Caitlin Johnstone: Wanting Russian Peace to Attack China

Some Republicans don’t want war with Russia, not because it’s the sane thing to do, but because they insanely want to go to war with China instead.

Caricature of Rep. Matt Gaetz adapted from a photo in the public domain from the U.S. House. (DonkeyHotey/Flickr)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz criticized the Biden administration’s dangerous escalations against Russia on the House floor on Monday, not because he thinks needlessly ramping up cold war brinkmanship with a nuclear-armed nation is an insane thing to do, nor because he believes the U.S. government should cease trying to dominate the world by constantly working to subvert and undermine any nation who disobeys its commands, but because he wants U.S. aggressions to be focused more on China.

“While the Biden administration, the media, and many in congress beat the drums of war for Ukraine, there is a far more significant threat to our nation accelerating rapidly close to home,” Gaetz said. “Argentina, a critical nation and economy in the Americas, has just lashed itself to the Chinese Communist Party, by signing on to the One Belt One Road Initiative. The cost to China was $23.7 billion — a mere fraction of a rounding error when compared to the trillions of dollars our country has spent trying to build democracies out of sand and blood in the Middle East.”

“China buying influence and infrastructure in Argentina to collaborate on space and nuclear energy is a direct challenge to the Monroe Doctrine and far more significant to American security than our latest NATO flirtation in the plains of Eastern Europe,” Gaetz continued. “China is a rising power. Russia is a declining power. Let us sharpen our focus so that we do not join them in that eventual fate.” 

For those who don’t know, the “Monroe Doctrine” refers to a decree put forward by President James Monroe in 1823 asserting that Latin America is off limits to European colonialist and imperialist agendas, effectively claiming the entire Western Hemisphere as U.S. property. It essentially told Europe, “Everything south of the Mexican border is our Africa. It’s ours to dominate in the same way you guys dominate the Global South in the Eastern Hemisphere. Those are your brown people over there, these are our brown people over here.”

That this insanely imperialist and white supremacist doctrine is still being cited by high-profile politicians to this day says so much about what the U.S. government is and how it operates on the world stage. This is especially true given that Biden himself just articulated the same idea in so many words last month when he declared that “Everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard.” 

So on one hand Gaetz is opposing warmongering against Russia and condemning the trillions spent on U.S. wars in the Middle East, which by itself would normally be a good thing. But the fact that he only opposes doing that because he wants to focus imperialist aggressions on another part of the world to preserve U.S. unipolar planetary domination completely nullifies any good which could come from his opposition to aggressions somewhere else.

This is a very common phenomenon on the right end of the U.S. political spectrum; you’ll hear a politician or pundit saying what appear to be sane things against the agendas of D.C. warmongers, but if you pay attention to their overall commentary it’s clear that they’re not opposing the use of mass-scale imperialist aggression to preserve planetary domination, they’re just quibbling about the specifics of how it should be done.

Tucker Carlson has been making this argument for years, claiming that the U.S. should make peace with Russia and scale back interventionism in the Middle East not because peace is good but because it needs to focus its aggressions on countering China. He inserts this argument into many of his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy on a regular basis; he did it just the other day, criticizing the Biden administration’s insane actions in Ukraine and then adding “Screaming about Russia, even as we ignore China, is now a bipartisan effort.”

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp summarized this dynamic well in response to a recent Reason article making the same “Make peace with Russia to focus on taking down China” argument, tweeting “Unfortunately, a lot of the opposition to war with Russia is rooted in this idea that the U.S. needs the resources to eventually fight China. We need more people to view war for Taiwan as dangerous and foolish as war for Ukraine.”

Do you see how this works? Do you see how wanting to refocus U.S. firepower on a specific target is not actually better than keeping that firepower diffuse? The difference between “Let’s have peace” and “Let’s have peace with Russia and stop making wars in the Middle East so that we can focus on bringing down China” is the difference between “Stop massacring civilians” and “Stop massacring these civilians because you’ll need your ammunition to massacre those other civilians over there.”

And it’s especially stupid because it’s the exact same agenda. One imperial faction believes it’s best to preserve U.S. hegemony by focusing on bringing down the nations which support and collaborate with China, while the other imperial faction wants to go after China itself more directly. They both support using the U.S. war machine to keep the planet enslaved to Washington and the government agency insiders and oligarchs who run it, they just manufacture this debate about the specifics of how that ought to happen.

