Trump Is Trying to Put Us on War Footing with China. It’s Up to the Left to Stop It.

On the dangers of the Right’s new China scare

Tobita Chow and Jake Werner August 17, 2020

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo cast China’s rela­tion­ship with the Unit­ed States in apoc­a­lyp­tic terms dur­ing his speech at the Richard Nixon Pres­i­den­tial Library and Muse­um in Yor­ba Lin­da, Calif., in late July. Secur­ing our free­doms from the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty is the mis­sion of our time,” Pom­peo warned. If we bend the knee now, our children’s chil­dren may be at the mer­cy of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.” 

Nine days pri­or, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump deliv­ered a ram­bling, near­ly hour-long address in the Rose Gar­den, claim­ing Joe Biden’s entire career has been a gift to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty. … And it’s been dev­as­tat­ing for the Amer­i­can work­er.” That same week, Peter Navar­ro, the president’s trade advis­er, went one step fur­ther by telling Fox News that Chi­na hit us with that dead­ly virus, that weaponized virus.”

As Covid-19 rav­ages the Unit­ed States, the Trump White House and its Repub­li­can enablers are lever­ag­ing sino­pho­bia as their best chance to avoid an elec­toral blood­bath in Novem­ber. Act­ing in silent col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment (which itself is turn­ing toward nation­al­ism in the face of intense polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic pres­sures), they have plunged us into what some call a new Cold War.

The con­se­quences of this pow­er con­flict are already in evi­dence: a sharp rise in anti-Asian racism and forms of McCarthy­ism in the Unit­ed States, and grow­ing xeno­pho­bia and repres­sion in Chi­na. The con­flict is also deeply reshap­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty; even if the 2020 elec­tion proves a dis­as­ter for the GOP, the con­sol­i­da­tion of right-wing nation­al­ism may offer the par­ty long-term polit­i­cal via­bil­i­ty. In a now zero-sum strug­gle for glob­al growth, it would be naïve to dis­miss the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a U.S.-China mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion erupting.

Biden and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic estab­lish­ment, mean­while, have cho­sen to attack Trump as insuf­fi­cient­ly hawk­ish. Pro­gres­sives and the Left, there­fore, must pro­vide an alter­na­tive path for­ward — one root­ed in glob­al sol­i­dar­i­ty and inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion. Suc­cess in this endeav­or could defeat not only the coro­n­avirus but the scourges of cli­mate change and glob­al pover­ty. Fail­ure all but ensures a future rav­aged by dis­ease, envi­ron­men­tal break­down and nation­al­ist conflicts.

Donald Trump speech shows Corona Virus replaced with Chinese Virus.
A draft of President Donald Trump’s March 19 speech shows “Corona Virus” intentionally replaced with “Chinese Virus.” (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images) (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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The Trump cam­paign and the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee for­mal­ized their sino­pho­bic strat­e­gy in April. First, blame Chi­na for the pan­dem­ic, dein­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and the opi­oid cri­sis. Then, accuse Biden and oth­er Democ­rats of all but sur­ren­der­ing to Bei­jing. Plus, vow to restore U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing while impos­ing sanc­tions on Chi­na, the biggest eco­nom­ic rival to the Unit­ed States. This dem­a­goguery has ener­gized the party’s base and direct­ed atten­tion away from Trump’s fail­ures, allow­ing the GOP to go on the offensive.

Anti-Chi­na mes­sag­ing, echoed in rightwing media, is all over the president’s 2020 cam­paign ads. Amer­i­ca First, a pro-Trump super PAC, has spent mil­lions of dol­lars in swing states to attack Biden as sup­port­ing China’s rise and for label­ing the White House’s Jan­u­ary trav­el ban as xeno­pho­bic. Ads call the for­mer vice pres­i­dent Bei­jing Biden.” A spon­sored web­site claims the Biden family’s cor­rupt ties to the Chi­nese elite raise seri­ous ques­tions about Biden’s ethics and the secre­tive motives for his weak stances on China.”

