Political weirdos like Marco Rubio humiliate US by betraying its founding fathers
Published: May 16, 2021 06:58 PM
Marco Rubio arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing. Photo: AFP

Marco Rubio arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing. Photo: AFP

During a recent speech in the US Senate, Senator Marco Rubio said, "If we fail, it is a century of humiliation that awaits us." He was talking about the so-called challenges posed by China. He said the 21st century will be defined by ties between China and the US, further spouting that "this is our last chance to make sure it's a balanced relationship."

A strong sense of crisis can be felt in Rubio's remarks. Some US elites like him are so concerned about China's peaceful rise. Why? Because they anticipate that China will overtake the US and become the world's largest economy in 2028. Some observers even predict that day may come sooner. They are even more worried that after that day arrives, Beijing's influence in global affairs will surpass that of Washington. 

The concerns are followed by anxiety and gangster logic: Washington should utilize whatever resources it has to eliminate any chance of China overtaking its status, disrupting China's development, including ganging up with allies to hype up allegations on Xinjiang affairs, and stirring up troubles in the South China Sea. But such moves are totally unreasonable. Washington is purely fabricating excuses to set up stumbling blocks for the path of China's development. 

The logic behind Rubio's "century of humiliation" rhetoric might be that the US has always won rivalries with countries it does not deem liberal and democratic. This has been in the case for more than 240 years since US' declaration of independence. The US has won the battles against Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. But now, in the competition with China, it seems that the US may lose. Certain US elites like Rubio believe that being defeated by China is equal to a failure of liberal democracy, a failure of US self-positioning and its global leadership role. 

Although Washington does not admit that the US is an imperial state, its behaviors have little difference from imperialism - forcibly intruding into other countries' land and forcing others to obey US will. And to some extent, the US is like the Roman Empire, which had zero tolerance for any potential competitor. Yet Washington should keep one thing in mind: Even the Roman Empire had to face its fall. 

Therefore, US politicians like Rubio start whining amid the US' present decline. Rubio said current US' China policy is "nothing but a collection of half-measures and studies," and the US needs a "meaningful China bill." 

In other words, he believes that neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden's containment against China is enough. He expects a complete showdown between the two countries, so as to forcibly obstruct China's rise through harder means, including military conflicts. He wants a comprehensive decoupling with China. 

In Rubio's eyes, bilateral interactions, including people-to-people communication, economic and trade ties, as well as cooperation on climate change are unnecessary. He and his ilk believe that large conflict between China and the US should come the sooner - and ergo the better, because the longer the US waits, the more unexpected developments may occur; and during that time, it will only be harder to contain China. 

The possibility of a comprehensive decoupling is unlikely. But China should be vigilant toward the current US political environment, in which voices such as Rubio's and people like him grow increasingly popular. They might deliberately create a major crisis in China-US ties for their own purposes. 

Rubio clamored that losing to China would be a "century of humiliation" for the US. Yet the biggest humiliation the US needs to address is how its very own politicians have brought the country to where it is today. The US now looks quite different from what US Founding Fathers once envisioned. Setting aside how the US has handled the coronavirus, racism or Afghanistan War, Americans have lost their direction about who should they be loyal to. Should it be a small group of radical politicians? The US public seems woefully disappointed. 

Unfortunately, politicians like Rubio never address America's own problems. They are busy passing the buck to the outside world. Ironically, the influence of those politicians must not be underestimated. It is anticipated that the Republican Party, and even Trump himself, will stage a comeback in the 2024 presidential election. Rubio is another popular choice among Republican voters. 

US political ecology is seriously ill. No figure, who can cure the sick politics, is in sight, and political weirdos keep emerging. This is causing chaos on US soil. The US looks like Germany before World War II - aggressive politicians are hyping up populism and leading the country to dangerous decisions. This is the pressing humiliation that the Americans should confront. 

The author is a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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