This is what Noam Chomsky was talking about when he said, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

That strictly limited spectrum of debate is known as the Overton window, and imperial narrative managers work very hard to keep shoving that window further and further in the favor of the oligarchic empire they serve. In order to prevent us from arguing about whether there should be a globe-spanning capitalist unipolar empire in the first place, they keep us arguing about how that empire’s interests should best be advanced.

The longer the drivers of empire can keep us debating the details of how we should serve them, the longer they can keep us from turning toward them and asking why we should even have them around at all.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

18 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Wanting Russian Peace to Attack China

  1. Thirdeye
    February 11, 2022 at 16:01

    Good article sullied by a cartoonishly simplistic, sanctimonious, and grossly inaccurate account of the circumstances of the Monroe Doctrine. It was not a colonial claim over the Americas; it was affirmation of the independence movements gaining power throughout Latin America. In 1821, Mexico gained independence and the Bolivaristas were taking control from Spain in Central and South America. The concern that a European power would attempt to reassert or expand control in the newly independent lands was not unfounded, as the French tried to install an Austrian prince as “Emperor of Mexico” during the 1860s. The US, acting under the Monroe Doctrine, supported the legal Mexican government against the Austrian prince, thus reasserting Mexican independence. There was hardly any US dominion manifest as the result of the Monroe Doctrine; trade and commercial relations between Latin America and Europe dwarfed those between Latin America and the US for years to come. European nations held onto existing colonies in the Caribbean region and, with the exception of Spain in 1898 (during an entirely different era of US foreign policy), they were unbothered by the US.

    Just because Gaetz made a stupid reference to the Monroe Doctrine over a trade deal between China and Argentina, that doesn’t make it ok to do an equally stupid distortion over what the Monroe Doctrine was about. If there’s any country that could authentically invoke the principles outlined in the Monroe Doctrine, it would be Russia.

      February 11, 2022 at 17:46

      Like the US supported rebels against Spanish colonies and then double-crossed them to take over Puerto Rico, etc. It hardly matters what the original intention of the Monroe Doctrine was. For all of the 20th Century and until today it marks a US sphere of influence, which Blinken says hypocritically says belongs to the 19th Century. It is used as justification for the US to meddle in the affairs of Latin America. Just a few years ago John Bolton said the Monroe Doctrine was alive and well and gave the US the right to interfere in Venezuela.

  2. susan
    February 10, 2022 at 10:45

    What this world needs most is a giant shot of VISION! Most people, including politicians are stuck in the quagmire of rote thought which has brought us to the brink of self destruction. SNAP OUT OF IT!!!

  3. rosemerry
    February 9, 2022 at 15:41

    The USA never wants any relationship except that of boss and slave, or murderer and victim, or punisher and victim. Never cooperation, or win-win as China wants, or equal partners in peaceful relations as Russia wants. Someone (else) has to be a loser, regardless of the rights and wrongs, or sense or reason of any situation. See Biden now still telling Germany it cannot keep its agreement with Russia,next door, for gas deliveery by pipelines it ordered. Why??
    What has China done to justify the belligerent (and futile) behavior of the Sinophobes ? Most people if asked want peace, even in the USA, but they are ignored.

    • Zhu
      February 10, 2022 at 20:28

      What has China done to the Sinophobes, Rosemerry? It’s not submissive; it’s too prosperous; it’s not White or Christian.

  4. Jeff Harrison
    February 9, 2022 at 14:33

    What everybody seems to be missing is that The West has now ignited a two front “cold” war. I don’t personally think that The West any longer has the wealth to carry that off.

    • Gassed Out
      February 10, 2022 at 00:35

      The west will freeze to death from this cold war ;-)

  5. jilly michaels
    February 9, 2022 at 13:09

    Trust Caitlin to cut to the quick and succinctly spell out what should be obvious.
    Thank you for expanding that Overton window and letting the light in.

  6. February 9, 2022 at 11:37

    I am sick and tired being dragged into war by those who bear none of the costs of war.

    It’s time to make those who beat the war drums to pay for the wars they seek. Start with a special tax on those who lobby for war – whatever amount is needed to pay for the war – and then draft their children into the military and make them serve on the war fronts.

  7. George Philby
    February 9, 2022 at 11:15

    Let’s Have ANOTHER WAR!
    (We Haven’t Had One for Two Minutes)

    Let’s have a war with China.
    That will be really fun!
    Everything will be finer
    When the nuke war is won.

