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Tom Cotton’s Anti-Chinese Containment Strategy Is Really Cunning

4 MARCH 2021

Tom Cotton

The office of Republican Senator Tom Cotton published a comprehensive containment strategy against China last month that cunningly proposes a series of complementary coalitions aimed towards this end, including in the technological and institutional spheres, which essentially amounts to the creation of a modern-day Iron Curtain if successfully implemented.

Biden’s “Deep State” Balancing Act

President Biden’s strategy towards China increasingly appears to be predicated on expanding his predecessor’s containment policy, albeit in a more multilateral fashion than former President Trump’s mostly unilateral one. This is evidenced by his keynote speech at the State Department last month which led to my conclusion that “Alliances, Democracy, And Values Will Disguise American Aggression”. This was entirely foreseeable too since I earlier predicted that “An ‘Alliance Of Democracies’ Might Be America’s Next Grand Strategic Move”. The behind-the-scenes decision-making basis for this is that Biden must “balance” between competing “deep state” factions in his country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies that are split between those who embrace Trump’s “America First” international outlook and the liberal-globalists who are more closely connected to former President Obama. I elaborated on the dynamic between them and their possible compromise with respect to more cleverly “containing” China in exchange for cautiously re-engaging with Iran in my related analysis late last year about “Deep State Wars: Trump vs. Biden on China & Iran”.

Targeted Decoupling And The Long Economic War”

Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a notorious anti-China hawk, published a comprehensive containment strategy against China last month that was written by members of his office. It cunningly proposes a series of complementary coalitions aimed towards this end, including in the technological and institutional spheres, which essentially amounts to the creation of a modern-day Iron Curtain if successfully implemented. This might possibly happen considering that it largely aligns with the Biden Administration’s multilateral plans in this respect. The 84-page document is titled “Beat China: Targeted Decoupling And The Long Economic War”, and a summary of it can be read at Breitbart here. To be sure, it’s not all bad, since many of his proposals about diversifying the US’ economic partners and reshoring its businesses are sound in principle, as are his suggestions for stockpiling rare earth minerals, semiconductor chips, and other materials of national security importance. So too are his ideas about modernizing regulations and the tax code, investing more in research and development, and improving the federal government’s efficiency. They all make logical sense.

Cotton’s Anti-Chinese Containment Coalition

The problem, however, is that he also basically wants to wage a global Hybrid War on China. His rationale is that this is the only possible recourse for America after its prior policy of attempting to influence domestic political changes there through decades of economic engagement failed to achieve any tangible dividends. In his own words, “this generational effort at engagement was an experiment to see whether greater economic integration would generate political change in China”, which he rightly argues has been unsuccessful. Instead of abandoning that consistently failed policy of meddling in China’s internal affairs, he wants to double down on it but in a craftier way through the establishment of semiconductor, 5G, and data-sharing blocs as crucial pillars of the larger “American-led, China-excluded trading order with trusted nations in the Indo-Pacific” that he proposes. In parallel with that, he advises that “The United States should launch a similar effort with respect to the United Kingdom and the European Union, America’s top export market.” The grand strategic outcome is therefore the creation of a massive anti-Chinese containment coalition along the Eurasian Rimland.

Color Revolution Catalysts

This isn’t just for prestige’s sake, but is predicated on his expectation that “Chinese citizens willing to accept an increasingly heavy-handed authoritarian state in exchange for a higher standard of living may think twice if growth slows or stagnates. As a result, the CCP fears that declines in exports, growth, and employment could pose political liabilities.” In other words, the interconnected semiconductor, 5G, and data-sharing blocs that he wants to create within his envisioned anti-Chinese Eurasian Rimland containment coalition are supposed to eventually harm China’s economic growth when paired with a more aggression sanctions and tariff policy, which he hopes will in turn create fertile ground for a series of Color Revolutions there that could ultimately make the infamous Tiananmen Square Color Revolution attempt look like child’s play in hindsight. The proposed containment coalition would also prospectively expand worldwide all across the Global South according to his vision of the US “leveraging development finance and foreign aid”. Ironically, this is exactly what the US accuses China of doing against its own interests, so it’s curious that Cotton is embracing this same strategy.

