Janet Yellen, the American Treasury Secretary, or Finance Minister, took the US hostility and threat against China to a new level in a speech on April 20 at Johns Hopkins University. In a speech laced with colonialist attitudes and arrogance she talked as if the USA was emperor of the world and China was a rebellious vassal, a speech, despite her rhetoric of seeking ‘constructive” economic ties, that can only destroy any chance of that succeeding.
To read her speech is to understand the mafia mind set of the American leadership for she spoke as if she were the lieutenant of a mafia don threatening to break someone’s legs for not obeying his criminal demands.
She began her long-winded speech by welcoming China’s adoption of some “market reforms” in prior years and claimed the US was responsible for China’s rise as an economic power claiming that “The US Congress and successive presidential administrations supported China’s integration into global markets.” The Chinese have a different view of the matter since China was never disconnected from world markets and relied on its own efforts and the success of the policies of the Communist Party to develop and expand its economy and its trade with the world.
After that introduction, she quickly switched gears by decrying China’s “decision to pivot away from market reforms toward a more state-driven approach that has undercut its neighbours and countries across the world,” and that, “this has come as China is striking a more confrontational posture toward the USA and our allies…”
In effect she admits the communist government of China has succeeded in developing China’s economy and the living standards of its people while the successive US governments have adopted policies destroying the US economy and standards of living. The glaring contrast makes the Americans both angry and embarrassed.
As for China being, “more confrontational,” Yellen cannot point to any evidence of China “confronting the USA at all since the end of the Korean War when China was attacked by the United States. Since the “opening up” to China by Trudeau of Canada, and Nixon of the US in the early 1970’s, China has always sought to cooperate with and improve its relations with all the nations of the world. It is the United States that has always been confrontational, and things have accelerated beginning with President Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” which was the beginning of their renewed strategic objective of forcing China to become their vassal.
President Trump continued with this objective with the imposition of trade tariffs in violation of World Trade Organisation agreements, with increased military sabre rattling over Taiwan, the arrest of Meng Wenzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, the Chinese communications company. President Biden continues this hostile policy today with increased military posturing and interference in the internal affairs of China over Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinxiang and other issues, all accompanied by an intense level of propaganda about China threatening American security and American “democracy.”
The United States is hardly a “democracy.” It is instead an extreme example of a plutocracy, a society ruled by the very wealthy but no matter; just a day before her speech, this “democracy” arrested two US citizens of Chinese ethnicity in New York City on absurd charges that they were running a “Chinese secret police station” in New York and members of a black, socialist party that expressed opposition to US war against Russia were charged with crimes amounting to treason for simply expressing their opinion.
She then claimed the US was the largest and most dynamic economy in the world, when data shows that Chins has now surpassed the USA in goods and services produced, and when latest figures project a growth rate in China of 6% this year while the USA may not even grow by 1%. A number of economic analysts and politicians warn of a deepening financial crisis in the US brought on by its failed economic policies and system and by the severe consequences on the USA and Europe of the illegal ‘sanctions” or economic warfare against Russia.
And she was quick to bring Russia into her speech. She made the claim that the “world is confronting the largest land war in Europe since World War II.” when we remember that in 1999 the United States, in an unprovoked attack, bombed Yugoslavia relentlessly for four months and during that war crime attacked the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing several diplomats, and when we remember that the United States continued to invade and occupy Syria as she was speaking. She never mentioned Syria of course in her remarks, nor all the death and destruction the USA has wrought on the countries it has attacked and destroyed just since 1945.
And is it the “world” facing the war in Europe-meaning Ukraine? No, it is the US and its NATO allies facing the war which they started in 2014, with the NATO coup, in Ukraine, overthrowing the legitimate government and installing Nazi puppets in its place; which immediately began attacking Russian speakers in Ukraine using shells, bombs and machine guns. Their aggression in Ukraine, their planned offensive, using the Ukrainian army against Russia, the movement of NATO up to Russia’s borders and the nuclear threat, required Russia to take action in self defence of itself and the Russian speakers in Ukraine. The causes of the war are to be found in one place, Washington and it is Washington’s war the world faces.
