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U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?

Trust mainstream media commentators to get their priorities right! While they dished out hell to Donald Trump the other day over his 10-minute conversation with the president of Taiwan, they could hardly have been more accommodative all these years of a rather more consequential American affront to mainland China: Barack Obama’s so-called “pivot” to Asia.

As the London-based journalist John Pilger points out, the absurdly named pivot, which has been a central feature of U.S. foreign policy since 2012, is clearly intended to tighten America’s military containment of the Middle Kingdom. In Pilger’s words, Washington’s nuclear bases amount to a hangman’s noose around China’s neck.

Pilger makes the point in a searing new documentary, The Coming War on China. Little known in the United States, Pilger has been a marquee name in British journalism since the 1960s. First as a roving reporter for the Daily Mirror and later as a television documentary maker, he has spent more than fifty years exposing the underside of American foreign policy – and very often, given London’s predilection to play Tonto to Washington’s Lone Ranger, that has meant exposing the underside of British foreign policy also.

Pilger built his early reputation on opposition to the Vietnam war; more recently he emerged as a scathing critic of the Bush-Blair rush to invade Iraq after 9/11.

In his latest movie, Pilger, a 77-year-old Australian, argues that the “pivot” sets the world up for nuclear Armageddon. The Obama White House probably disagrees; but, not for the first time, Pilger is asking the right questions.

This is not to suggest that Washington doesn’t have legitimate issues. But its China strategy is upside down. While it rarely misses an opportunity to lord it over Beijing militarily, its economic policy in the face of increasingly outrageous Chinese provocation could hardly be more spineless. Instead of insisting that China honor its WTO obligations, U.S. policymakers have looked the other way as Beijing has not only maintained high trade barriers against American exports but, far worse, has contrived to force the transfer of much of what is left of America’s once awe-inspiring reservoir of world-beating manufacturing technologies.

In the case of the auto industry, for instance, Beijing’s proposition goes like this: “We’d love to buy American cars. But those cars must be made in China – and the Detroit companies must bring their best manufacturing technologies.” Such technologies then have a habit of migrating rapidly to rising Chinese rivals.

By indulging China economically and provoking it militarily, the Obama administration would appear to be schizoid. But this is to judge things from a commonsensical outsider’s perspective – always a mistake in a place as inbred and smug as Washington. Seen from inside the Beltway, everything looks perfectly rational. Whether Washington is giving away the U.S. industrial base, on the one hand or arming to the teeth against a putative Chinese bogeyman on the other, the dynamic is the same: lobbying money.

As the U.S. industrial base has been shipped machine-by-machine, and job-by-job, to China, America’s ability to pay its way in the world has correspondingly imploded. Although rarely mentioned in the press (does the American press even understand such elementary and obvious economic consequences?), this means America has become ever more dependent on other nations to fund its trade deficits. The funding comes mainly in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. And guess who is the biggest buyer? The Communist regime in Beijing, of course. In effect, the bemused Chinese are paying for the privilege of having nukes pointed at them!

That is not a sustainable situation. Beijing no doubt has a plan. Washington, tone-deaf as always in foreign affairs, has not yet discovered there is a problem. We have been fated to live in interesting times.

Pilger’s documentary will air in the United States on RT on December 9, 10, and 11. For details click here.

Eamonn Fingleton is the author of In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008).

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, China 
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  1. Leftists don’t really “do” foreign policy in the first place. It’s not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.

    I’m sure 99% of what passes for politics in the Obama admin is domestic social policy — race, gender, equality, etc. Their positions on economics or foreign policy are either out of obligation, or revolved around their social justice beliefs, either as a means to further them, or to counter a foreign ideological threat.

    For instance, a leftist would view foreign relations with Russia or Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they’re not friendly to gays, women, etc. Economic or geopolitical concerns come second. The Obama admin’s policy appears schizoid and haphazard because China does not directly relate to them through issues they care about.

    This is why the American’s right is wrong in treating leftists like they’re reasonable adults with serious concerns. People who base their worldview on equality should not be dignified with discussion, but rather eliminated from the public sphere.

    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
    Groomed by the CIA, bought by Wall Street, darling of the military industrial complex--Obama a "leftist"? Only someone deluded by the United States' Alice In Wonderland political vocabulary could voice such an absurdity.
    , @Clyde

    Leftists don’t really “do” foreign policy in the first place. It’s not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.
    I’m sure 99% of what passes for politics in the Obama admin is domestic social policy — race, gender, equality, etc. Their positions on economics or foreign policy are either out of obligation, or revolved around their social justice beliefs, either as a means to further them, or to counter a foreign ideological threat.
     
