US Hegemony and Its Perils: Part I
“The United States has developed a hegemonic playbook to stage ‘color revolutions,’ instigate regional disputes, and even directly launch wars under the guise of promoting democracy, freedom and human rights. Clinging to the Cold War mentality, the United States has ramped up bloc politics and stoked conflict and confrontation. It has overstretched the concept of national security, abused export controls and forced unilateral sanctions upon others. It has taken a selective approach to international law and rules, utilizing or discarding them as it sees fit, and has sought to impose rules that serve its own interests in the name of upholding a ‘rules-based international order.'”
On 20 February 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the People’s Republic of China published a paper titled US Hegemony and Its Perils. The 5-page paper, which received virtually no coverage in western mainstream media, is a scathing criticism of US foreign and domestic policy: deconstructing the facade of America as a “benevolent superpower” and unmasking the heinous, imperialist machinations lurking just beneath the surface. The paper, along with others published the same month regarding rampant drug abuse and gun violence in the United States, punctuate the sustained and calculated shift in the stereotypically boilerplate, reserved, and diplomatic tone of the MFA. Beginning around the period of Nancy Pelosi’s illegal “visit” to the renegade Chinese province of Taiwan in late-2022, the United States government has ruthlessly pursued a policy of increasing tensions with China; punctuated by routine violations of international norms and flagrant provocations aimed at drawing China towards conflict. The recent series of papers released by the MFA point to a clear and decisive shift in China’s posture: the United States has made it abundantly clear that it wants war, and will stop at nothing to compromise, and ultimately destroy, the freedom, independence, and democracy of the People’s Republic of China. China’s new approach, then, is one of sternness, and equal clarity: that even if the United States does not reverse course, China will push forward, and all consequences resulting from violating China’s legitimate interests as a sovereign State will be borne by the United States.
The first step of this shift in Chinese position is to mark a clear delineation between the values proclaimed by the liberal-capitalist hegemony versus the reality as experienced by its people at home, and its victims throughout the world—to “throw off the mask” and present the United States for what it really is: not a bastion of freedom, but a prisonhouse of nations; not a land of liberty, but a heinously corrupt dictatorship of the bourgeoisie; not a safe haven for the pursuit of happiness, but a settler-colonial slaver empire.
This analysis of the MFA’s paper on US hegemony is organized into two parts: part I will cover the first two aspects of US hegemony analyzed by the MFA: Political Hegemony and Economic Hegemony. Part II will cover the remaining three aspects: Economic Hegemony, Technological Hegemony, and Cultural Hegemony.
One of the last photos of Chilean President Salvador Allende as he exited the Presidential Palace, prepared to die in combat in a last stand against the US-backed fascist coup. 11 Sept. 1973
I. Political Hegemony—Throwing Its Weight Around
“From its 61-year hostility toward and blockade of Cuba to its overthrow of the Allende government of Chile, U.S. policy on [Latin America] has been built on one maxim-those who submit will prosper; those who resist shall perish.”
The first aspect of US hegemony is the ruthless exercise of political hegemony—the usage of various schemes, tactics, and other underhanded games in order to trample on the sovereignty of foreign nations and instead enforce its own will upon people throughout the world; all cynically carried out in the name of “promoting democracy and human rights.”
Beginning with the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, the US government set out on a program of imperialist domination: first of Latin America, and then of the world. Specific color revolutions and other programs of political interference in the sovereignty of foreign nations mentioned here include:
The ongoing illegal blockade against Cuba, designed specifically to harm the Cuban people, destabilize the government, and lead to an anti-communist counter-revolution. Despite numerous attempts to overthrow the Cuban government, including over a hundred attempts to assassinate President Fidel Castro, and the historic farce at the Bay of Pigs, the Republic of Cuba has held firm and maintained its sovereignty, albeit at a great price and requiring immense sacrifices by the brave people of the island nation.
The brutal fascist coup d’etat against Chilean President Salvador Allende on 11 September 1973. Allende had instituted popular reforms aimed at creating greater equality and democracy for the people of Chile, including the nationalizing of key industries—thus earning him the ire of the US government. The US-backed fascist Pinochet dictatorship would last until 1990: during which time economic deals would benefit US economic interests at the expense of thousands of tortured, kidnapped, and murdered Chilean people, the exact number of whom remains unknown.
The overthrow of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos sr., a friend to US foreign policy interests as a brutal anti-communist willing to support the US in exchange for benefits to his own self-interest and populism; he would be pushed out of power with the urging of the US as the depths of depravity and corruption became a sore-spot for the Reagan administration. Decades later, Joseph Estrada would likewise be targeted in similar fashion.
