×
↓ Freedom Centers

Tag Archives: Communism


The China Challenge and America’s Founding Principles

By Peter BerkowitzReal Clear Politics

Between June 24 and July 22, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Attorney General William Barr, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a series of speeches on the China challenge. In mid-July — after the national security adviser’s and FBI director’s speeches but before the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s speeches — the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights released a draft report

The report examines the implications of the American Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the place of human rights in American foreign policy. Focusing on principles rather than concrete policy controversies, the report provoked considerably more partisan rancor than the series of speeches by high-ranking administration officials about the need for the nation to address the Communist Party of China’s resolute efforts to marshal its dictatorial powers to undercut American interests and transform world order. 

Perhaps the relatively restrained reception of the four speeches is a good sign: It may suggest an emerging national consensus about the urgency of the China challenge. Yet awareness of a daunting problem does not guarantee the capacity to deal with it effectively. The controversy over the commission’s report — indeed, the indignation and scorn directed by many politicians, pundits, professors, and NGOs at the very idea of allocating taxpayer dollars to regrounding U.S. diplomacy in America’s founding principles and constitutional responsibilities — reflects the nation’s disunity, a disunity that thwarts the planning and implementation of foreign policy. 

Understanding the nation’s founding principles along with its governing structures and its international obligations is crucial to developing a prudent appreciation of the nation’s vital interests and the practicable means for achieving them. In a time of severe political polarization, moreover, such understanding can contribute to the reinvigoration of the social cohesion and political consensus, the civic concord, on which developing and executing a demanding foreign policy has always depended. 

The administration’s recent series of speeches about China stresses the connection between governing ideas and foreign policy, for China as well as for the United States.

In his June 24 speech at the Arizona Commerce Authority in Phoenix, O’Brien ascribed “the greatest failure of American foreign policy since the 1930s” — the failure “to understand the nature of the Chinese Communist Party” — to the refusal to “pay heed to the CCP’s ideology.” The CCP’s ruthless indoctrination of its own people and promulgation of deceitful propaganda abroad, along with its purchasing and stealing of personal data about Americans and hundreds of millions around the world, flows from communist convictions: “Under communism, individuals are merely a means to be used toward the achievement of the ends of the collective nation state,” said O’Brien. “Thus, individuals can be easily sacrificed for the nation state’s goals.” In contrast, the United States, “will stay true to our principles — especially freedom of speech — which stand in stark contrast to the Marxist-Leninist ideology embraced by the CCP… and above all, continue to proclaim that all women and men are entitled by right of God to liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

In his July 7 remarks at the Hudson Institute in Washington, Wray focused on the threat posed by China’s counterintelligence operations and economic espionage. American citizens, according to Wray, “are the victims of what amounts to Chinese theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.” By means of a “whole-of-state effort,” China uses technology to steal personal and corporate data “to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.” Because communism erases the distinction between government and party, public and private, and civilian and military, the CCP can concentrate prodigious resources to exploit U.S. freedom and openness to erode American competitiveness and prosperity. The United States, maintained Wray, must redouble its commitment to enforcing criminal laws and upholding international norms: “The FBI and our partners throughout the U.S. government will hold China accountable and protect our nation’s innovation, ideas, and way of life — with the help and vigilance of the American people.”

In his July 17 speech in Michigan at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum, Barr summarized the predatory commercial practices by which China has cornered markets, induced economic dependence, and transformed the international order to advance its hegemonic interests. In particular, Barr emphasized that Beijing has impelled American enterprises to toe China’s party line. Hollywood alters the content of its films to avoid offending the CCP. Apple removed a news app from the phones it sells in China because of CCP displeasure over the app’s coverage of the Hong Kong democracy protests. Under pressure from Chinese influence campaigns threatening the loss of access to China’s enormous markets, American business leaders of all sorts “put a ‘friendly face’ on pro-regime policies.” And American higher education and research institutions face, and in many cases have succumbed to, China’s determined efforts “to infiltrate, censor, or co-opt.”  To counter the China challenge, Barr calls on corporate and academic leaders to appreciate “that what allowed them to succeed in the first place was the American free enterprise system, the rule of law, and the security afforded by America’s economic, technological, and military strength.”

In his July 22 capstone speech at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California, Pompeo distilled the China challenge: “China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else.” Stressing that America’s quarrel is with the Chinese Communist Party, which governs dictatorially, and not with the Chinese people, whose human rights the CCP systematically violates, Pompeo maintained that the United States must change China’s behavior. To do so the U.S. must fully understand Chinese communism, which drives the regime’s quest for global hegemony. To be sure, “the only way to truly change communist China is to act not on the basis of what Chinese leaders say, but how they behave.” But how Beijing behaves becomes intelligible in light of what the CCP says at party gatherings and in official documents about the imperatives for totalitarian rule at home and the establishment beyond China’s borders of a worldwide tributary system with Beijing at the center. Because of China’s hegemonic ambition, formidable economic power, and unremitting military buildup, Pompeo asserted, “securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it because our founding principles give us that opportunity.”

But will we seize that opportunity? Can an angry and divided nation draw on its founding principles and constitutional traditions, as the secretary of state asked the Commission on Unalienable Rights to do? Can citizens across the political spectrum take pride in, preserve, and carry forward America’s great achievements in respecting the nation’s founding principles while learning from the country’s flagrant deviations from them? Can people throughout the nation recover the conviction that the practice of American constitutional government and the belief that inspires it — that all are by nature free and equal — provide the common ground on which citizens of diverse persuasions can air their differences, accommodate competing perspectives, make their cases, and instruct and be instructed, and so rededicate themselves to the shared enterprise of self-government? 