    You could not be more correct. By and large Democrats are the party of Federal government and Federal policy making. They have faith in government as a tool to further their social agendas. Foreign policy is useless, a dead end, because foreigners cannot vote for them. It distracts from the real business of buying votes with our tax dollars. So they can stay in power their entire working life. Republicans are far less committed to being career politicians and career hacks. They rather be elected and serve for a while, then get back to the private sector.

    Look at the fits the Dems are throwing over Trump getting elected. They feel they are naturally entitled to Federal power and the Presidency.
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  2. You’re giving schizoids a bad name. Look it up.

    • Replies: @Darin
    Agreed. Schizoid does not mean crazy or schizophrenic, and BHO is the exact opposite of schizoid person. True schizoid is the closest thing to space alien you can meet on this Earth (not that schizoid would want to meet with you).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizoid_personality_disorder

    What fits BHO like glove is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder, like most politicians.
  3. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    The economist Michael Hudson explains this in his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire. The dollar denominated foreign trade surpluses fund the US military’s expansion and buildup.

    The reason the US government pursues this apparently “schizoid” policy is because the US military is too expensive otherwise. If it tried to sustain the US military expansion and buildup directly, the dollar would collapse from the spending, and or the tax burden would be too great.

  4. @Jason Liu
    Leftists don't really "do" foreign policy in the first place. It's not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.

    I'm sure 99% of what passes for politics in the Obama admin is domestic social policy -- race, gender, equality, etc. Their positions on economics or foreign policy are either out of obligation, or revolved around their social justice beliefs, either as a means to further them, or to counter a foreign ideological threat.

    For instance, a leftist would view foreign relations with Russia or Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they're not friendly to gays, women, etc. Economic or geopolitical concerns come second. The Obama admin's policy appears schizoid and haphazard because China does not directly relate to them through issues they care about.

    This is why the American's right is wrong in treating leftists like they're reasonable adults with serious concerns. People who base their worldview on equality should not be dignified with discussion, but rather eliminated from the public sphere.

    Groomed by the CIA, bought by Wall Street, darling of the military industrial complex–Obama a “leftist”? Only someone deluded by the United States’ Alice In Wonderland political vocabulary could voice such an absurdity.

  5. There is no ring of “hangman’s noose of nuclear bases” around China. In the far east we have ships based in Guam, Japan, and Singapore. Nukes were removed from Carriers long ago. We may still have some nukes at Anderson AFB in Guam, but that’s it.

    People like Pilger may have the principles, but all too often they rave about things that simply don’t exist. China might be “provoked” but only because China wants to be provoked. It’s part of their foreign policy schtick that leftists rise to, and China is aware of how the leftist mind works as they have observed them and have used those mind sets to manipulate them. It has always been thus among communists, and always will be.

    Relations with Red China are not good because Obama radiates weakness. Same with Putin’s Russia. I wouldn’t say Obama’s policies are Schizoid, but they are inconsistent. Leftist policies are always inconsistent and unworkable and the country has paid a high price every time the left has been ascendant over the last 50 years.

  6. The 4 pillars of American exports:
    Useless movies – Hollywood
    Useless software – Silicon Valley
    Useless weaponry – Lockheed&Co
    Useless financial products – Wall Street

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany.
    Soon, China.
    Makes you wonder who won WWII.

    • Replies: @SmoothieX12

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany. Soon, China.
     
    You make a very wrong conclusion. Germany is in a steep decline, including through her suicidal energy policy, among many other factors. But US exports also such things as Boeing-787, 737-900 etc . Neither Germany, nor China are capable of producing anything like those planes. Check for starters who, actually, will be the real designer of Chinese COMAC C929, including its engines, which China will not be able to develop to the world-class standards. Japan is a somewhat different case, of course. Per financial "products" and some software (and some weapons), however, you have a point.
  7. @frayedthread
    The 4 pillars of American exports:
    Useless movies - Hollywood
    Useless software - Silicon Valley
    Useless weaponry - Lockheed&Co
    Useless financial products - Wall Street

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany.
    Soon, China.
    Makes you wonder who won WWII.

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany. Soon, China.

