The Seeds of Conflict: Anglo-American and Chinese History
The Seeds of Conflict: Anglo-American and Chinese History
September 17, 2012
"It is this Anglo-American axis (a 'special relationship') that has dominated the Western world for the past 150 years. It is a secretive and closely guarded group of families and individuals with enormous wealth derived from the implementation of mercantilist central banking. In recent years, America has provided the military power and to a large extent the corporate vehicles that have projected the 'one world' vision of the Anglo-American elite throughout the West, and even to Africa and Asia." – The Daily Bell, Glossary
Today in the 21st century as China again takes its rightful place as one of, if not the leading nation in the world we see many neoconservative "experts" warning of a clash of interests and civilizations between China and the West. Recent history shows us how the neocons took over traditional GOP foreign policy and they have never discovered a war or conflict they didn't like. The Middle East, Asia and now Africa are experiencing wars and conflicts designed to advance their foreign policy at the point of a gun using American troops as cannon fodder for their global economic and political agenda.
In the Defense Planning Guidance document prepared by Paul Wolfowitz, this statement of neoconservative thought states the following for American foreign policy: "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."
The neocons view the Chinese military budget, equal to maybe 10 percent of the American budget, as a direct threat to the interests of the United States. Second, they are now positioning US foreign policy and direct military action against a major Chinese ally, Iran, the number one supplier of oil to China.
The Western View of China is Wrong
If you ask most people in the West about China, they know it has the world's largest population, owns more US dollar denominated Treasury debt than any other nation and invented fireworks, paper and maybe the printing press. It was historically a poor country, partially colonized by Great Britain and other western nations who brought Christianity, modern development and the best of civilization to a backward nation filled with starving people. China suffered badly during the Japanese invasion prior to World War Two and was an ally until Mao and the communists took over. Today it is a growing world power beginning to flex its military and economic muscles and this is a threat to western dominance.
The Chinese View and Real Situation is Somewhat Different
Actually, for most of world history, China was the wealthiest and most sophisticated nation or people on the planet. Read The Travels of Marco Polo back in 1295 to get an idea of the advances of the Chinese civilization. It produced more iron than all of Europe combined until the 20th century, and the people dressed in silk and lived in comfort hundreds of years ahead of Europe. From moveable type 400 years ahead of Gutenberg, suspension bridges, paper and printing, gunpowder, chess, the plow and many other innovations, China led the world.
Of course, China had its ups and downs and government mismanagement, all factors we are familiar with in the West today, and during a weak period Western interests gained a foothold in China. The British led the way and their mercantilism and trade with China, initially for tea, when combined with sugar from their Caribbean holdings basically addicted the entire British Empire to the modern-day stimulant of tea drinking.
The British Empire was Built upon Mercantilism and Addiction
"Mercantilism is the use of the state to fulfill one's personal objectives and self-interest. The use of the state, conflating private with public, allows the individual or small group to obtain clout that would otherwise not be feasible.... Mercantilism, the realizing of private goals for individuals or small groups through public means, has a long and ancient history, doubtless as long as humankind itself." – The Daily Bell, Glossary
While some modern-day conspiracy theorists describe the US government as a narco-republic because of the participation of American foreign and domestic intelligence services as well as criminal and law enforcement elements in the drug trade, this is far from the truth. In actuality, American criminals and law enforcement working together with the prison lobby have helped to make America the prison capital of the world, dwarfing the per capita prison populations of all Third World countries combined, including China and Russia.
The dirty truth is the US, with less than 5 percent of the world's population, has almost 25 percent of the global prison population and much of this is a direct result of drug offenses targeting mostly the poor and minority populations.
British Empire Funded by Opium
Still, the real narco-republic in world history isn't the United States, Mexico, Colombia or other transit points to the artificially created drug epidemic in the United States. This dubious honor actually goes to the British Empire, as their Bengal-to-China opium business during the time of Queen Victoria grew into the world's largest commodity trade during the 19th century. Opium accounted for almost 20 percent of the Empire's total revenue, yet opium was just the tip of the addictive trade.
In the United States and the British Empire addictive substances were the major business of British mercantilism. For example, the original British colonies like Jamestown and Virginia were economically unfeasible before the smoking of tobacco caught on in Europe and smoking and snuff created a cash crop from America.
