China is so far away that it is hard for Americans to clearly see their imminent threat to our peace and security. It is time for us to sharpen our vision and recognize all that is going on in that distant giant and awake to the reality of their intentions.
First, we must acknowledge the very real extent of the danger to American military readiness. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with its immense army, growing navy, and absolute determination to dominate the world by 2049, frightens this baby boomer like the Soviet Union did when I was a child. Those school-time practices of ducking under our desks to protect against a nuclear bomb made for a lot of anxieties. I do not want my children and grandchildren to suffer from those same fears, but from China in the current case.
Many more activists have been arrested and jailed in the Hong Kong resistance to more intrusive rule by the CCP. As regrettable as the specific crackdown in Hong Kong is, the real issue is larger. What is the direction the CCP is taking China? Is the CCP strategy for China’s future consistent with American interests and beliefs? How should U. S. policy respond?
For decades U. S. foreign policy has not only ignored the growing abuses perpetrated by the CCP, but it also has, intentionally or unintentionally aided in the regime’s growing threat to world peace. American actions that have had the effect of supporting the CCP have been the result of both Democrat and Republican administrations.
In 1989 President George H. W. Bush failed to react strongly to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, because he thought it was more important to maintain the “relationship” with China. Bill Clinton followed and decoupled the long-standing relationship between human rights and trade. It was George W. Bush who ushered China into the World Trade Organization, and Barack Obama who put such emphasis on trade and climate change initiatives that he backed away from human rights issues. One might ask what benefits we got from this emphasis on the China relationship.
Beginning with Deng Xiaoping, Chinese leaders clearly saw a need to develop a strong economy as part of China’s growth as a military power and to solidify the regime’s hold on over 20% of the world’s population. It is clear to us now that their turn to a peculiarly Chinese form of capitalism was never meant as a turn away from the authoritarian rule of the CCP. China was playing a new form of long-game and it fit nicely with the American focus on short-term benefits.
From the era of Reagan and H. W. Bush through to the present, China became an engine of globalization. China was to become a large new center for the consumption of American goods, and simultaneously to supply the cheap work force to staff the assembly lines of American manufacturers.
American business outsourcing gave birth to offshore manufacturing with all its baleful consequences for American jobs and economic development. The American workforce would have to “retool,” but no strategy for that ever materialized.
Through it all, as well China’s leaders knew, they could “cheat.” With ample evidence that U. S. policy would not follow long-term U. S. interest, the regime bet that it could steal intellectual property, maintain uneven trade arrangements, and engage in increasingly threatening military actions in the South China Sea, as long as they maintained enough short-term benefit for American companies and consumers to ensure that America would not fundamentally endanger its relationship with China.
China’s rapid economic growth came with a price for the CCP. The Party had to maintain control and maintain social cohesion in the face of massive social and economic change.
A recent reminder that China is filled with people who want the same freedoms the rest of us cherish came as a result of an all-too-temporary breach of China’s internet firewall and censorship. The use of Clubhouse, a new app, grew faster than China’s censors could block it, giving Mandarin speakers on the mainland, in Hong Kong, in Taiwan and around the world a brief moment to share their hopes for a different future for China.
The Chinese dissidents agree that U. S. policy towards China needs to emanate from a reaffirmation of American values in the pro-democracy struggles within China. It must also be the result of a realistic view of China as both an economic and military power which must be vigorously opposed.
That draconian hand of censorship would not sit well with the American citizen who cherishes the freedom to think and say what is on his mind. But that is the reality of a citizenry dominated by an all-pervasive, dictatorial government. We only must remember the fate of over a million Uighurs, who are presently incarcerated in concentration camps, or are dead because their religion does not fit in with the governmental idea of appropriate thinking. Chinese Christians are also falling more and more under the strong arm of government control. Now, even Catholic bishops must be approved by The Party.
I believe the American people and the world in general are becoming ever more clear-eyed to the menace China poses. If we allow the CCP to have its way, it will gain control of world commerce and communications. Ultimately, we will be looking to the day they exert the same control over all our lives which they currently exert over their own citizens.
From the Bible: Jesus Christ answered Pontius Pilot, the Roman governor: You would not have any power or authority whatsoever against over me if it were not given you from (God) above. John 19:11