Sim­i­lar pos­tur­ing has per­me­at­ed the rhetoric of Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate. One spot for Sen. Martha McSal­ly (R‑Ariz.) accus­es Biden and McSally’s oppo­nent, Mark Kel­ly, of sell­ing out to Chi­na.” One for Sen. Joni Ernst (R‑Iowa) says,“We rely on Com­mu­nist Chi­na for far too much, from tech­nol­o­gy to med­i­cine. So I’m fight­ing to bring it home.”

This brand of sino­pho­bia, por­tray­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic agen­da as pro-Chi­na as much as pos­si­ble, has metas­ta­sized beyond dis­cus­sions of dein­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and the pan­dem­ic to include such pro­gres­sive pri­or­i­ties as cut­ting the bloat­ed U.S. mil­i­tary bud­get and tran­si­tion­ing to clean ener­gy. Trump even claimed the Paris cli­mate accord would have crushed Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ers while allow­ing Chi­na to pol­lute,” call­ing it one more gift from Biden to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.”

Sim­i­lar­ly, the Right has spu­ri­ous­ly attacked Black Lives Mat­ter as a Chi­nese plot. Lau­ra Ingra­ham of Fox News sug­gest­ed the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP) has its hands in the riots and the cur­rent push to desta­bi­lize Amer­i­ca,” while Chad­wick Moore appeared on Tuck­er Carl­son Tonight to argue Chi­na is fund­ing the move­ment. Raheem Kas­sam, a col­lab­o­ra­tor of for­mer White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non, declared Black Lives Mat­ter is lay­ing the ground­work” for a CCP invasion.”

Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries like these help but­tress the Right’s blame Chi­na” nar­ra­tive. In an MSNBC inter­view in ear­ly July, Navar­ro claimed the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty is respon­si­ble for every bad thing we’re expe­ri­enc­ing” while sug­gest­ing the coro­n­avirus is a delib­er­ate” attack. Nation­al­ists also argue the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion is run by agents of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment who col­lud­ed to ensure the virus spreads — a the­o­ry that ulti­mate­ly led Trump to with­draw the Unit­ed States from the orga­ni­za­tion, jeop­ar­diz­ing inter­na­tion­al efforts to con­tain the pandemic. 

Beyond mere rhetoric, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is imple­ment­ing aggres­sive pol­i­cy that reshapes and inflames the U.S.-China rela­tion­ship. The White House has imposed tight restric­tions on Chi­nese jour­nal­ists in the Unit­ed States, declared an end to pref­er­en­tial eco­nom­ic treat­ment of Hong Kong and sanc­tioned Chi­nese offi­cials involved with the per­se­cu­tion of eth­nic Uighurs and oth­er Mus­lims in the Xin­jiang region. More recent­ly, the White House forced Chi­na to shut down its con­sulate in Hous­ton and float­ed plans to impose a trav­el ban on mem­bers of the CCP and their fam­i­lies, which could affect as many as 270 mil­lion peo­ple.

Per­haps most alarm­ing is the increase in U.S.-China mil­i­tary activ­i­ties. In the South Chi­na Sea, two U.S. Navy car­ri­er groups held exer­cis­es for the first time in more than a decade. This year’s Sen­ate debate over the U.S. mil­i­tary bud­get includ­ed mul­ti­ple com­pet­ing pro­pos­als to increase anti-Chi­na spend­ing by bil­lions of dol­lars. Mean­while, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has threat­ened to engage Chi­na (and Rus­sia) in a new nuclear arms race, with head arms con­trol nego­tia­tor Mar­shall Billingslea promis­ing the Unit­ed States would spend its adver­saries into oblivion.”

These actions have only suc­ceed­ed in antag­o­niz­ing the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, whose anti-West­ern nation­al­ism increas­ing­ly mir­rors anti-Chi­na sen­ti­ment in the Unit­ed States. Fur­ther provo­ca­tions risk retal­i­a­tion that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is like­ly to answer in kind, lock­ing the coun­tries in a feed­back loop of bel­liger­ence and brinks­man­ship. Esca­lat­ing pres­sure to pick a side threat­ens Uighurs, Hong Kongers, Chi­nese Amer­i­cans, and oth­ers caught in between. It also serves the Repub­li­can elec­toral strat­e­gy: As long as the U.S.-China con­flict deep­ens and remains in the head­lines, the GOP can dri­ve vot­ers and increase the pow­er of its xeno­pho­bic campaign. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives speech against Chinese Communist Party
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo inveighs against the Chinese Communist Party during a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on July 23. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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This rise in sino­pho­bia is not just a cyn­i­cal ploy; it reflects a deep­er shift with­in the U.S. elite toward con­fronta­tion with Chi­na, dri­ven by mil­i­tarists and eco­nom­ic nation­al­ists who insist the Unit­ed States is locked in a zero-sum strug­gle with Chi­na for pow­er and glob­al growth. 