Economic Warfare

According to him, “Mobilizing these powerful institutions can support a U.S. strategy for targeted decoupling by incentivizing foreign countries to resist Chinese entreaties, such as participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and supporting American companies in strategic sectors.” These efforts will be made all the more effective if US spy agencies follow his advice to expand operations against the People’s Republic. His report importantly suggests that “the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) should expand its collection efforts relating to China’s economy, including IP theft, the corporate and capital structures of Chinese firms, the shareholders of China’s strategic companies, and technological developments within Chinese companies.” Although he claims that this proposal is being made defensively in order to identify possible targets to sanction in response to alleged intellectual property theft, the insight obtained through these operations could very easily be abused for offensive purposes to undercut China’s economic competitiveness and meddle in its many Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) partnerships.

Institutional Intrigue

The aggressive activities of this global anti-Chinese containment coalition are intended to be upheld by the international institutions that Cotton says that the US should either reclaim or replace if the former isn’t possible. According to his proposal, “America must fight to reverse China’s gains in these institutions and build new, separate organizations of willing and like-minded partners when these organizations cannot be reclaimed. With these organizations out of Beijing’s hands, the United States can ensure that international rules and standards are written to support emerging technologies where America is naturally suited to prevail.” Once again, this is the exact same form of Hybrid Warfare that the US accuses China of waging, making one wonder whether it was ever really guilty as charged or if the US invented those accusations in order to justify itself doing the same thing later. Altogether, Cotton’s grand strategy is one where the US leads a Eurasian Rimland coalition that brings together several China-excluding technology blocs, expands through the strategic leveraging of development finance and foreign aid, and is “legitimized” through reclaimed or replaced international institutions.

Concluding Thoughts

Skeptics might immediately dismiss Cotton’s global anti-Chinese containment proposal as politically unrealistic to implement under Biden’s Democrat presidency, but such a stance ignores the fact that the incumbent president convincingly intends to build upon his predecessor’s policy in this respect, albeit in a much more multilateral manner. This insight very strongly suggests that Cotton’s proposal might actually be well received by the Biden Administration since its multilateral vision of a series of complementary coalitions closely aligns with the ruling party’s stated policy of relying more on international alliances to advance American interests abroad. For this reason, it would be a major mistake for observers to dismiss Cotton’s suggestions out of hand since there’s a real chance that at least some of them might be implemented by the US across the next four years. Everything is already moving in that direction without any credible evidence that this trajectory will seriously change in the future. With this in mind, China would do well to consider the most effective strategies for responding to this scenario, ideally in a multilateral manner after closely consulting with its partners.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, China, Tech Race, New Cold War, Biden, Deep State.


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American Hypocrisy Towards Unauthorized & Violent Protests Must End

American Hypocrisy Towards Unauthorized & Violent Protests Must End

28 JANUARY 2021

American Hypocrisy Towards Unauthorized & Violent Protests Must End

Whenever American administrations change, usually only the heads of various agencies and a few folks below them are replaced. Sometimes this is substantive, other times it’s only cosmetic, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the members of its military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) remain the same.

The Biden Administration is following in the footsteps of the former Trump one by exercising hypocrisy towards unauthorized and violent protests. Both his and Trump’s condemned the violent storming of the US Capitol earlier this month, yet neither has any compunctions about endorsing similar destabilizations whenever they happen in Hong Kong or Russia. The former administration gleefully supported unauthorized and violent protests in China’s Special Autonomous Region against its national security legislation, while the present one is doing the exact same thing regarding imprisoned anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny.

