New study finds the rest of the world supports China and RussiaNov 4, 2022
The US is preparing to station multiple nuclear-capable B-52 bombers in northern Australia in what the mass media are calling a “signal to China,” yet another example of Australia’s forced subservience as a US military/intelligence asset.
“Having bombers that could range and potentially attack mainland China could be very important in sending a signal to China that any of its actions over Taiwan could also expand further,” Becca Wasser from the Centre for New American Security think tank told the ABC.
“This is a dangerous escalation. It makes Australia an even bigger part of the global nuclear weapons threat to humanity’s very existence – and by rising military tensions it further destabilises our region,” tweeted Greens Senator David Shoebridge of the incendiary provocation.
A new Australian Financial Review article titled Australia’s alliances in Asia are a tale of two regions” candidly discusses the Biden administration’s recent sanctions geared toward kneecapping the Chinese tech industry in what the author James Curran correctly says “is unambiguously a new cold war.” Curran describes the impossible task Australia has of straddling the ever-widening divide between its number one trading partner China and its number one “security” partner the US, while Washington continually pressures Canberra and ASEAN states toward greater and greater enmity with Beijing.
“ASEAN countries, as much as Australia, have much at stake in resisting the onset of a bifurcated world,” Curran writes.
But that bifurcation is being shoved through at breakneck pace, using both hard and soft power measures. Australians have been hammered with increasingly aggressive anti-China propaganda, and as a result nearly half of them now say they would be willing to go to war to defend Taiwan from an attack by the mainland, with a third saying they’d support a war against China over the Solomon Islands.
A recent Cambridge study found that this hostility toward China has been on the rise in recent years not just in Australia but throughout the “liberal democracies” of the US-centralised power alliance. But what’s interesting is that public opinion is exactly reversed in the much larger remainder of the Earth’s population, with people outside the US power cluster just as fond of China as those within that power cluster are hostile toward it. This relationship is largely mirrored with Russia as well.
“Among the 1.2bn people who inhabit the world’s liberal democracies, three-quarters (75%) now hold a negative view of China, and 87% a negative view of Russia,” the report reads. “However, for the 6.3bn people who live in the rest of the world, the picture is reversed. In these societies, 70% feel positively towards China, and 66% positively towards Russia.”
The report finds that in the “developing” world, approval of China is higher than approval of the US:
“For the first time ever, slightly more people in developing countries (62%) are favourable towards China than towards the United States (61%). This is especially so among the 4.6 bn people living in countries supported by the Belt and Road Initiative, among whom almost two-thirds hold a positive view of China, compared to just a quarter (27%) in non-participating countries.”
The report finds that while Russia’s approval has plummeted in the west, it maintains broad support in the east despite the invasion of Ukraine:
However, the real terrain of Russia’s international influence lies outside of the West. 75% of respondents in South Asia, 68% in Francophone Africa, 62% in Southeast Asia continue to view the country positively in spite of the events of this year.
I first became aware of the Cambridge study via a Twitter thread by Arnaud Bertrand (who is a great follow if you happen to use that demonic app). Bertrand highlights data in the study showing that US-aligned nations’ opinion of China began plummeting not after the Covid outbreak in late 2019, but after 2017 when the US began ramping up its propaganda campaign against Beijing.
Apart from the fact that the USA’s immensely sophisticated propaganda machine naturally focuses primarily on where the world’s wealth and military firepower rests while pushing its global agendas, and apart from the fact that those in Belt and Road Initiative countries apparently believe they benefit from their economic relationships with China, the disparity between the “developed” and “developing” worlds in their perceptions of the US and its enemies may also be partly explained by another thought-provoking Arnaud Bertrand thread, which I will quote in its entirety here:
A puzzling observation in today’s world is that almost no Western leader has laid out a positive vision for the future.
Take Biden for instance. His big vision is “democracies vs autocracies”. Meaning his vision for the future of the world is conflict. How positive is that?
Contrast this with China: between “national rejuvenation” and “common prosperity” at home and the “global security initiative” as their vision for improved international relations; everyone is very clear on the journey they’re embarked on.
This is a key, if not the key reason why the “West” has no chance in hell to convince the “rest” to join them.
There’s simply nothing to join! Except conflict, I guess, but you join a conflict to fight for a vision – for a better world – the conflict itself cannot be the vision!
This reminds me of what George Kennan, the architect of the cold war, wrote: to win he said that America had to “create among the peoples of the world generally the impression of a country which knows what it wants, which is coping successfully with the problems of its internal life and with the responsibilities of a World Power, and which has a spiritual vitality capable of holding its own among the major ideological currents of the time”
Does America give this impression today?
Even in my own country, France. Ask any French person what Macron’s vision for the future of France and the world is, what the grand plan is, and you’ll get very puzzled looks. “Reform the pension system so we have to work longer?”
The truth is there’s nothing, nada, rien!
What we have essentially in the West are political operators. They think their jobs are to get reelected and to attempt to move whatever metrics the electorate cares about: GDP, unemployment, debt levels, CO2 emissions, etc. Actual leaders have gone extinct (or gone East).
It’s actually quite sad, really speaks to the levels of intellectual decrepitude in the West today. The time of the Enlightenment, the big revolutions is well and truly gone. We’re stuck with our mediocre operators.
It’s also why this is such a dangerous time. A positive vision brings confidence, it brings hope, it motivates, it makes people look forward to what’s to come. The West has none of that today.
The future is scary, the dominant feelings are fear and anger.
And when there’s a lot of fear and anger, these feelings need to be directed somewhere. And our operators certainly don’t want it to be them! So it’s China, Iran, all those “foreigners” who “hate our freedom”.
Perfect recipe for a very bad conflict…
Please, don’t get fooled!
Bertrand’s musings echo a recent quote by Professor Jeffrey Sachs at the Athens Democracy Forum: “The single biggest mistake of president Biden was to say ‘the greatest struggle of the world is between democracies and autocracies’. The real struggle of the world is to live together and overcome our common crises of environment and inequality.”
Indeed, we could be striving toward a positive vision for the future, one which seeks “common prosperity” and “improved international relations,” one which works to remedy inequality and address the looming environmental crisis. Instead the world is being bifurcated, split in two, which history tells us is probably an indication that something extremely terrible is on the horizon for our species unless we drastically change course.
It’s worth keeping all this in mind, as nuclear-capable bombers are deployed to Australia; as NATO weighs moving nuclear weapons to Russia’s border in Finland; as the Biden administration goes all in on economic warfare with China regardless of the consequences; as Russia accuses the US of “lowering the nuclear threshold” by modernising the arsenal in Europe into “battlefield weapons”; as the Council on Foreign Relations president openly admits that the US is now working to halt China’s rise on the world stage; as China declares its willingness to deepen ties with Russia on all levels.
We could have such a wonderful, healthy, collaborative world, and it’s being flushed down the toilet because an empire is using its leverage over the wealthiest populations on our planet to work toward dominating all the other populations. This stupid, insane quest to shore up unipolar planetary domination is costing us everything while gaining us nothing, and it’s going to be the poorest and weakest among us who suffer the most as a result.
Caitlin Johnstone is a reader-supported independent journalist from Melbourne, Australia. She now lives in the US. Her political writings can be found on Medium.
First published by Caitlin Johnstone Oct 30 2022