    You make a very wrong conclusion. Germany is in a steep decline, including through her suicidal energy policy, among many other factors. But US exports also such things as Boeing-787, 737-900 etc . Neither Germany, nor China are capable of producing anything like those planes. Check for starters who, actually, will be the real designer of Chinese COMAC C929, including its engines, which China will not be able to develop to the world-class standards. Japan is a somewhat different case, of course. Per financial “products” and some software (and some weapons), however, you have a point.

    • Replies: @5371
    I would say Germany has more than a little to do with Airbus. As for Chinese planes, wait and see.
    , @frayedthread
    Germany's energy policy is not suicidal at all. The windmill and solar farms are an eyewash for sure, but in a pinch, in a cinch they'll go nuclear or get gas from Russia or Qatar.

    Really Suicidal = inviting refusees.

    China for now is perhaps behind Japan, Russia, Germany and the US, but they'll catch up and overtake by hook or by crook, never fear. They already have TaihuLight. Serious, serious folks.

    With a population of a billion, a strong educational system , a merciless meritocracy and a dirigiste economy run by patriotic technocrats they don't need to sacralize immigration.

    I bet on them, though I'd be happy to lose.
    , @MarkinLA
    China will force it's regional airlines to buy it's home developed airliners and that is where the bugs will be worked out until they reach parity. Of course, much of their technology will be what they stole from Boeing and they will eventually undercut Boeing in Asian markets but who cares - that is for the next CEO to worry about.
  8. @SmoothieX12

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany. Soon, China.
     
    You make a very wrong conclusion. Germany is in a steep decline, including through her suicidal energy policy, among many other factors. But US exports also such things as Boeing-787, 737-900 etc . Neither Germany, nor China are capable of producing anything like those planes. Check for starters who, actually, will be the real designer of Chinese COMAC C929, including its engines, which China will not be able to develop to the world-class standards. Japan is a somewhat different case, of course. Per financial "products" and some software (and some weapons), however, you have a point.

    I would say Germany has more than a little to do with Airbus. As for Chinese planes, wait and see.

    • Replies: @SmoothieX12

    I would say Germany has more than a little to do with Airbus.
     
    I would add more--Germany has a lot to do with Airbus. The main assembly hub is in Dortmund (if my Alzheimer doesn't fail me) but most of design, as well as engines, avionics etc. are mostly of French and British in origin. Can Germany develop a world-class jet engine? Possibly--the question is for how much and how long it will take them. Enclosed technological cycle in world-class jet manufacturing is an extremely complex process and Germany here is long ago (for a number of obvious reasons) not in a leading position, to put it mildly. The name of the game in aerospace is "localization", achieving 100% of it is a mammoth task even for such capable nation as Germany. But, but, soon "cultural enrichment" of West Germans may produce such results that the aerospace issues would become of secondary importance.
  9. @SmoothieX12

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany. Soon, China.
     
    You make a very wrong conclusion. Germany is in a steep decline, including through her suicidal energy policy, among many other factors. But US exports also such things as Boeing-787, 737-900 etc . Neither Germany, nor China are capable of producing anything like those planes. Check for starters who, actually, will be the real designer of Chinese COMAC C929, including its engines, which China will not be able to develop to the world-class standards. Japan is a somewhat different case, of course. Per financial "products" and some software (and some weapons), however, you have a point.

    Germany’s energy policy is not suicidal at all. The windmill and solar farms are an eyewash for sure, but in a pinch, in a cinch they’ll go nuclear or get gas from Russia or Qatar.

    Really Suicidal = inviting refusees.

    China for now is perhaps behind Japan, Russia, Germany and the US, but they’ll catch up and overtake by hook or by crook, never fear. They already have TaihuLight. Serious, serious folks.

    With a population of a billion, a strong educational system , a merciless meritocracy and a dirigiste economy run by patriotic technocrats they don’t need to sacralize immigration.

    I bet on them, though I’d be happy to lose.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Actually Germany has replaced or is in the process of replacing their nuclear power production with ligneous coal. This type coal is absolutely environmentally "dirty."
  10. @5371
    I would say Germany has more than a little to do with Airbus. As for Chinese planes, wait and see.

    I would say Germany has more than a little to do with Airbus.

    I would add more–Germany has a lot to do with Airbus. The main assembly hub is in Dortmund (if my Alzheimer doesn’t fail me) but most of design, as well as engines, avionics etc. are mostly of French and British in origin. Can Germany develop a world-class jet engine? Possibly–the question is for how much and how long it will take them. Enclosed technological cycle in world-class jet manufacturing is an extremely complex process and Germany here is long ago (for a number of obvious reasons) not in a leading position, to put it mildly. The name of the game in aerospace is “localization”, achieving 100% of it is a mammoth task even for such capable nation as Germany. But, but, soon “cultural enrichment” of West Germans may produce such results that the aerospace issues would become of secondary importance.

