Caitlin Johnstone: The Target is China

The Pentagon’s current strategy document clearly identifies Enemy No. 1. And it’s not Russia.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

The Pentagon has produced its latest National Defense Strategy (NDS), a report made every four years to provide the public and the government with a broad overview of the U.S. war machine’s planning, posturing, developments and areas of focus.

You might assume with all the aggressive brinkmanship between Moscow and the U.S. power alliance this year that Russia would feature as Enemy No. 1 in the 2022 NDS, but you would be assuming incorrectly. The U.S. “Defense” Department reserves that slot for the same nation that’s occupied it for many years now: China.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp writes the following:

The full NDS is still classified, but the Pentagon released a fact sheet on the document that says it “will act urgently to sustain and strengthen deterrence, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as our most consequential strategic competitor and the pacing challenge for the Department.”

The fact sheet outlines four priorities for the Pentagon:

-Defending the homeland, paced to the growing multi-domain threat posed by the PRC

-Deterring strategic attacks against the United States, Allies, and partners

-Deterring aggression, while being prepared to prevail in conflict when necessary, prioritizing the PRC challenge in the Indo-Pacific, then the Russia challenge in Europe

-Building a resilient Joint Force and defense ecosystem”

“The Pentagon says that while China is the focus, Russia poses ‘acute threats’ because of its invasion of Ukraine,” DeCamp writes, showing the empire’s view of Moscow as a second-tier enemy.

Ahead of a meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made some comments which clearly illustrate the U.S.-centralized empire’s actual problem with Moscow.

“We, together with you, and with our sympathisers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order,” Lavrov said to the Chinese government on Wednesday.

And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is the real reason we’ve been hearing so much hysterical shrieking about Russia these last five or six years. It’s never been about Russian hackers. Nor about a Kremlin pee tape. Nor about Trump Tower. Nor about GRU bounties in Afghanistan. Nor about Manafort, Flynn, Bannon, Papadopoulos or any other Russiagate Surname of the Week. It’s not even actually about Ukraine. Those have all been narrative-shaping constructs manipulated by the U.S. intelligence cartel to manufacture support for a final showdown against Russia and China to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world.

The U.S. government has had a policy in place since the fall of the Soviet Union to prevent the rise of any powers which could challenge its imperial agendas for the world. During the (first) Cold War the strategy promoted by empire managers like Henry Kissinger was to court China out of necessity to pull it away from the U.S.S.R., which was when we saw business ties between China and the U.S. lead to immense profits for certain individuals in both nations and the influx of wealth which now has China on track to surpass the U.S. as an economic superpower.

Once the U.S.S.R. ended, so too did the need to remain on friendly terms with China, and subsequent decades saw a sharp pivot into a much more adversarial relationship with Beijing.

In what history may one day view as the U.S. empire’s greatest strategic blunder, empire managers forecasted the acquisition of post-soviet Russia as an imperial lackey state which could be weaponized against the new Enemy No. 1 in China. Instead, the exact opposite happened.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last year that she’d “heard for years that Russia would become more willing to move toward the west, more willing to engage in a positive way with Europe, the U.K., the U.S., because of problems on its border, because of the rise of China.” But that’s not what occurred.

“We haven’t seen that,” Clinton said. “Instead what we’ve seen is a concerted effort by Putin maybe to hug China more.”

The empire’s expectation that Moscow would come groveling to the imperial throne on its own meant that no real effort was expended trying to establish goodwill and win over its friendship. NATO just kept on expanding and the empire got increasingly aggressive and belligerent in its games of global conquest.

This error has led to the strategist’s ultimate nightmare of having to fight for global domination against two separate powers at once. Because empire architects incorrectly predicted that Moscow would end up fearing Beijing more than it fears Washington, the tandem between China’s economic power and Russia’s military power that experts have been pointing to for years has only gotten more and more intimate.