Beginning around 2003, a strategy of “Neo-Monroe Doctrine” took shape, with the unleashing of influence campaigns and color revolutions both in Latin America and around the world, notably:
The “Arab Spring” throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—famously sparking the civil war in Libya which NATO then used in order to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, gave birth to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the overturning of the government of Egypt, and delivered further shockwaves throughout the MENA region.
The “Rose Revolution” in Georgia—which was famously shot through in its entirety by European and US-aligned interests, primarily exercised through NGOs, seeking to establish a base for their own interests on Russia’s southern border.
The “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine—which followed a nearly identical track as that in Georgia, and is viewed by many as the direct prelude to the outbreak of hostilities that would eventually lead to Russia commencing the so-called Special Military Operation against Ukraine in 2022.
The “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan—following in kind, involved personnel directly involved in both the Georgian and Ukrainian color revolutions, as well as direct involvement by the US embassy, seeking to establish a more US-friendly government in the strategic Central Asian region, bordering China.
And many more examples of color revolutions, with the US playing a central role in orchestrating them all, and US meddling, exist from the same period—including Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, and more—so it is worth noting which ones the MFA did specifically mention. The paper likewise notes that former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published a new book in January of this year, in which he explicitly stated that the US government had planned interventions against the government of Venezuela, specifically targeting the 2018 elections, and even, as John Bolton revealed, attempting a coup d’etat.
The paper then elaborates on the general diplomatic failures and double standards of the US government in its relations with the international community and law:
2017 cessation of funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The UNFPA focuses heavily on women’s and girls’ issues, as well as reproductive care and AIDs awareness. While clearly biased in favor of the interests forwarded by the US itself, the US nevertheless withdrew funding, baselessly claiming that the program was undertaking “coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." As Americans at home are increasingly being persecuted for seeking abortion care, and allegations surface of forced sterilization and other gendered violence at migrant camps on the US-Mexico border, it begs the question as to what the US really hoped it would accomplish.
Withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1984 and then again in 2017. UNESCO specifically aims to promote international peace and concord through the promotion of education, arts, science, and culture; it is most famous for its World Heritage Sites program, which recognizes and seeks to protect man-made structures and natural areas deemed to be of irreplaceable value to the whole of humanity—there are 24 such sites in the US, including the Statue of Liberty.
2017 withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. The PCA is a simple agreement establishing only that the all nations would seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent ecological collapse brought on from man-made climate change; as the highest-polluting country on earth, the US bears a particular responsibility to reduce emissions—the US military alone stands as one of the largest polluters in human history, before even factoring in the rest of the country.
2018 withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. With a limited number of seats on the council being allocated in staggered three-year terms—only seven seats for the “Western Europe & Other Countries” category, which includes the US—the decision to withdraw from the council prematurely in 2018 brought an early end to the US turn on the council, and would not come again until 2022. The US withdrawal highlights just how cynical any sloganeering about human rights by the US truly is.
2019 withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty—a Cold War-era treaty signed by Ronald Reagan aimed at ending the arms race between the US and USSR which threatened to plunge the world into nuclear apocalypse; the US official rationale for suspending the treaty was to begin rearming in order to counter what it believed to be a Chinese arms buildup. China was never a party to the treaty, but, subsequently, Russia also withdrew from the treaty.
2020 withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies—originally ratified in 1992, the treaty was designed to thaw global tensions by explicitly allowing for unarmed aerial observation of participating nations in order to assess troop movements, gauge a nation’s preparations for war, etc. Following the US withdrawal, Russia likewise withdrew; some 32 countries remain parties to the treaty.
These agreements range from human rights, to climate change, to nuclear non-proliferation and general military de-escalation—some of the most important areas of shared interest for the whole of the human species today; but the US, when not given what it wants, simply walks away. This is not the behavior of a civilized nation, nor the policy one would expect from a nation expecting to be taken seriously on the global stage—let alone viewed as a leader of great influence.
The paper then highlights the general obstructionism present in US diplomatic activities within the international community:
“opposing negotiations on a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and impeding international verification of countries' activities relating to biological weapons. As the only country in possession of a chemical weapons stockpile, the United States has repeatedly delayed the destruction of chemical weapons and remained reluctant in fulfilling its obligations. It has become the biggest obstacle to realizing ‘a world free of chemical weapons.’”
According to the Arms Control Association, as of 2022 the US still possesses 646.7 tons of chemical agents and munitions; as per international agreements, they should all be destroyed, yet the US appears to be apprehensive about giving up these weapons of mass destruction despite simultaneously attacking others—most famously Iraq and Syria—over alleged chemical weapons possession and usage. This same US mentality extends into all areas of international diplomacy.
