On the day the Japanese parliament voted to break with the country’s postwar decision to forbid its military from fighting in foreign lands, I saw George Soros’ article in the July 9th New York Review of Books, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jul/09/partnership-china-avoid-world-war/which anticipated this event. Soros admits that the Neo-con Project for a New American Century has been a disaster, but oblivious to the new face of Eurasia, he believes the US can lure China away from Russia and that doing so would prevent World War III.
Maybe it’s what the French would call Soros’ ‘professional deformation’ - constantly thinking about finance - that accounts for his tunnel vision, but it is astonishing none the same. Although he has penned several articles on the crisis in Ukraine (all of which reflect the official US policy of blaming Russia), in his latest article the very real threat of World War III lies with China rather than on Russia’s doorstep.
Soros finds a devious way to admit the main defect of US foreign policy, attributing it to disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, but it is a major admission nonetheless: “Both parties continued to emphasize American sovereignty, but they rarely agreed to subordinating it to international obligations.” He fails to note that what most starkly separates Russian and American foreign policy is that the former seeks to emphasize cooperation and negotiation, while the latter is a hammer in eternal search of a nail.
Soros also admits that the Neocons “persuaded George W. Bush to attach Iraq on grounds that turned out to be false, causing the US to lose its supremacy.” (Thank goodness, a battle may be shaping up in DC between the Neo-cons and a more rational foreign policy group.) He even (falsely, but never mind) equates the Neocon project’s life span (ten years) to that of Hitler’s Third Reich (which was twelve), but fails to note the serious resurgence of Nazism across Europe.
Soros opposes Neo-con followers of economic “Rational Choice Theory” who believe that military power is supreme, to “a much more subtle compromise between international governance and national self-interest”, but his conclusions are astonishing in light of recent developments in Eurasia, from China’s new Silk Road to its food distribution hub serving Russia, not to mention the BRICS bank involving China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa and whose aim is to assist third world development without requiring quid pro quos.
Latching on to China’s desire for its currency, the renminbi, to be granted Special Drawing Rights (SDR) in the IMF, Soros wants the US agree to this without asking for anything in return, noting that “the relationship between two great powers is not a zero-sum game: one party’s gain is not necessarily a loss for the other”. Instead, he suggests extending cooperation on climate change to “other aspects of energy policy and to the financial and economic sphere” in order to supposedly “remove the threat of a military alignment between China and Russia” and thus “greatly diminish the threat of a global conflict”. Apparently, Mr. Soros doesn’t know that for the first time, Chinese troops marched in the Moscow parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
To bolster his stance, in an obvious reference to the Crimea referendum, Soros alleges that Putin’s Russia has replaced the rule of law with the rule of force, while China, though not always respecting the rule of law, ‘respects its treaty obligations’, a thin branch upon which to rest a major foreign policy change.
Soros does recognize that the US and China have very different political systems, the former based on the idea of individual freedom, the latter “harnessing the talents and energies of its people in service of the state”. He appears to ignore the existence in China of dozens of billionaires as well as a rising middle class whose passion for automobiles clogs roads and increases pollution. (In a well-researched radio feature, Moscow-Beijing Express, The Saker 44 Days Radio Sinoland, Russian “Oligarchs” versus Chinese Billionaires, 2015.7.5 Jeff Brown documents the US consistently referring to Russia’s ‘oligarchs’ while calling the same category of individuals in China ‘billionaires’.)
Soros notes that the US “would like China to adopt its values, while the Chinese leadership sees them as subversive”. (The idea that individual freedoms enable Americans to subvert the state has never been so questionable, but that may have escaped the Chinese leadership…) Toward the end of his article, Soros does admit that “China has more in common with Russia than with the US” in that both “consider themselves victims of America’s aspirations to world domination”. However he believes the US should “make a bona fide attempt at forging a strategic partner-ship with China” involving both cooperation and tit for tat bargaining. Returning to finance, his central interest, the hedge fund billionaire calls for the US to grant China special drawing rights in the IMF and also, to include it in the TPP instead of deliberately excluding it from this important economic arrangement. If these good faith efforts should fail “the US would then be fully justified in developing a strong enough partnership with China’s neighbors that a Chinese-Russian alliance would not dare to challenge it by military force”.
Without the momentous change in Japan’s military doctrine that just occured, Soros’ strategy would be unthinkable. And although it brings to mind the Japanese defeat of Imperial Russia in 2005, it is less convincing than the author’s financial success.