22 March 2021 — Morning Star Online
For Britain to spend billions of pounds on a military build-up against China is a criminal waste of resources and is directly against the economic interests of the British people, says FIONA EDWARDS
BRITAIN will be joining the US’s new cold war against China in a move that is both dangerous for the entire world and against the interests of the British people.
That is the meaning of the Tory government’s latest Defence and Foreign Policy Review, Global Britain in a Competitive Age, that was published on Tuesday March 16.
Not only will this cold war see Britain waste billions of pounds in a ridiculously provocative and aggressive military build-up against China in the Pacific region but it is also inevitable that engaging in such acts of belligerence will cost Britain many jobs as vital trade and investment from China will be lost.
US offensive against China
The central foreign policy priority of the US administration under President Joe Biden is to wage a multi-faceted offensive against China, with the goal of blocking China’s national rejuvenation, and Britain is joining in with this attack as a junior partner.
The new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken set the tone for Biden’s administration in his first major speech on March 3 when he described the rise of China as the “biggest geopolitical test” facing the US in the 21st century.
Days later on March 9 the head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip Davidson, asked the US Congress for $27 billion (£19.3bn) extra funds for new military hardware and practice military exercises so that the US could get into a position of being “prepared to fight and win should competition turn into conflict.”
Biden’s team has already started the work of attempting to build an international front of US allies against China as the central pillar of Washington’s foreign policy — and that’s where “Global Britain” fits in.
The Tory government’s Defence and Foreign Policy Review essentially presents Britain’s role in the world as junior partner to the US, which the document describes as “the UK’s most important strategic ally” in confronting the “systemic challenge” represented by China and the “hostile” threat that Russia allegedly poses.
Britain’s increasing military aggression against China
Despite Boris Johnson’s subdued and conciliatory rhetoric and tone, which attempted to pose Britain’s participation in the new cold war against China as an “Indo-Pacific tilt” which would include building “a stronger and positive economic relationship” with Beijing, the truth is that Britain is increasing its military aggression against China.
This includes the recent decisions to increase Britain’s military spending to the tune of £24bn over the next four years and to deploy Britain’s new aircraft carrier, the Queen Elizabeth, to the South China Sea in May, alongside a US Destroyer as part of a flotilla of nine ships.
In addition engaging in such provocative military escapades just off China’s coastline, it is extremely threatening and dangerous that the Tory government has now announced it will be increasing its nuclear arsenal by 40 per cent at precisely the same time that Washington is escalating its massive offensive against China.
This outrageous decision to increase Britain’s nuclear arsenal contravenes our legal obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Britain ratified in 1970 and which requires countries that have nuclear weapons to disarm.
For Britain to spend billions of pounds on new nuclear weapons and a military build-up against China is a criminal waste of resources — such vast funds are urgently needed to tackle the pandemic, create jobs, fund public services and to tackle climate breakdown.
The new cold war against China will cost British jobs
The reality is that Britain’s participation in the new cold war is an act of self-harm and the material interests of the British people are going to be sacrificed in order to carry out the dictates of Washington.
It is absurd that the government’s “Global Britain” Review suggests that at the same time as increasing military aggression against China, Britain will also be able to “continue to pursue a positive trade and investment relationship with China.”
The Tories are completely naive to believe that China will invest and create jobs in Britain if this country enthusiastically participates in Washington’s cold war.
The exact opposite will happen — China’s investment into the US has already collapsed following the US launching its cold war, costing the US many thousands of jobs.
It is obvious that China would prefer to trade with and invest in countries that are not engaged in a cold war and so Britain, which is already facing high unemployment, stands to lose even more jobs and suffer severe economic damage in pursuing an anti-China policy.
The Labour front bench argues that Britain should actively choose to shun trading with China, the world’s most rapidly growing major economy, which would cost Britain thousands of jobs and puts Labour to the right of the Tories on this issue.
Another aspect of the Tory government’s anti-China policy which is also directly against the economic interests of the British people is the ban on Huawei, which means 5G will be delivered later and more expensively in Britain.
We need global co-operation not a new cold war
Johnson’s decision to take Britain into a new cold war against China is against the interests of both the Chinese and British people.
Instead of wasting billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction and supporting the US’s military build-up against China, Britain should genuinely pursue dialogue and global co-operation with China to tackle the immense problems facing humanity.