• Monica Cruz

2021: A year of US warmongering against China

The Biden administration continues to heat up the new Cold War with bellicose threat, unfounded accusations, and fulfilled promises of a more multilateral approach against China

President Biden with the Prime Ministers of Australia, India, and Japan at the Quad Leaders Summit on October 24, 2021. Credit: White House

The US-led aggression against China, termed by some to be “A New Cold War”, is advancing with much of the same fervor of President Biden’s notably belligerent predecessor. Biden is even being called Trump 2.0 on China. He has kept many of the Trump-era tariffs, continued military exercises in the South China Sea, and is employing a more sophisticated and diplomatic approach to galvanize and organize US allies against China. Top Republicans and Democrats alike have fed into this campaign of paranoid distrust towards China, like with the recent passage of a bill targeting imports from China’s Xinjiang region over unfounded claims of human rights abuses.


This campaign of aggression appears to have had a direct impact on US public opinion about China. A Gallup Poll released in March found that 45% believe that China is “the greatest enemy of the US.” A July Pew Research poll reported that 73% of US respondents hold negative attitudes toward China, largely a result of their belief that China is responsible for the coronavirus, another myth that has been perpetuated by the Biden administration and elected officials on both sides of the aisle.


Facing year two of the coronavirus pandemic, worsening climate disaster, and historic inequality, the Biden administration inherited a patchwork of crises to grapple with this year. While this milieu of problems at home continues to spiral, Biden has intensified a concerted effort of imperialist aggression and propaganda against one key target abroad: China. The Biden orientation has stood in contrast to Trump in terms of employing a more multilateral approach but the objective has remained the same.


Here is a round-up of the most notable moments in the past year in US policy on China.


1. Billions for military build up

The year began with a bloated Pentagon budget of $738 billion, larger than the military budgets of the next 13 countries together, and four times the size of China’s. Former Admiral Philip Davidson (who resigned in late April) submitted a request to Congress for an additional $27.3 billion for the Indo-Pacific Command (INDPACOM). This amount alone is more than the military budget of Brazil.


Davidson is a known anti-China war hawk. At his resignation in April, he emphasized, “Make no mistake, the Communist Party of China seeks to supplant the idea of a free and open international order with a new order, one with Chinese characteristics, one where Chinese national power is more important than international law.”


Admiral John Aquilino is the new leader of the INDPACOM and has continued this hardline on China. Just last month at the Halifax International Security Forum, he urged allied military and security force leaders to join the US in more joint military exercises. He didn’t explicitly mention China in his speech but did so in his comments to journalists.


Aquilino rang the alarm, implying China has no right to have a military presence around it’s own borders, “Look at what the Chinese have said. President Xi [Jinping] has tasked his forces to be at a level of military parity with the United States by 2027.”


The US Indo-Pacific Command spans 34 countries equaling 60% of the world’s population. Its aim is to base over 70% of US overseas military forces in the Asia/Pacific region.


2. US-China talks doused in hostility

In March, the first major summit between top Chinese and Biden administration officials took place in Anchorage, Alaska. The talks were regarded as largely unsuccessful in easing tensions between the two nations, with both sides accusing the other of human rights abuses and doubling down on their opposition concerning the status of Taiwan.


Long-time Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi rebuked the US use of “military force and financial hegem