That individual was recently detained for probation violations upon his return to Russia from Germany where he was receiving treatment after being mysteriously poisoned over the summer. He and some Western governments accuse the Russian one of attempting to assassinate him using the banned chemical weapon Novichok, a charge which Moscow vehemently denies. Navalny called for his compatriots to protest nationwide on Saturday in response to his detainment, which several tens of thousands of them did. Approximately three thousand people were detained for participating in these unauthorized protests, which quickly turned violent.

In the run-up to those riots, the Russian government strongly criticized its American counterpart for publishing the locations and times of unauthorized protests on its embassy website. It later slammed embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross for describing the security services’ response as a “concerted campaign to suppress free speech [and] peaceful assembly.” It should be noted that Russian media has shared footage of some participants attacking police and even beating up counter-demonstrators. Russia was also shocked that the unauthorized protests were being advertised to minors through social media.

It’s very disappointing that the Biden Administration is picking up where its predecessor left off, albeit by directing weaponized protests against Russia instead of China like Trump’s did, at least for now. America is further sacrificing its already dwindling soft power standing across the world through such blatant displays of hypocrisy. It cannot condemn similar manifestations of violence disguised as protest at home while enthusiastically supporting such instances abroad. In addition, the Biden Administration’s demand to unconditionally release Navalny and the protesters is a textbook example of meddling in another state’s affairs.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be all that surprising for observers. Whenever American administrations change, usually only the heads of various agencies and a few folks below them are replaced. Sometimes this is substantive, other times it’s only cosmetic, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the members of its military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) remain the same. This in turn ensures policy continuation in the strategic sense, though it can of course be altered depending on the political will that the president at the time has to do so, like how Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal for example.

Evidently, President Biden and his team had no such will to stop their predecessor’s plans to support — and arguably even organize to a certain extent — this latest anti-Russian destabilization. They’re notorious Russophobes in the political sense who wouldn’t ever consider the pragmatism of easing pressure on Russia or the soft power benefits inherent in having a consistent stance towards unauthorized and violent protests. This is the absolutely wrong policy to practice since there’s never any excuse for violating international law. It also further erodes the country’s image abroad and could lead to unintended international consequences.

Whether someone’s protesting against national security legislation, allegedly rigged elections, or for the release of a detained blogger, they must always do so peacefully and follow the law. Illegally assembling and committing acts of violence against the security services and counter-protesters, especially while encouraging impressionable youth to de facto function as human shields, is absolutely unacceptable. It’s all the worse when a foreign power is politically supporting these events and even publicly organizing them through its embassy website. If President Biden is serious about change, then he must immediately stop these double standards.


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Is Biden Submitting To The Pentagon’s Anti-Chinese Containment Strategy?

Is Biden Submitting To The Pentagon’s Anti-Chinese Containment Strategy?

27 JANUARY 2021

Is Biden Submitting To The Pentagon

Taken together, these four developments in just a week’s time very strongly suggest that President Biden is struggling to improve relations with China like he previously promised that he’d try to do. In fact, they hint at something much more devious at play, and that’s Trump-era holdovers in America’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) aggressively asserting their counterproductive vision for Chinese-American relations onto the nation’s new president.

The future of Chinese-American relations remains bleak despite President Biden’s inauguration a week ago and the high hopes that many had for a detente of sorts between the two that would reverse the steady decline in their ties since former President Trump first took office four years ago. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne criticized Beijing’s recent sanctioning of some former Trump officials last week and reaffirmed the new administration’s commitment to Taiwan. The Pentagon also deployed an aircraft carrier group to the South China Sea over the weekend and the US’ new military partner India reported a fresh clash with China on the border between its state of Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region on Monday.

Taken together, these four developments in just a week’s time very strongly suggest that President Biden is struggling to improve relations with China like he previously promised that he’d try to do. In fact, they hint at something much more devious at play, and that’s Trump-era holdovers in America’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) aggressively asserting their counterproductive vision for Chinese-American relations onto the nation’s new president. Their political Sinophobia indoctrinates them into falsely thinking that China is the greatest threat to their country, perhaps even an existential one according to the most rabid hawks, which sets the stage for this clash of visions at the top of the US’ power structure.

