In 2018, Russia was the biggest propaganda target in Washington's cold war against its rival superpowers. Even though a cold war with China had arguably begun during Obama's "pivot to Asia" in 2011, and America's great-power competition with China was certainly heating up, the first priority of the imperialist propagandists in that moment was to demonize Russia in the minds of the Western public. The dubious "Russiagate" scandal was being weaponized as a geopolitical propaganda tool, and sensational headlines blamed Russia for a myriad of recent political developments. Then in 2019, the focus suddenly shifted to China.
The fizzling out of Russiagate after the release of the anticlimactic Mueller report in spring 2019 was one factor in this. But there was also an array of factors from around that time which made China into far more of a concern for the empire than it had been previously, and that caused the Washington propaganda machine to shift its messaging accordingly.
One of these factors was that the U.S. had decisively begun to lose the trade war with China in 2019. Throughout the year, Trump's efforts at economically strong-arming China kept failing, until Trump was forced in October to reach a deal which let China continue all the trade practices that were threatening the hegemony of the U.S. corporatocracy. The response from Trump, and from the U.S. political and media class at large, was to escalate the rhetoric of economic nationalism. The "democratic socialist" senator Bernie Sanders began to attack other politicians for not being economically aggressive enough towards China, and the Democratic presidential debates became rife with denouncements of China's "theft" of American "intellectual property."
Trump's May 2019 ban against the Chinese company Huawei from doing business with U.S. companies solidified this pattern of escalation. Washington's ever-increasing sanctions against Russia were now becoming matched or outpaced in regards to China, whose economic ties to the U.S. were rapidly fraying and are now even less substantial. Trump's biggest stated economic threat is to cut off all Chinese exports to the U.S., which the U.S. business community is slowly moving towards as deglobalization accelerates during Covid-19.
The unintended consequence is that like the anti-Russian sanctions, these acts of economic belligerence are further isolating the U.S. from the world; U.S. allies like Italy and Brazil have been growing economically closer to China, while China has overall been rising as an economic power amid the geopolitical disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Another factor that stirred Washington to intensify its anti-China campaign was the violent struggle over Hong Kong which erupted in 2019. The Hong Kong protests are a destabilization effort funded by the CIA front group the National Endowment for Democracy, and they were set off in 2019 because this was when Washington became especially enamored with one goal: to recolonize Hong Kong by taking away China's ability to absorb the city in the long term. This "pro-democracy" movement was naturally used as a weapon by the imperialist media, which portrayed the police responses to the protesters' provocateur tactics as proof of Chinese "authoritarianism."
These efforts to seize control of China's surrounding territories, both in Hong Kong and Taiwan, are also backfiring. In response to this last year's extreme violence and vandalism from the Hong Kong protesters, China has enacted a security law that makes it much harder for Washington to carry out subversion within the city. China also recently threatened to invade Taiwan if its government capitulates to the efforts from Washington to strong-arm it.
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