Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with an MSC degree in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
Recently, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was interviewed by NPR., giving the world a chance to view the thinking behind the new Joe Biden administration that will be the basis of the forthcoming U.S. global strategy.
In his interview, there were positive remarks that signaled the U.S. is now more of a partner. For example, Blinken pointed out that the U.S. had rejoined the Paris climate accord and are now re-engaged with the World Health Organization.
During his interview, he used a lot of buzz-words that might score points with domestic audiences. However, this same rhetoric can, as it has done in the past, serve as the basis for imperial aggression. When asked what the Biden's administration mission statement is, he said it is "to advance the security, prosperity, and values that the American people share."
When it comes to security, the U.S., bordered by two compliant states and isolated by two vast ocean moats, geographically is the most secure state in the world. If one considers the overwhelming military power of the U.S., then being seriously threatened by any foreign power is nonsense.
As such, Blinken's concern with security must be taken with extreme caution. Usually, the invocation of securing the U.S. and its citizens is doublespeak for U.S. military expansion and threatening the security of others for this purpose.
The list of countries at the sharp end of U.S. aggression is far too long to list and the death toll caused by U.S.-led wars is in the millions. With this in mind, Blinken needs to also be reflective of global security and that for many in the world they see the U.S. as the primary threat to their security.
When he invoked "prosperity" he was specifically talking about the prosperity of the American people. However, the U.S. foreign policy which has led to invasion after invasion goes against the prosperity of U.S. citizens. It is they that are sent to war and some, as I have personally witnessed, have been left homeless drug addicts when their usefulness runs out.
Tragically, the U.S. rich in resources lacks nothing and its people hardly need to turn into a pillaging warring nation to increase their wealth. In fact, some of the spending on the U.S. military machine could be redirected to create the basic instrument which would bring prosperity and security to the American people which is socialized health care.
Blinken talks about standing up for the values that Americans share, which is for him democracy and human rights. But if Blinken wants to take the U.S. away from being a pariah global superpower to one that engages with the world at large, then he needs to reflect what the values are of others too.
For example, with democracy, what he really means is liberal democracy, this may for some represent a negation of true democracy. The U.S. is a perfect example of where selection through a vote will often not lead to policies, such as the aforementioned social healthcare, that are democratic i.e. work for all of society. Indeed, liberal democracies have all too often resorted to negating international democracy through illegal invasions and the U.S. has been caught warping the results of elections.
Blinken then must be conscious of what democracy means for the Global South. They want systems that can create development and eliminate poverty for all. This means having the fundamental right to choose one's own political-economic system and to be free from foreign interference.
Demonstrators wield American flag on the street in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, August 3, 2019. /Photo from China Daily
The rights that I have talked about above also seep into basic human rights which have frequently been used as a front for co-opting Western populations into supporting imperial wars. Blinken needs to recognize that the U.S. ostensibly acting on augmenting its security and human rights atrocity propaganda means the U.S. has been the number one abuser of human rights. This is because war is the ultimate denial of human rights. It destroys lives and prevents independent democratic development.
Blinken said that "our ability to wave the banner of democracy and human rights, to some extent, has been tarnished by recent events, especially the egregious attack on the Capitol on January 6." Be that as it may and notwithstanding some of the more radical beliefs amongst the demonstrators of that day there was also the awareness amongst many that there is something utterly broken within the U.S. "democracy" which makes it, even without voting fraud, non-democratic.
Many of the protesters were enraged with the awareness that a corporate elite has hijacked U.S. democracy. They were acutely conscious that the U.S. system was not working for them. Evidently, the Twitter blackout proved they are pretty close to the truth. With this in mind, as the interview turned to the protests in Hong Kong, which have been openly backed by Washington, he had the audacity to describe Hong Kong's effort to bring order as trampling on Hong Kong's democracy.
Likewise, when it came to Xinjiang he raised the false claims of genocide and concentration camps which have both come from evidence cooked up through Washington-funded think-tanks and serves to act as a precursor to interfere in China's security and prosperity.
The keyword for Blinken then is "reflection" on definitions. To achieve security and prosperity for Americans the U.S. needs to engage in those across the world who see the U.S. as a threat to their security and prosperity. Once the gun is put down and international dialogue begins all the values from our diverse civilizations can be considered. This in fact is the foundation of true global democracy.