And now here we are with Russian and Chinese officials openly discussing their plans to create a multipolar world while Chinese pundits crack jokes about the U.S. empire’s transparent ploys to turn Beijing against Moscow over the Ukraine invasion:

On the empire’s grand chessboard, Russia is the queen piece, but China is the king. Just as with chess it helps to take out your opponent’s strongest piece to more easily pursue checkmate, the U.S. empire would be well advised to try and topple China’s nuclear superpower friend and, as Consortium News Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria recently put it, “ultimately restore a Yeltsin-like puppet to Moscow.”

Basically, all we’re looking at in the major international news stories of our time is the rise of a multipolar world crashing headlong into an empire which has espoused the belief that unipolar domination must be retained at all cost, even if it means flirting with the possibility of a very fast and radioactive third world war.

This is the Hail Mary pass of the U.S. hegemon; its last-ditch effort to secure control before forever losing any chance at it. Many anti-imperialist pundits I read regularly seem quite confident that this effort will fail, while I personally think those forecasts may be a bit premature. The way the chess pieces are moving it definitely does look like there’s a plan in place, and I don’t think they’d be orchestrating that plan if they didn’t believe it had a chance to succeed.

One thing that does seem clear is that the only way the empire has any chance of stopping the rise of China is by maneuvers that will be both highly disruptive and existentially dangerous for the entire world. If you think things are crazy now, just you wait until the imperial crosshairs move to Beijing.

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 Matrix, Rogue 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.

32 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: The Target is China

  1. lester
    April 5, 2022 at 20:32

    Caitlin Johnstone is the most clear-sighted, forthright, plain-spoken of political commenters. I read her every day. Whenever she is reprinted here, I cannot help commenting myself.

  2. RMB
    April 3, 2022 at 22:06

    An enlightening article. Thanks!

    I’ve long recognized that pushing Russia towards China was a huge strategic blunder by the US government.

    What this article added was a plausible source of this error: Arrogance all the way down.

    An arrogant US government treating Russia with contemptuous arrogance in the arrogant belief that Russia would grovel back to it for protection from China.

  3. Lester
    April 3, 2022 at 21:48

    Lots of ordinary Americans seem upset that oridinary Chinese people are not as poor as they used to be. US pols are telling under-employed workers, not that US CEOs de-industrialized the USA, but that it’s some kind of PRC conspiracy.

    Lots somehow have not noticed that PR China is not Communist anymore! Look around any Chinese town and it’s as Capitalist as the USA. The Communist Part of China is full of businessmen networking. Mention Marxism to anyone and they’ll laugh or groan. The CPC is no more Communist than the Freemasons are a construction workers union! The Party is just a political machine, cunning enough to make the majority prosperous, unlike our identical-twin political machinese in the USA!

    • Tedder
      April 4, 2022 at 08:49

      Not so fast there, Hoss. The Communist Party of China is still as socialist as it ever was; how else can you explain the tremendous alleviation of Chinese poverty in the past decade? In Xi Jin Ping’s latest major address, he advocated “shared prosperity”. That is not a capitalist principle. You claim that is just “cunning”, but you fail to understand Chinese history. The rulers are well aware of the ancient concept of “The Mandate of Heaven”, which is the belief that rulers’ duty is to promote the welfare of the people. When they lose the mandate, revolutions happen.
      In the West, particularly England and then America, we long ago lost that idea of a ruler benefitting the people due to the Norman Conquest. Here, a foreign power militarily conquered England and ruled it for the benefit of the descendants of the conquerors; we see the same in Latin America and Mexico. So, the idea that the ruling party could actually have the people’s welfare in mind is constitutionally foreign to Americans.
      Another big difference between American capitalism and Chinese socialism is that Chinese capitalists do not control the government, where in the US they do. China keeps its capitalists at arms length, and when they break the law, they go to jail.
      China is not an Eastern version of the US neoliberal capitalism.