Sur­round­ed by U.S. mil­i­tary bases and allies, Chi­na is attempt­ing to estab­lish itself as a region­al mil­i­tary pow­er, a devel­op­ment the U.S. secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment per­ceives as a threat to its dom­i­nant posi­tion in the Pacif­ic. The size and rapid growth of the Asia mar­ket increas­ing­ly defines glob­al pow­er and com­merce,” argues promi­nent Asia pol­i­cy fig­ure Kurt Camp­bell, mak­ing U.S. pri­ma­cy essen­tial to spur domes­tic revival and ren­o­va­tion [in the Unit­ed States] as well as to keep the peace in the world’s most dynam­ic region.”

Sen. Mar­co Rubio (R‑Fla.) — in con­trast with Trump, whose trade war against Chi­na in 2018 led to a reces­sion in the U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor and a spike in farm bank­rupt­cies — offers a dif­fer­ent, more sophis­ti­cat­ed vision of anti-Chi­na eco­nom­ic nation­al­ism. The sen­a­tor con­tends that con­fronting Chi­na is key to improv­ing the sta­tus of U.S. work­ers, even as his pol­i­cy pro­pos­als care­ful­ly avoid min­i­mum wage increas­es or stronger labor rights. Instead, Rubio’s poli­cies fea­ture tax breaks, sub­si­dies and oth­er con­ven­tion­al­ly pro-busi­ness demands. For Rubio and his ilk, mak­ing U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing more com­pet­i­tive with Chi­na requires an inten­si­fi­ca­tion of work­er exploita­tion, keep­ing costs low and prof­its high.

The white nation­al­ist fac­tion of the White House shares these broad­er aims while pur­su­ing more bla­tant­ly racist pol­i­cy. Led by Stephen Miller, the fac­tion has used the U.S.-China trade war to lob­by (unsuc­cess­ful­ly) for a total ban on Chi­nese inter­na­tion­al stu­dents, and is almost cer­tain­ly behind the pro­posed trav­el ban on CCP mem­bers and their families.

These cur­rents are push­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty away from the free-mar­ket fun­da­men­tal­ism that defined it for decades, embold­en­ing Repub­li­cans to declare them­selves cham­pi­ons of so-called reg­u­lar peo­ple and the com­mon good. That these pol­i­tics are inher­ent­ly racist and exclu­sion­ary has not stopped some puta­tive­ly pro­gres­sive com­men­ta­tors from embrac­ing them. Matt Stoller, for exam­ple, author of Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monop­oly Pow­er and Democ­ra­cy, express­es admi­ra­tion for the eco­nom­ic nation­al­ism of Sens. Rubio, Josh Haw­ley (R‑Mo.) and Tom Cot­ton (R‑Ark.), along with Peter Navar­ro, U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert Lighthiz­er and Tuck­er Carl­son. In effect, Steve Ban­non is get­ting what he has want­ed for years: a par­ty for which the eco­nom­ic war with Chi­na is every­thing” and can be used as a focus for its polit­i­cal realignment.

The worst-case sce­nario is that these trends con­verge to pro­duce a mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion with Chi­na, per­haps as an Octo­ber sur­prise aimed at chang­ing the dynam­ics of the pres­i­den­tial race. As The Nations defense cor­re­spon­dent Michael Klare argues, the South Chi­na Sea is an espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous locus of ten­sion, where the U.S. mil­i­tary is pro­ceed­ing down an extreme­ly dan­ger­ous path, and one very like­ly to lead to mis­cal­cu­la­tion and war.” Shock­ing­ly, Rep. Ted Yoho (R‑Fla.) pre­dict­ed as much in a July inter­view with the Wash­ing­ton Exam­in­er: There will be a clash … peo­ple will die.”

