Washington's neo-Cold War can end badly

Harvey Dzodin CGTN Published: 2018-10-06 16:30:48
Share this with Close
Messenger Messenger Pinterest LinkedIn

Vice President of the United States Mike Pence delivered a provocative speech at the Hudson Institute on Thursday. There wasn't anything particularly new in Pence's remarks. Everything had been articulated before in diverse arenas by many different actors. 

US Vice President Mike Pence [File photo: VCG/Saul Loeb]

US Vice President Mike Pence [File photo: VCG/Saul Loeb]

What is different, however, is that there is a new aggressive game plan in which, for the first time, these strands have been woven together at the White House level in a synergistic attack, where one plus one equals much more than two.

Suddenly the administration has gone into overdrive. Whereas before they were like an inefficient flashlight, generating more heat than light, making arguments, demands and whining about perceived-Chinese injustices, now they have focused their energy like a LASER.

While some of this represents tossing red bait to Trump's red base in red states, it's clear that after the midterm Congressional elections, the attacks will continue and intensify.

In fact, it was first revealed in the news website Axios on September 23. As an unnamed White House source quoted there said: "We're not just going to let Russia be the bogeyman. It's Russia and China."

Just as some have speculated that the world is on track to have two separate parallel internet models, even more, recent voices are insisting that Trump's twitter tantrums for fair trade are a ruse. The real goal is a delinking of the world's two largest economies so that the US is less reliant on China. And there are mirror indications that similar thoughts are being floated in China as well.

President Xi Jinping has made two important speeches about how China is too reliant on foreign, read the "US," technology and has to go to warp speed to create critical infrastructure elements that are home-grown to eliminate reliance on third parties.

Pence's speech contained a few legitimate truths. However, it was mostly a hodgepodge of many untruths wrapped in a blanket of patriotism, nationalism and religion.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2018 in New York City, NY, USA. [File photo: ABACAPRESS.COM/Robin Utrecht]

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2018 in New York City, NY, USA. [File photo: ABACAPRESS.COM/Robin Utrecht]

Take the issue of so-called Chinese interference in upcoming US elections, raised by Trump at the United Nations last week without a shred of evidence. Pence brought it up by parroting the President's still unsubstantiated charges. The lack of evidence repeated twice does not make a bald assertion true.

It's clear that the White House crew is attempting to tie this to Russian election meddling in 2016, which the US intelligence community unanimously acknowledges occurred, perhaps with connivance by Trump and/or his team, and which many experts feel tilted the vote to Trump. Maybe guilt by association is the best the White House can do in the absence of evidence?

Trump's Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen debunked these lies on Tuesday, saying that "we currently have no indication that a foreign adversary intends to disrupt our election infrastructure. We know that they [the Chinese] have the capability and we know they have the will. So we're constantly on alert to watch. But what we see with China right now are the influence campaigns, the more traditional, longstanding, holistic influence campaigns."

Closer to home, Pence also took issue with "the Chinese Communist Party… spending billions of US dollars on propaganda outlets in the United States and, frankly, around the world." He specifically cited China Radio International broadcasting "Beijing-friendly programs on over 30 US outlets, many in major American cities."

"Beijing-friendly" is that a crime? Is he talking about the same CRI, where I appeared most recently last Saturday, talking about such subversive topics as school bullying, effeminate sissies in China, and the no-zero grade policy? Gimme a break.

And what about the US-funded Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and the like. Pence conveniently forgot about them because they are all legitimate tools used by governments who can afford them to win hearts and minds.

Putting together recent events culminating in Pence's aggressive attack on China at the Hudson Institute means that a cold wind is now blowing from Washington all the way to Beijing in a new Cold War precipitated by Trump, Pence, Navarro and their trigger-happy neo-Cold warrior colleagues. Let's hope, and as Pence would say, pray, that this manufactured crisis doesn't end badly, very badly.

Editor's Note: Harvey Dzodin, senior research fellow of the Center for China and Globalization, a former legal adviser in Carter administration. The article reflects the authors' opinion and not necessarily the views of China Plus.

Related stories

Share this story on


LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of chinaandgreece.com, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.