To rise to the China challenge, we must.


The Yanukovichization of Belarus

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

In Ecclesiastes 1:4-11, the author muses over the eternal cycles of human existence.  Among the many examples that he brings up, the most compelling one states the following:  “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  

To illustrate the sagacity of this insight, it should suffice to examine the history of minority rules.  From times immemorial, all forms of minority rules have been based on mutual fears.  Majorities have been afraid of their kings, emperors, dictators, and despots.  In turn, the rulers have feared the people, because their reign has been based on oppression and not the consent of the governed.  Ultimately, these cycles of mutual fears have always grown exponentially until they have led to violent and all consuming political explosions.    

Belarus (in Russian:  Belorussia), ruled with an iron fist since July 20,1994, by President Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka (in Russian: Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko), is no exception.  Prior to being engaged in politics, President Lukashenka was the director of a Soviet-style collective farm, called kolkhoz.  Before this job, he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and a uniformed guard of the Soviet Border Troops.  Having been appointed as a deputy to the Supreme Council of Belarus, he earned the dubious distinction of having cast the only vote against the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Having been labeled “Europe’s last dictatorship,” President Lukashenka has steadfastly prevented Belarus to even begin its transformation as a sovereign state from a Soviet-style dictatorship to a more Westernized pluralistic country.  However, like Stalin’s constitution of 1936, the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 1994, are modelled in its language after the Western constitutions and at least formally entails all the institutional as well as the personal guarantees, rights and freedoms of a normal, pluralistic state.  Accordingly, Section One solemnly declares that the government of the Republic of Belorus belongs to the people.  The government is defined as a multi-party representative democracy.  While the government guarantees the protection of rights and freedoms of all citizens, Section One also states that the individual citizen “bears a responsibility towards the State to discharge unwaveringly the duties imposed upon him by the Constitution.”

During Lukashenka’s reign, there were three crucial Amendments to the constitution.  All Amendments were designed to significantly enhance the powers of the presidency.  Approved by a fraudulent national referendum in May 1995 by a majority of 77%, the First Amendment authorized the President to unilaterally disband the Parliament.  

The Second Amendment, unilaterally initiated by President Lukashenka, further strengthened his powers.  The unicameral parliament, fittingly named the Supreme Soviet, was simply abolished.  It was replaced by the National Assembly, a bicameral parliament. Demonstrating President Lukashenka’s increasing arrogance and megalomania, this Amendment was allegedly approved by 84% of the electorate.  As a result, all opposition parties were excluded from the new parliament.  To wit, due to the lack of transparency as well as ballot stuffing, the United States of America, the European Union, and many other states refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of either Amendment.

Finally, the Third Amendment abolished the presidential term limits in its entirety in 2004.  Again, approved by a national referendum, 77.3% of the people consented to President Lukashenka’s demand to serve in the highest office for life.  As with the 1996 referendum, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called the legitimacy of this referendum into question.  The organization bluntly declared that the referendum did not meet the requirements of “free and fair elections.”  To add a final political insult to the death of legality, the Minister of Justice of Belorus and almost all the legal scholars in the country came up with a completely novel interpretation of the rule of law.  In their opinion, laws are constitutional if they follow the will of President Lukashenka and the people.  Those laws that do not fall into this category are non-existent and shall be ignored.  As a result, the Constitution and most of the legal provisions are in contradiction.       

 Similarly, the economy of Belarus, which is the world’s 72nd largest, is almost totally controlled by the state.  Dubbing his economic policies “Market Socialism,” he reintroduced in 1994 a purely Socialist economy in Belorus.  Politically motivated Russian oil and gas deliveries have rendered Belorus completely energy dependent on the Kremlin.  President Lukashenka’s feeble attempts to flirt with the West only made him another East European political prostitute of the region.

The most recent Soviet-style presidential election, held on August 9, 2020, delivered the expected result.  Proving that in an orderly dictatorship there are no miracles,  President Lukashenka beat the stand-in candidate of the opposition for her jailed husband Sergey Tsikhnousky, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya by 80.10% to 10.12%.  The opposition cried foul, while President Lukashenka declared that “You speak about unfair elections and want fair ones?  I have an answer for you.  We had the elections.  Unless you kill me, there will be no other elections.”  The ensuing protests have been answered with brutal and ruthless crackdown.  Calling the protesters “bands of criminals” and “rats,” President Lukashenka has pleaded with Russian President Putin to come to his rescue immediately.  Meanwhile, thousands have been detained and at least two persons have died.  More importantly, however, President for life Lukashenka has proved again that the mentality of the Soviet Union is well alive and kicking strongly in the eastern part of the continent.

His soulmate in governance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been strangely silent throughout President Lukashenka’s ordeal.  Clearly, he must have learned something from the events that surrounded former Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s dismal performance at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 in Kyiv and across Ukraine.  President Putin’s restraint might have also been motivated by the potential threat of additional sanctions against his country.  Be that as it may, Russia would only save President Lukashenka’s hide if Belorus would move decisively into the orbit of the European Union and NATO.  Otherwise, a relaxation or even the demise of President Lukashenka’s severe dictatorship would not rattle the Kremlin.  

Yet, the people of Belarus deserve the sympathy and support of the rest of the world.  Russia’s eventual intervention should not discourage the United States of America and the European Union to provide political and any other support for the people who have unequivocally expressed their desire to finally live free in a democracy.  Clearly, President Lukashenka’s days are numbers.  Politically, he is done and not even Russia could save his dictatorship.  In the Kremlin, President Putin and his colleagues must finally comprehend that the days of dictators in Europe are coming to an end.  In case they would resist, their countries would become not only the graveyards of failed ideas, but also the economic catastrophes of the rest of the world.