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Pro-Trump campaign ad, Joe Biden: China's Puppet
Pro-Trump campaign ads cast China as pulling the strings of former Vice President Joe Biden (via Youtube)

Repub­li­cans are not alone in pur­su­ing anti-Chi­na mes­sag­ing. For a num­ber of years, com­men­ta­tors from across the polit­i­cal spec­trum have argued the Chi­na threat” could be used to uni­fy an increas­ing­ly unruly pop­u­la­tion. Of course, unit­ing the coun­try around a for­eign threat invari­ably invites big­otry — a real­i­ty that racist respons­es to the pan­dem­ic have thrown into stark relief. Sad­ly, this has not pre­vent­ed Democ­rats from push­ing their own ver­sion of sinophobia.

The Biden campaign’s ini­tial response to Trump’s attacks was to cut an unabashed­ly bel­liger­ent ad claim­ing he would have forced U.S. med­ical per­son­nel into Chi­na ear­ly in the out­break, dark­ly inton­ing the pres­i­dent rolled over for the Chi­nese” by allow­ing 40,000 pos­si­bly infect­ed trav­el­ers into the Unit­ed States after impos­ing his trav­el ban. 

A large num­ber of Asian Amer­i­can and pro­gres­sive groups harsh­ly crit­i­cized the ad, in an open let­ter to the Biden cam­paign, for play­ing to right-wing nation­al­ism and fan­ning anti-Chi­na sen­ti­ment.” (Full dis­clo­sure: The authors of this arti­cle are sig­na­to­ries.) But Biden has made only cos­met­ic changes in the weeks and months since. After Trump’s Rose Gar­den speech in July, the Biden cam­paign issued talk­ing points reaf­firm­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive premise that Chi­na must be held account­able for the pandemic.

Although Democ­rats claim to oppose the trap of a new Cold War,” in prac­tice they give promi­nence to inter­na­tion­al ten­sion rather than chart paths for coop­er­a­tion. This atti­tude risks entrench­ing sino­pho­bia as a defin­ing fea­ture of U.S. pol­i­tics, endan­ger­ing pro­gres­sive pri­or­i­ties by favor­ing so-called nation­al secu­ri­ty over, for exam­ple, action on cli­mate change and work­ers’ rights. Per­haps Demo­c­ra­t­ic oper­a­tives see their pos­tur­ing as doing lit­tle more than defus­ing a potent Repub­li­can talk­ing point, imag­in­ing that a Biden admin­is­tra­tion would safe­ly pur­sue a more mod­er­ate approach to Chi­na (as for­mer Pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Barack Oba­ma did) after the elec­tion. Such assump­tions, how­ev­er, may prove ill-found­ed if the pub­lic begins to asso­ciate Chi­na not with low-cost exports and boot­leg DVDs but mass death and U.S. eco­nom­ic collapse.

Pri­or to the pan­dem­ic, Amer­i­cans were already under siege by abstract forces dif­fi­cult to grasp in their immen­si­ty. From work­force casu­al­iza­tion to the opi­oid epi­dem­ic, fears of scarci­ty to an acute sense of eco­nom­ic and cul­tur­al insta­bil­i­ty, mil­lions of Amer­i­cans were already feel­ing vul­ner­a­ble and con­fused. Anti-Chi­na Repub­li­cans prey on such feel­ings, giv­ing them a human face — a for­eign face — and offer­ing xeno­pho­bic vio­lence as a sub­sti­tute for gen­uine secu­ri­ty. Polling data indi­cates this mes­sage is tak­ing effect, with a rapid increase in pop­u­lar antipa­thy toward China. 

If Democ­rats accept this basic anti-Chi­na propo­si­tion, they ulti­mate­ly risk los­ing their cur­rent elec­toral advan­tage. Stok­ing a fear of for­eign­ers strength­ens Trump’s hand, as his entire polit­i­cal iden­ti­ty is found­ed on xeno­pho­bia. If Trump’s best path to vic­to­ry this Novem­ber is to make the elec­tion about Chi­na, then Biden is blun­der­ing into a trap.

