In his interview with Bill O’Reilly, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ranted against Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Within his tirade, he proclaimed:
“You can’t have everybody hating you. The whole world hates us. One of the things that I heard for years and years, never drive Russia and China together, and Obama has done that.”
These are very interesting words that point to a fundamental reality of US foreign policy. The fear of a world where these two massive countries stand arm in arm — with economies independent of western banking institutions — is nothing new. Since the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the strategy of the ruling financial elite of the United States, often openly stated, has been to divide the leaders of Russia and China, in order to effectively undermine both, and keep their position of dominance within the global market.
The Kremlin Meets the Rifle Faction
In attempting to drive the two countries apart, the intelligence agencies of the United States and western countries have often exploited real tensions and differences.
Even before the victory of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, underlying tensions existed between the Chinese Communist Party and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1927, the overwhelming majority of Communist Party members in China were exterminated. The nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, who had been embraced by the leaders of the Soviet Union, reversed his policy and began rounding up communists, putting them in prison camps and slaughtering them. The death or imprisonment of so many of its members, less than a decade after its founding conference, completely reshuffled the leadership and political line of the party. The extreme repression carried out by Chiang Kai-shek impacted the young party and effectively secured the rise of one of the most influential people in the 20th century Mao Zedong.
Mao Zedong was a university librarian who had previously been an anarchist, and led a small faction among Chinese communists. Mao Zedong’s followers had been dubbed the “Rifle Faction” by their opponents because they constantly promoted armed struggle, and had embedded themselves in the wave of peasant uprisings in the Chinese countryside. Mao’s polemical “Report on an investigation of the Peasant in the Hunan Province,” now considered to be one of the most important documents in the history of Chinese Communism, had harshly criticized the tactics recommended by the Communist International, and urged a complete reorientation away from nationalism and organized labor, toward China’s overwhelming peasant majority.
When Mao Zedong secured his dominant position within the party, the Chinese Communists adopted a political strategy far different than what was being globally directed by Moscow. The Chinese Communists rarely spoke in the stereotypical Marxist-Leninist language of the 1930s. Their rhetoric did not refer to “surplus value,” “exploitation,” or “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Figures like Edgar Snow, Anna Louise Strong, and Agnes Smedley visited the People’s Liberation Army in the Chinese countryside and described it as a kind of military expansionist utopian commune. The bulk of the People’s Liberation Army’s leaders were university students recruited on the basis of “building a new China” for “the people.” With guns in their hands, they recruited hundreds of thousands of peasants on the basis of land reform, opposing corruption and bribery, and establishing “people’s courts” that could facilitate revenge against the land-owning aristocracy.
While Soviet money and guns were instrumental in strengthening the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese Communists were not “Soviet puppets” by any means. They clearly had their own independent ideas and strategy, and were not going to surrender it. The innovative rural policy of the Chinese communists was probably the personal brainchild of Mao Zedong. It was officially called “New Democracy.”
Stalin’s “Shock Brigade” Scares Wall Street
When the 1949 Chinese Revolution was victorious, the US political establishment went into a panic. The revolution resulted in two great Eurasian powers, the Soviet Union and China, standing united in their opposition to the rule of the world by British and Wall Street bankers. Constant warnings of a Soviet-Chinese invasion were broadcast into U.S. households on the screens of the newly invented television. The Republicans blasted Truman for “losing China,” and the Democratic Party faced a wave of defeats amid the anticommunist hysteria dubbed McCarthyism.
When the United States went to war in order to prevent the reunification of Korea, the Soviet Union, China, Korea, and most of Eastern Europe were all united against the US. Mao Zedong’s own son died in this conflict, along with thousands of Chinese and Korean people, who received weapons, funding, training, and instruction from the Soviet Union. The US was humiliated in this conflict as armed peasants from Korea and China forced a superpower with atomic bombs to a stalemate. This conflict that Koreans called the “Fatherland Liberation War” was the only time in history that a US military general has ever been taken prisoner.
In his final public speech given in 1952, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin hailed the Chinese Communist Party as a “shock brigade” in spreading world revolution. The speech declared: “Now, from China and Korea to Czechoslovakia and Hungary, new ‘shock brigades’ have appeared on the map, in the form of people’s democracies; now the struggle has been eased for our Party and also the work proceeds better.”
This final address from the political leader still most admired among Russians called for a global uprising to ensure the national liberation of historically colonized countries: “Now the bourgeoisie sell the rights and independence of their nations for dollars. The banner of national independence and national sovereignty has been thrown overboard. Without doubt, you, the representatives of the communist and democratic parties must raise this banner and carry it forward if you want to be patriots of your countries, if you want to be the leading powers of the nations. There is nobody else to raise it.”