  4. April 3, 2022 at 08:56

    Don’t know how many of the very smart commenters here are US citizens but you do get the impression that the ones who are hope America loses in hegemonic drive for the sake of America as well as the rest of the world. Perhaps more for our own sake.

    • RMB
      April 3, 2022 at 22:57

      I won’t claim to be “very smart”, and I have just begun to comment on CN articles, but I am a US citizen and believe I fit the attitudinal characteristic you are describing, so I’ll briefly comment to see if my views are what you’re getting at.

      For a long time now, I’ve considered the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to be a great evil and perhaps the greatest existing threat to liberty in the world. As for Putin, despite all the hysterical US government propaganda, I think he’s got a lot of work to do to crack the list of history’s most horrible dictators, but on the other hand, I don’t think he’d be in a position of power in an ideal world.

      The US has had its issues with liberty–sometimes big ones–throughout its history, but its most widely stated ideals are noble, and I’ve considered liberty in the US and its empire to be generally improving, if hesitantly. Up until recently.

      Now I think that some challenges to liberty that are both deep and broad have developed in the US to the point where I’m no longer confident that the overall advancement and security of liberty is best served by a “unipolar world”, even with the US as the pole.

      In particular, regarding the Ukraine conflict–of which the actual war is just a horrible part–I would actually like to see Russia obtain certain assurances that the US government would definitely consider against its own aims. I guess that can be considered, in a limited context, hoping “America loses in hegemonic drive”, and if so, I would certainly be hoping this “for the sake of America as well as the rest of the world”.

      Surprisingly–and I see this as an indictment of where things are going in the US–I even liked the tweet from the CCP lackey in the article above. I’m still a long way from anything like “siding with the CCP”, but I find myself troublingly supportive of China in pushing back against US government pressure about its relationship with Russia, especially as it relates to the Ukraine war.

      I guess the US government is in danger of blundering me away, just like the article accuses them of doing with Russia. Of course, I’m a nobody, not a nuclear armed, mid-tier economic nation of 145 million people, so who cares? But maybe there are others like me and might be more coming if freedom continues to devolve in the US.

      I’m just scratching the surface of some complex and nuanced issues, but maybe what I’ve said here is generally what you were getting at in your comment.

    • MrBumble
      April 4, 2022 at 18:15

      ” Perhaps more for our own sake.”

      It may not yet be apparent but the context is the ongoing transcendance of coercive social relations by social relations based upon mutually beneficial cooperation – the difference between resort to “shock and awe” and attempting to minimise harm to non-combitants which in context cannot be wholly avoided.

      This informed both of the notices of intent that the People’s Republic of China and The Russian Federation presented to “The United States of America” and “NATO” on facilitating mutual security for all not just for some, which “The United States of America”, “NATO” and others tried to represent as ultimata (ergo as security for some China and Russia) which were perceived by some audiences as plausible belief since most of their life experiences have been functions of coercive social relations.

      In significant part “The United States of America” and “NATO” understand that not only are they themselves coercive social relations, but that their continued existence is predicated on the acceptance of, and belief in coercive social relations.

      The misrepresentations that The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation wish to constitute Empires (emulate “The United States of America”) and/or that “our enemies” are restricted to two people one Chinese and one Russian who are mad, bad, and dangerous to know, are based upon the continuing half-lives of illusions of prime/sole agency perceived by some audiences as plausible belief since most of their life experiences have been functions of coercive social relations including prevalent competition by all against all, with the “benefit” of ensuring that the genetically/intellectually/racially predestined attains prominance to the benefit of all of us, and to the detriment of all of them.

      Through historical experience The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation have both understood that as much as is contextually possible cooperation avoids constant war, and that “The United States of America” and “NATO” are not capable of cooperation either externally or internally and hence most present interactions are existential.

    • lester
      April 5, 2022 at 20:48

      If the constant warfare state were to collapse and take the military-industrial complex with it, it would be a win for ordinary Americans. A Peace Amendment to the Constitution, renouncing warfare, like the peace clause in Japan’s Constitution, would be another victory!