It should be remembered that usually only department heads are replaced whenever a new administration enters office while the vast majority of the country’s national security-related bureaucracy remains in place. This is done for pragmatism’s sake since it’s thought that department leaders can successfully set the agenda for all those below them. Nevertheless, as the last four years of former President Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to improve relations with Russia proved, these permanent national security bureaucrats can sometimes sabotage the Commander-in-Chief. Worryingly, the era of destabilizing “deep state” factionalism doesn’t seem to have ended with former President Trump’s departure from the White House.

America’s 45th President unprecedentedly declassified the “US Strategic Framework For The Indo-Pacific” earlier this month after it was only in effect for less than four years in a stunning move that some observers interpreted as an attempt to pressure his successor into staying the course to “contain” China. The explicitly expressed intent of that document to formulate a comprehensive policy for pressuring the People’s Republic along all fronts — importantly including Taiwan, the South China Sea, and India — shaped the optics in such a way that President Biden might have felt compelled to retain its spirit under his new administration in order to avoid accusations that he’s “soft” on China which could possibly prompt Republican investigations in response.

This hypothesis explains why Chinese-American relations have surprisingly worsened just a week into President Biden’s term along those three previously mentioned fronts. Instead of standing up to Trump-era holdovers in his country’s “deep state”, President Biden might have felt that it’s more “politically convenient” to submit to their anti-Chinese policies or at least flirt with them for the time being perhaps as part of an ongoing compromise with them on other issues such as Iran. America’s new leader wants to return to the nuclear deal that his predecessor withdrew from, and members of his team have reportedly been in discussions with their Iranian counterparts about this for the past few weeks already even before the inauguration.

Trump-era holdovers in the US’ “deep state” have very serious concerns about China and Iran but probably can’t succeed in pushing back against President Biden on both of them simultaneously, which might be why they seem to be softening their resistance to his nuclear deal plans in exchange for him hardening his stance towards the People’s Republic. If this observation is accurate, and it at least currently explains the unexpected tensions in Chinese-American relations over the past week despite prior hopes for an improvement, then it would confirm that the American people don’t really have much an influence over their country’s foreign policy since it’s ultimately decided behind closed doors as a result of “deep state” compromises with unelected officials.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Biden, China, Deep State, US.


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The US’ Alliance With India Is A Bipartisan Issue Of Grand Strategic Importance

The US’ Alliance With India Is A Bipartisan Issue Of Grand Strategic Importance

30 OCTOBER 2020

The US

The US’ alliance with India will remain a mainstay of its grand strategy regardless of who wins next week’s elections since it’s a bipartisan issue of the highest importance for its permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”).

The US-Indian Alliance

Analysts are scrambling to speculate the possible foreign policy changes that a Biden presidency might bring if he wins next week’s election, but one aspect of American grand strategy that isn’t likely to change is the US’ alliance with India. The two Great Powers formalized their military partnership earlier this week with the signing of the “Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement” (BECA), the third so-called “foundational pact” after the “Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement” (LEMOA) and “Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement” (COMCASA) which collectively improve these countries’ military interoperability. Neither side hides their shared anti-Chinese intentions either, as the author explained at length in his September analysis about how “It Was Inevitable That India Would Seek To Actively ‘Contain’ China”, which is a trend that he’s been closely following since mid-2016 when it was still “taboo” for the Alt-Media Community to discuss it. This trajectory will remain on track for several key reasons regardless of whoever wins the presidency.

