Thursday 5 October 2023

America blames China for its opioid epidemic

Attorney General Merrick Garland announces sanctions on China for the US opioid crisis. Photo: Manuel Balce/AP

America blames China for its opioid epidemic 

The United States of Amnesia is at it again. Blasting China with a whole new round of sanctions and indictments, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s claim on Tuesday, that China is responsible for the fentanyl crisis, diverts from the opioid epidemic caused by American companies Johnson and Johnson and others, “profiting from a flood of addictive painkillers that devastated communities”. As a result, J&J faced a $26 Billion lawsuit in 2021 but we’re encouraged to forget this as the social and health damage deepens.

Blame shifting includes: “The companies have maintained that they were filling orders of legal drugs placed by doctors – so they shouldn’t shoulder blame for the nation’s addiction and overdose crisis.”

From US doctors to China, the blame game goes on while the conditions of poverty and despair that breeds drug addiction are allowed to continue. China manufactures the precursor chemicals for fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain-killer used legitimately in medicine but there is no widespread fentanyl abuse in China. Why is America incapable of tackling criminal drug production and trafficking? What next? Making China culpable for producing steel that makes guns?

This is a useful ploy by western elites to rewrite history, deleting their own role in the 19th century Opium Wars atrocity, when Britain forced vast quantities of mass-produced opium grown in Bengal using industrial methods on to China at gunpoint.

It turned an aristocratic vice into a nationwide addiction, massacred Chinese and made huge profits for British, American and other western narco-capitalists which helped finance their industrial revolutions.

US profits in the richest country on the planet could have been spent over the years on creating a model society for all its people. Instead, wealth was gobbled up by the elites like a giant Pac-Man until the top one percent owns as much as the bottom 90 percent … and it shows.

As rationalisation for war with the successful rising superpower, it’s primitive, crude and relentless. Prepping for Opium Wars 2 and the hoped for carve-up of the China Golden Goose by the declining West builds like some dark age Berserker raid.

Which all goes to show that the western capitalist system of putting profit before people’s needs is doomed to destroy itself. I believe someone else made this observation nearly 200 years ago, 18 centuries after another seer kicked out the money dealers in some temple.

We can do better than this.

Video: more info at Jerry’s Take on the US and opioids

Monday 2 October 2023

Don Quixote in the White House: Hollywood deconstructs the narrative

Don Quixote in the White House: Hollywood deconstructs the narrative

by Anna Chen, first published by Asia Times, 29 September 2023

Now that the writers’ strike in the US is over, I can pitch my script for that blockbuster version of Cervantes’ classic crying out to be made: Don Quixote in the White House, updating windmills to stray weather balloons, complete with paranoia and mustache-twirling villains. (Oh. Democrats don’t do facial hair?)

I’ll be putting the donkey into Don Quixote. Maybe work in a nice tune. Hey, Madonna can sing the theme song, give Ted Nugent a break.

We got a red-hot A story – the trials and tribulations of Don Quixote, our hero in his sunset years running the world, getting into scrapes, his mentis not quite as compos as it should be.

He’s an elderly, forgetful, stumbling protagonist, just like the original Don. No, not that one (he’s busy right now – more trial than tribulation), I mean DQ, the lovable old guy from the story.

Character flaws? Plenty. Regrets? He has a few. But then again, too few for the press to mention. A man of mystery, there’s a touch of of something untoward in the background keeping us hooked. Did he? Didn’t he? Loves his family. Is a fool for his reprobate son who, in a hilarious reversal of everything else in his eyes, he sees with a glowy halo and angel wings. Did I mention character flaws?

The B-story is a light romance set in the world’s seat of power. He loves Xi but the sweethearts fall out over a misunderstanding that Xi wants to ditch him and run off with Europe. We open with DQ defending his squeeze: “China is going to eat our lunch? C’mon, man.” Just to show he was lucid once so mebbe, the movie promises, we can get him there again.

What’s at stake? Only the survival of the entire world.

After he falls for this comical misapprehension, the rest of the movie is spent struggling to restore equilibrium against a spiral of decline. The A and B stories intersect and turn each other in a rising crescendo of mistake after mishap after disaster until they come together at the end, the problem resolved in an explosive payoff – Ka-boom!– and we all live happily in the hereafter.


At the start, a choir is telling him, “Now play nice.” OK, they’re minor characters: we kill them off in a car crash in Act One. The other, the devil in his ear, is dragging him to hell in a handcart – we’ll give that one a British accent.