    China will just be ocean –
    All the Red Commies dead.
    Biden will get promotion:
    Rushmore will get his head.

    Trouble is, though, Mount Rushmore
    Is in the Arctic now.
    Nobody can find Bush, or
    Matt Gaetz, or that Maddow.

    They wanted war: they got it –
    Atom bomb up the ass.
    Putin’s the one who shot it –
    Now he controls the gas.

    What happened to that vicious
    Britain? Is Boris boss?
    God, no. He swims with fishes.
    Oh, well, that’s no great loss.

    • David Otness
      February 10, 2022 at 14:17

      Mr Philby: Well-done, Sir!

  8. February 9, 2022 at 11:14

    We need a Reverse Monroe Doctrine disallowing U.S. foreign intervention outside America.

    • Helga I. Fellay
      February 10, 2022 at 12:37

      America is a continent, not a nation. What we need is a Reverse Monroe Doctrine disallowing foreign intervention outside the United States of North America. But actually, even that is not specific enough, because the United States of Mexico are also located in North America. That means that the nation we live in, never gave itself a proper name, as it thought of itself from the very start as a Continental Empire, without any real borders between the Anglo American immigrants and immigrants from other parts of the world, never mind the indigenous population apparently not even worth mentioning.

  9. Gerald
    February 9, 2022 at 10:39

    Part of Putins current strategy is without doubt to keep the US (and NATO) tied up in Europe to prevent Obamas failed pivot to Asia (China) Redux under Biden. What an excellent job he is doing for his friend Mr Xi. Both China and Russia need a little more time for preparations. Americans are so useless when it comes to strategy (bomb first ask questions and steal oil later) I don’t doubt Putins sincerity in trying to secure his western borders before turning fully to Eurasian integration but he knows full well the US will not play ball in any serious way. The US simply can’t tell when it is being trolled (if only partially) The neocons Russophobia is so virulent that they are hopping around pulling their hair out. They never where very sophisticated.

    • Piotr Berman
      February 10, 2022 at 08:39

      The security of China, Russia etc. requires neutrality, not membership in a “block”. A “block” like Russia + Kyrgyzstan + Kazakhstan + … is of course valuable, as we have seen a month ago, but not sufficient and not necessary. China and Russia are big boys and they manage on their own, but worst come to worse, Russia can save China from fuel blockade and China can save Russia from a symmetric blockade on goods. Meager returns and substantial costs of “super-sanctions” are a deterrent.

      Concerning NATO and Russia, Russia has a strong position when oil and other commodities are in short supply or barely sufficient: the treasury is full and the potential cost of conflict is high for the West. Putin prepared Russia for the opportunity that started in 2021.

      Concerning “pivot to Asia”, I think it is an illusion. Atlanticist worldview is that all the countries should be subservient, or suffer so much that they are good examples to keep the rest in compliance. Neither Russia and China, as they are now, are acceptable. As long as this blissful state of the world is not achieved, we have a crisis that requires military and propaganda machineries and grand plans. And a vehement disputes which idiotic grand plan is better.

  10. firstpersoninfinite
    February 9, 2022 at 09:44

    I seem to remember reading a New Yorker article during the Obama presidency (when John Kerry was Secretary of State) that asked Kerry why China was being allowed to build its own Panama Canal less than fifty miles away from the actual Panama Canal. Kerry just shrugged his shoulders. I guess the Monroe Doctrine (well-described in its racist origins in the article above) is really the Monroe Opinion when the money being made and spent is by acceptable Communist governments. But Putin is Hitler! Russia was once the Soviet Union! But Hitler hated Communists! Facts are now obfuscations, tools to hide the real interests of hand-picked, interim truths.

  11. Tony
    February 9, 2022 at 09:25

    This is what Noam Chomsky was talking about when he said, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

    Yes, it is very important to understand this. I watched CNN recently and there was a debate, prompted by the release of some JFK assassination papers, between Michael Smerconish and Gerald Posner. Both claim to support the findings of the Warren Commission.

  12. Aaron
    February 9, 2022 at 07:41

    When you see the two words “Florida” and “Republican”, there is a zero possibility of him being a pacifist or peacenik in any way, shape, or form. Moreover, I would assume he zealously supported any and all wars in the Middle East, including Afghanistan.

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