Could the US-China power struggle bring the world to the brink of war? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Could the US-China power struggle bring the world to the brink of war?

The United States of America, which is caught up between the “empire” and “nation-state” dilemma, is at war with the realities of the world. Furthermore, it refuses to give up its arrogant campaign to impose the “fake reality” it has concocted on the world instead of hard facts. From the Cold War to today, a hypothesis that depicts the U.S. to be responsible for the “world order” has been a bedrock for American geopolitics. We need to point out here that this hypothesis has been often used to legitimize “American interventionism.”

While we’re on the subject, I would like to remind you of a quote attributed to Republican strategist Karl Rove, who is known as the brain behind former U.S. President George W. Bush. This is what Rove had to say during a debate with a journalist on “reality-based community”:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Whether or not this is really what Karl Rove said, this quote, while clearing the smoke over the U.S.’s actions, decodes the American perception. The realities of the aftermath of wars led by Bush, who was seduced by neo-con foreign policy elites, in Afghanistan and Iraq are as clear as day. U.S. soldiers have been positioned in these two countries for 20 years.

American is now constructing a new narrative of reality. Foreign policy elites who see China as an “equal rival” or “equal adversary” want to refurbish the world according to this “new reality” image. In this context, the U.S. has been creating a expansive Sino discourse for the last ten years.

There is no doubt that China is a strong opponent for the U.S. in the geo-economic power struggle. However, America is trying to create the perception that China is a dangerous force for the entire world. Many American analysts point to a future showdown between the U.S. and China that could even lead to war. This narrative or prophecy is based on the assumption that there will eventually be a military confrontation between an established hegemon (U.S.) and a rising power (China). This narrative is being compared to the Peloponnesian Wars between “Sparta and its allies" and "Athens and its allies" in ancient Greek history.

No one expects U.S. and China, which are both nuclear powers, to directly risk a war. However, it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that both countries are alluding to the fact that they are ready for war. Both powers are striving to align other nations as they did during the "Cold War" era. This situation is being likened to an international soccer match with multiple players. While both sides are threatening their rival with the consequences of the match, they are also trying to negotiate.

Despite their extraordinary armament policies in the Cold War era, the U.S. and Soviet Union did not face off in a hot war. The closest these two forces came to war was during the “Cuba Missile Crisis” in 1962. Bringing the world to the verge of a war, the crisis was resolved when the Soviet Union conducted a secret agreement with Cuba; and the U.S. dismantled the nuclear warheads in Turkey.

In the upcoming period, it is expected that the great power struggle between Beijing and Washington will only intensify. The U.S.’ and China’s muscle flexing in the South China Sea, where border disputes are running amok, is putting pressure on both countries to increase their defense budgets. Britain, which wants to be involved in the geo-economic power struggle in the Indo-Pacific, also aims to increase its military spending. Former empires Russia and England are racing to get an influential role on the global stage. Regional forces that will affect the fate of global rivalry are also hustling, of course. Against attempts to re-divide the world into two poles, emerging regional powers could play a balancing role as “third parties.”

Even though a war between China and the U.S. is not expected in the near future, history is rife with examples of unexpected and unforeseen great wars. Meanwhile, we cannot ignore the possibility that the prophecies of today could become the realities of tomorrow.

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