AUGUST 12 ― America bashing is the prevailing sentiment globally, with implosion of anti-West narratives capitalised as the pretext to justify actions of China and anti-US players and portraying themselves as the victims of Washington’s hypocrisy and atrocities. This momentum is on the side of Beijing, at least perceived, with the implosion of various causes that are framed on the narrative of casting America as the provocateur, a country of great hypocrisy and a player with arrogant intent to deny China’s rise and rightful place at the world stage.
Legacies of waves of destructions and sufferings left in the wake of supposed Washington’s atrocities have been pounced upon by Beijing and its allies in highlighting the blatant double standards imposed and the hypocritical stance taken by the Americans. Pivot to the region by the West is narrated as another attempt to divide the region and extend its losing grip on states.
Hypocrisy remains on blatant display by Beijing and certain players in the region, with worse bellicose actions and a full spectrum of tools and policies initiated by Beijing in bulldozing its ways to capture interests and security and expand grip and influence through coercion and pressure. From espionage to infiltration at various levels, end goals are met and justified through its vast network of ready, agile and offensive teams of executioners at different levels and functions. Regional players are also playing a two-timed game, in yearning to be central and neutral while fearful of upsetting the apple cart and in many ways kowtowing to the demands and pressure by Beijing. In facing the US, they admonished the risky America’s military presence in the region but demanded more American support and funding to the region in economic terms. Hypocritically, they also quietly welcome the counter-balance security measures and assurances provided but fearful to make the stance official or public in, again, avoiding antagonising Beijing.
The propaganda machinery of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and all affiliated institutions have been playing on this one sided narrative for years, pinning blame on the West and the US in particular, whenever the interests and strategies of Beijing have been challenged. In framing this easy narration of blaming the West and the outsiders of ill intent and hidden long term agenda of containing the peaceful rise of China, it provides a justified and credible pretext for the CCP in justifying all its internal challenges and barriers in achieving its goals and shifting the public sentiments and perceptions to the underscored evil intentions of the West. Critics of China and opposing views are labelled as agent provocateurs of Washington and even CIA spies, a narrative that has gained immense following, either willingly or deceptively, by scores of people outside the boundaries of China, Malaysia included.
By playing up local sentiments of hypernationalism and patriotism, the path is made easier in bypassing future crises and challenges, making the West an easy scapegoat in almost all denominations. Conversely, painting itself as the victim of centuries of humiliation and suppression at the hands of the Westerners provides easier capitalisation on the populace’s readiness and emboldened agenda to devote highly to the causes of the party and the country, and accepting the flaws and setbacks as being the end results of the West’s containment agenda and hypocrisy. This sustained approach risks backfiring, as realised now by the party elites. Playing to the gallery too far will come back in haunting ways which will rock the boat and provide the exact antithesis to the ultimate aims of the Party.
The United States, while not perfect, has been predominantly the force of good and stability to the world for decades. To be a global leader, a country will need to have the merits, conviction of purpose and moral obligations, the trust and obligations to drive and sustain norms, order and stability. Merit based capacity and proven credentials provide the justifications for leadership and roles in creating norms and sustaining them. America’s role in global peace and progress is not born out of a sinister plot to dominate the world or to be the de facto world’s policeman. It is out of sheer natural progression and obligation of being the world’s most powerful nation to serve and protect, and to carry out responsible commitment and contributions. No other power has the capacity and willingness to be a responsible global player in ensuring collective prosperity. It remains a world player out of necessity and pressing contextual reality, being forced to intervene in the great wars by events and necessities where America’s role has helped to end both the great wars and defeating forces of imperialism and Nazism.
Washington continues to provide a meaningful and credible opposition to the looming threat of communism, being the beacon and bastion of freedom and democracy and upholding the pillars of human rights and dignity. In defeating communism, followed by subduing pockets of terrorism in the post Cold War era, Uncle Sam faces a new orientation of finding its footing in global purpose. The resurgence of traditional threats in state-led high intensity conflicts with China as the primary player, forces Washington to redraw its resources and enduring optimism in preserving the rules-based order and stability from the looming threat. America remains an indispensable force of moral conviction in standing up to injustices, aggressions and unchecked autocratic forces that will upend decades of progress and agreed norms.
Millions of lives have been saved and millions more benefitted, from ending the wars and defeating forces of aggressions, to lives saved from critical funding and support for health and disasters. The long term impact of these momentous global and life changing events have often been overlooked and taken for granted, drowned by the overwhelming counter-narratives and propagandistic fatalist view espoused by anti US players.
Peace and stability in the world order created by the Americans, with the core essences of promoting and upholding freedom and rule of law, provide the ultimate backbone of civilisational progress and peace. Billions of dollars and unquantifiable amount of resources and focus given in fighting diseases, providing lifesaving aids, ending conflicts and creating new frontiers and breakthroughs in next level scientific and technological achievements, gave new hopes and changed lives of countless people across regions, countries, creed and religions.
With great power, comes greater responsibility. Not all would have taken up the thankless role of executing these obligations. As the most powerful nation, America remains the only power able to provide security assurances and capacities to states facing threats, and the only power proven to restore order and democracies, from saving lives from brutal dictatorships to promoting good governance and democracy.
A high bar is set in trade and economic policies to ensure standards are adhered to, from labour standards to human rights adherence as part of the broader global policies and investment criteria. Unlike Beijing, strict indicators on environmental impact and spillover effects to the local community are considered, with the drive to enhance collective progress.
Human dignity is reimagined, with people given the liberty to select their own governments and to determine their security options. Differences in opinions and orientations of various kinds are accepted and welcomed, not brutalised and cracked down. Human beings are given full liberty to dictate and determine their path of progress and given the support to achieve their highest potential without the prying eyes and grip of the government. An open and merit based recognition of talent and patent protection, among others, appreciate and celebrate diversity and inclusivity where these rights are the symbol of pride that make America the centre of global talents and dreams.
Leadership policies and systems of governance are moulded based on the sanctity of government of, by and for the people, where instead of fearing the potential and voices of its own people, their credentials are cherished and given the space to blossom. Idealism and generation of new progressive ideas, values and inventions are made possible in a free and open systemic model.
All these are not possible in an autocratic system like China where persecutions, coercive grip and suppression of talents and voices are creating a vicious circle of self-trap and stagnation, where more money is spent on domestic security in ensuring the people are abiding by CCP’s rules than on external security.
Few would have dared to imagine the different outcome for the world should the US remain in its own periphery of obligations, shunning its roles at the global level and remaining isolated. The current international order of rules-based stability and progressive economic progress would not have been created, and we might still be suffering under the forces of imperialism and aggressions.
Mistakes were made throughout the decades, undeniably, but the spirit of self-correction and self-realisation and freedom made it possible to recalibrate and to seek the best path forward. All the positive impact and legacies of America and the West in general, have been systemically challenged and strategically eliminated by Beijing and its allies through their rising and intense propagandistic narrative and soft power infiltration.
For all its flaws, perceived or otherwise, America remains our single best hope in leading the future and progress of the world and civilisations, while continuing to help others along the process in an open, sincere and transparent way. Washington is our last hope in standing up to rising autocratic threats which will undermine the international order and threaten the long-held stability and peace. Entrenched minds and perceptions might be hard to be swayed, especially when it involves strong and sustained exposure to one dimensional infusion of perspectives and narratives, but hard truths remain that we need an honest and future-driven reality check in reorienting our outlook, positions and eventual strategic readiness.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.