Despite repeated claims of foreign nations aligning to attack the US, such as the make-belief “axis of evil” dreamed up by the Bush administration, the US actively seeks to form small blocs by which to enforce its will throughout the world, such as the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” in east Asia, forcing smaller and unaligned countries to choose sides—sowing division and stoking confrontation, undermining peace and stability for no reason other than the extension of US hegemony. While the vast majority of Asian countries have rejected this approach, US puppets in Korea and Japan have increasingly been pulled in, exacerbating tensions in the region whereas previously relations had been on a positive trajectory; as well as stoking the separatist dreams of the would-be renegade province of Taiwan, currently occupied by the “Republic of China.” Despite the overwhelming majority refusing to take part in such games, the US has succeeded in creating division, and even pulling in Australia as an accomplice to stoking tensions in the region.
As part of its campaign of division, the US unilaterally declares other countries “democratic” or “authoritarian” based solely on whether or not they conform to US interests, creating “a false narrative of ‘democracy versus authoritarianism’ to incite estrangement, division, rivalry and confrontation.” The MFA here highlights the failed “Summit for Democracy'' held in 2021, which was roundly criticized as a cynical ploy for expanding the US’ faux “democracy'' narrative at the expense of anyone not willing to submit to US hegemony; another such summit is scheduled to take place at the end of this month, co-hosted by the US with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, southern Korea, and Zambia—all of which are marred with unaccounted for histories of human rights violations that go unanswered for.
Highway 80, known as the Highway of Death, where US forces slaughtered at least 1,000 people; including retreating Iraqi forces, as well as refugees and other civilians
II. Military Hegemony—Wanton Use of Force
[T]he United States has fought or been militarily involved with almost all the 190-odd countries recognized by the United Nations with only three exceptions. The three countries were ‘spared’ because the United States did not find them on the map.
The second aspect of US hegemony is the barbaric exercise of overwhelming military hegemony—the outright domination of weaker countries through the ravenous application of an extremely complex and organized military apparatus. During the era of manifest destiny, the US expanded territorially to its current borders through the genocide of indigenous nations, invasion of Canada, invasion of Mexico, annexation of Hawai’i, and war of colonial supremacy with Spain. Following World War II, these wars took on a new form, and include:
The invasion of Korea, 1950-1953 is considered a “frozen conflict”—no treaty has ever officially ended the war, with both northern and southern governments claiming authority over the entire nation. The US formulated the partition of the Korean peninsula in order to prevent the spread of communism, and then instigated the war in an attempt to take over the liberated north; when this failed, the US unleashed a genocidal campaign of armed violence, but was driven back by a combined force of Korean revolutionaries, Chinese volunteers, and Soviet advisers/supporters. To this day, the US attempts to provoke a reignition of hostilities, and thwarts any attempts at a formal truce, or of reunification.
The invasion of Vietnam, 1955-1975 was a twenty-year campaign of genocidal barbarism wherein the US forced the partition of Vietnam—as it had done in Korea—and then attempted to wage a war of annihilation against the communist-controlled north when it became clear that the people of Vietnam preferred communism over corrupt US-backed fascism. The war in Vietnam coincided with the US’ secret war in neighboring Laos, during which 10% of the total population of Laos were killed, and over 270 million bombs were indiscriminately dropped all over the country, many of which continue to plague the country to this day. US involvement in Vietnam is best remembered for horrific war crimes such as the massacre at Mỹ Lai, and the indiscriminate use of Agent Orange, a horrific chemical weapon which continues to poison people all these decades later. The war would ultimately end with total US failure.
The Gulf War, 1990-1991 was a US-led response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Iraq is known to have utilized chemical weapons that had been sold to them by the US in hopes of provoking conflicts between Iraq and Iran. The widespread deployment of depleted uranium by the US military drew condemnation from the progressive movement, but no US officials were ever held accountable, as is common. One of the most infamous events in the war would come as columns of Iraqi military personnel and refugees—including an unknown number of Palestinians being forced out of Kuwait—were massacred. The incident became known as the “Highway of Death,” although at least 1,000 people in total would be killed, the US would never be held accountable.
Remains of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, following illegal US bombing
Intervention in Yugoslavia, part of the Kosovo War, 1998-1999, during which the US-led NATO alliance unilaterally intervened in the chaos of collapsing Yugoslavia to relentlessly bomb Serb forces who opposed US interests; the US bombing campaign killed up to 2,500 civilians, and is most notorious for the CIA-directed US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, which killed three innocent Chinese journalists.
