OPINION / VIEWPOINT
‘Longer Telegram’ a late-stage hegemonic farce
Published: Feb 09, 2021 05:23 PM

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

It is quite astonishing for the international community to witness a shockingly ridiculous event, in which an ugly specter of Cold War thinking has jumped out of its coffin to haunt the world again in January 2021. 

The so-called Longer Telegram, a poorly written parody of American diplomat George Kennan's famous "Long Telegram" in 1946, received world's attention not because it has any profound wisdom that the world, including American policymakers, can learn from, but because the world is shocked that such a problematic report filled with warmongering, imperialist ambition, and conspiracy theory is published not by online platforms such as QAnon but by well-known and prestigious American think tank the Atlantic Council. 

"Longer Telegram" is not only a parody of Kennan, but also one with anachronism. In the 21st century in which the collective will of the international community stands for peace, cooperation, and development and opposes war, hegemonic imperialism and cold war, this blatant clamor advocating a division of the world into two camps, seeking one country's hegemonic and imperialist dominance, and using wars as a means of blacking to win a "cold war" is contrary to the zeitgeist of this century. 

First, the methodology and the worldview of this report is based on a stunningly naïve black-and-white approach. It seems that the author of this verbose report is still mentally living in the old days of the Cold War era. 

Just like the US labeled the world as being divided into the capitalist bloc and the socialist bloc during the Cold War, this report uses similarly simple and unscientific methodology, arbitrarily dividing the world into the so-called camp of democracy and camp of authoritarianism. 

One may argue that the Cold War methodology had some element of truth as both then Soviet ambassador to the US Nikolai Vasilevich Novikov and American diplomat Kennan wrote reports pointing to the direction of a cold war, but one must admit the fact that in the 21st century the vast majority of the international community, China included, does not wish to see a new cold war and China itself never seeks to impose its political model on any state. 

China's core interest is to exercise Chinese people's unalienable right of determining China's own political system free from foreign intervention, and the success of China's model proves that alternatives to the Western political system exist and can succeed, but blaming China for exporting its political system abroad is certainly contrary to reality.

Second, the report's aim to seek hegemony is imperialist in nature and contrary to the international community's collective will. This report blatantly claims that its goal is to keep the hegemony of the US in the world and its most fundamental reason of hostility toward China is based on the wrong assumption of China seeking to replace the hegemonic role of the US. 

We would like to remind the author of this report that former US president Richard Nixon, as the Foreign Relations of the United States archives documented, warned Chinese leaders the danger and instability of a unipolar world and stressed the importance of moving toward a multipolar future. 

Unipolar hegemony is a very rare phenomenon in the history of human civilizations and empires and it is certainly contrary to multilateralism. China, unlike the author of this report who naively wishes to keep the privilege of one particular state forever, never aims to replace the hegemony and always seeks to embrace and promote a multipolar world in which all states are free from the fear of being subordinated to one single hegemon. 

Third, this report, allegedly written by a "former senior government official with deep expertise and experience dealing with China," lacks basic understanding of China's core interests and blatantly advocates treating Chinese internal affairs such as the Taiwan question as "redlines" of the US. Such a hawkish view is extremely dangerous for the stability of East Asia. 

American historian Robert Dallek, in his article "JFK vs. the Military" published in the Atlantic in 2013, pointed out that the bellicose hawks in the US government are enemies "more relentless than Khrushchev" for President John F. Kennedy. 

Similarly, the largest threat to peace, happiness and welfare of the American people today is not a remote country on the other side of the vast Pacific, but those arrogant and hawkish warmongers who would never hesitate to sacrifice the lives and well-beings of the American common people just to satisfy their own morbid obsession of provoking China.

The author is an executive director of the West Asia Studies Center of the H&J Institute and research fellow of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs. Bao Haining from the International Affairs program at George Washington University contributed to this article. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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