IF THE US WANTED CHINA TO LIE DOWN AND PLAY DEAD, THEY SHOULD HAVE STIPULATED THAT IN THE TRADE AGREEMENT
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora asked by a person indoctrinated by US propaganda. This querier thought that China owed the US more than the US had bargained for in its original trade agreement. The fact is, the agreement never stated that China would adopt the system of “Western democracy” and the “Western value” of bowing to the hegemon. But nonetheless, the West unjustifiably expected them to do this. And now that it is clear the Chinese aren’t about to meet unstated expectations, the US is unjustifiably blaming them.
QUORA: The US thought that by improving China's economy, they will have China as a new and democratic friend. If we see what is happening with Hong Kong today, and look through China history with centralized Kings, what is the lesson for the US?
Vince Dhimos Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016–present)
That is a very pollyannaish view of the US’s intentions when it granted China Most Favoured Nation status in 1979. The US’s main motive was a bit complicated but an important component of it was the hope that this new trade arrangement would help drive a wedge between China and Russia. Yet this unrealistic expectation was never spelled out in the trade agreement. For decades after the new economic arrangement with China, US policy makers and think tanks articulated this desire to separate the two powerful nations, and for decades, they hatched plot after childish plot to achieve this goal, believing implicitly in the infallibility of the Washington mini-minds and in the expectation that they could outwit the Kremlin and the CCP. For decades, they were wrong. It was not until Russia and China started holding joint naval drills, including notably a 3-way drill with Iran in the Gulf that the dim witted manipulators in Washington finally figured out that they had lost this childish geopolitical game. After all, none of the bilateral trade agreements contained any wording whereby China would drop its partnership with Russia and become a lackey of Washington! But now the elites who run the show in Washington suddenly are acting as if China broke its agreement. It most certainly did not! Yet millions of gullible Americans think it did.
There were a series of economic considerations as well. It was Nixon-Kissinger who dreamed up the idea of trade with China and went so far as to open the door to a political dialogue. Nixon had some major problems, such as the oil crisis, which he fixed with Saudi Arabia in 1975 by signing the secretive petrodollar agreement whereby the US agreed to use its armed forces to defend the Saudi royals (actually a brutal dictatorship) in exchange for their using only US dollars in their oil trade and keeping their reserves in dollars.
Then there was the 1973–1975 recession. Nixon must have had this crisis in mind when he — or in fact, probably Kissinger — came up with the scheme of using China to fight inflation through the purchase of cheap goods from that country. (His dream came true in the Carter administration).
For the next 4 decades, China did indeed help the US fight inflation this way, and the US knew full well that it was getting its agreed-upon quid pro quo and had no right to complain. But amidst China’s phenomenal growth and the US’s lacklustre economic figures, it eventually became politically fashionable to blame China for the arrangement that the US had signed on to, and the US public grew used to hearing politicians complain about how China cheated them somehow, even though China was doing only those things to which the US officials had agreed or at least tacitly accepted. For example, still with these goals of weakening Russia while maintaining a desired flow of inflation-fighting cheap imports, the US turned a blind eye to patent infringements and China’s habit of demanding shared intellectual property rights in exchange for US companies’ right to establish businesses in China. This was perfectly legal and the US companies got exactly what they bargained for. US officialdom also got what they bargained for but not what they secretly hoped for, namely, a wedge between China and Russia and a dependent manufacturing colony that would refrain from competing with US companies. It was a mirror image of the arrangement Britain had hoped for in the American colonies, with Britain lording it over a bunch of sweaty grimy labourers who relied on it for manufactured imports and refrained from doing its own manufacturing. The main difference between the American colonies and the Chinese “colony” is that China is too powerful to invade and fight. Hence the propaganda war.
Trump has managed to exploit the propaganda-induced groundswell of public opinion against China and has even gone so far as to blame the COVID pandemic, an Act of God, on the Chinese. I have shown at Quora why this accusation is not moral, ethical or in keeping with legal precepts and precedents: https://www.quora.com/Should-China-be-made-to-recompense/answer/Vince-Dhimos
The trade war is also not an economically viable method to deal with any country, including China, and now that the pandemic is here, China has been able to flex its economic muscle in its own independent way. It is the only industrialized country in the world that has shown a gain in GDP in pandemic-racked 2020, even as the US has lost a catastrophic 50% of its GDP so far, with much more woe lying ahead. Thus what Trump has done is politically expedient to garner votes among a low-information populace but has zero economic value. It is already blowing up in his face, which is why the rhetoric is escalating.
And that is the choice: between the Western way in which politicians only act to give an indoctrinated public what it thinks it needs and wants, and an elite with a perverted agenda, or the Eastern way of China and Russia in which politicians solve real-world problems and ignore politics but ultimately give the non-indoctrinated public what it really needs and wants. In the Western way, as polls consistently show, the public does not respect its politicians, whereas in the East the public gives high marks to those in charge because they give the people an increasingly better way of life. The fact is, you can’t have it both ways. Either you solve problems or you play political games. The West has chosen the kiddy games.
It is reaping the whirlwind.
Economists are warning that the rampant printing of unbacked dollars by the Fed — the last resort to deal with the overwhelming issues caused by the pandemic — is threatening the dollar itself, which may suffer a catastrophic loss of its value in 2021 and consequently be dethroned as the primary world reserve currency. Specifically, Stephen Roach, former Morgan Stanley top economist, predicted that the greenback will lose at least 30% of its value in 2021, while Shameer Goel, Deutsche Bank specialist for Asia, expects investors to lose interest in the USD and dollar-denominated securities, eventually dethroning it as the primary reserve currency. All of this thanks to the Fed's rampant use of the printing press.
And the US dollar was the US’s source of geopolitical power. No wonder US politicians are upset. But they won’t admit that they dug their own grave by creating mountains of debt and then recklessly printing trillions of unbacked dollars as the only available remedy. It has to be China’s fault, right?
As for Hong Kong, it is just another scapegoat for failed US politicians. I have said it all before:
At variance with received wisdom, only 17% of Hong Kongers polled are interested in a divorce with the PRC, as reported by Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2020/01/02/interesting-poll-shows-hong-kongers-not-exactly-against-china/#38b85f0b3b1a
Thus, the sleazy US political propagandists have led the low-information public to project their own (propaganda-induced) desires for Hong Kong onto the Hong Kongers, but the latter are not buying it. It's only happening in the overheated American fantasy. The Chinese have their own Chinese way of seeing things. And now the US Congress will try to punish the Chinese for being Chinese. But as I pointed out above, the Chinese never agreed to meet US expectations, just to comply with their trade agreement. Which they did. So it’s a little late to change the rules now.
And that is the whole essence of our problem. The US drafted the agreements, the Chinese signed on and complied. But the Chinese didn’t read the Americans’ minds and give them what they expected but had no right to expect.