US rebukes to China over its relations with Russia smack of imperial arrogance
- Washington’s attempts to lecture Beijing suggest an arrogance reminiscent of the Roman empire, whose insatiable lust for power was ultimately the cause of its decline
- Like Rome’s animus towards Carthage, US hostility towards China is rooted in Beijing’s growing influence and prosperity
Antony Blinken is clearly labouring under the misconception that he is secretary of state for the world, rather than the US. How else to explain his repeated attempts to lecture China over its relations with Russia?
Not satisfied with that, Blinken declared that what he “tried to convey to the state councillor is this really is a moment where we all have to stand up” and that when it comes to the Ukraine conflict, “there is a clear aggressor. There is a clear victim.”
One is reminded of one of history’s most seminal encounters – an exchange between a Roman delegation and the Carthaginian senate that set in train the direction of travel of human affairs for centuries thereafter.
The Romans claimed Saguntum as a protectorate and, according to Greek historian Polybius, gave “the Carthaginians the option of two alternatives […] Either they must give up Hannibal and the members of his council or war would be declared.” The Carthaginians refused and Rome waged war.
Today, Blinken demands that Beijing should stop supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin or incur the displeasure of Washington, the Rome of our time. It’s the same imperial arrogance that accompanies any empire, established in the name not of peace and prosperity, but of war and exploitation.
As with Rome’s animus towards Carthage, the US’ hostility towards China is not over anything bad that China has done or is doing. Rather, it is because of China’s success and sure-footedness on the world stage, and its growing influence. Rome felt threatened by Carthage’s growing prosperity just as Washington feels threatened by Beijing’s.
Blinken knows all this perfectly well, which is why his protestations over Beijing’s relations with Moscow are disingenuous.
Carthage’s destruction after the Third Punic War (149-146BC) left the world naked and trembling at the feet of a Roman empire whose lust for power and domination was unparalleled and insatiable – and the cause of its inevitable decline.
Washington’s empire is likewise built on foundations of greed and lust for power. The democracy and human rights it purports to represent are but the flowery curtains behind which the savage beast of hegemony lives.
Putin is not a modern-day Hannibal but, sadly, it appears that Blinken believes himself to be Rome’s Scipio Africanus, the famed general who defeated Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in 202BC.
John Wight is a writer and political commentator