By Nathan Barton
Funny how two very similar events are interpreted so totally differently by the mainstream AND the alternative media. Consider recent events in the Western Pacific (the Far East) involving the Chinese and United States navies.
The Mirror (UK newspaper) reports that a joint US-Chinese naval exercise near the Philippines before a massive, multi-national naval exercise off the Hawaiian Islands is an example of cooperation and coexistence between the two rival powers. The two country’s heavily armed task forces exchanged visits, compliments, and maneuvered together.
Meanwhile, apparently on the other side of the Philippines, in the South China Sea, according to Yahoo and other news sources and commentators, two USN aircraft carriers are operating while being “shadowed” by Chinese warships. The area is being claimed by various nations including a US ally (the Philippines), and quasi-ally Vietnam, and China (and others). Depending on the point of view of the commentator, either this is China threatening the USN and freedom of the seas, or the US being the big imperialist bully threatening the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (honest, that is its name) in a blatant act of provocation against China.
It seems to me you can’t have it both ways. People, I am certain that both the two Chinese naval forces AND the two American forces, though a thousand or more miles apart (and on opposite sides of those Philippine islands) are in constant communications with each other. And based on the fact that the Chinese are coming to Hawaii with a clear welcome from the USN, I suspect that there is no horrific confrontation in the South China Sea, as so many want to claim. (The alternative is that the two navies are lying about the cooperation out in the Pacific itself, and in reality, it is also another face-off. But that just doesn’t make sense, for several reasons.)
But the reality of the situation, whether cooperation or confrontation, is a moot point to the fearmongers and rabid statists on both sides of the issue and in both nations (including various allies of each). These include the media and the politicians and the bureaucrats. They don’t really care.
The point they are making is that we must fear “the enemy” (China or the FedGov) and that the enemy is evil and an immediate danger to us (“us” being our economy, our society, our government, and our physical survival). So we MUST support our government (whether in DC or Peking), give up our liberty (or continue to not HAVE our liberties), give up our money, and give up our sons and daughters to confront the threat. And also (from the point of view of the alternative “libertarian” media) that here is yet another example of how the warmongers in the two navies and their political masters in DC and/or Peking are scamming their own people and society, selling them down the river.
But even their motives are moot, if we are willing to look at the situation and are rational and calm about it. First, we should recognize that sometimes we mistake acts of stupidity for acts of evil. Second, we should recognize that there IS evil on the part of many people: not just government and its supporters and minions. Even those who claim to love liberty can be evil, when you get right down to it. The pull of the dark side can be very strong, after all. Third, we need to understand that we can never know the full details of any event, of any situation. We must ALWAYS make decisions based on incomplete data (except when taking math tests in school).
The probable truth of the matter is that while China and the FedGov are rivals, they are also dependent on each other: as trade partners and as governments seeking as large a degree of hegemony as possible. Neither is likely to attempt to destroy the other, for two reasons: first, it would be virtually impossible to do so, and second, both sides might succeed at least partially. If there is war between the two, it will likely be due to a stupid mistake on the part of someone on one or both sides. And there is virtually NOTHING that the man or woman in the street of Shanghai or Los Angeles could do (in the short term) to prevent that.
In the long term, there is of course much that can be done: primarily in the realm of weakening and dismantling governments, especially the upper levels. But that is a subject for another commentary.
As is the question of whether we need navies or not. I think we do, but not the kind we have right now.
Let me finish by answering the question in the headline. We don’t believe ANYthing we read, mainstream media or alternate media, pro-American or pro-Chinese, pro-cooperation or pro-confrontation, without first checking on the facts and the interpretations for ourselves to the best of our ability.
Mama’s Note: Since we have a large and clear body of history indicating that politicians and bureaucrats (and yes, most “journalists”) are prolific, dedicated liars, and that few if any have individual liberty in mind whatever they do, I’ll go with an assumption that very little of what I read in any medium is trustworthy.
On the other hand, I don’t think the massive propaganda machines of government will be able to sell another bogus “war,” especially with China. Russia? Can Putin sell a “war” to Russians? Remains to be seen.