Over the past several decades, U.S. empire propagandists have consistently treated Russia as the go-to bogeyman. Americans born after the end of the Second World War, but who grew up before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, were especially bombarded with anti-USSR propaganda from a young age, teaching them to live in fear of the Soviets starting a nuclear war. And although the Soviet Union fell over three decades ago, this tradition of Russophobic fearmongering has persisted to this day.
Throughout the Trump presidency, liberal media remained fixated on the unsubstantiated claim that Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians in order to win the election. Ignore the various shortcomings of the Democratic Party –obviously it was Russia’s fault that Hillary Clinton lost! MSNBC tapped into its viewers’ primal fears each night when Rachel Maddow warned millions that Putin and Trump were working together to destroy American democracy.
Having been primed to believe anything about Russia, this core base of middle class liberals would become Zelensky’s most ardent source of cheerleaders starting in February 2022, uncritically regurgitating whatever pro-Ukraine propaganda came from the mainstream media. Overwhelmed by atrocity propaganda designed to silence debate, these liberals tended to lash out at and cancel anyone daring to provide context for the conflict beyond “Russia is evil, Ukraine is innocent”. Unfortunately, our current proxy war with Russia is merely the beginning of a wider conflict on the horizon. This is because, as stated in the Pentagon’s latest National Defense Strategy (NDS), our main target is China.
The U.S. empire’s strategy for maintaining unipolar hegemony has been to prevent the rise of any potentially competing superpower. But now that both Russia and China are too strong to be defeated by a moribund empire, Washington is instead dragging us into a new Cold War – and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine suggests that this time it could potentially turn hot. Considering that anti-China sentiment already blankets the western media, the manufacture of consent for war with China is a real possibility.
In response to Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, some prominent conservative voices have stayed true to their professed anti-establishment roots by pointing out the liberal media’s lies and hypocrisy. Tucker Carlson has gained praise from anti-imperialists and scorn from neoconservatives as the most-watched cable news show in America featuring criticisms of U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine. However, when it comes to coverage of China, Carlson may as well rename his brand, “The Rachel Maddow Show: Chinagate Edition.”
The anti-China rhetoric emanating from right-wing media personalities like Carlson has been especially bloodthirsty. In December 2021, he interviewed the conservative talkshow host Jesse Kelly, who said the U.S. military needs men “…who want to sit on a throne of Chinese skulls.” Other times, their opinions on China are just plain idiotic: Jack Posobiec recently claimed that the Communist Party of China is buying up all the American farmland, even though Bill Gates owns more fertile land in the US than anyone else. Of course, China Derangement Syndrome is not limited to conservatives. Liberals have a more opaque and insidious affliction concealed behind the New York Times paywall, in stock photos of Asians wearing masks or hazmat suits, and couched in faux concern over human rights.
In order to manufacture consent for the ongoing proxy war, Western media has perpetuated a “human rights” narrative by portraying neo-Nazis in Ukraine as brave freedom fighters defending themselves from an evil empire. This same media conveniently ignores the fact that over 14,000 people in Donbass, including many civilians and children, have been murdered by these “freedom fighters.” A similar pattern emerges from western propaganda about Hong Kong and Xinjiang: leaving out key information about U.S.-backed violent extremists in order to portray them as victims of persecution by a totalitarian regime.
In 2019, protests in Hong Kong were shown all over Western media. These made-for-TV protests obscured the ugly displays of anti-mainland Chinese xenophobia and mob violence. Ukrainian neo-Nazis even joined the Hong Kong protests to stoke the flames of the violence. Over the past few years, Western media has repeatedly accused China, without any evidence, of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims. These accusations rely almost entirely on the dubious scholarship of Adrian Zenz – a fellow at the far-right Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and religious zealot who believes he is “led by God” against China – and other U.S. State Department cut-outs like the World Uyghur Congress and Radio Free Asia. Discussion of the alleged Uyghur genocide elicits strong emotions to help distract from the well-documented fact of numerous terrorist attacks by Uyghur separatists in Xinjiang in the recent past. A 2014 BBC article cited several terrorist attacks committed by Uyghur extremists, while in 2016 the LA Times exposed how Wahhabi fundamentalism imported from Saudi Arabia had contributed to the radicalization of Uyghur separatists.
The unipolar “rules-based order” is collapsing in on itself, and a new multipolar world is rising. Many countries have escaped imperialist domination by joining the Belt and Road Initiative and partnering with China on the basis of win-win cooperation. Every time the U.S. empire and its vassal states have lashed out at Russia, it has backfired on regular working people in North America and Europe who would benefit greatly from multipolarity.
The ruling class knows we are angry when it forces us to endure the consequences of its actions, which is why it seeks to blame our suffering on Russia and China. It sees a whole generation of Americans that has already experienced multiple “once in a lifetime” financial crises, and does its best to fool us into thinking a better future is impossible, hoping we become so paralyzed by fear and despair that we never fight back. What would scare the ruling class more than Americans finally realizing not just that we share a common enemy, but that Russia and China are our friends and comrades in this struggle?