LETTER | Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s recent statement on America and his call for a greater pivot to China reflects the growing sentiments of anti-Western and pro-China narratives.
The United States and the West were presented as warmongers, ready to create global conflicts with an insatiable thirst for provocations to satisfy their interests and their military complex. Bashing America has been gaining momentum since the 2013 Iraq War, with every major global conflict blamed on Washington and its hawks.
For decades, Western narratives and judgments about peace, freedom and democracy and the sanctity of principles and values have been branded as hypocritical conduits, propaganda overtures designed to win friends over and keep them entrenched. facing enemies, especially Moscow and Beijing.
The alternative perspectives and so-called struggles of rising non-Western powers led by Beijing have been hailed as the new breath of hope needed for the victims of the West’s perceived atrocities and global agenda.
The attributions of today’s global conflicts rest on the greed and hidden purpose of the elitist West in creating proxy wars and arms races to meet the needs of its economic and military survival at the expense of the global community. at large.
This one-sided narrative has shaped the digested perspective of the masses, here in Malaysia and across the region, further reinforced by Beijing’s strategic and persistent narrative that it intends to play out. This has reverberated across a wide range of academics, communities, policymakers, and the media and business fraternity.
The visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was seen as a provocative move by Washington to upset the apple basket and create accelerated tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Overtures in the region, especially the military, are presented as an unnecessary push to contain China’s peaceful rise and seek to further inflame regional tensions and the arms race.
The Aukus Pact and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue are being chastised for fueling spiraling security dilemmas and a deeper arms and nuclear race abyss with dangerous consequences.
Strong positions and involvement in regional peace and democratic building framework in promoting idealism of democratic values and human rights are chastised as another hypocritical intention of Washington to interfere in internal affairs regional actors and to dictate the political orientation according to its objective.
Condemnations of China’s human rights abuses and repression and spotlighting rampant espionage and cyber theft, among other things, are squarely chastised as a power in decline trying to save what’s left and trying to save what’s left. weaken others from within.
Resources and aid, together with the shaping of economic institutions and awareness, are cautiously viewed as gaining the trust and attraction of local communities and policy makers by molding them to fend off Chinese influence and overtures. similar.
Interventions abroad in various measures aimed at saving lives of brutal regimes and maintaining peace and democracy are portrayed as uncontrolled aggression aimed at provoking wars and maintaining its military-industrial complex.
The victim card
The war in Ukraine has been almost entirely tied to NATO and Washington’s provocative eastward push to induce the Kremlin to do the ultimate act to justify their geostrategic and future relevance and purpose.
It is easy to be molded into this narrative framework, especially when feelings and contextual understanding are crafted by the perceived status of the receiving end, playing the victim card and resonating with the struggle of non-Western powers trying to defend their causes and redress the situation. past wrongs.
This creates a systemic and entrenched sense of oppression and submerged injustice, leading to a rapid assertion of anti-Western representation and near-total acceptance of perceived glorified causes adopted by non-Western powers to break the built-in grip of the West.
Pelosi’s visit and the package of measures for Taiwan are intended to reaffirm the decades-old commitment to securing rights and pathways to a peaceful resolution to the crisis and to reiterate Washington’s abiding position that the ideals of peace, democracy and international order based on rules that have been forged and nurtured for nearly a century must be firmly secured.
The United States has always made clear that there is no change in the status quo of its “one China policy”, while reaffirming its unwavering position that no strong or daunting measures will be allowed to alter the current status quo, with a documented agreement. provide defensive support to Taiwan and maintain regional peace.
So does its Indo-Pacific pivot, standing up to the entrenched strategic efforts of Beijing and Moscow to dictate regional directions to their peripheries. Belligerent actions and coercive tactics employed against weaker actors and the means to bulldoze territorial claims through various mechanisms threaten the very foundation of global and regional peace forged by decades-old understanding and adherence. standards and international law.
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is the continuation of a series of new regional and global strategic pushes by the Kremlin to chart its new course of storytelling and power projection. There has never been such a daring and overwhelming direct and outright invasion of a sovereign state since World War II, and this very act sends a shiver down the spine of all actors in the world, causing the start of a global arms race and new security directions to ensure their survival and fearing potential future risks from these rogue players.
Is it then justifiable that Washington is seen as the devil incarnate in the Ukraine war as it scrambles to stem the tide and save the rules-based order of respecting sovereignty and defending peace?
Pointing the finger at America’s double standards and hypocrisy, these actors and accusers are increasingly singled out, with a myriad of hypocritical actions in the same areas of human rights and security considerations. security.
Counterbalanced overtures and presence in the region were met with a sigh of relief, albeit quietly, fearful of upsetting Beijing. The players remain determined to be central and non-aligned, but continue to urge the West and Washington not to do more for the region and to open up their economies to them.
Chinese incursions were met with muted responses, and Chinese economic capture was tolerated for the immediate internal needs of states at the greater expense of survival and security.
Aid and resources of the billions of dollars received from Washington are seen as another normal obligation seen as the necessary responsibility of a major world power and, in some cases, called irresponsible and insufficient.
Worse still, some are portrayed as laden with hidden costs and an agenda for the benefit of elites and the Deep State in various mechanisms. The list of hypocrisies can go on and on.
last best hope
Undoubtedly, mistakes are made in assuming the immense weight of responsibility as the main defender of rules, rights and norms and in defending the pillars of peace and democracy, but the real institutional and democratic openness that the America adopts makes self-correction and change possible and necessary, unlike autocracies.
Two great wars have been fought in the past century alone, with devastating implications and the eventual causes and outcomes point to the need for rules-based international membership and institutional norms based on respect for rights and sovereignty. and global values of peace and human dignity.
This has been the very essence of the long peace we have endured since the end of World War II, which the United States and others resolutely created, defended and protected.
For Beijing and Moscow to challenge this systemic order and norms and impose their versions of a so-called alternative world order based on equality and justice, other actors are pressured and forced to fit into this perceived multipolarity of power sharing and to shed their affiliation with the US-led order based on highlighted causes and victim map.
By blaming Washington for trying to maintain its hegemonic ambition and returns and portraying its overtures as evil and insincere, these non-Western powers hope to mask their own intentions and pursuits while increasing soft power buy-in with a justified cause. to their sacrifices in a competition half won by this agenda sitting alone.
Distorting reality or shaping a new politics of emotions might work well in the short term, but institutional resilience and the sanctity of principles and values will stand the test of time and distortion. Enjoying the long peace for decades has created complacency and comfort by ignoring the gigantic importance of peace and stability derived from the existing normative law and order and the inflexibly created rules-based system and defended by Washington and the West.
The truth remains that we need America, being the only world power that has both the strength and the moral merit to protect global peace and security, to oppose aggression and to continue to uphold the rooted law and order.
Lacking the power to deal with this and lacking the ability to counteract new threats, we are doomed to endure a new era of fear, submission and subversion. For now, America remains our last best hope, with the belief that it will continually improve and correct itself with its own institutional democratic strength, which will bring lasting returns to the world.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.