The US-led West seems to suffer from an incurable obsessive-compulsive disorder which compels it to fanatically keep bludgeoning the rest of the world into submission. It’s compulsion to dominate and dictate is ominous, abrasive, demeaning and threatens international relations. The world is witness to the US’ unrelenting, exploitative policies, its stratagems thereof and its rank selective morality in realpolitik to continuously maintain itself as the sole, unchallengeable hegemon of the world. It brooks no challenges on that score.

The US and all its leaders make for an enigmatic study in human psychology and its impact on state policy formulation. It has been prone to imagining, creating and then destroying the many “Frankensteins” that “seem to threaten” its interests and dominance of the world. First it destroyed the erstwhile USSR by emmeshing it in the prohibitively costly strategic defence initiative. Next it invented the Clash of Civilisations, created the Islamic fundamentalism-terrorism bogey, demonised Islam and Muslims universally and launched the much-hyped global War on Terror. It failed miserably in Afghanistan. In the meantime, it destroyed the Greater Middle East Region (GMER) ostensibly to not only forestall any probable Islamic renaissance but also to secure Israel from all possible existentialist threats. The US military-industrial complex is as usual the main beneficiary and has reaped the macabre harvests of all such US endeavours.

The US is now on the prowl to seek yet another adversary to demonise and destroy.

It now sees the emerging Sino-Russo combine, in particular China, as a potential threat to its vital interests and hegemonic domination of the world. It feels compelled to forestall it. It is now out marshalling its political, economic, diplomatic, technological and military assets and its allies (EU, G7, NATO, QUAD etc) to stem, harness and destroy this overwhelming Chinese challenge. This will lead the world back to the “cold war” era and severe polarisation.

What could a US-led anti-China policy look like? The overall grand strategy could be to evoke a global, multidimensional response to the challenge posed by China’s irresistible rise to the US-led West’s dominance and control of all world affairs. The desired end state could be to isolate China, circumscribe and contain its meteoric rise to within manageable limits and obviate all possible challenges to its pre-eminence in the world.

The operational strategies or ways to get to this end are multifarious. The US-led West can either engage with China, compete, coerce or even confront it. It can engage it in talks to determine Chinese policies and intents thereof and then try to find mutually acceptable and beneficial ways of dealing with the situation. Else the US-led West could compete with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as it is ostensibly intending to do, through the thus-far unknown and apparently utopian US $ 40 trillion Build Back Better World, B3W, initiative. It could try coercion but China is now clearly beyond such measures—economic, technological, diplomatic, political or military. It could confront China politically and diplomatically which it is already doing, without much success. It will not confront China militarily because the latter has managed to close the military-technological gap with the US quite emphatically. The US and its allies do not have that distinct military-technological advantage over the Chinese military that they used to have previously. At the moment, the US and its allies are still fishing around for a credible, effective, practical and universally acceptable response to the assumed Chinese challenge.

The means that the US can employ to achieve its desired end state are multidimensional too. The US will most probably employ a two-pronged approach. The first one will tackle China directly while the second one will focus on all those countries (about a hundred and twenty of them including Italy and Greece) who have joined the BRI.

China is being roundly demonised as a pariah, predatory state that is exploiting the poor states of the world through its BRI and its purportedly inherent debt-trap sophistry. The BRI is being portrayed as an exploitative project to the sole benefit and advantage of China. China is being indirectly held responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. Human rights, freedom and liberties are being vociferously touted where Hong Kong and the Uighur Muslims are concerned (totally disregarding the plight of Kashmiri and Palestinian Muslims under Indian and Israeli yokes respectively. Rohingya Muslims do not seem to exist for them). The abhorrent selective morality in such a policy is lost on the US-led West and its allies. Democracy, however, as the panacea to all governance issues is being flaunted relentlessly. An unrelenting diplomatic and media offensive is already on.

Furthermore, China is deemed to be in violation of intellectual property rights, good trade practices and might yet be subjected to a rejuvenated trade war, as initiated by President Trump. It will also be threatened with the re-anchoring or shifting of the supply chains to other countries, the adverse impact on the world economy notwithstanding. Western multinationals may be forced to relocate their factories to Vietnam, India, Thailand etc and be made to deny China all access to technological inventions and innovations. China will be brought under further and even more severe sanctions and pressures through all leading international fora like the UN, UNSC, EU, ASEAN, NATO, QUAD, etc. It is being continuously accused of expansionist designs in the South China Sea/Pacific Ocean region. Its legitimate claims in the South China Sea (and on Taiwan) are being vigorously challenged politically as well as militarily. A new alignment, the QUAD, is being gradually built up to eventually challenge it militarily too, if required. This could be further reinforced with a regional (Indo-Pacific) coalition on an as required basis. The galloping Chinese economy can only possibly be destroyed by taking it to war. Prudence demands that the US and its befuddled allies avoid this MAD—Mutually Assured Destruction—option.

However, China is not entirely without options for itself. For starters, it has already exhaustively beaten the US-led West in the time and space dimensions where the BRI is concerned.

(To be continued)