilaterally and multilaterally, including President Xi Jinping’s Access and Roads Initiative and the 17+1 Cooperation Mechanism, in the context of which most of Serbia’s infrastructure and strategy projects will be realized”
The Spirit of Win-Win Must Not Be Sabotaged
Overall, the spirit of the growing New Silk Road is fast moving from a simple east-south trade route towards a global program stretching across all of Africa, to the Middle East, to the High Arctic and Latin America. While this program is driven by a longer view of the past and future than most westerners realize, it is quickly becoming evident that it is the only game in town with a future worth living in.
While China has committed to the enlightened idea that human society is more than a “sum of parts”, the Cold Warriors of the west have chosen to hold onto obsolete notions of human nature that suppose we live in a world of “each vs. all”. These obsolete notions are premised on the bestial idea that our species is destined to do little more than fight for diminishing returns of scraps in a closed -system struggle for survival where only a small technocratic elite of game masters calling themselves “alphas” control the levers of production and consumption from above.
Thus far, President Trump has distinguished himself from other dark age war hawks in his administration by promoting a foreign policy outlook centered on economic development. This has been seen in his recent victories in achieving economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo, and endorsing the Alaska-Canada railway last month. With the elections just around the corner and the war hawks flying in full force, it is clear that these piecemeal projects, though sane and welcomed are still not nearly enough to break the USA away from its course of war with China and towards a new age of win-win cooperation required for the ultimate survival of our species.