Later, sugar from British Caribbean colonies was added to the British consumption of tea from China and the entire Empire became addicted to tea. But there was a problem. Unlike in the Americas where cotton and tobacco were traded for British manufactured goods, China simply said no to foreign imports.
Their leader, the Son of Heaven, wrote King George III in 1793: "We posses all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country's manufactures." Great Britain had addicted their entire population to the stimulation of tea and sugar but China surprisingly demanded silver as payment for the tea. This created a permanent drain of gold and silver from the British Empire to China and a gigantic balance of payments deficit resulted that threatened the future solvency of the British Empire. This situation is very similar to China's holdings of US Treasury debt today.
Since the Chinese wouldn't import British manufactured goods, London needed something to export to China to reduce the deficit. First, the British Empire's solution was to invest huge sums of money into opium farming and production and in the colony of India they created over a million registered opium farmers. Then, taking tobacco from other colonies they mixed opium with the tobacco and in due time addicted the majority of the Chinese population to opium, through intermediaries. Now Great Britain had their export to China with which to cover tea imports.
China subsequently lost more silver in the 30 years up through 1850 than Britain had paid for tea in the previous 125 years. The Chinese economy was destroyed but then the Son of Heaven finally moved to halt the opium trade by making it illegal and enforcing the prohibition. This again threatened the survival of the British Empire. Queen Victoria dispatched a British navy to force China to push their illegal drugs sales. This caused the two opium wars, one lasting from 1839 to 1842 and the other from 1856 to 1860. During these wars Britain occupied and took the port of Hong Kong to improve opium distribution to the Chinese.
"Almost every person...not connected with government is employed in the opium trade." – Sir John Francis Davis, governor of Hong Kong from 1844 to 1848
Thus, the Chinese addiction to opium and the opium wars were British government policy and it is doubtful many in the West understand what happened, while it is likely all Chinese are aware of this part of their history with the West.
Opium Trade was Big Business for Americans
Also, it wasn't just England involved; many Americans in New England also made their fortunes in the opium trade after the slave trade was outlawed. For example, Franklin Roosevelt's grandfather, Delano, made most of the family fortune in the Chinese opium trade.
He was not alone. Many of the wealthy New England families built their fortunes on slave and opium trading. In fact, most of the American Ivy League universities were funded to a great degree when dirty money from the slave and opium trade was washed and then use to build new reputations for these families.
For example, John Cleve Green donated much of his opium profits to Princeton University, Abiel Abbott Low used his opium fortune to finance the construction of Colombia University, John Murray Forbes financed the Bell Telephone Company, Joseph Coolidge's son organized the United Fruit Company and his grandson was the founding executive officer of the Anglo-American Council on Foreign Relations. This is just the tip of the iceberg in showing how many among the power elite made their fortunes with the China opium trade.
The Roosevelt Family, Opium and China Legacy
Franklin Roosevelt was born into the elite lifestyle of a family of wealth and privilege in Hyde Park, New York, with major financial interests in railroads. Most of the real family wealth, however, had been made earlier by Roosevelt's grandfather, Delano, in his involvement with the opium trade in China.
An interesting aside is the China trade and resources of another kind, oil, would in turn dominate the later President Roosevelt's determination to create a war with Japan. The original Japanese aggression against China that helped lead up to World War Two was actually initially created by secret negotiations by another Roosevelt, President Teddy Roosevelt. He privately and unconstitutionally urged the Japanese to "civilize" both China and Korea by invading and creating a Japanese-style Monroe Doctrine for Asia. Eventually this culminated in the formation of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere," which became the organization used by Japan to run its puppet governments in the occupied nations.
The Tea, Silver and Opium Connection
Americans generally do not understand their own history, much less past international economic and foreign military actions. As is always the case, politicians hire and control publishing houses and the news media in order to sanitize history, extoll their virtues and demonize the losing opposition. The British Empire as well as all major nations do the same.
As the United States is headed toward increased conflict and economic competition, it is important that we understand the history of China and their history of having been ravaged by the Anglo-American establishment during tough times similar to what we are facing as a nation today. The US is an over-indebted, declining world power, losing its manufacturing base and world reserve currency status against the rising power of China.
America should resist efforts by the neocon think tanks and lobbyists to pull us into a direct confrontation with China due to our misguided Middle East foreign policy. The costs of such an outcome would be heavy and burdensome to our nation and people. Remember, what goes around comes around, and in the case of China I would expect them to give what they earlier received from the West.