The world is already bearing witness to the grim reality of unrestrained military buildup and warmongering attitudes embodied by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In June, NATO will host its summit in Madrid and given the latest developments in Ukraine, this summit will be more important than ever. In this context, anti-war and grassroots organizations are not staying silent and the Peace Summit to be held concurrently to NATO’s Summit in Madrid is more important than ever.
In the lead-up to this summit, Peoples Dispatch has launched a new, weekly Eat NATO for Breakfast Show, to educate audiences with information on the history and reason for being of the offensive military alliance, and the how to make sense of the recent escalations in Eurasia and in the Indo-Pacific region that currently threaten world peace.
The third episode on February 20 concurred with a demonstration near the NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command near Naples, Italy and featured guests from Canada and the UK: Fiona Edwards and Ajit Singh, both experts on China and members of the No Cold War peace platform. The program addressed the issues surrounding an emerging Cold War and why this is an issue of global concern as it could have serious impact on trade, the environment, or potentially provoke a war among nuclear powers.
A 21st century Cold War that could swiftly get Hot, with fronts in both Russia and China
China’s ascendancy to a global and economic power could conceivably soon supplant the US, in building a new, multipolar global order with a model of cooperation amongst states.
The Chinese have become a respected trade partner in the region and in the Global South, through rational state behavior, soft power, cooperation, high-quality win-win development, and not through militarism, in sharp contrast to the US model of intervention, ear-marking development aid with it’s political agenda, and destabilizing regime-change tactics.
The US, with its imperialist, agenda-shaping powers, is the main protagonist spearheading the most heated rhetoric, as it wants to stop the economic and technological rise of China. The US is playing up the “China is a threat“ turgidity in order to stoke fears, smear, and contain China’s development, which unto itself reveals deep ideological bias and an entrenched Cold War mentality.
Fiona Edwards commented: “We have a new cold war in the 21st Century, the US is attempting to use aggression to artificially create divisions. The US is vying for domination of the globe—and that is intrinsically undemocratic. The US makes up 5% of the world’s population, and is trying to dictate to the rest of humanity.”
Who is the hegemon?
While the US is drumming up anti-China sentiment through the media and propagating false information that cast China as a threat, it is also aggressively pursuing an agenda with its allies that seeks to secure military dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. For example, the Quadrilateral Security dialogue, or QUAD, composed of Japan, Australia, India, and the US was reactivated in 2017 and convened a summit in March 2021.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a press conference on February 11, 2022 that “the so-called Quad group cobbled together by the US, Japan, Indiaand Australia is essentially a tool for containing and besieging China to maintain US hegemony. It aims to stoke confrontation and undermine international solidarity and cooperation.”
Further elevating tensions in the Pacific is the recent AUKUS anti-China military alliance between the US, the UK and Australia, and the transaction of nuclear-powered submarines. This military flex aimed at China has been perceived by Chinese authorities as a deliberate move to destabilize the region, provoke a renewed arms race that undermines international nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
China is surrounded by 400 US military bases, whilst China’s People’s Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) only maintains one base outside of its borders, in Djibouti, in stark contrast to the 800 US military bases in more than 70 countries.
Ajit Singh pointed out: “We don’t see warships off the coast of New York, we see regularly US and allied warships off the coast of China in the South China sea.”
Taiwan and the South China Sea have been at the frontlines for a potential conflict once the US began to expand its military reach with the Obama administration’s focus on the Pacific corridor.
This latest spike in tensions is a manufactured crisis by the US and its allies, who claim their values, economic interests and security are being threatened, but essentially it is a ploy to remodel transatlanticism to undermine the Sino-Russian project to build a new multi-polar world order.
This is a tactic of political distraction. The US is squandering billions of dollars of public funds, with the largest military expenditures in the world instead of investing in its own crumbling infrastructure, or by investing equitable sums to tackle the urgent environmental issues facing the planet, or allocating those funds in order to provide accessible higher education or health care to it’s citizens amidst a global pandemic. The Chinese diaspora have been subjected with racially motivated hate crimes due to the incessant misinformation and “China-bashing” campaigns in the US. The fact that China has demonstrated a laudable COVID containment response, with only 5,000 reported COVID-19 deaths, has been intentionally glossed over despite the blatant failures of the countries which have a profit driven healthcare model like the US which has already surpassed the milestone of more than 900,000 COVID-related deaths.
The threat of a Cold War accelerating to a hot war is real
With an increasing number of deliberate military maneuvers and exercises, designed to test Chinese and Russian responses, this is an extremely dangerous impasse, in which any incident could uncontrollably escalate and lead to a disastrous hot war. The recent violent escalation in Ukraine is a clear example of this.
“When you have that much military equipment, in a very sensitive geopolitical region, mistakes can happen, miscalculations can happen, the idea of a Hot War, between the US and China, both nuclear arms states, could spell the end of humanity and it could produce a nuclear winter,” said Edwards.
Read the Peace Summit declaration here.