    • Replies: @subidentity9
    Seeing as how the Germans developed, manufactured, and fielded the first two successful jet engines, I'll bet they can do it again. (I know all about Whittle and his centrifugal compressor.) As for the U.S. government, they lagged behind in the development of jet fighters (and now seem to have imploded). By about 1949 they had figured it out, thanks in large part to Joachim von Ohain.
  11. @SmoothieX12

    As Fingleton has pointed out, real production manufacturing goodness is with Japan/Germany. Soon, China.
     
    You make a very wrong conclusion. Germany is in a steep decline, including through her suicidal energy policy, among many other factors. But US exports also such things as Boeing-787, 737-900 etc . Neither Germany, nor China are capable of producing anything like those planes. Check for starters who, actually, will be the real designer of Chinese COMAC C929, including its engines, which China will not be able to develop to the world-class standards. Japan is a somewhat different case, of course. Per financial "products" and some software (and some weapons), however, you have a point.

    China will force it’s regional airlines to buy it’s home developed airliners and that is where the bugs will be worked out until they reach parity. Of course, much of their technology will be what they stole from Boeing and they will eventually undercut Boeing in Asian markets but who cares – that is for the next CEO to worry about.

  12. Of course, much of their technology will be what they stole from Boeing

    Much of its technology will be derivative of Russian (substantial) experience with wide body aircraft and that is why Russia is a party to COMAC Russian-Chinese JV.

  13. “While it rarely misses an opportunity to lord it over Beijing militarily, its economic policy in the face of increasingly outrageous Chinese provocation could hardly be more spineless.”

    I didn’t put it as strongly as that, but I made a similar point (that a US economy and society in relative decline seems an odd candidate to be threatening China) on the Pilger thread, and asked ‘how do we square these competing narratives?”.

    So I’ll ask Mr Fingleton the same question – why would the US do that?

  14. @frayedthread
    Germany's energy policy is not suicidal at all. The windmill and solar farms are an eyewash for sure, but in a pinch, in a cinch they'll go nuclear or get gas from Russia or Qatar.

    Really Suicidal = inviting refusees.

    China for now is perhaps behind Japan, Russia, Germany and the US, but they'll catch up and overtake by hook or by crook, never fear. They already have TaihuLight. Serious, serious folks.

    With a population of a billion, a strong educational system , a merciless meritocracy and a dirigiste economy run by patriotic technocrats they don't need to sacralize immigration.

    I bet on them, though I'd be happy to lose.

    Actually Germany has replaced or is in the process of replacing their nuclear power production with ligneous coal. This type coal is absolutely environmentally “dirty.”

  15. Leftists don’t really “do” foreign policy in the first place. It’s not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.

    The regime may not want to “do” foreign policy, but foreign policy wants to “do” them, just the same.

    Has a lot to do with why the voters just “did” the regime, actually. The politics of it all seem “domestic” to the voters, and probably even the regime by now.

    Groomed by the CIA, bought by Wall Street, darling of the military industrial complex–Obama a “leftist”? Only someone deluded by the United States’ Alice In Wonderland political vocabulary could voice such an absurdity.

    See, in Europe, they think you have to wave a hammer and sickle to be a leftist. Because you really have to be a super-pinko, to stand out from all the other pinkos. Muslims will cure them of that, eventually.

    Yes, Hussein is left of even the left-shifted center in the USA. Most of the right in the USA is leftist, really.

    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
    " See in Europe, they think you have to wave a hammer and sickle to be a leftist. Because you really have to be a super pinko to stand out from all the other pinkos"

    Great observation. In Germany the the nut-case "Greens" dictate all of national policy, and they even have control over the former conservative CDU.

    They support and heap praise over AM, something unthinkable a few years ago, simply because she is doing their leftist bidding in the Energy and refugee issues.
    They , the green commies, are on the track, under the guise of the "Climate crisis" to eliminate private auto ownership in the nation which invented cars.

    Authenticjazzman " Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

  16. @Svigor

    Leftists don’t really “do” foreign policy in the first place. It’s not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.
     
    The regime may not want to "do" foreign policy, but foreign policy wants to "do" them, just the same.

    Has a lot to do with why the voters just "did" the regime, actually. The politics of it all seem "domestic" to the voters, and probably even the regime by now.

