US demands for “existential struggle” threaten war with China

On Tuesday, a bipartisan House committee held a hearing proclaiming an “existential struggle” between the United States and China.

In his opening remarks to the hearing, committee Chairman Mike Gallagher said the United States’ “competition” with China will not be “polite,” calling the US conflict with China an “existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century.”

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Gallagher told the Wall Street Journal the committee would create a two-year “blueprint” for “selective economic decoupling from China.”

The prime-time hearing was aimed at promoting public hostility toward China to justify the United States’ massive military build-up in the Pacific.

In January, Gen. Mike Minihan, head of the Air Mobility Command, sent a letter to his subordinates stating, “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” and urging them to get their “personal affairs” in order in preparation for a conflict with China.

U.S. Army mariners-in-training pose for pictures at Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story May 27, 2017. [Photo: US Army]

On Thursday, it became known that the US is planning to triple the number of US troops stationed in Taiwan, which the United States has for decades treated as part of China. Last year, Congress passed a national defense authorization act that would directly arm Taiwan, effectively ending the one-China policy with the aim of provoking a Chinese invasion of Taiwan similar to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The warmongering testimonies by former Trump administration officials—H.R. McMaster, a war criminal who helped organize the illegal invasion of Iraq, and Matthew Pottinger, a key ally of the fascist Steve Bannon—were interrupted by protesters opposing US war plans with China who were gagged and led away by police.

The hearing, which was convened by Republicans who now control the House, won the enthusiastic backing of Democratic members of the committee.

But not a single one of the Democratic members of Congress opposed the warmongering orientation of the hearing. Ro Khanna, a national co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, fully embraced the premise of the meeting, casting the war plans of American imperialism as a struggle to defend US manufacturing jobs.

“Over the last three decades, both Democrats and Republicans underestimated the CCP, and assumed that trade and investment would inevitably lead to democracy and greater security in the Indo-Pacific. ... Instead the opposite happened,” said Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the ranking Democrat on the committee, in his opening remarks.

Democratic Michigan Congresswoman Haley Stevens called on the United States to carry out policies aimed at ensuring the domination of US manufacturing exports and control of raw materials.

While fully accepting the framework for US-China relations, the entire criticism of the Democrats was that the US conflict with China should not be acclaimed by overt anti-Asian racism. Democrat Shontel Brown said she supported “boosting American competitiveness with equity and inclusion.”

But perhaps the most overt statement of sympathy for Gallagher’s “existential conflict” came from the White House, by way of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In an interview with Fox News, FBI Director Christopher Wray accused China of having created COVID-19 and then covering it up, in the most high-profile, public statement to date of the White House’s approval of the Wuhan lab lie.

The announcement was a direct overture toward Pottinger, who is a leading public advocate of the Wuhan lab conspiracy theory, which he has consistently advocated alongside his demands for the US to prepare for conflict with China.

The hearing marks a major milestone in the embrace of the entire political establishment of the framework of the US-China relationship pioneered under the Trump administration by the fascist ideologue and chief white house strategist Steven K. Bannon, which calls on the United States to economically “decouple” from China in preparation for military conflict.

This narrative was first officially trailered in October 2018 in a speech by Vice President Mike Pence, who argued that the reproachment between the United States and China in the aftermath of Richard Nixon’s 1971 trip to Beijing was a mistake.   

The “Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party” was effectively a vehicle for its star witness former United States deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger, who Bannon described as “one of the most significant people in the entire U.S. government.”

In the words of Josh Rogin, Pottinger’s views have lived on in the Biden administration, with the “incoming Biden administration is set to preserve many of the changes in the government’s approach to China that Pottinger, along with other like-minded officials, worked to implement.”

Over the past two months, the Biden administration has massively intensified its conflict with China, passing a bill at the end of last year that would directly arm Taiwan, Surging US troops to the island, and this month, carrying out an attack on what was by all indications a Chinese research balloon that had been blown over the United States.

Tuesday’s prime-time hearing is a major component of the US media’s month-long effort to demonize China, which erupted with the announcement days-long media hysteria over a the Chinese balloon, and continued with the US media’s incessant promotion of the Wuhan lab lie over the past week.

These developments must be seen as a warning. Even as the United States massively intensifies its involvement in its war with Russia in Ukraine, it is escalating its conflict with China, threatening to embroil the whole world in a globe-spanning military conflict between nuclear-armed powers.