Since the end of World War II, the world has become polarized, dominated by the United States and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, both sides adopted the 'hypothetical enemy' national strategy and designated the other as a constant ‘targeted enemy’, resulting in all-round hostile confrontation in political ideology, diplomacy, military, economics, technology, space, and even cultural, artistic and most apparently constant media confrontation. This 'targeted enemy' national strategy has been in a stalemate for the two superpowers more than 45 years. It has greatly hindered human development, national progress, and advances in people's well-being. The progress achieved in military competition, such as arms race and misguided space technology yielded little real benefits but more harm to human beings. Finally, the Soviet Union disintegrated but it did not represent a success for the US "targeted enemy" national strategy, rather a failure of the Soviet Union's "targeted enemy" national policy. This is because that the Soviet Union has neglected the basic requirements of the people's ‘livelihood’ economy. Looking back at history from today's world situation, it can be said that the "targeted enemy" national strategy of the United States has not been successful. America would be a greater nation simply because of her rich resources, ingenious immigrants and American's ‘can do’ spirit, none of these has anything to do with her ‘hypothetical enemy’ strategy. Unfortunately, this strategy is still continuing and causing a slow decay in the U.S. due to the wars it started.
The U.S. has become a great world power after World War II for a variety of reasons, including its history, geography, resources, growing immigrant population and international situation. The U.S., in her thinking of maintaining her power status, is unfortunately latched on the "targeted enemy" strategy to gather the energy and power of the people within the country. Perhaps, because the United States is a country of immigrants constantly attracting immigrants from foreign lands. However, such a ‘targeted enemy’ strategy is a negative policy for uniting citizen's minds and gathering national strength. It takes a lot of energy and resources to cultivate negative thinking for a long enough time to produce irreversible ‘hypothetical or imaginary enemy’ profile, and often it requires creating false images and stories to characterize the ‘targeted enemy’. The result is that the strategy will be detrimental to the targeted country, causing opportunities to misguide or derail both countries’ national development, receiving only short-lived gains, and getting long-term damages that are difficult to reverse or to make up for. For example, the U.S. and Russia basically have many similarities. Both are big countries with rich resources, and most of their people believe in the same God. The U.S. also has many Russian immigrants and other immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Now the U.S. and Russia have become permanent enemies all because of the ‘targeted enemy’ strategy. This strategy has many theoretical faults with long-term impact. Furthermore, it takes a huge amount of manpower, material resources and time to create a targeted enemy, or to switch one or to add one to an existing theme. Today, the U.S. wants to create China as the targeted enemy, we can see all the handwritings on the wall. The U.S. has spent a lot of energy and resources to create false stories, such as genocide, virus spreader, loansharks, etc., to paint China as a threatening war monger, but the progress is zigzagged with lots of loopholes and not very convincing internationally, simply because China is not a real enemy but a rising competitor. China has never invaded or occupied any other country but offered mutual economic development. One of the critical ills the targeting China as enemy has created in the U.S. is division in her society and sharp rise of hate-Asian crimes.
Adopting the ‘targeted enemy’ national strategy on the basis of political ideology requires one’s own political and economic system to be perfect. Although the U.S. is the world's largest economy, but there is no perfect political and economic system in this world, only different systems suitable to each nation’s geographic conditions, history and natural resources available. So different systems cannot be characterized to be wrong at all, but every system must work with each other by bilateral and/or international agreements. As a world power, the U.S. naturally has great influence, but using an ‘hypothetical enemy’ national strategy to establish a targeted enemy unilaterally has no theoretical foundation. The hypothesis will be destroyed by changes happening in the international arena and denounced by the international community. When the ‘targeted enemy’ was forced upon a nation, small countries may not dare to speak out except being angry, but big countries will behave differently. China and Russia are good examples. The U.S. should think deep about whether targeting them as enemies, singly or together is a right or smart national strategy at all.
It is definitely unnecessary to apply the hypothetical enemy strategy to other small countries. Spending a lot of energy to build an enemy image does not create great cohesion in one’s own country. People’s perceptions of other small countries are shallow, sometimes, insensitive, so to apply the hypothetical enemy strategy to small country is really not worth the effort, only causing rift and future regret among the immigrants from the small countries or tarnishing the great power’s national image. For example, Cuba, a small neighbor of the U.S. has been designated as an hypothetical or targeted enemy by the U.S. for more than a half century. Is it beneficial to the U.S.? Not at all, except it created a strange political phenomenon in the U.S. For example, the Cuban-born Senator Marco Rubio has been involved in creating China as a targeted enemy in his senate career, hyping up China's human rights issues rather than caring about US-Cuba relations. Rubio seems to be against his conscience caring less about US-Cuba trades or Florida domestic issues than Xinjiang’s cotton production or Hong Kong’s street protests. Now Rubio is viewed as a traitor by many Cubans and ex-patriots, regarded as persona non grata in China, and cast as an opportunistic politician in the U.S.
