Biden Continues the US Conflict With China Through the Quad

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Biden Continues the US Conflict With China Through the Quad

Vijay Prashad

On March 12, the heads of government of four countries, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and the United States President Joe Biden, met for a virtual meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as the Quad. Modi’s opening remarks illustrate the emptiness of the public agenda; he called the Quad “a force for global good” with no details beyond a list of areas of collaboration (“vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies”). There was no direct mention of China during the meeting.

In the details relating to the... launching of “an ambitious new joint partnership that is going to boost vaccine manufacturing,” a more disturbing agenda reveals itself: the vaccines are meant for Southeast Asia, which is a core area of US contest against China, and the “emerging technologies” refers to the US desire to substitute products from its own high-tech firms and supplant the attractiveness of the Chinese high-tech industry. The goal of the Quad is to deepen the military and economic pressure against China.

The Quad was created in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004 and then deepened by President Obama as central to his “pivot to Asia.” But it did not take off until the US administration of Donald Trump began to rely upon this grouping to tighten pressure on China. It is for that reason that in late 2020, Trump gave the heads of government of Australia (Morrison), Japan (Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of the country) and India (Modi) the highest US military decoration, the Legion of Merit. These three partners are key players in the US government’s pressure campaign against China.

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