The Trump Campaign’s Needed Strategic Triangle

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

Presently, in the United States of America sanity is on the defensive and ubiquitous idiocy is on the offensive.  The destructive fascination with money and power has overtaken not just the entire Democrat Party, but also the most radicalized and extremist fringes of their fellow travellers.  The labels they all employ against their real and perceived opponents are stupid and non-sensical.  Moreover, those labels are meaningless too, because they do not define the essence of human intentions and conduct.  Finally, anything that does not fit their anti-American, anti-Democratic, and anti-Capitalist rhetoric is simply eliminated from their vocabulary.  Calling the police, the national guard, and the military racist for just doing their duty, which is the maintenance of law and order, is an outright lie.  Designating illegal aliens who break the law dreamers, while those whom they kill or injure are not even mentioned, are the height of hypocrisy and heartless cynicism.  Their ideologically blinded harping on “White Supremacy” demonstrates that they still do not understand why they lost the 2016 elections so badly.   

 American society appears to be on the brink of an approaching civil war.  The only person standing between law and order and total anarchy is President Trump.  Therefore, the ultimate success of his campaign for reelection lies in how effectively it can manage to face his opponents, to provide a positive vision for the present and the future, and to unite the people around the motto of genuine love for the country.   

       For the better part of the second half of the 20th century and the subsequent two decades of the 21st century, the marauding anti-American forces, headed by the Democrat Party, have been attempting to undermine the constitutional principle of rule by majority, the concept of equality under the law, and the theory of political, economic, cultural, as well as educational freedoms.  With such a mindset, the Democrats’ policies have been shaped for the streets and not for the country at large.  The result has been the abandonment of the political culture based on the rule of law and the glorification of anarchy and chaos.  Their latest campaign to substitute in-person voting with mail-in ballots amounts to an attempted revolution at the ballot boxes, which surely will result in wholesale electoral fraud.  Clearly, no democracy can be built on lies.  

Their other hoax has been identity politics.  In essence, this is tribalism on steroids.  Ultimately, it is based on false racist authority and not on individual merit.  Its application in real life has led to lies, abuses, and ultimate betrayal of the constitution and the objectivity of the judiciary.  If the United States loses its merit-based character, Americans will end up with a spineless and dysfunctional society.  The fake Steele Dossier, the Flynn investigation, the Russia Hoax, and the attempted coup d’etat by former President Barack Obama and his political appointees should be sufficient warning signs for the future.

To sum up, the Democrat Party has set itself on a collision course with the majority of the people and adopted a political strategy that will ultimately destroy the United States of America.  The most glaring trait of the Democrats’ destructive politicians is their nauseating hypocrisy by putting social justice before freedom.  The Democrat Party’s current so-called leaders have created in the last three and a half years a crisis every month with different persons and groups of people as a way to fan political extremism and hatred, while distracting from the hollowness of their policies.  Thus, by emphasizing diversity to the extreme, they have undertaken to divide the nation, while employing poisonous rhetoric to ensure that the thus differentiated groups will hate each other.  In this manner, politics and justice have been corrupted for nefarious power purposes.  

Diversity has also given rise to the politics of personal dislike.  Under this mentality, President Trump is an enemy, because he has been doing what is best for America and not for privileged minorities that will support discriminatory policies.  To add international insult to domestic injury, the newfound hatred of the Democrat Party against Russia is also based on personal emotions rather than sound policy. Russia is the living reminder for Democrats that Socialism failed before reaching the political apex of Communism.  Simultaneously, they hate the United States of America, because it beat the Soviet Union and thus demonstrated the superiority of Democracy and Capitalism over the Communist Party’s dictatorship.  Conversely, the People’s Republic of China appears to be more successful with its Communist Party in total control of the country.  Accordingly, Democrat criticism of President Xi has been minimal, if at all.

Not trying to be facetious, but the Democrat Party has succeeded to rewrite Marx’s Communist Manifesto by calling upon their “Sturmtruppen” to destroy America thus: “Looters, Marauders, Criminals of the World Unite.”  Furthermore, as the Manifesto claims, a “spectre” or specter is haunting the United States of America, and this “spectre” is the Democrat Party’s convulsive and insane attempts to replace the Republic with a pseudo-Marxist Communist dictatorship.  Not unlike Marx, who never gave any attention to the individual, because with him it was always about the cause and the ideology, the Democrat Party inspires to gain absolute power to the detriment of the national soul of the United States of America.  Clearly, Marxism has always run against human nature.  For this reason alone, the current Democrat Party’s policies are absolutely inhuman and antisocial.      

However, history has taught the world that there is no greater disaster than greed.  If a government becomes a bureaucracy of men and not the laws, the entire nation is destroyed.  If the political culture abandons conversation and relies exclusively on hateful argumentation, national unity will cease to exist.  Clearly, the Democrat Party maneuvered itself into a vacuum of lies.  It has no useful messages, no leaders, and no consistency.  The macabre return of Joe Biden, a totally useless idiot and at best a mental case, will only further radicalize the party and its followers.  His tortuous selection process that produced Kamala Harris reinforces the fact that America was founded by geniuses but under the current misguided political requirements are claimed by idiots.  The Democrat ticket only offers a progressively demented presidential nominee with a running mate that is a complete fraud.  

