Washington never gets tired of painting China as the greatest threat to the United States. The latest comes from FBI director Christopher Wray. “China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary,” he said. Wow, really? It’s hard to think of a more meaningless but inflammatory statement from the head of a national security agency. The US has always needed an enemy. After the Soviet Union’s demise and the containment of militant Islam, it’s now China’s turn to be the bogeyman. But the US is arguably safer than ever, militarily and economically. Any existential problems it faces is not from other countries or non-state actors; it is its own worst enemy. Uncontrolled Covid-19 spread, anyone? China is ‘greatest long-term threat’ to the US, FBI director says One of the most famous conclusions of British historian Arnold Toynbee from his masterpiece, A Study of History , is that civilisations, most of them empires, almost inevitably died by their own sword, rather than someone else’s. For sure, foreign forces and external factors often give the coup de grâce, but the fallen empire has already become rotten to the core. There is no richer or more powerful nation in the history of the world than the US. Yet by most social and human development measures, it is behind practically all high-income, developed countries. According to the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, key threats to the survival of a civilisation include climate change, environmental degradation, inequality and oligarchy. The US is the only developed country with a ruling political party that denies climate change. The Republican Party encourages environmental degradation and is dominated by large corporate and oligarchic interests. Of all the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, the United States is the only one where the richer you are, the lower your overall tax rates get. No other developed country has experienced a greater slowdown in the lifespans of its citizens in the last three decades or greater economic and social and political inequalities. Americans pay significantly higher for mobile phone service and medicines than people in many other countries. Its health costs are the highest in the world, yet health coverage is the lowest among OECD member states. No other developed country puts more of its own citizens behind bars, with a much higher incarceration rate measured per 100,000 population, than the US, and that blacks and Latinos, though ethnic minorities, make up the majority of prison inmates. I rest my case.