Despite repeated attempts to derail China’s rise, the United States is now confronted with a power that has not only challenges American hegemony, but will soon eclipse it, says Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.
In an interview on Friday, Etler, a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, said China is a “force of such overwhelming economic and political strength that other nations both near and far will gravitate towards it.”
US President Donald Trump’s pick for the next American ambassador to South Korea, Admiral Harry Harris, has said while North Korea continues the pose the most imminent threat, China’s still remains the biggest long-term challenge that Washington is faced with.
“North Korea remains our most imminent threat and a nuclear-capable North Korea with missiles that can reach the United States is unacceptable,” Harris said during a ceremony in Hawaii on Wednesday that saw him step down as chief of the US Pacific Command and also rebranded the division to the US Indo-Pacific Command.
However, he warned, “China remains our biggest long-term challenge. Without focused involvement and engagement by the United States and our allies and partners China will realize its dream of hegemony in Asia.”
America’s quest for global hegemony
“How should the statements by Trump’s pick for the next American ambassador to South Korea, Admiral Harry Harris, be understood?” Professor Etler asked.
“First, after the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War 2 the US took on the mantle of their hegemonic ambitions to rule the world. In Europe the US forged the Atlantic alliance to challenge the USSR. NATO replaced the German Reich in its quest to destroy the Soviet Union and roll back the gains it made in defeating Germany’s genocidal invasion,” he added.
“In Asia, the US did the same regarding the vanquished Japanese.
US imperialism supplanted Japanese militarism, occupied the Pacific Ocean as its own lake and began forging a new Asian Co-prosperity Sphere incorporating the territories that Japan had previously conquered into its own sphere of influence. As in Europe with its quest to defeat the USSR the US took on the Japanese mantle in waging all out war against China.
“Both China and the USSR, were the only threats to establishing the global hegemony of US imperialism, the inheritor of both Germany’s and Japan’s thirst for global dominance. US imperialism thus consolidated both the Western and Eastern fronts in its drive to defeat the forces fighting for national liberation and a future free from foreign domination,” he stated.
“It is only in this context can the statements made by Harris be understood. Both Korea and Taiwan, occupied by Japan since the early years of the 20th century, served as staging grounds for the invasion of China in the1930s and they would serve the same purpose for the US. Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of the US and its imperialist ambitions, both the USSR in the European theater and China in the Asian theater emerged after WW2 as colossuses that could not be easily challenged and defeated,” the analyst said.
China’s rise after WW2
“In Asia the US fought wars in Korea and Vietnam to try and reverse the verdict of history and defeat the forces fighting for national liberation and freedom. China however rather than being the sick man of Asia had emerged after WW2 as the bulwark against the depredations of US imperialism in its quest to replace Japan as Asia’s hegemon,” Professor Etler said.
“The US achieved a temporary victory in Europe with the defeat of the Soviet Union and the spread of NATO to Russia’s doorstep. The forces of fascism once again reared their ugly heads throughout Central and Eastern Europe and in some of the former Soviet republics. It is only within the last decade that Russia under Putin has begun to resist the US onslaught,” he said.
“In Asia however despite repeated attempts to derail China’s rise and reduce it into a vassal state the US is now confronted with a power that not only challenges US hegemony, but will soon eclipse it. China however, unlike the US or Germany and Japan before it, does not seek either regional or global hegemony. It is however a force of such overwhelming economic and political strength that other nations both near and far will gravitate towards it,” he observed.
“The US like its predecessors can only seek hegemony by force of arms. China on the contrary will gain regional and global influence by force of example,” the scholar concluded.