President Trump came into power by championing the anti-China rhetoric. Trump administration launched a multifaceted war to squeeze and contain China. They used all tools including human rights, democracy and debt trap to achieve the objective. Hong Kong and Xinjian were targeted, and a malevolent campaign was run. The sane voices started to raise concerns, even within USA. They warned the conflict between two biggest powers will have negative consequences for everyone. In this backdrop the election of Mr. Biden as president of USA was cherished. World was expecting that President Biden will try to mend the patches and smoothen the relation and rational behavior will lead the way instead of anti-China rhetoric.
The statement by President Biden that his administration will focus on extreme competition, gave a hope and created a wave of positivity. Alaska meeting was announced which was seen as a step to mend the relationship. Unfortunately, Alaska meeting could not deliver according to the expectation rather it further deepened the differences. Obama doctrine is back in the business. President Bident went one step ahead and also adopted the elements of Trump doctrine. Hence, the Biden administration doctrine is being dubbed as Trump-Obama Plus doctrine. It is trying to create a new hysteria by using its own logic and parameters. The new administration is clearly posturing to ensure that China does not surpass the United States and remains a junior partner. The campaign is getting stronger and USA is urging its allies to be part of it.
In this context, one wonders; why Republican and Democratic parties are unanimous to oppose China, rather they are trying to present themselves as greatest opponent of China. One of the plausible answers is, the influence of military-industrial complex of USA. The complex has been ruling the world through hegemony in the fields of economy, technology and power structure. They have captured the political, societal, economic and power spheres by weaving a nexus of influence. The complex look at China as a threat to their hegemony and is doing everything to undermine China.
China has struck a good balance between SOEs and private sector. So, the private sector is not in position to help the global business. Military is one of the organs of the Communist Party of China and under strict control of Party and State
Hence, it is necessary for China to understand the industrial-military complex and its modus of operandi which is very complicated and deep rooted. The complex has engaged a good number of actors and devised the role for each actor and for themselves in a sequential manner. First layer of actions is dominated by three players, think tanks, media and political actors. The history of think tanks and media tells us that they came into being to be voice of voiceless and act as watch dog on the behalf of the common citizens. There is no second opinion that think tanks and media played a positive role in highlighting the issues of common people and also contributed on the fronts of environment, climate change, poverty etc.
However, with the passage of time many think tanks and media outlets become the tool to serve the purpose of military-industrial complex. Although, some think tanks or media outlets are still adhering to original philosophy, but the complex has created enroot through funding. They are also creating their own think tanks and media outlets. They are trying to turn think tanks and media into lobbying agents. They engage think tanks and media to achieve the objectives; 1) create noise through advocacy campaigns and 2) for lobbying with the parliaments and ruling elite.
Second, the complex works with the political leadership and help them to achieve their political goals. They generously support their favorite candidates and pour donation at one name or other. There is no secret that money plays a determinantal role in USA election and analysis shows that candidates with more money has better probability to win. The big business groups and empires capitalize on the opportunity and negotiate good deals with future rulers. The complex works with the favorite parliamentarians and urge them to carry the message of complex and try to negotiate the desired deals.
Third, military-industrial complex itself comes into action. They keep backdoor linkages with multiple stakeholders including the military, business community and other interest groups by presenting them what they need. The biggest incentive is being offered in the form of the generous financial support and safe havens for money through the shell companies. They create linkages which are not under the control of political government. The linkages are being used to pressurize the governments, if governments resist the pressure, then they use allies to topple government.
It is being done in a systematic way. First, the government which does not fall in line is targeted at the name of democracy and human rights etc. Second, a smear campaign is being run to isolate the government. Third, economic sanctions are applied. Fourth and final step is to topple the government by force. Libya, Iraq Afghanistan etc. are classic examples on this front in recent times. The practice is going on for a long time and the complex always get the results by one way or other. The famous book, “Confession of Economic Hitman” strengthen the argument. Although, the complex has a history to win but it has damaged the “American Dream”. It has resulted in many problems but the most prominent one is in-equality. COVID-19 further highlighted the deep-rooted issues in USA.
Instead of learning from the past, now the complex is trying to apply the same strategy on China. Although, it is not new and is going on since the inception of country, but in recent times it has got accelerated. The first intervention in China was at the name of democracy and human right in 1989. They pushed people to topple the government, but China sustained the shock and controlled the riots. In modern days Hong Kong is new home of democracy conspiracy. Xinjiang human right and genocide are new recruits to pressurize the China. However, the most prominent action of the complex is harsh and baseless campaign against the economic interventions and technology companies of China like Belt and Route Initiative, Huawei etc. They are trying to portray these interventions as debt trap or spying trap etc.
However, this strategy is not working in the case of China. The reasons are simple. First, China has its own system. China measures the democracy by the indicators of governance and prosperity of people against Western democracy which hinges on voting. Second, State-Owned enterprise are playing a good role to support the state. China has struck a good balance between SOEs and private sector. So, the private sector is not in position to help the global business. Third, military is one of the organs of the Communist Party of China and under strict control of Party and State. Thus, it leaves little or no room for complex to build backdoor linkages with military which they do usually in other countries. Fourth, China is offering win-win cooperation to world, thus debt trap conspiracy is dying down.
However, China needs to be careful in future, as the complex will further accelerate its efforts. Thus, China needs to take few steps to sustain the future shocks. First, maintain the present structure of CPC, governance and balance between private sector and SOEs. Second, the Party should keep the industry and military under the close observation. Third, China needs to move from re-active to pro-active mode. Lastly China should recognize that the real opponent is military-industrial complex not the common American or true political workers. Thus, future action plans should be developed by keeping in mind the military-industrial complex.
This article was originally published at: https://dailytimes.com.pk/745662/china-usa-conflict-and-role-of-military-industrial-complex/
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.