He commits a series of boo-boos so comically absurd, they’ll have the audience in stitches. Literally. Crimea river and pass the cookies.

With all this screaming hysteria going on, this is where the weather balloon comes in. We know it’s innocent. Xi knows it’s innocent. Senior American General Milley knows it’s innocent and says so, loudly and several times. But still DQ shoots it down. “No, don’t, baby, you’ll only look silly,” Xi pleads with him but, Grrr, he sets his Raptors on to it and shoots that bad boy down.

As if that’s not enough, there are two massive snakes he has to fight in an exciting sequence of subterfuge, sabotage and derring-do. Actually, they’re only oil pipelines, not the mythical serpents of his imagination. Being the gentleman that he is, though, he won’t take credit for decapitating them but pushes Sancho Panza up front to take a bow.

Is it a misunderstanding? Senility? An over-eagerness to grab his former love’s attention? Who knows? Soon, every bozo is jumping on the spy-balloon bandwagon, radiating in intensifying circles of comic horror tragedy.

Across the world, every two-bit, dime-a-dozen demagogue, any politician or public figure in need of a reputation cleanser or career booster realizes they can play the China “Get out of jail free” card, ready made for every grade ‘n’ shade of no-goodniks.

In Great Britain, there’s fun-and-frolics in deflecting their flaming nosedive on to China. “Human rights” is the watchword for the biggest Empire ever (except for the US). Reds in the bed, spies in Parliament, no charges in court.

They ban Chinese teachers, replacing them with Taiwanese teachers who don’t have Mandarin as first language, because “spying.” In a call-back to Freedom Fries, they’re only allowed to teach Democracy Mandarin. Ho fun noodles are now no-fun noodles because everything Chinese is a spy. And Britain should know. As the longest-lived, oldest spy network in history, they wrote the book.

Not just Johnny English. All DQ’s little friends get in on the act. Nazis in Parliament? The Russians made us do it. Running away with tech? The Chinese stole our IP. A $33 trillion debt? It’s China that’s collapsing.

So, after promising his lost love, “No, honey, I don’t want to contain you. Let your spirit run wild, fly free,” we realize what he really wants is to put a leash and a muzzle on her and take her for walks.

The DQ gets a catch-phrase: “Not on my watch.” Or “Oh, no, better not let peace break out.” Or how about, “Xi’s a dictator.” Or is that too bitter?

We’ve established him as likable, and earned him sympathy by making him good at his job. OK, he fails at that, but he tries – a goldmine of comic relief. As his inner motivation changes places with his outer skin, transforming him into the villain, we recognize the human dilemma: that we are all a seething mess of contradictions and confusion. Especially him! Big Reveal: he was his own antagonist all along!

So: we need an actor who can capture the full range of his complexity.

I was thinking Chuck.

No, “cold, dead fingers” Chuck. Heston. Ben Hur. Remind me about the doll when we cast the sequel.

Waddya mean Chuck’s dead? He’s playing the president – how will they tell?

If we strapped Chuck as Dead El Cid to the back of a charging steed and slapped it into the battlefront, we can do that with Chuck as DQ. CGI is your friend.

Too far-fetched? Nah! Art imitates Life imitates centuries of Art and eons of BS.

What the audience comes to realize at the end is, this is the movies. It’s all projection.

This script is perfect – who can we get to rewrite it?

* * * * *

See also Shakedown: A Timeline of America’s 21st Century War on China — the Opium Wars on steroids

Saturday 16 September 2023

Zoo Time at Operation Circe: How the Wolf Warrior was invented


Zoo Time at Operation Circe: How the Wolf Warrior was invented

by Anna Chen, first published by Asia Times, 5 September 2023  

When China’s vice-premier and top trade-war negotiator Liu He arrived in Washington in May 2019* to finalise the trade agreement with the USA at the end of tortuous negotiations, neither he nor his hapless opposite number Robert Lighthizer realised he’d walked into an ambush sprung by the capricious president. Even as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the trade war was on hold, and Wall Street broke out the bubbly, Donald Trump harshed their mellow with yet another round of tariffs and trade blocks.

Gloating that he’d compelled China to buy huge amounts of agricultural products they didn’t need, it was yet another humiliation through which the dignified Chinese politician stoically ploughed in the interests of his country and the global economy.

