Encircling China » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the NamesOn UN Day, at a panel on Nuclear Disarmament, Secretary General Ban-ki Moon spoke about his 2008 five point proposal for nuclear disarmament, including the requirement for negotiations to ban the bomb. It was dismaying when the next speaker, a retired US Air Force General, Michal Mosley, breezily assured the audience and his fellow panelists that it certainly was now possible to rid the world of nuclear weapons, since atomic bomb technology is thoroughly out of date. He boasted that today â€œweâ€ have long range attack weapons of such â€œunbelievable precision and lethalityâ€ that we no longer need nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. Our conventional weapons are ever so superior to those of any other nation. He said this as his fellow co-panelists, the Russian and Chinese ambassadors, took in the full import of his braggadocio, to my extreme embarrassment as a US citizen. Did the General consider for a moment the effect his words were having on the Ambassadors and the other non-US participants in the meeting? His astonishing disregard for the effect of such provocative war talk on our fellow earth mates seems to be a major failure of our â€œtin earâ€ foreign policy. Hillary Clinton proclaimed a similarly tone-deaf policy in an article in Novemberâ€™s Foreign Affairs, â€œAmericaâ€™s Pacific Centuryâ€, remarking that now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were winding down, we were at a â€œpivot pointâ€ and that â€œone of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will be to lock in a substantially increased investmentâ€”diplomatic economic, strategic and otherwiseâ€”in the Asia-Pacific region.â€ Calling for â€œforward-deployedâ€ diplomacy, she defined it to include â€œforging a broad-based military presenceâ€ in Asiaâ€¦that would be â€œas durable and as consistent with American interests and values as the web we have built across the Atlanticâ€¦capable of deterring provocation from the full spectrum of state and non-state actorsâ€ She added that just as our NATO alliance â€œhas paid off many times overâ€¦the time has come to make similar investments as a Pacific powerâ€. Citing our Treaty alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Thailand as the â€œfulcrum for our strategic turn to the Asian-Pacificâ€, she also spoke of the need to expand our relationships to include India, Indonesia Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mongolia Vietnam, and the Pacific Island countries. While acknowledging â€œfears and misperceptions that â€œlinger on both sides of the Pacificâ€, stating that â€œsome in our country see Chinaâ€™s progress as a threat to the United States; some in China worry that America seeks to constrain Chinaâ€™s growthâ€ she blithely asserted, â€œwe reject both those views â€¦a thriving America is good for China and a thriving China is good for Americaâ€. This said as the United States aggressively lines up a host of new nations in an expanded Pacific military alliance, providing them with missile defenses, ships, and warplanes, encircling China. What is she thinking? Shortly after Clintonâ€™s article appeared, Obama went to Australia to open up a new military base there with a token 250 US soldiers, and a promise of 2500 to come with plans for joint military training, promising that â€œwe will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region.â€ He also adopted the â€œManila Declarationâ€, pledging closer military ties with the Philippines and announced the sale of 24 F-16 fighter jets to Indonesia. Clinton just paid a visit to Myanmar, long allied with China, to re-establish relations there. In her articleâ€™s conclusion Clinton bragged, â€œOur military is by far the strongest and our economy is by far the largest in the world. Our workers are the most productive. Our universities are renowned the world over. So there should be no doubt that America has the capacity to secure and sustain our global leadership in this century as we did in the last.â€ Didnâ€™t anyone tell her that the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest in the 52 years the census bureau has been publishing those figures? Or that the United States deteriorating transportation infrastructure will cost the economy more than 870,000 jobs and would suppress US economic growth by $3.1 trillion by 2020, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers? The tone-deaf quality of US foreign policy pronouncements is like an infant who pulls the covers over his head to play peek-a-boo, thinking he canâ€™t be seen so long as he canâ€™t see out. China has responded as would be expected. A Pentagon report warned Congress that China was increasing its naval power and investing in high-tech weaponry to extend its reach in the Pacific and beyond. It ramped up efforts to produce anti-ship missiles to knock out aircraft carriers, improved targeting radar, expanding its fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and warships and making advances in satellite technology and cyber warfare. What did we expect? And now, having provoked China to beef up its military assets, the warmongers in the US can frighten the public into supporting the next wild burgeoning arms race in the Pacific and what appears to be endless war. This month, Mikhail Gorbachev , in The Nation , observed the US eliteâ€™s â€œwinnerâ€™s complexâ€ after the end of the Cold War, and the references to the US as a â€œhyperpowerâ€, capable of creating â€œa new kind of empireâ€ . He said, â€œ[t]hinking in such terms in our time is a delusion. No wonder that the imperial project failed and that it soon became clear that it was a mission impossible even for the United States.â€ The opportunity to build a â€œtruly new world order was lost.â€ The US decision to expand NATO eastward â€œusurped the functions of the United Nations and thus weakened it. We are engulfed in global turmoil, â€œdrifting in uncharted waters. The global economic crisis of 2008 made that abundantly clear. â€œ Sadly, the powers in control of US public policy and their far-flung global allies appear to have learned nothing from the extraordinary opportunity we lost for a more peaceful world at the Cold Warâ€™s end. We are now repeating those expansionary designs in Asia, and â€œthus we continue to drift towards unparalleled catastropheâ€ as Albert Einstein observed when we split the atom which â€œchanged everything save manâ€™s mode of thinkingâ€.