Democrats & Liberals Archives

John Pilger Warns of America-China Cold War in New Documentary

America, whether left or right is a nation that finds itself in conflict far too often. Since 9/11 a policy of intervention based along its interests (but guised as humanitarianism or anti-terrorism) has cost hundreds of thousands lives and is at least indirectly tied to the rise of ISIS and the reactionary responses in domestic and foreign policy because of it. Ever looming is the so called threat from Russia, but as far as mega powers go, China poses just as much risk to US “national interests”, and Washington’s insistence on policing the Pacific and enforcing rules that stifle China’s dominance is only increasing that risk.

Emmy and Bafta award winning director John Pilger warns of a "Coming War On China" in his latest documentary film, which hits British cinemas on December 5th. Drawing from the Pentagon's own contingency plans, the renowned war correspondent highlights the scary possibility of nuclear war between the two nations, with a cold war almost guaranteed - if it hasn't already started. The proposed 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal under Obama can only be seen as an effort to contain China.

Pilger's crowd sourced project was made over two years as he visited five locations in Asia and the Pacific, where conflict could ignite if heads don't remain cool. He also explored the history of America's questionable covert operations in the region, starting with Project 4.1 which used the population of the Marshall Islands as radioactive fallout guinea pigs in the 50s.

Of course there are many points of tension between the United States and China, not least the fact that 400 strategic US military bases encircle the economic powerhouse already. This joins the "Air-Sea Battle" program in the Pacific that combines air and naval forces, and is designed to easily disperse if the Chinese launch ballistic missiles.

The latest Talisman Sabre exercise (more like sabre rattling exercise) saw the US and Australia mock a full blown air-sea battle, while strategically blocking oil, gas and other resource routes to the former communist nation. In response China, whose economy is slowing, has put its nuclear forces on high alert and continued securing its borders, even when the islands and reefs they occupy are disputed by the international community. President Xi Jinping is under pressure to find new ways to raise China's profile and continue pushing forward as the regional player, and if that means clashing with the west - so be it.

"The aim of this film is to break a silence. A new cold war is under way along with the drumbeat to war, this time with the real possibility of nuclear weapons," Pilger tells the press. "'The Coming War' is also a film about the human spirit and the rise of an extraordinary resistance in faraway places."

It gives a rare western voice to political figures from China itself, calling in to question the notion of American "exceptionalism" and calling out its arrogance on the world stage. Furthermore the archaic idea that China is a restrictive and dictatorial regime is dismissed by those with the freedom to say as they please.

"In America you can change political parties, but you can't change the policies. In China you cannot change the party, but you can change policies," says Shanghai social scientist Eric Li in the film. "The political changes that have taken place in China this past 66 years have been wider and broader and greater than probably any other major country in living memory."

How US-China relations will progress with Trump as President is not immediately clear. The Republican has not used the most tactful rhetoric in his campaign and the territory disputes in the South China Sea aren't just going to go away. The US dollar value, protectionism and "America first" are all areas that could further strain the relationship.

However on the flipside some of Trump's policies would actually be welcomed by China. He has openly challenged the Japanese and South Korean relations with the US. If these were scaled back it would strengthen China's position in the region.

Furthermore while Hillary Clinton is a well known political figure in Asia, Trump has somewhat of a clean slate. "The fact that he is essentially a businessman with no attachment to previous US administrations means that the Chinese are, for the moment, giving him the benefit of the doubt," says Blackbox Research's David Black, who helped survey the Asian response to the US presidential campaigns.

As for the Coming War On China, the film will be released in cinemas across the UK on December 5, and premiere on ITV at 10:40pm the following evening.

Posted by KeelanB at November 9, 2016 4:59 PM
Comment #409859


Thank you for sketching out the upcoming issues that will mark Trump’s administration for the next four or eight years. Already, they’ve accumulated their first foreign policy blunder by torpedoing TPP. Vietnam and other Asian nations will surely exit the American sphere of influence and join the Chinese one.

America’s global hegemony reflects the fact that we are the only nation without a regional rival. All our adversaries are overseas. The biggest hurdle to China’s rise to superpower status are the American allies which encircle the Middle Country. Trump would be well advised to not take these places for granted. For centuries, Japan, Korea and elsewhere were under Chinese suzantry. There’s no reason to think that won’t happen again if Trump creates a power vacuum in Asia.

Posted by: Warren Porter at November 10, 2016 4:10 PM
Comment #409868

Warren writes; “Already, they’ve accumulated their first foreign policy blunder by torpedoing TPP.”

And you know it is a “blunder” because….?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 10, 2016 5:10 PM
Comment #409886

…because it pushes Vietnam and others outside of the American sphere of influence and towards China?

TPP would have established American leadership in Asia. Now, China will get to fill the vacuum.

Posted by: Warren Porter at November 10, 2016 9:29 PM
Comment #409908

Pure speculation Warren.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2016 2:21 PM
Comment #453514

This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it’s discussion. thank you.

Posted by: thiết kế nhà đẹp at February 15, 2020 3:16 PM
Post a comment