One of the most important topics going on right now in our world is, as the U.S. government likes to call it, the “great power conflict” between China and the U.S. To explore this topic, Lee Camp brings on a political science professor from Shanghai to break the issue down.
Dr. Joseph Gregory Mahoney of the East China Normal University joins us for an hour-long discussion on the reality of life in China, the decline of U.S. hegemonic power, Chinese foreign policy and economic development, the return of Cold War propaganda narratives, philosophy, and much more.
Mahoney is a Ph.D. and professor of politics and international relations who grew up in Alabama during the Cold War. He says:
Certainly, I think in some respects [the Cold War] is back in terms of what we saw towards the end of the Obama administration with the so-called pivot, what we saw accelerating with Trump and then even accelerating further with Biden.”
The Obama-era “pivot” to Asia was a refocus of U.S. foreign policy away from its engagements in the Middle East and Europe toward gaining influence over countries surrounding China. Then, the Trump administration started a trade war with Beijing. Now, President Biden has continued Obama’s encroachments into East Asia and Trump’s tariffs while Congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi make diplomatic visits to Taiwanese separatists.
China sees that the U.S. is trying to bait it into a war over Taiwan. “We have experts and others who think, okay, this could happen in the next 2 to 5 years,” says Mahoney. He goes on to explain the “catastrophic” potential of a war between the U.S., China, and their nuclear arsenals.
Mahoney has been living in China for 13 years. “I worked for a think tank under the Central Committee there, in part of the party intellectual apparatus,” he says about his career. China has changed a lot since his first visit in 1998. Around 850 million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty in the last 30 years, according to U.N. data.
Mahoney addresses misconceptions about China that are common in the West, including the idea that the Chinese political system is undemocratic and that China is an expansionist empire that wants to dominate the world.
After 100 years of colonial occupation, which the Chinese refer to as the Century of humiliation, the decline of U.S. hegemony and the rise of a multipolar world order gives the Asian superpower the opportunity to build diplomatic and economic ties with countries across the world and secure their independence from Western domination.
“China feels very confident that they have not only reestablished their sovereignty but created themselves as a strong nation that can stand up for itself and advance the interests of its people,” says Mahoney. He reiterates that the Chinese political system and its network of councils serve the Chinese people and allow them to take part in governance, calling it “some form of social democracy.”
Watch Lee Camp’s full interview with Dr. Mahoney above.
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of Behind The Headlines’ new series: The Most Censored News With Lee Camp. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.
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