U.S. Unleashes Baffling Foreign Policy at Anchorage Talks

The long-time empire and world’s foremost producer of bomb craters thinks China should take things down a notch

Photo by Luke Michael on Unsplash

It’s hard to keep a straight face when watching coverage of the talks between the United States and China in Anchorage. The statements made by the U.S. delegation so far are as arrogant as they are divorced from reality. To have Tony Blinken sit there and scold China on its foreign policy while claiming that the U.S. intends to defend the prevailing “rules-based order” is peak tragicomedy. What rules-based order?

These statements come just after the United States illegally bombed the sovereign nation of Syria after rocket attacks on its military bases in Iraq, a country it illegally invaded back in 2003, and has illegally occupied ever since. Joe Biden did not seek congressional authorization for the bombings, drawing criticism from his own party over their (you guessed it) legality. This is just one piece of evidence to be added to the metric shit-ton that already exists concerning the United States’ ability to play nice on the world stage.

Now, the U.S. has always engaged in this sort of “we’re defending freedom and democracy” bullshit, but things feel different in the post-Trump era. The sharp fascist turn in the Republican Party, high-profile police murders and brutal police crackdowns on the resulting protests, and the country’s bafflingly complete failure when it came tohandling the coronavirus pandemic; these events have taken a severe toll on American prestige. The United States’ domestic problems are messing with its ability to project power. Uncle Sam isn’t so scary once you realize he’s not wearing any pants.

It’s no wonder, then, that the talks between the U.S. and China are as tense as they are. The American finger-wagging is probably really infuriating to the Chinese delegation, because thehe U.S. stance is so obviously and transparently about maintaining the dominance of a waning American Empire, not a concern for a global order based on rules. After all, how can a country interested in a rules-based order also be spending $100 billion it should really be saving for rainy post-covid days on a new type of nuclear missile it doesn’t need? Nuclear escalation is kind of the opposite of respecting a rules-based order. It injects chaos into the system and causes the other actors to panic and try to compensate. Arms races aren’t good for stability.

The United States is engaging some dangerous Cold War-era dipshittery, and the Biden administration needs to be called on that. I don’t think the vast majority of Americans want a return to those times, when the U.S. demonstrated its commitment to a “rules-based order” by invading Vietnam, carrying on its long tradition of brutalizing Latin America through invasions and coups, and engaging in a profoundly-wasteful and increasingly-pointless nuclear arms with a foreign power.

This is all not to say that China is off the hook for its dickery. The ongoing genocide of the Uighur people, for example, is pretty fucked up. The crackdowns on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong and the country’s seeming support for the brutal coup currently happening in Myanmar are also fair game for harsh criticism. But China is not the main violator of global norms; the United States is.

In fact, it maintains around 800 military bases in 70 countries to make sure it’s always ready to violate the ever-loving shit out of some norms. China opened its first foreign base in Djibouti in 2020. The United States maintains a nuclear arsenal of about 5,800 warheads, to China’s 320. Blinken’s remark that, without the rules-based order that the U.S. defends, there would be a far more violent world, is patently ridiculous. We already live in a violent world of the United States’ own making.

The unjustifiably aggressive stance of the United States simply perpetuates that violence. There is absolutely no need for a Cold War with China and so many reasons for the countries to pool their massive resources in order to tackle existential human problems like climate change. Democratic voters should not accept this reality of American foreign policy and put pressure on their representatives and the Biden administration to pursue a more constructive approach. The world needs that more than it needs new ways to nuke stuff.

Veteran English teacher, perpetual grad student, writer, agitator

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store