Accusations had been blasted at China in a character-assassination broadside by both sides of the House from which neither facts nor history could save it. China, not Trump, had reneged on the trade deal. China was stealing IP. It was a currency manipulator, despite the fact that, far from undervaluing the yuan, China was spending vast amounts of its reserves propping it up. China, not the top one percent of the US that now owned as much as the bottom 90 percent, was the cause of America’s misery.

You might suspect, from all the invective in high places, that the US didn’t actually want a stable relationship with its successful partner. China may have saved the world from America’s Great Crash of 2008 when the capitalist system itself was imploding but, suddenly, it was decreed that the rising superpower could do no right and the USA no wrong.

But still China kept a stiff upper lip.

Insult after insult from slap-happy politicians eager to outdo each other drew comment that China was outstandingly polite, exemplary and grown-up, if a tad too passive. A nostalgic fondness grew for old-school diplomacy rather than shoot-from-the-lip grandstanding.

Which was frustrating for the stone-throwers in their glass houses.

For them it was all one big Yo Mama case for the prosecution, with no defence permitted for the country that hadn’t had a war in over 40 years. Western media and politicians made hay with the 2019 Hong Kong riots trashing the city, despite zero protesters being killed in the same year that US cops somehow managed to kill over a thousand civilians. Later that year, a “strange pneumonia” mysteriously erupted in the central transport hub of Wuhan, marking the start of the pandemic.

To everyone’s amazement — part dignity, part rabbit in the headlights — China didn’t buckle even when the far-right Usual Suspects immediately accused it of creating the virus in the lab. Nor did China return the insults, instead turning the cheek to every barb.

After initial fumbles, not only did the Chinese draw up a remedial roadmap and eradicate the coronavirus by Day 43 of an unprecedented 76-day lockdown, they identified, sequenced and shared the genome with the world within days of its discovery. However, if anyone thought America would take stock and say, “Well done, old chap, you came through like a champ,” they were in for a shock.

The leader of the free world, largely aped by the UK, had already closed the US pandemic team and their Beijing CDC office. He delayed action; played down the virus; called it a hoax; held super-spreader rallies; allowed concerts and sports events; misdiagnosed early Covid deaths as ‘flu’; suggested injecting disinfectant, and pumped up the markets into the Mother of All Bubbles while insisting everything was fine.

Then the Black Swan, awaited by a nervous financial press for months, swooped in the day after politicians sold their stocks at all-time-highs, did the damage and disappeared back into the ether. The Trump Pump over and his Phase-One trade deal signed, the president U-turned on Covid in March, declaring an emergency, stating, “I don’t accept responsibility at all,” and launched his “Wuhan Kung Flu” attack.

One Chinese minister finally had enough. Having endured several years of non-stop verbals, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao dared to talk out of turn and posted THAT tweet, raising the Wuhan Military Games as a possible point of infection, opening as it had on 18 October 2019: the same day as Event 201, the table-top pandemic exercise laid on in New York by various illustrious institutions.

Primed, locked and loaded, the western media exploded in an entirely uncoordinated wave of outrage as one. Montgomery Burns might as well have howled, “Unleash the hounds!” In one short pithy Tweet, China was transformed from placid scapegoat into Wolf Warrior for defending itself on this one occasion. And the points made remained uninvestigated. Overnight, Americans who’d been strangers to history and the world outside their borders, instantly knew everything there was to know about China and that “Sin Chang” which they continually fail to find on a map.

Articles blared out lurid “Wolf Warrior diplomacy” headlines in a joint “Gotcha!”. Old tropes linking target groups to filth and pestilence were wheeled out, Secretary of State Pompeo demagoguing that “China has a history of infecting the world.”

Debate was debased to the point where Fox News broadcast a rant extolling “Type-A men”‘s desire to “sit on a throne of Chinese skulls”. People now talk openly of nuking cities-full of people into glass, as if this was normal only five years ago.

And lo! We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Psyops successful.

This, children, is how the wolf warrior got his fangs. Drawn on by hawks with crayon.

In classic Greek mythology, Circe was a sorceress who turned men into beasts, a neat trick if you are prepping your country for conflict. Not only are America’s opponents being dehumanised as fierce, bloodthirsty creatures, but to entertain the new barbarism, the population of the world’s most advanced nation is being dragged to new depths by state magicians and their little helpers on bloated budgets who know how to flip everyone’s amygdala en masse.

The more you hate, the less you think.

The tactic of dehumanising human beings in order to eliminate them is as old as Greek myth, even if the closest the US gets to Homer is Homer Simpson. First we had the Thucydides Trap, then ancient Greek gods and monsters. Is the West plagiarising the cradle of western civilisation for inspiration in its desperation?