For all these reasons, the Republic is in mortal danger.  A minority that worships absolute power wants to overthrow the constitutional order by undemocratic means.  Having failed to obtain permanent majorities on the local, state, and federal levels, they have targeted the weakest branch of the federal government, the judiciary.  In addition, for this purpose, they have also conquered the media and the institutions of education from kindergarten to universities.  With the election of Barack Obama, the most incompetent president in American history, who famously promised to “fundamentally change America,” meaning to introduce Nkrumah’s amd Kenyatta’s African Socialism in the United States of America, this minority, which only amounts to no more than 20% of the population, believed that they finally reached their goal.  They thought that the country is marching toward Socialism.  Suddenly they were stopped on their tracks.  The dream was over and the momentum was gone with the unexpected defeat of their nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.  This development understandably pushed them into total desperation.  They just could not reconcile themselves to the new situation.  Thus, the movement of illegal, unconditional, and total resistance to President Trump was born.  Since his inauguration, the Democrats have been fighting like the rat that is cornered.     

Meanwhile, Democrat presidents have reacted by launching political as well as economic campaigns with alternating intensity and varying degrees of success.  Strategically, all of them have shown hesitation as well as weakness, and almost total disregard for the cultural aspects of a fringe minority’s extremist agenda.  In general, mostly it was the politics that was more public, while the economic efforts were discussed and implemented usually behind the scenes.  

Yet, the political and the economic measures taken have lacked coherence.  With the exception of President Reagan, his Democrat successors were more concerned about protecting their electoral base, rather than creating a comprehensive vision for the future.  For this reason, instead of confronting the destructive challenges of the radical and extremist minorities, they tried to survive politically by forging ambiguous compromises with the latter.  These usually unprincipled and multipronged solutions were totally inadequate to successfully face the uncompromising and increasingly violent forces, especially the irrationally radicalized and insufficiently educated black gangs.  

At least from the justified shooting of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, by  Officer Darren Wilson, that gave rise to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the Democrats have undertaken several attempts to change the political and legal foundations of the nation, while further eroding the constitutional order.  In spite of repeated attempts by the Republicans and from 2017 by President Trump, measures to protect the constitution have failed to stop the Democrats to promote the domestic and international destruction of America.  Therefore, if the Democrats could maintain their control over the House of Representatives, additionally take over the Senate, and defeat President Trump in November 3, 2020, they assuredly will try to force the country into a new and politically disastrous equation.  In this case, the United States of America as we have known it for over 240 years will cease to exist.  Coupled with the present economic situation that is already significantly damaged, due to the pandemic, the present and future viability of the greatest nation on earth will be fatally compromised.

Under these exceptional circumstances, the skill and prowess of President Trump have lay in how he has managed thus far to simultaneously promote his pro-American, pro-rule of law, and pro-economic growth agendas in an unimaginably hostile and even hateful political atmosphere.  Yet, for the better part of his presidency, President Trump has been on the defensive against the Democrats as well as the overwhelming majority of the written, electronic, and social media.  By trying to exploit the pandemic, they routinely disseminate false information and outright lies about President Trump, the Republicans, their supporters, and the international reactions.

In order to counter these nefarious attacks, the President and his campaign must launch a comprehensive political and cultural campaign.  The effectiveness of his campaign will depend on how it will manage addressing the electorate on a number of fronts: in the written, electronic, and social media, within the various groups of society, in the different regions of the country, and in the mobilization of all patriotic Americans.  Each of these fronts presents in and of itself a unique challenge, but taken together they comprise the great Leftist threat.  Therefore, instead of executing a global election strategy, the campaign must be broken down into more individual components and apply heightened flexibility and creativity to confront each one in a unique way.           

Being on the offensive mainly means that the campaign’s chief target should not be the ticket, but rather the American electorate.  As far as the ticket and the opposition to President Trump are concerned, the strategy must be relentless and aggressive attacks on all possible and imaginable fronts.  In this context, exploiting human and non-human weaknesses of the opposition is a must.  Planting fact-based stories with lightning speed and utilizing the methods of investigating journalism must be a priority too.

Lastly, and perhaps the most complex challenge, is the international situation.  Recognizing this complexity is important, because the Democrat Party will use Joe Biden’s non-existent experience and expertise to criticize President Trump’s and his administration’s handling of foreign affairs.  Neither is Kamala Harris endowed with any foreign policy knowledge and experience.  In fact, she knows nothing about foreign affairs or the global economy.  Consequently, major efforts must be exerted to expose these glaring weaknesses of the Democrat ticket.  Any distortion and lie must be immediately rebutted.  This will require a group of specialists and close cooperation and coordination among political, economic, financial, cultural, and global international experts. Whether through American or foreign individuals, the extent of the Democrat ticket’s incompetence is so obvious, any option must be welcome and put into practice without any delay.  Any opportunity to expose the ridiculous claim that Joe Biden is a foreign policy genius must be utilized to its full extent.  At the same time, President Trump’s campaign must emphasize that America’s allies and friends must unite against Joe Biden and his supporters, because together they represent a common threat to everybody.Finally, the campaign must adopt a slogan that would encapsulate its essence:  “Love America.”  Protecting and maintaining the Republic must be the overriding requirement for all Americans.  To be loved is to be understood.  Those who want to erase, to falsify, and to distort American and world histories must be confronted with decisive force.  Those who falsely glorify tribal racism, also called “multiculturalism” must be exposed and defeated.  What will save America and the world from the onslaught of the uneducated, destructive, and immoral mob is the vigorous defense of American and universal values.  On this issue alone there cannot be any compromise.  Any guilt syndrome, namely a psychologically sick response wherein a goodhearted individual starts to identify with his or her executioners, has no place in the United States of America or in the rest of the world.  Otherwise, the infantilization of America and the world would only lead to the denial of reality and the glorification of hopeless destruction. 