But even if the dis­as­trous Repub­li­can response to the pan­dem­ic secures a large 2020 vic­to­ry for Democ­rats, sino­pho­bia could reorder Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and embold­en the forces of reac­tion. A left-lib­er­al alliance has the chance to break Repub­li­can pow­er once and for all, end­ing a years-long paral­y­sis in U.S. pol­i­tics that has stymied any pro­gres­sive agen­da. If Democ­rats refuse to look beyond Novem­ber, how­ev­er, then they risk win­ning a bat­tle by ced­ing to the Repub­li­cans the ter­rain on which the war will be decided.

And in the process, Democ­rats risk a per­ma­nent break with Chi­na. Such a devel­op­ment would nour­ish anti-Asian racism in the U.S. and could trig­ger a fright­en­ing new era of mil­i­tarism, xeno­pho­bia and large-scale inter­na­tion­al vio­lence, extin­guish­ing pro­gres­sive momen­tum. What’s more, a new Cold War would ren­der impos­si­ble the nec­es­sary inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion to con­tain future pan­demics and cli­mate change. Even if we were to some­how avoid a hot war, tens of mil­lions of peo­ple could become the col­lat­er­al dam­age of a pro­tract­ed conflict.

Demonstrators demand to End the Lockdown NOW!
Demonstrators demand a stop to “safer-at-home” orders at the “End the Lockdown NOW!” rally April 26 in Denver. (Jason Connolly/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images)
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Pro­gres­sives are ani­mat­ed by equal­i­ty and sol­i­dar­i­ty, essen­tial val­ues that could resolve this bur­geon­ing U.S.-China pow­er con­flict, yet the U.S. Left appears ill equipped for the task. For all the ground­break­ing domes­tic pol­i­cy ideas, the Left lacks a glob­al vision. Pro­gres­sives may reject nation­al­ism, but their think­ing has turned inward just as sure­ly as that of their right-wing counterparts. 

Still, a left­ist analy­sis can help us under­stand the recent inten­si­fi­ca­tion of nation­al­ism. Where reac­tionar­ies view U.S.-China ten­sion as racial­ly or cul­tur­al­ly dri­ven and lib­er­als see it as a clash between democ­ra­cy and author­i­tar­i­an­ism, pro­gres­sives must under­stand that our glob­al sys­tem has pit­ted these two coun­tries against each other.

In the 1990s and 2000s, a neolib­er­al vision of free mar­kets, inte­gra­tion and cos­mopoli­tanism flour­ished in both coun­tries. The Unit­ed States and Chi­na com­ple­ment­ed one anoth­er in the glob­al econ­o­my; growth was achieved through coop­er­a­tion. Since the Great Reces­sion, how­ev­er, faith in this sys­tem has steadi­ly erod­ed amid slug­gish growth world­wide, fuel­ing nation­al­ist move­ments across con­ti­nents. Those nation­al­ist move­ments have, in turn, pushed pol­i­tics in a sharply author­i­tar­i­an direc­tion in not just the Unit­ed States and Chi­na, but India, Turkey and many oth­er coun­tries. It’s not just Chi­na that has set up con­cen­tra­tion camps to iso­late those con­sid­ered for­eign and dan­ger­ous — the Unit­ed States has its bor­der camps and the Euro­pean Union its refugee deten­tion sites.

Since the 2008 eco­nom­ic cri­sis, Chi­nese lead­er­ship has accel­er­at­ed its devel­op­ment strat­e­gy, aimed at end­ing China’s eco­nom­ic sub­or­di­na­tion to the West. Chi­na increas­ing­ly threat­ens the dom­i­nance of Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions in such high-val­ue sec­tors as robot­ics, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and biotech­nol­o­gy, even as the Unit­ed States becomes depen­dent on those sec­tors to sus­tain its own eco­nom­ic growth.

If these nations find them­selves on a col­li­sion course, nei­ther hom­i­lies about world peace nor promis­es to return to a bygone era are like­ly to alter their tra­jec­to­ries. The source of this con­flict is not racial, cul­tur­al or even polit­i­cal. It is the prod­uct of an increas­ing­ly dys­func­tion­al glob­al econ­o­my, and only by expos­ing this sys­tem can we find a way for both sides — along with the rest of the world — to sur­vive and flourish. 