In the early months of 1950, the New York Times blatantly declared that the intent of US policy was to end this highly important relationship, and convince China to view the USSR as “imperialist.” On January 23, 1950, the New York Times declared: “In carrying out its long range policy the United States might do well to remind Eastern nations that if they believe in the slogan of ‘Asia for the Asiatics,’ Russian imperialism is not the answer.” On January 29, 1950, a New York Times editorial declared: “The United States’ aim indeed is to ‘drive a wedge’ between the Chinese and the Russians.”
Ripped Apart by “Peaceful Coexistence”
In 1956, Khruschev delivered his infamous “secret speech” denouncing Joseph Stalin. China at first embraced the speech, and praised “de-Stalinization” efforts in the USSR. However, by 1961, it became very apparent that the foreign policy of the Chinese Communist Party and the foreign policy of the Soviet Union were incompatible. China, like Stalin in his final speech, urged peoples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to take up arms in order to secure their economic and political independence. Khruschev and the Soviet Communist Party completely reoriented their international strategy, and urged “peaceful transition” to socialism, as well as “peaceful coexistence” with the United States.
In 1961, the Soviet Union officially terminated its relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Soviet foreign aid was pulled out. Buildings remained half-constructed as Soviet architects burned the blueprints. Chinese students in Moscow brawled with the police as they protested Khruschev’s policies. Aging US communist leader William Z. Foster shouted at Khruschev from his Moscow hospital bed, urging him not to end the important geopolitical relationship between the Soviet Union and China.
Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khruschev established a friendly relationship with the United States, as China sounded the trumpet of world communist revolution. The Soviet press referred to Mao Zedong as a “dictator.” The Soviet Union urged its followers around the world to participate in elections, align with capitalist parties, and cease any action toward armed revolution.
With the Soviet Union speaking in more conservative terms, China became the beacon that revolutionaries were attracted to, as radicalism swept the globe in the late 1960s and early 70s. The Soviet Union, with its proclamations of “peaceful coexistence,” seemed far less exciting than the government representing one quarter of humanity that proclaimed “Revolution is The Main Trend in the World Today.”
Various “anti-revisionist” parties, who sought political direction from China, were established around the world in opposition to the parties formed as part of Lenin’s Communist International.
China’s critique of Soviet foreign policy took a vulgar turn when Chinese leaders started saying that the USSR was “imperialist.” By the early 1970s, Chinese leaders had declared that Soviet “social imperialism” was the “main danger to the people of the world.” Mao Zedong met with US President Richard Nixon.
In Angola, the Chinese government opposed the Soviet-aligned forces that won independence, instead supporting CIA-trained forces aligned with the United States.
Behind Reagan’s “Victory”
The China-aligned Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile wrote a document condemning China for its friendly relations with the Pinochet regime that was torturing and slaughtering their members with help from the CIA. China happily embraced the brutal anticommunist, US-backed Chilean dictator, seeing him as a strong ally against “Soviet social imperialism.”
The Chinese government also embraced the Shah of Iran during this period, causing mass confusion among the China-inspired “People’s Fedayeen Guerillas,” who were waging an armed insurgency in the Iranian countryside.
By the late 70s, after Mao died, and Deng Xiaoping rose to power in China, the Cold War no longer seemed to make any ideological sense. The idea that it was a battle between free markets and Marxist-Leninists had been forgotten. A Vietnam veteran addressed a large antiwar gathering in 1979, declaring: “They sent us to Vietnam, telling us we were going there to fight the communists. But now, we are signing deals with Chinese communists, who are killing the Vietnamese communists, while our government supports the Kampuchean communists, who are fighting the Vietnamese communists, saying they are just agents of Russian communists.”
After the US removed its forces from southeast Asia, the pro-Chinese government of Pol Pot battled the pro-Soviet government of Vietnam. The Central Intelligence Agency quietly armed the Kampuchean forces while the Soviet Union sent money and weapons to Vietnam. The Chinese government rallied the remnants of the increasingly confused “Maoist” movement to support Pol Pot against “Soviet social imperialism.”
As Jimmy Carter sat in the White House, the dream of his top adviser Brzezinski became reality. As Brzezinski put it in his book “The Grand Chessboard,” the strategy was: “Keep the barbarians killing each other.” In Afghanistan, China supported the Mujahadeen, while the Soviet Union sent troops to defend the People’s Democratic government.