  5. peter tusinski
    April 2, 2022 at 19:25

    A very apt and concise summation of the military planning with regard to Russia/ China and the US pursuit of world domination. Thank you once again Caitlin for your insights and your enlightening articles.

  6. Joseph
    April 2, 2022 at 05:34

    Great(?)Britain had the same governing Doctrine before WW1, and 2: to not allow any other country surpass it in economic strength. To retain hegemony, it manufactured both wars to prevent the industrious Germans from surpassing it.While the U.S has been diligent in implementing this strategy of deliberately prodding and taunting both countries, our fellow citizens are suffering from wealth disparity, fighting pointless and illegal wars, tax dollars wasted in the military and to Israel, drastic deterioration in our countries infrastructure. We should not be guided by such groups as the council of Foreign Relations and the Bilderburgh group and instead be guided by Washington’s Farewell address

  7. gregg leinweber
    April 1, 2022 at 23:39

    if we are ever going to out compete china in the game of hegemonic power then we are going to either destroy them militarily but that would mean our own destruction as well.
    We could do this instead. we could grow our economy as fast as they are, but in order to do this the wealthy class would have to reorganize the economy to grow the middle class as fast as China is. we used to do that with FDR. we had sustained GDP and job growth of 5% just like the Chinese are doing right now. If we did, we would stay well ahead of the Chinese in financial power globally.
    The one problem with this plan as the hyperwealthy see it, is that the growing economic power of the middle class would become a threat to THEIR control of this country. This is why they are grooming the republican party for a fascistic take over.

    • James Simpson
      April 2, 2022 at 03:36

      “we could grow our economy as fast as they are” sounds like a solution but the cost to the world would be even greater than the benefits. Economic growth is crashing the biosphere. We need to find ways to live within the constraints of the physical world, not growing our economies in competition.

    • Tim N
      April 4, 2022 at 10:56

      It’s way too late in the day to do what you say, even assuming the Lords of Capital would ever think of doing it. It’s over, and the imbeciles and greedy fools who run the country have started on the End Game. It will not end well.

  8. irina
    April 1, 2022 at 22:29

    Way back in the early 1970’s, a foreman at the salmon cannery I worked at,
    who had been a Green Beret in Vietnam during the 1960’s, recommended
    that I read a book by John Hersey, author of Hiroshima. I have kept a copy
    ever since and highly recommend the book, White Lotus, which foresaw an
    alliance between China and Russia and a precipitous decline of the West.

  9. Steve
    April 1, 2022 at 20:20

    PetroDollar Warfare says enemy number one is the EU because of the Euro’s potential to supplant the Dollar. Keep you friends close and your enemies closer.

  10. Alibaba
    April 1, 2022 at 19:36

    Why wouldn’t Russia and China band together to bypass boycotts? Chinese companies have all of the knowledge and materials needed to reverse engineer or clone anything that US companies have designed, including electronics, cars, online payment systems, etc.

  11. Realist
    April 1, 2022 at 19:27

    It is my understanding that the entire federal government (including the president, nearly the entire House and its speaker, nearly the entire Senate and its leadership) along with nearly the entire 4th estate and its corporate ownership, are all solidly for the war against Russia by Ukraine. All these supporters have been helping Ukraine in this endeavor in every way possible, short of actual American military engagement with Russian troops. The level of conflict in its economic and political wars against Russia is also absolutely scorched earth, unlike anything ever seen before in all of history.

    This gang of boo-ya belligerents has recruited, armed, trained and paid for Ukraine’s overnight construction of a formidable fighting force made up of warriors, once again as in Syria, from all over the world. The economic war is being forced upon all of Washington’s “allies” whether they like it or not. Most professional economists see disaster looming for all concerned and not just Russia–perhaps actually least for Russia. Clearly, this is an all out attempt to totally destroy the Russian state and impose great hardships on its people.

