‘Cultural Racism’: US Errs in Assuming China Will Accept Number 2 Spot - Journo

© AP Photo / Vincent ThianChinese and US national flags are posted for the opening ceremony of the U.S.- China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at The Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing Thursday, May 3, 2012
Chinese and US national flags are posted for the opening ceremony of the U.S.- China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at The Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing Thursday, May 3, 2012 - Sputnik International
The US considers China a “revisionist power” seeking to upend the post-Cold War world order, but what Americans misunderstand about China is that competition doesn’t necessarily mean a fight to the death for supremacy, a journalist told Sputnik. In fact, Washington’s reaction might just provoke China into chasing that goal.

Peter Lavelle, host of RT’s “CrossTalk,” told Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Monday that what Westerners misunderstand the most about China is that they feel that having established itself as top dog around the world, the US then kicked the ladder out from under it, making it “against the rules” for a country like China to supplant it.

[Interview begins at 28:40]


“The Chinese are being told, ‘Well you can rise, but you have to be number 2, and you have to play by our rules,’ and the Chinese are thinking, ‘Well that wasn’t the case when you were coming up, and you changed the rules when you were on top. Why should we play by your rules if we’re just as powerful - if not more powerful - than you are?’”

“I mean, ask any American, ‘Is it okay if you are number 2?’; and they’ll say, ‘No.’ Ask the Chinese people, ‘Do you want to be forever number 2?’; and they’ll say, ‘No, why, why should we be?’ So I think there’s, you know - the US and its allies, it’s really projecting a kind of cultural racism: ‘We’re The West, we’re a great tradition, and no one can challenge us.’ If you know anything about history, empires come and go,” Lavelle told hosts Shane Stranahan and Jamarl Thomas.

The journalist noted that contrary to the US, China doesn’t seek to challenge and supplant another nation as world hegemon, but to pursue its own path of development. Indeed, Chinese President Xi Jinping has only predicted China will surpass the underdevelopment caused by its “century of humiliation” between 1842 and 1949 by the centennial of the communist victory in 2049.

“The Chinese are not exporting their ideology to anywhere else in the world. They’re not asking other countries and peoples to conform to their ways. I mean, they're amazingly non-interventionist. And the United States, because it’s in its genetic code, it must rule, and anyone that challenges it is instantly an enemy. And the Chinese will say, ‘That’s not necessarily true, but if you want to up the ante, well, we can do it, and we have the wherewithal and the patience to do it,’” he said.

“Just imagine, you know, listen to some of the policy people around Joe Biden. And the Chinese Communist Party Politburo hears ‘Oh, they want to go back into Syria, great.’ When are these people in Washington going to learn? All they do is waste their treasury, waste their lives and destroy their reputation. All the while, the Chinese are building infrastructure, and they’re building the world’s infrastructure now. But of course, the US must be number 1, and the only way the US can do that is through its military force. I mean, American taxpayers pay for it, make a small group of people very, very rich as the country’s infrastructure crumbles. That’s how I see it,” Lavelle said.

He noted this pride can sometimes worsen domestic situations in the US, noting that while Russia has repeatedly offered to send to the US its specialized firefighting planes to help with the catastrophic wildfires ravaging the West Coast, Washington has always refused this offer. 

Meanwhile, the helicopters the Oregon National Guard would have been using to fight the fires have instead been deployed to Afghanistan to buttress the US’ 19-year-long war there. He said the view from Moscow is that situations like this show “stupidity” and “a lack of maturity” on the part of the Americans.

“That is the view here: are you so proud that you won’t even help your own people?” he asked. “I mean, where in the world is a forest fire political outside of the United States and Brazil?”

“Everything is political in the US. Everything is added into the cultural war and the political struggle for power,” Lavelle said, noting that this is seen in few other places.
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