The world is already used to the fact that there is a tariff war going on between Washington and Beijing, which periodically comes to the verge of a full-fledged financial war with mutual asset freezes and other measures to inflict severe economic damage.
However, two epidemics — the coronavirus and accusations against China, accompanied by attempts to “hang” on the PRC the obligation to compensate the US, Britain, or Germany for trillions of dollars of economic damage, make us think about whether the world will not approach a power confrontation.
Reuters published an exclusive article claiming that the leading think tank of the Chinese national security system has compiled an analytical report, the essence of which is to prepare for a real (not “cold,” but “hot”) war with the United States of America.
The British Agency refers to its sources in Beijing, who allegedly saw the document, but refused to hand over even fragments of it for reasons of their security. However, yet a brief retelling on the tape of a reputable Agency was enough to cause a shock in the Western info field. After all, a real war is not the most optimistic scenario against the background of a pandemic.
You could write off this info field on the fertile imagination of the London Agency, but two aspects prevent this from being done. First, history teaches us that vast empires often like to distract their populations from crises by directing widespread anger at external enemies, for the sake of fighting (probably armed) with which a nation can rally even around a relatively unpopular leader. Secondly, if we put aside excessive politeness, we can state that to start a war against the background of a pandemic is entirely American, and the principle “no crisis should be wasted” is quite suitable for describing the style of thinking of Washington strategists. And indeed, China is not Iraq or Iran, but a severe enemy, which will require earnest efforts to fight, and it will not be possible to make a full-fledged war or at least a fierce financial battle (with sanctions on the “Iranian model”) supported by a significant part of society. This means that hard-liners of the anti-Chinese line can perceive the coronavirus epidemic (which, by a happy coincidence for the Washington hawks, was first discovered in China) as a unique opportunity, which will not be repeated and which must be used in the fastest and most decisive way.
In these circumstances, it is entirely rational to take into account the risk that Washington will “scratch its fists” in the form of aircraft carrier groups. This is a wholly logical approach on the part of the Chinese managerial elite, whose direct official duties are to mitigate national security risks.
If Reuters sources have seen such a document and it is not a fiction, then the very fact of its existence is not a sign of paranoia (which the Chinese “security officials” will necessarily accuse the Western media), but rather a pessimistic, but a somewhat realistic view of the American political elite. The latter may well consider that even the risk of a nuclear conflict with the PRC is an acceptable price to eliminate the main threat to American hegemony.
In a retelling by Reuters, it is indicated that Beijing perceives the growth of anti-Chinese sentiment, which is very skillfully stoked by the US, as one of the main factors contributing to the risk of a “hot” conflict.
The American edition of Vice formulated the conclusion more uncomplicated and more straightforward: “China believes that the response to (China’s actions during the epidemic) of coronavirus could lead to a full-scale war with the United States.”
It is unlikely that the United States will send carrier strike groups to attack the PRC right now. Practice shows that before any power conflict, an elaborate media ritual is first performed, in which a particular country is declared the center of universal evil, and the world is presented with either a test tube with “white powder,” or “witnesses” of some terrible crime against humanity committed by another “authoritarian regime,” or, at least, some scandal in which “highly like” representatives of the state participated, which is proposed to be bombed appropriately or at least “strangled with sanctions.”
There are plenty of potential points for a military escalation with China. This includes Hong Kong, Taiwan, and numerous disputed Islands (with deposits of hydrocarbons) in the South China sea. If necessary, American diplomats can add even the European medieval plague epidemic to the list of alleged crimes of the Middle Kingdom, declaring it a forerunner of the modern pandemic — the world’s media promoted more absurd theses in the name of supporting aggressive American foreign policy.
Perhaps supporters of a more sober approach to the surrounding reality will still be able to convince the “Washington hawks” that a full-fledged war with China is a terrible idea if only because it is a nuclear power and the consequences of such a conflict will be the most severe.