Alain de Benoist: "The United States is at war against China"
In the past, the known world's geopolitical center of gravity was the Mediterranean, before shifting towards the Atlantic, necessitated by the discovery of the Americas. Today, this role seems to turn to the Pacific, the dominant factor being the rise of China's power, as the majority of observers believe. Is this reality or fantasy?
China isn't the number one global economic power yet, but it has a good chance of becoming so in the decade to come. Since 2012, it is, on the other hand, the number one industrial power, in front of Europe, the United States, and Japan (but it falls to fourth if we consider added value per inhabitant). It is also the biggest commercial power in the world and the biggest importer of raw materials. It has an immense available territory, it is the most populated country on the planet, its language is the world's most spoken, and it possesses a very active diaspora worldwide. It possesses the largest army in the world and its military capacities develop at an exponential speed. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, it possesses nuclear weapons, and it's been a space power since 2003. It has inserted itself into Sub-Saharan Africa on a massive scale, it purchases first rate infrastructure across the entire world, and its great project of “new silk roads” will further reinforce its capacities to influence and invest. In 1980, the Chines GDP represented 7% of the United States' GDP. It has leaped, today, to nearly 65%! Finally, the Chinese register twice as many patents as the Americans. That's a great amount.
In 1993, in his book on the clash of civilizations, Huntington anticipated the concept of “modernization without Westernization.” That's the essential point. An original type of model, combining Confucianism, nationalism, communism, and capitalism, the Chinese model radically differs from the Western model of “development.” Liberals generally believe that the adoption of the market system inevitably leads to the advent of a liberal democracy. The Chinese contradict this prediction everyday. These last years, they haven't ceased reinforcing the role of market, but without ever ceasing to oversee it in a rigorous fashion. Summarizing this system by the formula “capitalism + dictatorship” is an error. Instead, China gives a surprising example of a capitalism that functions without subordinating the political to the economic. The future will say what we should think about it.
The Chinese are pragmatists who reason in the long term. The ideology of human rights is totally foreign to them (the words “right” and “human”, in the sense that we usually give them, do not even have a Chinese equivalent: “human rights” is rendered as “ren-quan”, “man-power”, this is not especially clear), individualism also. For the Chinese, man must fulfill his duties to the community instead of claiming his rights as an individual. During the Covid-19 epidemic, the Europeans were confined through fear; the Chinese did so through discipline. Westerners have “universal” references, the Chinese have Chinese references. A major difference.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, CIA reports announced that China was expected to become the principal strategic adversary of the United States. These past few years, relations between Beijing and Washington haven't ceased to deteriorate, and not only in the commercial realm. Is a real war between China and the United States conceivable?
The Americans always want to standardize the world according to their own canons identified as the natural movement of human progress. Since they've attained a dominant position, they've constantly tried to prevent the emergence of any rising power that could endanger this hegemony. For several years, books have proliferated in the United States (Geoffrey Murray, David L. Shambaugh, etc.) which show that China is a great rising power today, while the United States is on the downward slope. In a book that has been much commented on (Destined for War), the political scientist Graham Allison shows that in the course of history, every time a dominant power felt threatened by a new rising power, war appeared on the horizon, not for political reasons, but from the simple fact of the logic inherent to relations of power. It's what Allison called “Thucydides' trap”, referring to the way in which the fear Athens' rise inspired in Sparta lead to the Peloponnesian War. There is a good chance it will go the same way between Washington and Beijing. In the short term, the Chinese will do everything to avoid an armed confrontation and not give in to the provocations familiar to the Americans. In the longer term, on the other hand, such a conflict is perfectly possible. Then the big question is to know if Europe will shift to the American side or if it will declare its solidarity with the other great powers of the Eurasian continent. Evidently it's the decisive question.
We must not fool ourselves, the United States is already at war against China. The commercial war they've initiated is coupled with a political component which is evidenced, for example, by their support for the separatists of Hong Kong (presented with a straight face as “pro-democracy activists”). In the American administration's documents, China is henceforth qualified as a “strategic rival.” This aggressiveness demonstrates less arrogance than fear. But the Chinese have no intention of renouncing their own autonomy, they will no longer indefinitely tolerate a global order governed by rules dictated from the United States. As Xi Jinping said, “China isn't seeking enemies, but it doesn't fear them.” We must never forget that, for the Chinese, there exist not four but five cardinal points: the north, the south, the east, the west, and the middle. China is the Middle Empire?
In this clash of titans, does Europe still precisely have a strategy? And does France still have some cards to play?
There's no doubt that we will see, in the months to come, the anti-Chinese campaigns orchestrated by the Americans proliferate in order to assure themselves of their allies support, starting with their European “province”, the goal being to recreate for their benefit a new “Western bloc” opposed to Beijing comparable to the one that existed against Moscow during the Cold War. It would be dramatic if France and Europe fell into this trap, as they've already done by rallying to the sanctions enacted against Russia. We have no desire to be Sinicized, but that's no reason to continue to be Americanized, especially at a moment where the United States accumulates problems domestically that it is no longer capable of resolving. The France that, in the epoch of General de Gaulle, was the first to recognize the People's Republic of China should remember, instead of sinking again into an Atlanticism contrary to all its interests, that at that time, in the midst of the Cold War, it sought a balance between powers respecting the independence of peoples. Maurice Druon said then that French was “the language of the non-aligned!” It should return to that role.
Interviewer: Nicolas Gauthier
Translated by Eugene Montsalvat