NYT Quietly Scrubs Chinese Propaganda

U.S. newspapers collected millions from Beijing to publish propaganda

By Yuichiro KakutaniThe Washington Free Beacon

The New York Times quietly deleted hundreds of advertorials that the Chinese Communist Party paid to publish on its website.

Times spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon that the move is a reflection of a decision to stop accepting ads from state-run media. “We made the decision at the beginning of this year to stop accepting branded content ads from state run media, which includes China Daily,” she said.

The Times‘s decision to end its partnership with China Daily is part of a society-wide reckoning about the cozy relationships between the Chinese government and American institutions, from the NBA to Harvard University. While the paper is responsible for some of the most gut-wrenching stories about Chinese government oppression, it has also run more than 200 propaganda articles in the last decade, some of which sugar-coated China’s human rights abuses. One 2019 video ad, for example, promoted Xinjiang tourism by depicting the oppressed Uyghur people as content under Chinese rule.

China Daily, an official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has been purchasing advertorial spaces in the pages of mainstream U.S. media outlets for the last decade, using the space to disseminate Chinese propaganda to millions of unassuming Americans. In return, U.S. newspapers such as the Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal received millions of dollars.

Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of Congress’s China Task Force who has spearheaded efforts to rein in the distribution of Chinese propaganda, applauded the Times for terminating its relationship with China Daily.

“The New York Times has done excellent, detailed reporting on the ongoing Communist Party atrocities in Xinjiang and around the world,” the congressman said. “That reporting has finally had an effect—at the New York Times—and it no longer supports covering up the CCP’s barbarity. I hope the other outlets follow suit and start putting American values over Communist bribes.”

After the Free Beacon found that China Daily failed to follow federal disclosure requirements about its relationship with U.S. media outlets, Banks and 34 other Congressional Republicans demanded a Justice Department probe into the outlet. Following the demand, China Daily submitted a revised disclosure of its U.S. activities since 2016, revealing previously undisclosed details about its ties with U.S. media organs.

The new disclosure revealed that the Post and the Journal each received more than $100,000 per month to run print versions of Chinese propaganda articles. The Times received $50,000 in 2018 to place the propaganda on its website, presumably a small fraction of the revenue it made selling print space to China Daily. The new disclosures also showed that China Daily paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, and other large regional newspapers to print copies of the China Daily for local distribution.

Post spokesman told the Free Beacon that the outlet has not published any China Daily advertorials since 2019 but did not clarify whether the Post formally terminated its relationship with the propaganda outlet.

Yaqiu Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, urged other U.S. media outlets to follow the Times‘s example and end their relationships with Chinese state media. “If you care about the truth, then don’t participate in the Chinese government’s machinery of propaganda, censorship and repression,” she said.


America and China Are Entering the Dark Forest

To know what the Chinese are really up to, read the futuristic novels of Liu Cixin.

By Niall FergusonBelfer Center

Photo of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus march past a banner depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping at their living squatter inside the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing during a plenary session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, May 25, 2020.
(AP Photo/Andy Wong
Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus march past a banner depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We are in the foothills of a Cold War.” Those were the words of Henry Kissinger when I interviewed him at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing last November. 

The observation in itself was not wholly startling. It had seemed obvious to me since early last year that a new Cold War — between the U.S. and China — had begun. This insight wasn’t just based on interviews with elder statesmen. Counterintuitive as it may seem, I had picked up the idea from binge-reading Chinese science fiction.

First, the history. What had started out in early 2018 as a trade war over tariffs and intellectual property theft had by the end of the year metamorphosed into a technology war over the global dominance of the Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. in 5G network telecommunications; an ideological confrontation in response to Beijing’s treatment of the Uighur minority in China’s Xinjiang region and the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong; and an escalation of old frictions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Nevertheless, for Kissinger, of all people, to acknowledge that we were in the opening phase of Cold War II was remarkable.

Since his first secret visit to Beijing in 1971, Kissinger has been the master-builder of that policy of U.S.-Chinese engagement which, for 45 years, was a leitmotif of U.S. foreign policy. It fundamentally altered the balance of power at the mid-point of the Cold War, to the disadvantage of the Soviet Union. It created the geopolitical conditions for China’s industrial revolution, the biggest and fastest in history. And it led, after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, to that extraordinary financial symbiosis which Moritz Schularick and I christened “Chimerica” in 2007.

How did relations between Beijing and Washington sour so quickly that even Kissinger now speaks of Cold War?

The conventional answer to that question is that President Donald Trump has swung like a wrecking ball into the “liberal international order” and that Cold War II is only one of the adverse consequences of his “America First” strategy.

Yet that view attaches too much importance to the change in U.S. foreign policy since 2016, and not enough to the change in Chinese foreign policy that came four years earlier, when Xi Jinping became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. Future historians will discern that the decline and fall of Chimerica began in the wake of the global financial crisis, as a new Chinese leader drew the conclusion that there was no longer any need to hide the light of China’s ambition under the bushel that Deng Xiaoping had famously recommended.

When Middle America voted for Trump four years ago, it was partly a backlash against the asymmetric payoffs of engagement and its economic corollary, globalization. Not only had the economic benefits of Chimerica gone disproportionately to China, not only had its costs been borne disproportionately by working-class Americans, but now those same Americans saw that their elected leaders in Washington had acted as midwives at the birth of a new strategic superpower — a challenger for global predominance even more formidable, because economically stronger, than the Soviet Union.

