This article first appeared in Ebb Magazine on 24 June 2021. Reproduced with permission.
Since the launch of Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ in 2012, the US has prioritised China containment over all other foreign policy commitments. This includes steadily increasing its presence in the South China Sea and encouraging China’s neighbours in their various territorial claims. Obama also initiated an expansion of US military, diplomatic and economic cooperation with other countries in the region. The overarching strategic goal of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was to isolate China and to draw East and Southeast Asia back into the US economic – and ideological – orbit.
The Trump administration, while dropping the TPP due to its domestic unpopularity, escalated the Pivot in other respects: launching a trade war in January 2018, imposing a ban on Huawei, attempting to ban TikTok and WeChat, spreading conspiracy theories about the origins of Covid-19, and turning ‘decoupling’ into a buzzword. Anti-China propaganda became – and has remained – pervasive in the West.
Alongside the economic and information warfare, there has been a rising militarisation of the Pacific and a deepening of a ‘China encirclement’ strategy that goes back to the arrival of the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Straits in 1950, just a few months after the establishment of the People’s Republic. Recent years have witnessed ever more frequent US naval operations in the South China Sea; increased weapons sales to Taiwan; the encouraging of Japan’s re-armament; the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defence system in South Korea and Guam; the establishment of a US marine base in northern Australia; and the bulking up of the Indo-Pacific Command.
On 1 July 2021, the Communist Party of China celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding. Of all the CPC has accomplished in that period, the elimination of extreme poverty is unquestionably among its most impressive and historically significant achievements.
In this webinar, academics, politicians, journalists and campaigners from around the world will explore how China has been able to carry out the most extensive poverty alleviation program in history, and what lessons there are for humanity.
Senator Mushahid Hussain (Chairman, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and Pakistan-China Institute, Pakistan)
Li Jingjing (Reporter for CGTN, China)
Utsa Patnaik (Marxist economist, India)
Ovigwe Eguegu (Columnist for the China Africa Project, Nigeria)
Camila Escalante (Broadcast journalist, producer, presenter for Kawsachun News, Bolivia)
Roland Boer (Professor of Marxist philosophy in the School of Marxism at Dalian University of Technology, China)
Mick Dunford (Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex, Visiting Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
John Ross (Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China)
Qiao Collective (Collective of diaspora Chinese challenging US aggression on China)
Tings Chak (Lead Designer/Researcher at Tricontinental Institute and Dongsheng News)
Chair: Radhika Desai (Professor of Political Studies, University of Manitoba, Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group)
About the organisers
Friends of Socialist China is a new platform based on supporting the People’s Republic of China and promoting understanding of Chinese socialism. Its website (edited by Danny Haiphong, Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez) aims to consolidate the best articles and videos related to China and Chinese socialism, along with original analysis.
The Geopolitical Economy Research Group is a policy institute based at the University of Manitoba and run by Radhika Desai and Alan Freeman. It analyses and proposes policy alternatives for managing the interaction of national economies and states to promote human development and mutual benefit in today’s multipolar world.
We talk about the recent summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin; the US government’s supposed human rights agenda; the NATO and G7 summits; the prospects for multipolarity and the use of a New Cold War to prevent it; the Belt and Road Initiative; global production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines; whether China is imperialist; whether China is socialist; and the record of the recently-deceased Zambian prime minister and liberation hero Kenneth Kaunda.