By Xin Ping
With regard to "discourse traps" set by the West for China, the "Thucydides Trap" is undoubtedly a misleading one. The theory makes it "reasonable" to deter and suppress China in an all-round way. However, the law of history is not "a strong country will seek hegemony", but "a hegemon is bound to decline."
Hegemons are destined to be short-lived. Though varied in the way of destruction, they all brought the fate on themselves. As pointed out by the famous British historian Toynbee, the common feature of decline of empires lies in excessive expansion of power and growing internal distortion in society.
As the only existing hegemonic power in the world, the United States has obviously not drawn lessons from its predecessors. The U.S., which always advertises exceptionalism, believes that it is also an exception in the face of the law of history that a hegemon is bound to decline. However, it is embarking on the beaten road step by step. The time of change has come; military, finance, technology and culture, the four pillars of its dominance and its pride, have shown instability.
Military Hegemony- the Source of Chaos
The United States has set up more than 800 military bases around the world. Only 16 years in the 240-year history of the nation saw no wars happening. Since the Second World War, the United States has been involved in every major military conflict in the world. The displacement of tens of millions of people following the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria is nothing but a sin committed by the United States.
Today, the United States is still obdurate even if COVID-19 is out of control and more than 500,000 lives are lost. It is more reasonable to cut military expenditures and spend money on treating diseases and saving people. Can aircraft carriers kill the virus?
Financial Hegemony- Taking Advantage of Other Countries
With financial hegemony, the U.S. makes no allowance for printing money and becomes a speculator out of its own interests. As for the cyclical financial crisis? The whole world will be its “sheet anchor”. With financial hegemony, the United States profits a lot, leaving the real economy a burden shifted to others. It creates patches of "rust belts", where factories are closed and blue-collar workers are unemployed.
The unlimited expansion of capital has brought about a widening gap between the rich and the poor. The wealth of the top 1% in the U.S. is 950 times that of the bottom 50%. How can such society be united? How can its policies be reasonable?
Technological Hegemony- World's Bottleneck
In the eyes of the United States, high-tech is so exclusive that thriving companies in other countries should be ruthlessly suppressed. Alstom of France, Toshiba and Toyota of Japan, and the aerospace industry of the Soviet Union have all failed to escape the vicious attacks of the United States. In recent years, China's Huawei and TikTok also became its targets.
Since the Second World War, the United States has spent lots of money recruiting scientific talents from various countries, even war criminals from the Nazis and Unit 731. However, over-reliance on foreign talents has led to the proliferation of obscurantism and tittytainment to a certain extent. As a result, anti-intellectualism prevails.
Cultural Hegemony- Advertising "Spiritual Opium"
For many years, the United States has ignored that “one man’s meat can be another man’s poison”, and aggressively propagandized "universal values" to the world. But in fact, "universal values" derived from the Christian concept of ecumenism, and the promotion of "universal values" is no different from medieval missions. Samuel P. Huntington, an American scholar who put forward the "clash of civilizations", confessed that imperialism is the necessary logical consequence of universalism to some countries.
In 2020, COVID-19 once again proved that the so-called democracy is insufficient in protecting people's lives and health; the so-called freedom means that the powerful and the rich can do whatever they want; the so-called human rights is the power of the United States to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries.
Today, the U.S. uses its "spiritual opium" to slander Xinjiang's cotton. But the international community tells right from wrong. The Islamic world and Africa firmly stand by China, and non-Western countries such as Russia and Iran have also rejected claims of "universal values." Countries in Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America that didn't dare to speak up for themselves will no longer respond to all demands of the United States.
The essence of hegemony is to oppress, exploit, and enslave, making "anti-hegemony" an aspiration of all countries nowadays. The 21st century is a century of cooperation for mutual benefits. Those who are obsessed with pursuing hegemony are doomed to be laughing stocks and are out of step with the times.