Step By Step, President By President

The first is that the American bureaucratic machine has already kicked into gear and is intensely focusing its military, intelligence, and diplomatic (“deep state”) efforts into actualizing this alliance. It will therefore be extremely difficult to reverse this trend even if Biden sincerely wanted to, yet there’s no reason to suspect that he does since he was one of the overseers of the Obama-era “Pivot to Asia” which laid the basis for Trump’s formalization of America’s alliance with India. In fact, it can be argued that Obama — who built upon the progress pioneered by Bush Jr. such as the nuclear cooperation pact during that time — is one of the forefathers of this alliance since it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for his decision to continue his predecessor’s policies in this respect. As such, there’s no doubt that America’s alliance with India is a bipartisan issue for the US establishment.

Pivoting” From West To East Asia Via The South

Another point to made is that the “Pivot to Asia” naturally transitions the US’ strategic focus from West Asia to East Asia while traversing through the South Asian space between both. India isn’t just an ordinary country in US foreign policy planning, though, since its demographic and economic capabilities pair perfectly with its geostrategic location atop the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean to make it attractive as a “counterweight” to China. This explains its pivotal importance in the emerging Quad military network of anti-Chinese states, as well as the fact that its location is almost smack dab in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere which thereby makes it more important than any of that bloc’s other members. Neither Trump nor Biden could afford to ignore this unprecedented geostrategic opportunity, hence why they’re predicted to actually double down on it regardless of whoever wins since it best serves their nation’s interests to do so.

India’s Role In Trump & Biden’s China Strategies

While Trump and Biden have different attitudes towards China, that still won’t change the importance of India for their foreign policy visions. The incumbent will likely employ a more aggressive strategy of openly exploiting India as China’s foil in “Greater South Asia” (Central Asia/Afro-Asian Ocean/Southeast Asia) whereas Biden might be “gentler” with his approach out of a desire to reach a “New Detente” with China (whether for pragmatic or corrupt reasons). The Democrat candidate would continue the US’ growing trend of arms sales to that state but might care more about political and economic cooperation with India than any military-driven approach to “containing” China. If the prediction about Biden’s desire for a “New Detente” with the People’s Republic plays out, then India’s role would simply be to keep China “in check” as opposed to actively countering it like Trump envisions. Either way, India still serves a very strategic purpose for both presidential candidates.

Russia Must Urgently Recalibrate Its “Balancing” Act

This fact should be taken into consideration by all relevant stakeholders, especially Russia, which is already intensely competing with the US simply to retain its decades-long dominant position in the Indian arms market. That’s not at all to say that Russia should “dump” India, but just to propose that it must begin seriously countenancing contingency plans in the event that it loses more influence in the South Asian state otherwise it stands to become New Delhi’s “junior partner” and risk provoking an unintended “security dilemma” with China. The author warned about that scenario in his September analysis asking “Is Russia ‘Abandoning’ Or ‘Recalibrating’ Its ‘Balancing’ Act Between China & India?” and recommended that decision makers consider the dual response of reaching out to India to form a new Non-Aligned Movement (“Neo-NAM”) while enhancing strategic relations with Pakistan in order to restore “balance” to Russia’s “balancing” act. Failing to do so might destabilize the central tenet of Russian grand strategy, which is become Eurasia’s supreme “balancing” force.

Concluding Thoughts

No observer should doubt for a moment that America’s alliance with India will remain among its top grand strategic priorities regardless of the outcome of next week’s election. The gears of government are working in unison to promote this goal, which represents the culmination of Trump, Obama, and Bush Jr.’s efforts in a truly remarkable display of bipartisan agreement on a pressing issue of foreign policy significance. While Trump and Biden have different visions of how best to utilize their country’s alliance with India, the fact remains that they’ll nevertheless employ this partnership with increasing frequency to advance their respective goals, be it actively “containing” China like the incumbent envisions or more “gently” keeping it “in check” to uphold the “New Detente” that his opponent wants to clinch during his (or even more likely, his Vice Presidential pick’s) potential term. As this game-changing trend accelerates and increasingly becomes one of the main geostrategic determinants of Eastern Hemispheric affairs, Russia will be forced to recalibrate its “balancing” act with India.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

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