    Groomed by the CIA, bought by Wall Street, darling of the military industrial complex–Obama a “leftist”? Only someone deluded by the United States’ Alice In Wonderland political vocabulary could voice such an absurdity.
     
    See, in Europe, they think you have to wave a hammer and sickle to be a leftist. Because you really have to be a super-pinko, to stand out from all the other pinkos. Muslims will cure them of that, eventually.

    Yes, Hussein is left of even the left-shifted center in the USA. Most of the right in the USA is leftist, really.

    ” See in Europe, they think you have to wave a hammer and sickle to be a leftist. Because you really have to be a super pinko to stand out from all the other pinkos”

    Great observation. In Germany the the nut-case “Greens” dictate all of national policy, and they even have control over the former conservative CDU.

    They support and heap praise over AM, something unthinkable a few years ago, simply because she is doing their leftist bidding in the Energy and refugee issues.
    They , the green commies, are on the track, under the guise of the “Climate crisis” to eliminate private auto ownership in the nation which invented cars.

    Authenticjazzman ” Mensa” society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

  17. Whether Washington is giving away the U.S. industrial base, on the one hand or arming to the teeth against a putative Chinese bogeyman on the other, the dynamic is the same: lobbying money.

    The US has a serious lack of Guardians. These are the people in government who (in a Democracy) look after the interests of non-powerful Americans by guarding the machinery of state against Special Interests.

  18. @SmoothieX12

    I would say Germany has more than a little to do with Airbus.
     
    I would add more--Germany has a lot to do with Airbus. The main assembly hub is in Dortmund (if my Alzheimer doesn't fail me) but most of design, as well as engines, avionics etc. are mostly of French and British in origin. Can Germany develop a world-class jet engine? Possibly--the question is for how much and how long it will take them. Enclosed technological cycle in world-class jet manufacturing is an extremely complex process and Germany here is long ago (for a number of obvious reasons) not in a leading position, to put it mildly. The name of the game in aerospace is "localization", achieving 100% of it is a mammoth task even for such capable nation as Germany. But, but, soon "cultural enrichment" of West Germans may produce such results that the aerospace issues would become of secondary importance.

    Seeing as how the Germans developed, manufactured, and fielded the first two successful jet engines, I’ll bet they can do it again. (I know all about Whittle and his centrifugal compressor.) As for the U.S. government, they lagged behind in the development of jet fighters (and now seem to have imploded). By about 1949 they had figured it out, thanks in large part to Joachim von Ohain.

  19. @Jason Liu
    Leftists don't really "do" foreign policy in the first place. It's not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.

    I'm sure 99% of what passes for politics in the Obama admin is domestic social policy -- race, gender, equality, etc. Their positions on economics or foreign policy are either out of obligation, or revolved around their social justice beliefs, either as a means to further them, or to counter a foreign ideological threat.

    For instance, a leftist would view foreign relations with Russia or Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they're not friendly to gays, women, etc. Economic or geopolitical concerns come second. The Obama admin's policy appears schizoid and haphazard because China does not directly relate to them through issues they care about.

    This is why the American's right is wrong in treating leftists like they're reasonable adults with serious concerns. People who base their worldview on equality should not be dignified with discussion, but rather eliminated from the public sphere.

    Leftists don’t really “do” foreign policy in the first place. It’s not the way they view the world. It invites a sense of tribalism that they naturally try to avoid.
    I’m sure 99% of what passes for politics in the Obama admin is domestic social policy — race, gender, equality, etc. Their positions on economics or foreign policy are either out of obligation, or revolved around their social justice beliefs, either as a means to further them, or to counter a foreign ideological threat.

    You could not be more correct. By and large Democrats are the party of Federal government and Federal policy making. They have faith in government as a tool to further their social agendas. Foreign policy is useless, a dead end, because foreigners cannot vote for them. It distracts from the real business of buying votes with our tax dollars. So they can stay in power their entire working life. Republicans are far less committed to being career politicians and career hacks. They rather be elected and serve for a while, then get back to the private sector.

    Look at the fits the Dems are throwing over Trump getting elected. They feel they are naturally entitled to Federal power and the Presidency.

  20. @RealSchizoid
    You're giving schizoids a bad name. Look it up.

    Agreed. Schizoid does not mean crazy or schizophrenic, and BHO is the exact opposite of schizoid person. True schizoid is the closest thing to space alien you can meet on this Earth (not that schizoid would want to meet with you).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizoid_personality_disorder

    What fits BHO like glove is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder, like most politicians.

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