This potent force has been tapped by western psychological warfare and financed by President Biden’s $500 million propaganda bounty on China’s head. Operation Circe seems to have succeeded in turning men into beasts.

First, we had to destroy the village in order to save it. But we never thought the village would be ours. Or that the ‘beasts’ would be us.

* * * * *

* EDIT NOTE: The date of Liu He’s visit to the US was originally given as May 2018. This piece has been corrected to May 2019.

READ MORE: For the timeline of America’s 21st Century war on China, see Shakedown 

Wednesday 13 September 2023

The Guardian on China and spying

A shorter version of this piece first appeared as a Guardian comment in response to the Editorial: The Guardian view on China and spying: we need less heat and more light, 13 September 2023. This version published at Anna Chen, 15 September 2023. 

As no charges have been brought against the parliamentary researcher after all these months since his arrest and release in March, all that’s left is smear and innuendo where balanced coverage might have yielded the additional light aspired to in the headline.

Despite no evidence of spying, the Guardian insists, “… whatever the truth of this case, there are reasons to be particularly concerned about Chinese intelligence efforts and Britain’s response. One is simply that China is increasingly powerful, forceful and hostile to the west, and more repressive at home.”

But it’s not so “simply,” is it? America spends as much on its military might as the next nine nations put together, including China. It surrounds China with a noose of hundreds of bases, Obama strangling it further when he started embroiling its mainland neighbours in his Pivot to Asia, having wrecked the Middle East and Libya. Trump bludgeoned China with an unnecessary backfiring trade war and other unpleasantness, doubled down on by Biden’s “not on my watch” objective and a $500m a year propaganda bounty.

Only an idiot would have read THAT room and not taken measures to defend its citizens from the economic and hot warfare being aimed at it. And the Chinese are no idiots.

Self defence is no offence.

You’d have thought the press would have learnt their lesson from the embarrassment of the stray weather balloon, shot down in February last by excitable Don Quixotes tilting at windmills, which it turned out wasn’t collecting intelligence after all (China has perfectly good satellites). Balloons can be sent higher or lower. However, they have no engines to determine horizontal direction so that’s a pretty useless bit of spy equipment. Unlike Pegasus or any of the other surveillance the West is so good at, as attested to by Edward Snowden and the NSA files.

Why would China have wanted to screw things anyhow, just as they were raising 800 million out of absolute poverty, creating a middle-class almost twice the size of America’s entire population and building stunning infrastructure for themselves and around the world? The rising superpower was doing very nicely, catching up with the US without a shot being fired in over 40 years, fattening western corporate profits and providing affordable goods.

Wonderful trade deals with China were promised to Brits once we exited the EU. The UK was riding the wave of China’s rise. They even saved the world economy from America’s greed-fuelled Great Crash of 2008. No-one had any interest in hostilities except for the declining hegemon glowering in the corner.

Cue US pressure to nobble the rival. Trump raged at Boris Johnson in February 2020 for not ceasing trade with Huawei and ripping out billions worth of 5G infrastructure as instructed to by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the previous February, and in May 2019, a US delegation to the UK yelled at GCHQ in a five-hour “hair-dryer” treatment. US Vice President Mike Pence said darkly that the Trump administration had made its disappointment with the UK “very clear to them”. Former British ambassador to the US, now Lord Kim Darroch, says there were no “compelling technical arguments that undermined GCHQ’s case” and that the US case was “political”.

Johnson finally caved in, ripped out the Huawei 5G we’d paid for, and it was all downhill from there, unchallenged by the media. We were left nailed to the USS Titanic, torpedoing our global lifeboat and growth engine.

The poisonous tone of the broadsheet’s editorial hit new depths in a line straight out of the 1930s, pointing out who the targets were. “Those who were born in China, and those of Chinese descent, are often most at risk from espionage.”

Good grief. Pogrom, much? What’s the ratio of light to heat here? Are there no grown-ups in the room who will call this out?

Oh, and that 9-dash line was originally the US-approved 11-dash boundary for its Republic of China/Taiwan ally, based on a 1935 map. Later reduced to nine by the CPC.

* * * * * See Shakedown: A Timeline of America’s 21st Century War on China — the Opium Wars on steroids

My Asia Times column 29 September 2023: Don Quixote in the White House – Hollywood deconstructs the narrative

Sunday 3 September 2023

Covid in the UK 2023

Anna Chen – 3 September 2023

COVID IN THE UK: Here’s the state of Covid in Britain as we head into winter with rising numbers of cases.