The military conflict in Ukraine could end tomorrow if the US wanted it to, but it does not, and, as a recent article in Foreign Policy Magazine proves, the goal of the USA is to break Russia into over 40 separate statelets that it will control. The fact is the world faces an American war to destroy Russia and control and exploit its remnants, then bring China to heel, then the rest of us.
Her speech is laced with the usual platitudes about “cooperation”, “negotiation” and “goodwill” but she stated,
“Some see the relationship between the U.S. and China through the frame of great power conflict: a zero-sum, bilateral contest where one must fall for the other to rise.”
Well, who does? Only people like herself and the government she works for. China, with all the good will it can muster, has been pushing the opposite idea for a long time, the concept of win-win situation achieved through meaningful negotiations, in an atmosphere of trust. But again, she states a good outcome can be had only if China “cooperates” and “makes the right choices.” Underlying these platitudes is the threat of force.
She winds up her speech stating she hopes to travel to China to “engage in dialogue.” No doubt the Chinese will agree to meet her. Talking is always a good thing to do. But how can the Chinese deal with an interlocutor who distorts reality, who lies and slanders China, whose smooth words are followed by threats and diktats, and whose US Navy is cruising off China’s coasts threatening China with war over Taiwan and supporting Taiwan with the hope of overthrowing the communist government in China? The Chinese have been complaining for a while now that the US says one thing but then does the exact opposite. But here in Yellen’s speech we see this contradiction stated as a matter of policy. We say this, but we mean that. There is no good faith expressed whatsoever, no amity between nations, no respect for the other party.
Yellen is forced to acknowledge that the US and its allies face debt challenges and economic and financial “pressures” but fails to mention that they are their own entire making. The fact is the USA is essentially bankrupt. Its debt far outstrips its assets. It cannot pay its 31 trillion dollar debt to the world and has to keep increasing its legal debt ceiling to put off the day of reckoning, which causes bickering within the US elites. A large part of this debt is due to their huge military spending and their inflation is largely due to the massive printing of US dollars since the US finally went off the gold standard in the 1971 so it could print money to pay for its defeat in Vietnam and all its other wars since then. It has not stopped the printing presses in all those years and with covid it accelerated. The result is making life miserable for citizens in the USA. Canada and Europe and elsewhere and effectively lowers the cost of labour, the value of wages. This results in the many strikes taking place across the West as workers fight back.
The gutting of the US industrial base in prior decades as US companies left the US to go to China to take advantage of cheaper labour for higher profits is no one’s fault but their own. The American government allowed US companies to leave, even helped them leave, abandoning American workers to destitution, creating the Rust Belt across the USA, the decayed cities and towns, the increased violence, the general misery.
Yellen felt she had to say something relevant about the other elephant in the room, abrupt global warming. She stated that the “Earth is likely to cross a critical global warming threshold within the next decade-if no drastic action is taken.” But what has the USA done about that? The answer is nothing. It is all empty rhetoric and useless programs that have had no effect whatsoever. The “critical threshold “was crossed years ago and the effects of crossing it accelerate with each passing day. We all see it around us. This is the reality. But the Americans always seem to be out of touch with reality.
And while she bragged, that “we remain the largest and most dynamic economy in the world”, she linked that statement to defending “our values and national security,” and that, “within that context, we seek a constructive and fair economic relationship with China.”
But what does fair trade and economic competition have to do with “national security and our values”? It means that the US will continue to use the pretext of “national security and values” to gain unfair economic advantages over China as the recent claims made about security against Huawei and Tik Tok, among other companies have established. By “fair” she means what is good for the USA,” not both parties, and that means nothing but more confrontation with China.
She wound up her speech by stating three “principle objectives” of the US in its economic approach to China, though they are just three ways of saying the same thing, that the principle objective is the domination of China. But she dresses that real objective up in fancy clothes. The first objective is “securing our national security-and protecting human rights.”
So, right after she claimed the US is look for more cooperation with China she boldly stated that the US will continue to violate Chinese sovereignty and to interfere in Chinese internal affairs in every way possible. She stated,
“We will clearly communicate to the PRC our concerns about its behaviour.” Of course, the “behaviour she is referring to is all in the imagination of their propagandists, so that, in effect the Americans intend to increase their slanders against China at every opportunity.