    Whether the propaganda being dispensed by Ukraine and Washington is accurate or merely the biggest pack of lies constructed from whole cloth ever seen before in an American-led war is immaterial. ALL of America’s leaders have their modern day “light brigade” mounted up and ready to charge the “enemy” regardless of the consequences. Our maniacs in charge seem to think that whatever the cost to the American people and our country’s credibility, whatever forces we have left standing will be able to march into the largest country on earth, half the planet away, and effectively occupy it and seize control of all its assets, probably with no concern whatever for the native inhabitants.

    This is the only scenario that hangs together–not with logic, reason or any moral mandate–but with the most powerful delusions a fevered mind might be capable of conjuring. With my own mind limited by logic, reason and morality, I cannot see what else the lunatics in Washington could possibly be thinking when they arm to the hilt a modern day assemblage of WWII vintage fascists that even call themselves Nazis and use der Fuehrer’s own symbols in addition to his tactics of fighting and torturing. Clearly the crypto-Nazis, otherwise known as Neocons, in Washington must intend for Ukraine to win this thing–and they insist you believe the propaganda and that the Ukro-Nazis ARE, in fact, winning.

    Surely this cannot be one more cagey game by the CIA in which they support a proxy fighter whom they actually prefer to LOSE the war! But then, think again and contemplate how much we and the rest of the world stand to lose should the Ukraine Nazis actually win. Maybe all the money, arms, training, intel and all the rest shoveled at Ukraine was a bridge way too far. Facing existential destruction, Putin makes good on his belief that “a world without Russia is not thinkable.” MAD means MAD, you thick-skulled Yankee barbarians! Or maybe if the war escalates to direct American-Russian battles, things just get out of hand for either or both sides and irrevocable decisions are made that ensure an extinction level event.

    Look at the outrageous demands Zelensky has already been making of Nato and the USA–no fly zones, Western troops, etc. Why did the cavalcade of bozos I already blamed in my very first sentence ever think to trust a country, a government and its leader as crazed as the lunatics in Kiev? You cannot set them up to win, let alone allow them to win! The world was spinning happily on its axis with Russia selling its natural resources, making some money, and trying to integrate itself into the West, before the West–led by the USA–entirely betrayed it. Helpful assists to America’s president by Putin were scorned, twisted beyond all reality, and used as excuses to first gin up a new cold war which now looks like it HAS transmogrified into an actual kinetic war. Congratulations, you fools. You never knew when to stop, and, though the bridge is clearly out up ahead, you still won’t put the brakes on this crazy train to utter perdition. This is not a game of chicken that you damned fools are going to win, even if the other side loses. Every time the call comes around to you, Russia offers you an out–offer us (now, offer all of Europe!) security assurances and we will stand down. America says “no!” We choose to double down once again on our bet to crush you. It just may be that both sides are holding aces and eights and choose to spit in fate’s face.

      April 2, 2022 at 15:22

      An outstanding comment.

      • Frank Lambert
        April 3, 2022 at 12:12

        Definitely is an outstanding comment, and Caitlin’s article is also outstanding! You have a good mind, Realist!

        We have warped-minded politicians in both wings of the “one-party system” which Professor Ferdinand Lundberg of Columbia University mentioned in his 1968 book, “The Rich and the Super-Rich and called it the “property party” of, in today’s terms, are called the “One Percent,” with two branches, called Democrats and Republicans, and we all know, at least readers and especially the commenters on Consortium News know how the system functions for the benefit of the wealthiest families and big business.

        As Ray McGovern, an American said years ago, “the crazies are running the country!” Words to that effect. Very true!

        And even more bizarre is it’s “fashionable” to be a Ukrainian Nazi now, and how the Dems and Repubs embrace them!