A new variant, Pirola AKA BA.2.86, we know little about. Is it dangerous? Meh, who knows, who cares?

No free testing. Buy your own, £2 a pop or £50 for PCR.

Vaccines for care homes and over-65s only. Is it the traditional vax being used? The dreaded big pharma MRNA? The media aren’t telling. The rest of us can’t even buy it for love nor money.

From today’s Guardian article: ‘It is not clear how prevalent Covid has become in the UK. Detailed tracking of the disease has been cut back. “In a sense that is a pity but, on the other hand, we need to be clear about our priorities”‘. Our lives not being one, apparently. Again, this plays down the pandemic, ignores Long Covid and the fact it shortens our lifespan. But, hey, as long as capitalism keeps rolling along on the cheap.

The damage to our immunity T-cells is another major feature. “… findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection damages the CD8+ T cell response, an effect akin to that observed in earlier studies showing long-term damage to the immune system after infection with viruses such as hepatitis C or HIV.”

A reminder that vaccines were specifically never supposed to be a magic bullet. They were supposed to lessen the effects if you caught Covid, while we were eliminating the virus by quarantining, to protect us and to stop the NHS being overwhelmed. Now we have neither vaccines nor quarantine. I did say in March 2020 that it looked like Big Pharma interests were trying to create a Covid industry, facilitated by closing down months too late and opening too early just as we neared zero virus, keeping a reservoir of the virus in the community.

Contrast this with the roadmap drawn up for us by China when it eradicated the coronavirus by day 43 of its 76-day lockdown January 2020. A blizzard of China-hate by a compliant media diverted our attention and denied Brits this strategy while the virus seeded and spread. Three years later, the bombardments of variants we stewed up finally overwhelmed China’s defences they finally reopened in December last year.

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is RNA, not complete DNA, so it needs a host to survive and reproduce itself. Lockdown deprives the virus of hosts and starves it to extinction. Unless you sabotage the quarantine.

Why were we diverted by government advisers pushing “herd immunity”? This was effectively a mass murder policy; scientists knew one reason it was never going to work was that chickenpox and measles, for instance, mutate very slowly. SARS-CoV-2 mutates FAST.

Where are Boris Johnson’s What’s App messages covering this period & his closure of the UK pandemic team July 2019 and what do they say? Let’s hope the Covid Inquiry finds out.


Thursday 24 August 2023

We’ll always have Beijing: How political necessity changes the cultural representation of Chinese


Hong Kong thespian and martial artist Bruce Lee. Image: YouTube

Anna Chen’s debut column for Asia Times, 14 August 2023

In the half-century since Bruce Lee’s early death in July 1973, the image of Chinese in western culture and business has come full circle with an added twist of spite. Prior to the martial arts deity’s explosion onto cinema screens in the 1960s, Chinese men were barely seen except as anonymous hordes reminiscent of the wave warfare that kept America at bay in Korea. Their ultimate sacrifice was presented in the west as an antlike lack of humanity rather than the collective courage we recognise from the allied storming of Normandy beaches.

Chinese characters who emerged from this primordial stew were instantly vilified as Yellow Peril, attributed with every hateful human trait. This malicious template returns periodically as Fu Manchu, Dr No, Emperor Ming the Merciless and other evil Chinese who step out of line. It was “balanced” by lovable creatures like Charlie Chan (played by Swedish actor Warner Oland in eye tape); The Pink Panther’s comical Kato (Burt Kwouk, an actual East Asian) as a sidekick even more useless than his boss Inspector Clouseau, the most useless man on the planet. And also another Kato, sidekick this time to The Green Hornet in the TV series, played by an underused Bruce Lee. So much for American original thought and innovation.

The cycle for Chinese cultural representation through the geopolitical eras goes something like this: Opium Wars – bad; gold mining in California – weak; building the Central Pacific Railroad Road for low wages – good; going on strike for better wages and conditions on the CPRR – bad!; 1870s economic downturn in the US – really bad; 1882 Exclusion Act – GTFOH!; Boxer Revolution to the Republic of China – Yellow Peril; War lord Thirties – well, ding, dong, Anna May Wong!; World War 2 – welcome, bro; 1949 – Wut?; Cold War Korea – here comes that ant wave; 1960s – the Blessed Bruce be upon us.