The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, resulting in a 20-year occupation and the deaths of around a quarter million people that ultimately failed to permanently remove the Taliban from power. The US (in)famously supported the Taliban during the Afghan-Soviet war, then resulting in the Afghan civil war whereby Taliban forces first took power. However, the US would soon turn on its former ally, alleging Taliban support for the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack in New York. The US occupation became infamous for reports of systemic child rape and heroin trafficking. Horrifically, in the wake of the Taliban’s retaking of the country in 2021, the Biden administration froze $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the central bank of Afghanistan, refusing the new Taliban government to access the funds, resulting in an ongoing humanitarian crisis and mass starvation; "pure looting."
The invasion of Iraq in 2003, whereby the US completely overthrew the government of Iraq and officially occupied the country until 2011; a force of some 2,500 US soldiers remain in the country, despite demands for them to leave. The NATO invasion was spurred by lies pushed by US officials claiming that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction; no such weapons would ever be discovered, and up to 300,000 Iraqi civilians were killed as a direct result of the US invasion, with untold hundreds of thousands more suffering.
Intervention in Libya in 2011, led by NATO, resulting in the extrajudicial killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the country’s immediate collapse into civil war which continues to this day. Despite US claims of ignorance, it’s estimated that up to 3,400 civilians were killed as a result of the NATO intervention and thousands more have died since. In 2017, CNN shocked the world with a report on slave markets being found in the country, where young men were sold for as little as $400 USD. Prior to the US intervention and destabilization, Libya had been the richest country in Africa.
The US intervention in Syria, since 2014, is an ongoing campaign of occupation and destabilization aimed at overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While seldomly reported on in western media, the US military maintains an illegal presence in the war-torn country; under the guise of combating ISIS, it conducts a quiet war against the Syrian government, and is most well known for the theft of Syrian grain and oil—vital resources the US government hopes the Syrian government will collapse without.
So central is the military’s role in US hegemony and continued existence that the amount of money allocated to it by the US government has come to exceed $700 billion annually, propping up over 800 bases throughout the world, “with 173,000 troops deployed in 159 countries.” The US military budget alone accounts for 40% of the total world military spending, and amounts to more than the next 15 highest-spending countries combined. Up to 2019, the US had participated in around 400 military interventions: 34% in Latin America, 23% in East Asia, 14% in the Middle East, and 13% in Europe.
“As former U.S. President Jimmy Carter put it, the United States is undoubtedly the most warlike nation in the history of the world.”
US military adventures have resulted in the deaths of at least 900,000 people since 2001, at least 335,000 of whom were innocent civilians; untold millions and tens of millions have been injured and displaced. Those left to pick up the pieces often face the long-term consequences of the US’ widespread and unapologetic use of “massive quantities of chemical and biological weapons as well as cluster bombs, fuel-air bombs, graphite bombs and depleted uranium bombs”.
Leaders from Saudi Arabia and Iran agree to begin normalizing diplomatic relations in Beijing
“Countries need to respect each other and treat each other as equals. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and take the lead in pursuing a new model of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue and partnership, not confrontation or alliance. China opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and rejects interference in other countries' internal affairs. The United States must conduct serious soul-searching. It must critically examine what it has done, let go of its arrogance and prejudice, and quit its hegemonic, domineering and bullying practices.”
In this section we have explored and analyzed the first two facets of US hegemony outlined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Political Hegemony and Military Hegemony—how the US government throws its weight around and unleashes wanton force against its targets in order to enforce its demands, through meddling in internal affairs to foment unrest, to direct invasion and occupation.
Coinciding with the release and analysis of the MFA’s paper, several other developments in recent weeks highlight how the Chinese government is becoming an increasingly problematic “competitor” to this one-sided US imperialism: politically, it was announced on 11 March that China had successfully brokered a deal between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran to begin normalizing relations. This development marks a seismic shift in the geopolitical realities of the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia and Iran had, until now, represented rival forces within the region—a rivalry that the US often took advantage of in order to pursue its own interests. With the US completely left out of the negotiation process, and the apparent winding down of the Saudi-Iranian rivalry in favor of Chinese-led mutual cooperation and win-win development, this deals a potentially catastrophic blow to US interests in the region, and signals China’s own growing political influence—an influence it wields, not to foment war, but to establish peace and pursue prosperity. In the same vein, militarily the US has continued to attempt to increase tensions with China in order to maintain its position as hegemon; primarily through exacerbating tensions around Taiwan province. However, as highlighted by MFA spokesperson Mao Ning on 08 March, China is not backing down; without the political influence necessary to continue pushing its interests, it is likely that any overt US military intervention will be met with complete disaster.
Read Part II on Economic Hegemony, Technological Hegemony, and Cultural Hegemony.