Since its inception, the US has historically disguised – to others and to itself – the true nature of its relations with other peoples and nations that stood in the way of its ambitions. Its reversal of the order of cause and effect first surfaced with the pioneers’ expropriation of Native territories, as generations of Americans thrilled to iconic movies depicting peaceful European-descent settlers alerted to the terrifying prospect that ‘The Indians are coming!’.
And so it went, with the US projecting fear of harm to itself throughout expansion of its dominion, first into the Americas and then in the rest of the world, until its formidable economic and military power led to the fall of the last feared enemy, the Soviet Union, which was so to be feared that the American people could even be told they would be “better dead than Red”. The US rejoiced in the belief that the world was at last safe under its uncontested leadership, and about to reach what Francis Fukuyama’s then acclaimed book termed “the end of history”, with Its banner of liberal democracy and capitalism soon to be planted in every country in the world.
However, at the beginning of the 21st century, a formidable new competitor emerged. Now again the US cries out fearfully, this time, “The Chinese are coming!”, seeking to preserve its sole great power status, and proclaiming, perhaps even believing, that it alone can assure peace, stability and prosperity in the international system.
This book debunks, among others, the myth of the universality of US values, the myth of the imperial, dictatorial and state capitalist character of today’s China. It explains the division between the US and China through an analysis of their ideologies going back to the foundation of the US Republic and the time of the Chinese Empire. While demonstrating the remarkable internal consistency of the American ideology and its unshakeable stability through time, it reveals the source of the extraordinary difficulty the US accordingly experiences to adapt to the changes occurring in the international system: inter alia, the firm belief in its exceptionalism and good intentions. By contrast, the Chinese ideology, while also possessing a remarkable internal coherence through time, has achieved greater flexibility by integrating values imported from the West and several Confucian values, to form a new ideology better able to adapt its public policies to the changes of the national and the international environments.