The swinging sixties was a great decade in which to be alive if you were a member of the post-war (preferably white) working and middle-class in America, Britain or parts of Western Europe. Not so great if you were living in China and trying to rebuild your wrecked country while staring down the barrel of foreign embargoes and a messy Cultural Revolution.

Bruce Lee was born and raised in San Francisco. He was beautiful and graceful with a body sculpted like Roman marble but most impressively, instead of submissiveness to the master race, he exuded pride in his Chinese origins. And, true to the cultural aspirations of the time, he stuck up for the little people rather than sticking it to them.

His divinity was felt keenly in the UK when his Hong Kong-made Kung Fu films came out in the 1970s, Enter the Dragon being their stunning apogee. Even my dad raised his head out of his books for long enough to praise this popular hero. For the first time, young males in the West wanted be like Lee, an Asian male, instead of wanting to kick him. Tough working-class lads of every hue sought out martial arts kwoons and dojos and stuck his posters on their walls. He was an inspiration to men of colour and they loved him for it.

If he hadn’t died on the cusp of the Nixon-Kissinger agreement with Mao that would propel China, ever so slowly, into a Golden Age, he’d probably have had his own movie empire on a par with Jackie Chan: JC to Lee’s John the Baptist.

In the glory years since China proved itself to be the rising superpower, Mandarin has been taught in schools and Beijing represented supreme cool. Ten Cent movies made mega bucks. Marvel gave us Shang-Chi, the first superhero movie to star an Asian lead, and TWO Asian main characters in the Agents of Shield TV series, played by Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet. Benedict Wong and Gemma Chan escaped limited prospects in the UK and built solid careers in the Marvel universe and beyond, while Sandra Oh made the sole reverse journey across the Atlantic and busted out with Killing Eve. Michelle Yeoh was Everything, Everywhere All At Once from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Star Trek. Asians were being normalised.

However, the screech of brakes and smell of burning rubber as the West performs a doughnut spin threatening to send positive images of Chinese crashing through the windscreen, means all change. How do you persuade the public that it’s okay to have a war with people they’ve been encouraged to identify with if you keep humanising them? Are buddy movies with Chinese as equal partners doomed to history before we’ve finished our popcorn? Is whitewashed Doctor Strange about to morph into Dr Strangelove or be eclipsed by Fu Manchu redux?

The tension between an industry making bank in the two leading economies and the demand by China hawks to slaughter the Golden Goose has to be resolved somehow.

A promiscuous use of backfiring tariffs and sanctions may provide the very catalyst that transforms the greenback signs in oligarchal eyes into yuan, as dumping the global reserve currency accelerates and everyone stampedes for the exit.

One advantage China will always have in this wholly unnecessary contest is the USA’s example of a modern Ozymandias: behold my works, ye mighty, and dedollarise. Never has America needed its original eastern hero as much as now to explain the art of the martial to politicians who keep pristine copies of Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War on display but never crack the spine. You’re supposed to use the weight of your opponent AGAINST him, grasshopper. And Be Like Water doesn’t mean running into the berg that sinks the USS Titanic just becuz we can.

In 2018, the International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde side-eyed President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods, loudly announcing that we were finally emerging from a Certain Someone’s Great Crash of 2008 with Another Certain Someone’s help.

Wall Street had a conniption. Gary Cohn, Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor, fumed, “Peter Navarro ratfucked us into a trade war with China by taking advantage of Trump’s very small brain.”

We watched aghast as, in the words of the British PM whose backbone hadn’t yet crumbled, Trump “let all the air out of the tyres of the global economy”. (Including, presumably, Boris Johnson’s own family’s investments. We sincerely hope he was personally reimbursed after ripping out our Huawei 5G infrastructure at the behest of the First Certain Someone with maybe a loan or sumthin’.)

And now President Joe Biden triples down on the madness.

Ironic that the Kung Fu concept of your own actions rebounding and hurting you when you point a loaded finger and find three fingers pointing back, has taken place in real time in front of our eyes. Every poisonous character assassination, every fusillade of hurt ends up damaging the perp as the target slips further out of reach.

My blu-ray of The Great Wall, perhaps the last of the Hollywood/China blockbuster lash-ups, arrived in 2018, two years after its 2016 release. Tainted by all the ensuing unpleasantness, it sits forlornly on a shelf, still in its shrink wrapper.

I may never find out how Matt Damon saved Chinese civilisation. But we’ll always have Beijing.

We'll always have Paris