  12. SteveK9
    April 1, 2022 at 19:18

    What matters is avoiding nuclear war. I doubt the Empire will succeed, but whether it does or not, pales to insignificance against the matter of avoiding a nuclear war. We can survive anything … but that. I know our leaders are arrogant and incompetent, I just hope they have enough sense to avoid incinerating themselves … and all of us.

    • RMB
      April 3, 2022 at 23:15

      The objectives of the Empire in Ukraine are not worth a single extra red cent at the pump in the good ‘ole US of A–much less stacks of Ukrainian and Russian bodies much less the world incinerated by nuclear war.

  13. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    April 1, 2022 at 17:25

    Je le sais depuis fort longtemps: le prochain conflit militaire de Washington sera avec la Chine, puis son dernier conflit, aussi invraisemblable que cela puisse paraître, se fera sur le continent nord-américain lui-même, au pays de Washington.

  14. Alan Roberts
    April 1, 2022 at 17:11

    Here’s Oz up to its neck in double barreled doublethink:
    Propaganda always worked comprehensively on the propagandists but this regressive stuff necessitates govt funding of the opposite: evidence based rational thought aka science. Alan

  15. Alan
    April 1, 2022 at 16:25

    It’s hard to point to any meaningful successes that the empire’s planners have had in the past several decades, which leads me to believe that their plans will only succeed if their adversaries screw-up royally. Russia and China’s leaders are so much smarter and more competent than the neocon bozos driving the US’s clown car that the probability of that happening to be quite low.

    • Jeano
      April 2, 2022 at 12:15

      Totally agree. As good as Caitlyn is, she seems to forget here that U. S. Neo-con Buffon number 1 completely lost that gambit in Ukraine. The standing of the US has never been lower, both within and without. And while the propaganda spewing msm tries to pin this horror show all on Russia, USNEOCONBUFFON no. 1 keeps letting the real reason slip as he bumbles his way to Armageddon: regime changes in order to sell oil. Been there.

    • Lester
      April 5, 2022 at 20:02

      Their goals are to enrich themselves and to impose an ever-more authoritarian mode of governance on the USA. Winning wars is unnecessary. Propaganda tells the masses that they won.

  16. mgr
    April 1, 2022 at 15:56

    Very coherent and spot on. Thank you!

  17. Vera Gottlieb
    April 1, 2022 at 15:39

    What will it take for the US to realize that it is starting to bite off more than it could ever chew??? What will it take for the world to realize that the US is NOT our ‘salvation’ – quite the contrary?

    • lester
      April 5, 2022 at 20:29

      Re rejection for Nato membership, there are some in DC who have fantasies of partitioning Russia, like British India or the Ottoman Empire were. Those partitions were so successful, weren’t they?

  18. firstpersoninfinite
    April 1, 2022 at 13:33

    If I remember correctly, in 1999 Putin asked Bill Clinton to let Russia join NATO. “You’re too big,” Clinton replied. Either the military/industrial complex always planned “regime change” (and was spectacularly bad at it in Russia’s case), or else they had no idea how to accomplish whatever Hillary Clinton was blathering on about concerning Russia turning toward the west. Sounds like hegemony over rampant stupidity was the actual US goal all alone, which they’ve accomplished with Rhodes’ Scholar levels of useless naval-gazing and proxy actions. Here’s to complete failure!

    • Whatatumble
      April 2, 2022 at 08:37

      ” (and was spectacularly bad at it in Russia’s case),”

      Their partners invested in mirrors so they could primarily see themselves, which they couldn’t understand since being “exceptional” they
      believed that everyone wanted to be like them so it was nothing “exceptional” and so they continued/continue to believe this, becoming more democratic in being spectacularly bad at it.

  19. MrBumble
    April 1, 2022 at 11:40

    “The Pentagon has produced its latest National Defense Strategy (NDS), a report made every four years to provide the public and the government with a broad overview of the U.S. war machine’s planning, posturing, developments and areas of focus.”


    They still harbour the illusion that THEY get to chose.

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