It is not only Kissinger who recognizes that the relationship with Beijing has soured. Orville Schell, another long-time believer in engagement, recently conceded that the approach had foundered “because of the CCP’s deep ambivalence about the way engaging in a truly meaningful way might lead to demands for more reform and change and its ultimate demise.”

Conservative critics of engagement, meanwhile, are eager to dance on its grave, urging that the People’s Republic be economically “quarantined,” its role in global supply chains drastically reduced. There is a spring in the step of the more Sinophobic members of the Trump administration, notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger and trade adviser Peter Navarro. For the past three and a half years they have been arguing that the single most important thing about Trump’s presidency was that he had changed the course of U.S. policy towards China, a shift from engagement to competition spelled out in the 2017 National Security Strategy. The events of 2020 would seem to have vindicated them.

The Covid-19 pandemic has done more than intensify Cold War II. It has revealed its existence to those who last year doubted it. The Chinese Communist Party caused this disaster — first by covering up how dangerous the new virus SARS-CoV-2 was, then by delaying the measures that might have prevented its worldwide spread.

Yet now China wants to claim the credit for saving the world from the crisis it caused. Liberally exporting cheap and not wholly reliable ventilators, testing kits and face masks, the Chinese government has sought to snatch victory from the jaws of a defeat it inflicted. The deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s information department has gone so far as to endorse a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and retweet an article claiming that an American team had brought the virus with them when they participated in the World Military Games in Wuhan last October.

Just as implausible are Chinese claims that the U.S. is somehow behind the recurrent waves of pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong. The current confrontation over the former British colony’s status is unambiguously Made in China. As Pompeo has said, the new National Security LawBeijing imposed on Hong Kong last Tuesday effectively “destroys” the territory’s semi-autonomy and tears up the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration, which guaranteed that Hong Kong would retain its own legal system for 50 years after its handover to People’s Republic in 1997.

In this context, it is not really surprising that American public sentiment towards China has become markedly more hawkish since 2017, especially among older voters. China is one of few subjects these days about which there is a genuine bipartisan consensus. It is a sign of the times that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign clearly intends to portray their man as more hawkish on China than Trump. (Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new memoir is grist to their mill.) On Hong Kong, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, is every bit as indignant as Pompeo.

I have argued that this new Cold War is both inevitable and desirable, not least because it has jolted the U.S. out of complacency and into an earnest effort not to be surpassed by China in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other strategically crucial technologies. Yet there remains, in academia especially, significant resistance to my viewthat we should stop worrying and learn to love Cold War II.

At a forum last week on World Order after Covid-19, organized by the Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, a clear majority of speakers warned of the perils of a new Cold War.

Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google, argued instead for a “rivalry-partnership” model of “coop-etition,” in which the two nations would at once compete and cooperate in the way that Samsung and Apple have done for years.

Harvard’s Graham Allison, the author of the bestselling “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?”, agreed, giving as another example the 11th-century “frenmity” between the Song Emperor of China and the Liao kingdom on China’s northern border. The pandemic, Allison argued, has made “incandescent the impossibility of identifying China clearly as either foe or friend. Rivalry-partnership may sound complicated, but life is complicated.”

“The establishment of a productive and predictable US/China relationship,” wrote John Lipsky, formerly of the International Monetary Fund, “is a sine qua non for strengthening the institutions of global governance.” The last Cold War had cast a “shadow of a global holocaust for decades,” observed James Steinberg, a former deputy secretary of state. “What can be done to create a context to limit the rivalry and create space for cooperation?”

Elizabeth Economy, my colleague at the Hoover Institution, had an answer: “The United States and China could … partner to address a global challenge,” namely climate change. Tom Wright of the Brookings Institution took a similar line: “Focusing only on great power competition while ignoring the need for cooperation will not actually give the United States an enduring strategic advantage over China.”

All this sounds eminently reasonable, apart from one thing. The Chinese Communist Party isn’t Samsung, much less the Liao kingdom. Rather — as was true in Cold War I, when (especially after 1968) academics tended to be doves rather than hawks — today’s proponents of “rivalry-partnership” are overlooking the possibility that the Chinese aren’t interested in being frenemies. They know full well this is a Cold War, because they started it.

To be sure, there are also Chinese scholars who lament the passing of engagement. The economist Yu Yongding recently joined Kevin Gallagher of Boston University to argue for reconciliation between Washington and Beijing. Yet that is no longer the official view in Beijing. When I first began talking publicly about Cold War II at conferences last year, I was surprised that no Chinese delegates contradicted me. In September, I asked one of them — the Chinese head of a major international institution — why that was. “Because I agree with you!” he replied with a smile.

As a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, I have seen for myself the ideological turning of the tide under Xi. Academics who study taboo subjects such as the Cultural Revolution find themselves subject to investigations or worse. Those who take a more combative stance toward the West get promoted.

Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua, recently argued that Cold War II, unlike Cold War I, will be a purely technological competition, without proxy wars and nuclear brinkmanship. Yao Yang, dean of the National School of Development at Peking University, was equally candid in an interview with the Beijing Cultural Review, published on April 28.

“To a certain degree we already find ourselves in the situation of a New Cold War,” he said. “There are two basic reasons for this. The first is the need for Western politicians to play the blame game” about the origins of the pandemic. “The next thing,” he added, “is that now Westerners want to make this into a ‘systems’ question, saying that the reason that China could carry out such drastic control measures [in Hubei province] is because China is not a democratic society, and this is where the power and capacity to do this came from.”

