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Will Trump Provoke a Serious Conflict with China?

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-- Thom Hartmann show transcript

Thom Hartmann: Hello. I'm Thom Hartmann, in Washington DC. Welcome to the Big Picture.

If you watched any of Donald Trump's rallies this year, you might have heard him rant and rave against China. The way he put it -- and continues to put it -- China is America's mortal enemy, an adversary for the 21st century and beyond. Donald Trump, however, isn't the only person who appears to think this way.

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The so-called "pivot to Asia" that President Obama made the centerpiece of his long-term foreign policy agenda was also predicated in large part on the idea that China is a potential adversary that needs to be countered -- perhaps by force. But is China really our enemy? Or are we just turning them into one? And are we risking nuclear annihilation in the process?

These questions are at the heart of "The Coming War On China" -- a shocking new documentary by legendary filmmaker John Pilger, that is airing in the United States exclusively here on RT America with its premiere Saturday night at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific time.

John Pilger joins us now from our London studios. John, welcome to the program.

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John Pilger: Thank you, Thom.

Thom Hartmann: You start out this documentary not by talking about China, but with a long section about US nuclear testing in the Pacific. Why was that?

John Pilger: Well, it's about the possibility, if not the prospect, of nuclear war. The issue of nuclear war and the risk of nuclear war was said to have gone away. It never went away, of course, and we're reminded by this current situation with China and also with Russia, of course, two nuclear-armed powers. The whole Cold War issue that so consumed us, the possibility of us, of facing a nuclear Armageddon, that's very much an issue now.

The whole issue with China is, I mean, I would use that rather bland word "unnecessary." But it's happened and what's interesting is that it's happened, it's been happening for some years but it's almost as if it's only just been noticed. There has been quite a bit of news both in the US and over here about China building air strips in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and almost nothing about the fact that the US has surrounded China with some four hundred military bases that stretch all the way from Australia through the Pacific up through Asia, Korea, Japan and across Eurasia.

And that's one of the, probably the most revealing maps I've used in the documentary, based on David Vine's excellent research in Base Nation which shows China encircled as if by some noose and these are, as I say, warships, bombers, battle groups. The US Navy has low draft ships just outside Chinese waters. This is the kind of provocation, the kind of scenario if you like, just before a war.

But why? It makes no sense and of course it's all about dominance and the US feeling insecure, at least the administrations in the US feeling that they, their position as top dog in the world is being challenged.

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Thom Hartmann: You in the movie describe an incident in Okinawa during the Cuban Missile Crisis that, you know, I was alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I had no recollection of that or had that story ever been told. Tell us about that. And what should that incident tell us?

John Pilger: Well, it's interesting isn't it? You're right, I was also alive then and I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis very well. And there was no suggestion of a possible threat in the East. But in fact what happened was, and we have one of the former missileers who gave a testimony to a United Nations Committee that a false order was received in a Mace missile site on Okinawa. These Mace missiles were aimed at China and at North Korea. A couple were aimed at the Soviet Union but mostly at China.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 

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