The common neoconservative narrative of the 1980s credits Reagan’s “toughness” for “defeating the Soviet Union” and “winning the cold war.” This is only half the story. When Reagan entered the White House, the world communist movement — which had almost completely been united in 1950 — was in a state of complete disarray and confusion. The Soviet Union and China were at each other’s throats, with their allies killing each other all across the planet. Various European communist parties were officially ending their relationship with both the USSR and China and calling themselves “Eurocommunists.” Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea attempted to maintain some level of neutrality. In Africa, armed Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries were divided along even more complex lines.
Reagan’s “hardline” policies against the USSR took place in the context of an anti-imperialist movement that was in complete ruin and confusion. The Soviet Union could not muster a strong international alliance of supporters as it had in the 1950s. China often supported the US in international affairs, and Third World insurrections were scattered and confused.
The Iranian revolution shocked the world in 1979. No Marxist faction, whether Soviet or Chinese aligned, could win the support of the Iranian people. Imam Khomeini established the Islamic Republic on a program of “Not Capitalism But Islam” and a “War of Poverty Against Wealth.” The Islamic Republic successfully defended itself in a costly war with Iraq, and maintained power with an international position of “neither East nor West.” Various anti-imperialist uprisings continued to take place, but like the Iranian revolution, many of them were not communist-led, and had no international allegiance.
Neoliberalism as the “New World Order”
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, George H.W. Bush spoke of a “New World Order.” The defenders of neoliberal capitalism proclaimed that their system of unregulated free markets was the only way forward for the human race.
As the globalist market cult announced its New World Order after the demise of the USSR, the differences among political forces in the west became merely tactical. In the early 1990s, European Social-Democrats publicly abandoned the goal of creating an egalitarian society. British “New Labour,” French Socialism, and German Social-Democracy all declared that “socialism” was merely a synonym for economic prosperity, and embraced privatizations and neoliberal restructuring. In the United States, the Democratic Leadership Council made the left flank of the US political establishment into a party that hailed the sacredness of markets and profits. The Clintons echoed Tony Blair, talking about how “the world has changed.” Collectivism, class struggle, and cooperation were considered outmoded concepts from a previous era.
In the US and Europe, the various voices of conservatism and the “right wing” abandoned their economic nationalism and protectionism, and embraced “free trade.” The goal of maximizing profits and “integrating” every country into Wall Street’s economic empire became the official party line of all major political forces in western societies.
At the dawn of the 21st Century, a program of global transformation was in progress, as global elites began tearing down economic borders, eliminating social services, expanding international military coalitions along with policing agencies and prisons — all to defend the “sacredness of private property.” The goal was to create the “unknown ideal” of “true capitalism” as envisioned in the texts of the Austrian Economics and the Chicago School.
A variety of governments incurred the wrath of the highly ideological and aggressive new world order. Many of them had committed no real crime other than their existence. Saddam Hussein was happy to serve Wall Street with ruthless crimes against Iran, but the exports from his state-owned oil company and the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party’s tight control of domestic affairs still could not be tolerated. Iraq was blown to bits by Bush’s “shock and awe” and has been a mess of chaos ever since.
Russia’s leaders have attempted to keep the friendship with the United States that began after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their efforts to maintain healthy diplomacy have been ignored. The Wall Street clique sees Russia’s state-owned oil and natural gas corporations as intolerable. Furthermore, Putin’s stabilization of Russian society has unforgivably involved renewed feelings of national unity and pride, as well as a large public sector of the economy.
Wall Street and the Pentagon don’t want to destroy Putin. They want to destroy Russia. A stable country, united in its rejection of neoliberalism and cooperating to strengthen its economy is something Wall Street will never tolerate. Publicly owned natural resources, stability, and national unity are always a threat to the power of western finance, whether done in the name of communism, nationalism, Christianity, Islam, or anything else.
The United States encouraged its Georgian puppets to attack South Ossetia in 2008, and more recently backed and funded the violent overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government in 2014. The CIA’s “National Endowment for Democracy” works to foment unrest within Russia, while the US facilitates and arms hostile anti-Russian forces on the country’s borders. The presence of US and NATO military forces is rapidly expanding in Eastern Europe. Whatever the intentions of the Russian leaders, Wall Street is looking to provoke a continued state of crisis and weaken the forces of independence in the world’s geographically largest country.
Chinese leaders have also attempted to maintain their friendly ties with the United States. China has worked hard to facilitate investment by US corporations. Since the 1980s, the Chinese government has effectively abandoned any effort to spread communist ideas around the world.