People protest racism against the Chinese community in San Francisco's Chinatown
Hundreds in San Francisco’s Chinatown, including local and state officials, protest racism against the Chinese community on February 29. (Jessica Christian/ The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
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What is the role of the Left in achiev­ing such a transformation? 

First, we must ensure the defeat of Trump and the GOP in Novem­ber. While sino­pho­bia is now com­mon in both par­ties, the Repub­li­can ver­sion is unequiv­o­cal­ly more con­spir­a­to­r­i­al, des­per­ate and volatile. A Biden admin­is­tra­tion would not cre­ate an alter­na­tive to the new Cold War of its own accord, but it would pro­ceed more cau­tious­ly and be more recep­tive to pres­sure from pro­gres­sives — if pro­gres­sives mar­shal the req­ui­site sup­port with­in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

The Left must offer a clear and com­pelling alter­na­tive to the grow­ing U.S.-China con­flict and a path beyond the decay­ing glob­al neolib­er­al order. In the short term, this path includes inter­na­tion­al coor­di­na­tion to com­bat the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic; doing so has the poten­tial to counter anti-Chi­na sen­ti­ment among vot­ers, accord­ing to a Morn­ing Consult/​Politico poll from May. When asked to choose between work­ing with Chi­na to defeat the virus or hold­ing Chi­na account­able for its role in the pan­dem­ic, par­tic­i­pants favored coop­er­a­tion over con­fronta­tion by a 28-point margin.

Beyond the cur­rent cri­sis, we must demand the Unit­ed States part­ner with Chi­na (and all oth­er coun­tries) to end cli­mate change and glob­al inequal­i­ty through coor­di­nat­ed, pub­lic invest­ment, and by strength­en­ing the pow­er of labor around the world. Such an agen­da could restruc­ture glob­al growth, dis­man­tling the U.S.-China con­flict at its source. 

At the same time, pro­gres­sives must affirm the rights of those threat­ened by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment — the Mus­lims of Xin­jiang, Hong Kong pro­test­ers, jour­nal­ists and oth­ers. The U.S. Left has, so far, allowed the Right to lead on these issues, which is not just a betray­al of our prin­ci­ples but a strate­gic error. We must make the case that a more coop­er­a­tive, less antag­o­nis­tic stance toward Chi­na may, in fact, open up more space to pres­sure the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. As for­mer Oba­ma advis­er Ryan Hass and oth­ers have argued, the U.S.-China rela­tion­ship has become so adver­sar­i­al that Chi­na sees no ben­e­fit in yield­ing to U.S. demands.

Strength­en­ing democ­ra­cy in Chi­na and beyond will not be achieved through direct attacks on the CCP’s author­i­tar­i­an­ism, espe­cial­ly when the Unit­ed States has ignored (if not active­ly sup­port­ed) sim­i­lar abus­es from Brazil to India and Sau­di Ara­bia. Instead, we must build a move­ment of transna­tion­al sol­i­dar­i­ty to neu­tral­ize the nation­al­ism and author­i­tar­i­an­ism unleashed by our glob­al eco­nom­ic sys­tem. Only then can we begin the dif­fi­cult work of forg­ing a bet­ter world.

As a 501©3 non­prof­it pub­li­ca­tion, In These Times does not oppose or endorse can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office. 

Tobi­ta Chow is the direc­tor of Jus­tice Is Glob­al, a spe­cial project of People’s Action that is build­ing a move­ment to cre­ate a more just and sus­tain­able glob­al econ­o­my and defeat right-wing nation­al­ism around the world. You can fol­low Tobi­ta on Twit­ter at @tobitac.

Jake Wern­er is direc­tor of pol­i­cy and polit­i­cal research at Pre­ston­Wern­er Ven­tures and is an incom­ing research fel­low at the Glob­al Devel­op­ment Pol­i­cy Cen­ter at Boston Uni­ver­si­ty. You can fol­low him on Twit­ter at @jwdwerner.

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