This, however, is weak beer compared with the hard stuff regularly served up on Twitter by the pack leader of the “wolf warrior” diplomats, Zhao Lijian. “The Hong Kong Autonomy Act passed by the US Senate is nothing but a piece of scrap paper,” he tweeted on Monday, in response to the congressional retaliation against China’s  new Hong Kong security law. By his standards, this was understatement.

The tone of the official Chinese communiqué released after Pompeo’s June 17 meeting in Hawaii with Yang Jiechi, the director of the Communist Party’s Office of Foreign Affairs, was vintage Cold War. On the persecution of the Uighurs, for example, it called on “the US side to respect China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts, stop applying double standards on counter-terrorism issues, and stop using Xinjiang-related issues as a pretext to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

And this old shrillness, so reminiscent of the Mao Zedong era, is not reserved for the U.S. alone. The Chinese government lashes out at any country that has the temerity to criticize it, from Australia — “gum stuck to the bottom of China’s shoe” according to the editor of the Party-controlled Global Times — to India to the U.K. 

Those who hope to revive engagement, or at least establish frenmity with Beijing, underestimate the influence of Wang Huning, a member since 2017 of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the most powerful body in China, and Xi’s most influential adviser. Back in August 1988, Wang spent six months in the U.S. as a visiting scholar, traveling to more than 30 cities and nearly 20 universities. His account of that trip, “America against America,” (published in 1991) is a critique — in places scathing — of American democracy, capitalism and culture (racial division features prominently in the third chapter).

Yet the book that has done the most to educate me about how China views America and the world today is, as I said, not a political text, but a work of science fiction. “The Dark Forest” was Liu Cixin’s 2008 sequel to the hugely successful “Three-Body Problem.” It would be hard to overstate Liu’s influence in contemporary China: He is revered by the Shenzhen and Hangzhou tech companies, and was officially endorsed as one of the faces of 21st-century Chinese creativity by none other than … Wang Huning.

“The Dark Forest,” which continues the story of the invasion of Earth by the ruthless and technologically superior Trisolarans, introduces Liu’s three axioms of “cosmic sociology.”

First, “Survival is the primary need of civilization.” Second, “Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.” Third, “chains of suspicion” and the risk of a “technological explosion” in another civilization mean that in space there can only be the law of the jungle. In the words of the book’s hero, Luo Ji:

The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost … trying to tread without sound … The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds other life — another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod — there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people … any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out.

Kissinger is often thought of (in my view, wrongly) as the supreme American exponent of Realpolitik. But this is something much harsher than realism. This is intergalactic Darwinism.

Of course, you may say, it’s just sci-fi. Yes, but “The Dark Forest” gives us an insight into something we think too little about: how Xi’s China thinks. It’s not up to us whether or not we have a Cold War with China, if China has already declared Cold War on us. 

Not only are we already in the foothills of that new Cold War; those foothills are also impenetrably covered in a dark forest of China’s devising.


Vandals in Canada Salute the Communists – What’s Next in America?

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

geya garcia via Wikimedia Commons

Over the last six weeks, America has been rocked to its cultural foundations by a wave of attacks on monuments and memorials to persons and events traditionally held to be historically significant. What began as an assault on statuary dedicated to the memory of former Confederate generals has evolved into an all-out war on the national narrative.

No one or thing is safe. Statues of George Washington. Abraham Lincoln and slave-born abolitionist Frederick Douglass have all been recently vandalized as have those dedicated to the memory of musicians Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix.

Little of this makes sense. The protests that began in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death have evolved into riots, looting, and general mayhem stoked by anarchists and progressives who not only want to destroy Donald Trump but everything they believe he and his presidency represent.

They have a distorted view of history – as their defacing and destruction of statues of Washington, Lincoln, and others who led crusades on behalf of freedom and equality prove. Whatever they learned in school, it had little to do with the hard decisions and moral choices we may all at some point be called upon to make in life.

Would it have been better if the founders, because they could not agree to end slavery had abandoned America’s bid for independence? Or if only those that would abolish slavery had proceeded, leaving them to fight both the British crown and the colonies that remained tied to the King? Or, as most all of us have long believed, the struggle for the independence and equality of all men and women began with this effort of some to secure liberty for themselves and those like them? And for that, we owe them our gratitude and a certain degree of reverence?

Things have progressed well beyond the sensible out to the absurd. Reason no longer applies. The U.S. and Canadian press Tuesday reported that a memorial to victims of Communism under construction in Ottawa had been vandalized. According to The Post Millennial, the fence surrounding the site in the Canadian capital city was defaced by the phrase “Communism will win” in spray-painted in yellow alongside three depictions of the Communist hammer & sickle.

The American memorial to the Victims of Communism, which was completed more than a decade ago and sits at the base of Capitol Hill was similarly defaced with graffiti related directly to the Black Lives Matter movement in early June.

If this is meant to be some sort of cry for social justice, it is wrongly directed. Adolf Hitler, typically held up as the ultimate state-sponsor of evil in the 20th-century evil if not all time, led a Holocaust in which somewhere between 11 and 13 million people were killed according to most estimates. The leaders of the countries and rebel bands that formed the international Communist bloc – Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che, and others all the way up to Kim Jong Un, who is still with us today – are responsible for the deaths of at least 10 times as many people.

Communism is neither just not equitable. American schools don’t do a good job teaching that if they teach it at all– which may be while those responsible in recent weeks for so much destruction in Seattle have left the Lenin statue there unmolested. They and those who’ve joined with them in cities like Richmond, Atlanta, Rochester, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., aren’t interested in rewriting American history. They want to erase it so they can replace it with a narrative of their own that leads to a justification of the demands they have today. History, before it can be rewritten, must be destroyed. The Confederate statues were just the beginning, low-hanging fruit, easy to get before the progressives could start reaching for objectives much higher on the tree.