Regardless of China’s attempts to accommodate the global capitalists, the CIA still facilitates efforts to destabilize the country. The Falun Gong, the Tibetan separatists, “Occupy Hong Kong,” and a variety of bizarre dissidents are propped up by the United States in the hopes of overthrowing the Chinese Communist Party and transforming the country into Wall Street’s playground. The US is militarily surrounding China with its Asian pivot. The US is also looking to economically weaken China’s influence throughout Asia with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
US media and politicians have responded to Xi Jinping’s recent anti-corruption crackdown with an escalating anti-China frenzy. All of the major presidential candidates in the United States, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, preach hatred for the People’s Republic of China, and seek to somehow blame it for the rising economic woes of working families across the United States.
Two Global Economies: Destruction vs. Construction
It is in this context that Russia, no longer led by communists, and China, led by the world’s largest communist party, have been able to rekindle the relationship that abruptly ended in 1961. Chinese President Xi Jinping currently hails a “New Silk Road,” connecting the formerly colonized countries of the world. A new global economy that does not involve Wall Street and London is coming into existence. China and Russia have conducted joint military exercises.
A natural gas pipeline connecting Russia and China is currently being constructed. Chinese forces are working in Nicaragua to construct a new canal to rival the US-controlled Panama Canal. Vladimir Putin has visited Latin America, and befriended the Bolivarian Bloc, where countries seeking the goal of “21st Century Socialism” are bound together in a bank called the “Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America.”
Conversation about a new currency for Brazil, Russia, India, and China (known collectively as BRICs) continue to take place. China continues its investment in many African countries, including Nigeria, the top oil exporter on the continent.
As the United States is on the verge of a nuclear agreement with Iran, it has become clear that Russia and China are happy to cooperate with the Islamic Republic. If the nuclear conclusion is somehow blocked by the US Congress, Russia and China are likely not to comply. Russia recently sold Iran SB-300 missiles with which to defend itself in the context of an Israeli or US attack.
China and Russia are both looking to build. Their economies are based on construction, development, and expansion. Western neoliberal capitalism has oriented itself completely toward destruction.
Oil prices have fallen because too much oil exists. Hydraulic fracking, drilling, and other technological innovations have made it more efficient to produce crude oil than ever before. The only hope for reviving oil profits is to somehow reduce the huge apparatus of oil extraction and production. The only hope for raising the profits of Exxon-Mobil, BP, and Shell is a large amount of destruction.
The billionaires who own Raytheon, General Electric, Boeing, and the many other Pentagon contractors actively fear, not a new world war, but a rise of stability, tolerance, and cooperation between countries. The universal human dream of peace on earth would put the war profiteers and weapons manufacturers out of business. The US economy is tightly centered around Pentagon contracts. Wall Street depends on military aggression.
Banks in the United States have made huge profits, not by lending people to money to buy homes, but with “predatory lending” practices that result in home foreclosure. The government has cooperated with banking institutions to create a situation where profits can be made by transforming prosperous residential neighborhoods into eerie overgrown ghost towns.
Wells Fargo Bank, along with a number of other key financial players, has turned crime and imprisonment into a business opportunity. The Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, and other private entities bring in billions of dollars every year from locking people away. In order to ensure Wall Street profits, the US prison population has grown to be astronomical. The highly profitable US policing agencies have been given far more power than ever before, “stopping and frisking” people without a proper cause, tapping millions of phones, reading personal e-mails, and indefinitely detaining and torturing people.
The drive for profits that pushed the United States and Western Europe, as they violently conquered their central place in the world economy, has taken a predictable yet horrific turn. The world wants to continue developing, but the invisible hand behind western neoliberal capitalism mandates nothing but war, imprisonment, and poverty.
The neoliberal mythology of capitalism as a system that encourages innovation and freedom is being exposed on a global level. The rise of the New World Order and its market cult in the early 1990s has meant the destruction of civil liberties, the impoverishment of millions, and an end to the hopes and dreams of an entire generation.
Russia and China, friends once again, are cooperating to provide an alternative. Trump’s words reflect the real concerns about the wealthy elite. Not only does “the whole world hate us;” they have another option to turn toward. The New Silk Road, the rising economic bloc oriented toward construction, points to a way out of war, fascism, and chaos. The unity and cooperation of Russia and China is an essential part of the Eurasian alternative to the destructive, cannibalistic capitalism that has taken power in western countries.
Donald Trump is very concerned about it, because it points the human race toward a world that is no longer ruled by people like him, where human life is valued, and selfishness is no longer considered to be a virtue.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.