Republicans are ramping up their anti-China rhetoric, unsurprisingly, during a time when anti-Asian hatred and conspiracies are at the fore.
The GOP is in search of a boogeyman. Thus far, its efforts to paint President Joe Biden as an evil, corrupt tyrant seem to be falling flat. But it clearly sees political promise in its efforts to portray China — and its people — as dangers to the U.S. And, frighteningly enough, in a nation that has yet to reckon with its treatment of Asian people at home and abroad, conservatives could see returns on this investment.
Last week, Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, openly parroted rather repulsive claims made by an Air Force general that the U.S. is likely to be at war with China in 2025 and that military officers should prepare to “aim for the head.”
As NBC News noted, the Defense Department disagreed, saying Gen. Mike Minihan’s remarks are “not representative of the department’s view.” But on Sunday, McCaul told Fox News that he thinks the general is right about the prospect of war and claimed that Biden “projecting weakness” was to blame.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., openly called for Chinese students who come to the U.S. for school to be prohibited from attending U.S. colleges. “Certainly at the graduate level,” he said in an interview on Newsmax, “or certainly in the STEM areas, at the graduate level,” using the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.
It seems pretty clear that Good thinks Chinese students in America to learn math and science are a threat to national security. Blatant bigotry.
Just days earlier, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., also appeared on Newsmax and suggested that there could be truth in a racist rumor claiming that one of Biden’s aides when he was vice president might have ties to the Chinese government. Comer — who now chairs the House Oversight Committee — also has baselessly claimed that Biden’s energy policy suggests he has been “compromised by China.”
Any one of these things, on its own, would indicate a disturbing anti-Asian worldview, in my opinion. But when they are taken together, it seems clear what the GOP is after in pushing this crusade.