Then she added the following astounding statement, which admits the American confrontational posture,
“Even as our targeted actions may have economic impacts… we are motivated solely by our concerns about security and values.”
One just has to admire their use of words.
The second declared principle, seemingly contradicting the first, but in fact supporting the first objective, is “too seek a healthy economic relationship with China. A growing China that plays by international rules is good for the USA”. She means American rules.
She then spoke about “Chinese unfair economic practices,” a puzzling phrase since she does not state what they are, but we can assume she meant that it is unfair the communists in China are running an economy better than the capitalists do in the USA. She again referred to a “rules-based global economic order” meaning to an American controlled economic order.
Since China insists, as it should, that there is no such thing as a rules-based order, only international law by which all nations are bound, this statement is another declaration of intent to pursue war with China unless China kowtows to the United States. For there to be “rules” there has to be a ruler issuing them but the Americans have forgotten it seems that there are no world rulers on this planet of ours, only individual sovereign nations, governed by the principles set out in the UN Charter. The insistence, by the Americans, and their allies, on the existence of such an order is itself a violation of the founding principles of the United Nations.
Article 2 of the UN Charter states,
“The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
1.The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members. “
Their so-called “rules-based order” is a complete negation of the UN Charter. They have, by adopting this phrase, torn up the UN Charter and international law and the entire West has acquiesced in this crime.
The Third principle she stated to be “seeking cooperation on urgent global challenges” by which she means challenges facing the USA, such as the war with Russia. And of course, the Americans are always claiming they are seeking “cooperation” when they mean they are seeking obedience.
Finally, she entered into a long statement meant to reassure American and foreign investors, and the American public, that the mess they see around them in the USA is not real, that everything is just fine, in fact it’s just great. The economy is just fine. The economy is growing. It’s dynamic. Inflation will be beaten. And she assured the world the US financial system is secure, despite the collapse of several large banks in the US in the past few weeks, requiring the government to step in, with warnings of further problems in the near future.
She has to admit China’s growth, its success in the elimination of poverty but tries to minimise and obscure that success by drawing a dark picture with a long list of claimed economic problems, China faces, all sorts of head winds, and again complains about state control of the economy-forgetting of course that in the USA many large corporations are funded by state contracts and large corporations control the government. A number of US companies have been assisted by government sanctions on Chinese companies, by export and import controls, unfair tariffs, and false claims of the use of child or forced labour, all designed to keep Chinese goods and services out of the world market in favour of US goods. She claims the USA is better in everything, while China is in decline. It was quite a sales pitch, and like most sales pitches, a litany of lies and half-truths.
Her big lie was to claim that eliminating Chinese companies from US and allied markets is for “security reasons” not for economic reasons, when we know “security reasons” are just a pretext
Then, right after that lie she again called for “cooperation” between the US by threatening China over Russia. She said,
“It is essential that China and other countries do not provide Russia with material support or assistance with sanctions evasion. We will continue to make the position of the United States extremely clear to Beijing and companies in its jurisdiction. The consequences of any violations would be severe.”
So much for seeking cooperation. What cooperation? This is just the same old bullying and coercion the Americans have been known for all over the world for a long time. And, again, for one nation to make such threats to another sovereign nation is a violation of Chapter VII of the UN Charter dealing with peace and security and threats to international peace which this threat of “severe consequences” surely is.
She makes things even worse by repeating slanders about China repressing this or that group in this or that place and declares the US intention to take more hostile action against China based on these pretexts. She said,
“The United States will continue to use our tools to disrupt and deter human rights abuses wherever they occur around the globe.”
Yellen then put on a fake smile to be more conciliatory and talked about the strong economic links between the US and China, only again to reveal the true intention; “A growing China that plays by the rules can be beneficial for the United States. For instance, it can mean rising demand for U.S. products and services and more dynamic U.S. industries.”
She closed by stating she hopes to travel to China to talk about the situation. But can the Chinese accept her in the face of this posturing and these threats? They are always polite, and ever seeking some peaceful way forward, so we can suppose they would be willing to talk with her if she asked to meet with them. But what is there to talk about when the United States has made it clear what their objectives are, the domination of China, Russia and the world?
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.