Using ‘hypothetical or targeted enemy’ as a national strategy to deal with major powers is costly and risky with outcome difficult to predict. The Soviet Union is an example. Fortunately, the U.S. national policy was not defeated, but it was not a lasting plan, since the U. S. felt compelled to ally with China to rival with the Soviet Union. In 1990, the Soviet Union disintegrated on its own, but Russia still exists. Russia’s revival with a different system was apparent. And her rise could not be ignored but not wise as another ‘targeted enemy’. History has shown to us that it is difficult to maintain the cohesion of the U.S. for long by relying on the ‘target enemy’ strategy and the chances of failure are great and devastating. The Vietnam War is a good example. North Vietnam and Russia were the mortal enemies of the U.S. and the South Vietnam at the start of the war, but in the end, the Vietnam War ended by the North and South Vietnam unified. The biggest stain in U.S. history. The U.S. seems to be obsessed with the ‘targeted enemy’ national strategy, one enemy defeated must continue with another hypothetical enemy. China is the latest example, but China is completely different from the Soviet Union. Today, it will take a great deal of energy to create a ‘substitute’ hypothetical enemy. How much the U.S. national strategists wish they could simply turn off Russia and turn on China as the targeted enemy. But there are too many contradictions, too much difficulties and too uncertain in gains versus losses. Today's complex US-China confrontation is precisely created by the U.S. ‘targeted enemy’ national strategy. Using other countries' internal affairs to find reasons to create a hypothetical enemy has no basis in international law since other countries' internal affairs do not have impact on the U.S. national interest nor security. Interfering in other nation’s domestic affairs to create a hypothetical enemy for uniting the American citizens has a fragile foundation and likely creating U.S. own domestic issues. The current U.S. target China national strategy has already created a domestic security problem - anti-Chinese extended to anti-Asian crisis. The increase of hate-Asian crime in the U.S. not only tearing apart American societies but also worsen the racial discrimination issue in the U.S. This hurts the U.S. international image and causes concern in the international community. As a result, we see that the Southeast Asian countries have either refused to choose sides in the US-China confrontation or taken the China side.
The hypothetical enemy or targeted enemy national policy is time-consuming and laborious. On the contrary, the targeted enemy country does not have to respond in the same way. The response tactics of the targeted enemy can be selective and focused, according to the international situation and its own historical evolution. The Ukrainian-Russian war today is a good example. Of course, the U.S. is continuing with Russia as her targeted enemy, but the U.S. is also creating China as her hypothetical enemy and her targeted enemy in the future. Can the U.S. hold China to stand in line with her to condemn Russia and be the targeted enemy later, is that possible? A practical thinking? China's response tactics can be flexible for her own interest, since China does not have to treat the U.S. as an hypothetical enemy, nor Russia or Ukraine. China can play her cards based on reasoning, facts, and long-term interests. Thus, China is maintaining a normal diplomacy and mutually beneficial relations with Russia and Ukraine, doing business as usual and urging both sides to cease fire and negotiate. The U.S., on the other hand, is obviously bound by her ‘targeted enemy' national strategy, and can only rely on its buddies (AUKUS and NATO) to support an unsymmetrical war that could have been avoided if the U.S. (and NATO) were not adhering to a ‘target enemy’ strategy. Now they are riding a tiger not knowing how to get off.
To sum up, politicians do not have crystal balls seeing the future and it is absolutely impossible to predict and control the future. Therefore, the 'hypothetical enemy' or the ‘targeted enemy’ national strategy is a misguided policy for harming others and not benefiting oneself. The U.S. should reflect on her past and charter a new strategy. Examining the Ukraine-Russian war with a causality analysis, it is clear that the war is the direct result of a 'targeting Russia' strategy which was driven by the U.S., NATO, and EU. It is absolutely necessary for Ukraine (and NATO and EU) to abandon the ‘targeted enemy' strategy and explore good neighborliness and peaceful co-existence approach as the way to govern their relations with Russia and other neighbors. Hopefully, they will be able to manage their foreign relations and not become a pawn of sacrifice in a 'targeted enemy' game in the future. Taiwan has been very concerned about the situation in Ukraine. In fact, Taiwan is clearly a pawn in the U.S. ‘targeting China’ strategy. Taiwan should understand that the ‘targeted enemy' strategy is a negative policy which can only harm others, oneself and possibly the world, especially he pawn. Taiwan should learn a lesson from the U.S.-NATO-Ukraine-Russia war and come away with a clear understanding that there is a bright opportunity in the future for Taiwan by simply abandoning the ‘hypothetical enemy‘ strategy！Only positive thinking can bring cooperation and mutual benefits. Only positive thinking can bring positive changes to political and economic systems. Mainland China and Taiwan have such an opportunity.