COVID Shows China Not Good Faith Trading Partner

By George LandrithNewsmax

US China trade

Exactly how the COVID-19 virus found its way to humans isn’t entirely clear. But it is clear is that once the virus was out and people were dying, the communist Chinese regime did little to stop the world from getting sick. While they quietly locked down travel within China to limit spread of the virus, they did nothing to stop Chinese global travel that spread it and they employed the World Health Organization to support their claims that there was nothing to worry about. And when America locked down travel from China, they howled racism.

The communist regime also began hoarding medical supplies and equipment, while telling the world the virus wasn’t transmitted via human contact. Once more was known, China began to blame others — including Italy and the U.S. for the virus.

Everything they appear to do is motivated by gaining power and control over their own people and the world’s population. They see everything — not merely missiles, bombers and submarines, but also food, medicine, shipping, trade, etc. — as a weapon to be used to strengthen their stranglehold on power.

We must remember that this communist regime murders its own citizens in death camps and harvests their organs. It brutally oppresses the people of Hong Kong. It spies on its own people and tracks their movement so that it can punish them for worshiping or visiting the “wrong” friends.

These unpleasant truths have caused America to wake up and ask if it should be so dependent upon China for critically important things like medicine, medical equipment and other goods and services required in the high-tech world. The answer is now an obvious no.

We should also examine how China has been making America more and more dependent in other areas. We now understand this is not merely an economic issue, it goes to the very health, strength and sustainability of our nation’s long-term survival.

International trade is a huge driver of every nation’s economic health, and 90% of all global trade is transported by ship. It should not surprise you to learn that China has quietly made itself the dominant player in international shipping. They’ve purchased strategic ports around the globe and are by far the world’s largest subsidizer of shipbuilding. This is all part of the regime’s strategic plan to dominate world trade and make itself the world’s sole economic and military super-power. You can be 100% sure this power will not be used to promote freedom, opportunity or security. Look at Hong Kong and you know how that power will be abused.

The U.S. used to be a major player in international shipping and shipbuilding. But for a variety of reasons, the U.S. is now a minor player. Currently, China is building 1,291 ocean-going ships. The U.S. has only 8 under construction. Bangladesh meanwhile is building 56. Let that sink in. The U.S. now operates less than 1/2 of 1 percent of ocean-going maritime ships.

In the last several years, foreign powers and some domestic voices have been pushing for the U.S. to allow foreign shippers to take over domestic shipping routes within the territorial waters of the U.S. To do that, would require the repeal or substantial revision of the Jones Act, a move China would love. They could run their ships up and down the Mississippi with high tech electronics in our heartland gathering intelligence and at the same time make America entirely dependent upon them for our shipping and commerce.

This is why the Jones Act is needed now more than ever. It allows for any nation to ship goods to or from America, but within America and between its internal ports, shipping must be handled by American ships and American crews. These American ships and American crews work in our heartland and when the U.S. military needs their sealift capability, they stand at the ready. Do we really want to ask China to fill that role?

The purposes of the Jones Act are something that even free market champion Adam Smith endorsed in his seminal work, The Wealth of Nations. Moreover, the very first Congress, populated by signers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence passed the first version of the Jones Act.

The idea that we should let China expand its power within the territory of the United States is simply insane. Standing by and letting China tighten its grip on international commerce will eventually be our downfall if we don’t wake up. If this wasn’t clear before this pandemic, it is now painfully obvious.


Why States ‘Governing Themselves’ During The Coronavirus Outbreak Is A Good Thing

No, the federal government shouldn’t 'take over the supply chain' for medical equipment, and yes, states can in fact govern themselves.

By John Daniel DavidsonThe Federalist

Watching the media react to federal and state government responses to the Wuhan coronavirus over the past few days, you would think they secretly wished we had an executive branch with unlimited powers—their hatred of President Trump notwithstanding. You would also think they have only a vague idea of what federalism is and how it’s supposed to work.

Many reporters and pundits, for example, seem to think states are almost entirely dependent on the federal government in emergency situations like this. CNN’s Jim Sciutto mused about whether the president will soon be pushing for a national curfew, seemingly unaware that the president has no power to impose such a thing.

But governors do. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday stopped just short of issuing a curfew on businesses, instead signing an executive order that strongly urges all non-essential businesses to close at 8 p.m. every night. He also activated the New Jersey National Guard to help carry out his order.

Local governments are going one step further. Portland’s city manager announced an emergency curfew on Monday, shutting down restaurants, bars, clubs, movie theaters, and any other establishments where people gather. Six counties in the San Francisco Bay area announced a “shelter in place” order for all residents—a population of some 6.7 million people—to remain in effect until April 7. It wasn’t exactly clear how the order would be enforced, but it did call on sheriffs and chiefs of police to “ensure compliance.”

Similar measures have gone into effect across the country in recent days. In New Orleans, police cleared crowds on Bourbon Street, ordering people back to their homes and hotels via loudspeaker. Lockdowns of various sorts were ordered in cities from Florida to Washington state, mostly affecting bars, restaurants, and other places crowds gather.

The President Isn’t a King

But here’s the thing: the president of the United States doesn’t have the power to order these things. For as much as we might think of the federal government as all-powerful, it really isn’t. The founders wisely chose a federal republic for our form of government, which means sovereignty is divided between states and the federal government.

The powers of the federal government are limited and enumerated, while all powers not granted to the feds are reserved for the states, including emergency police powers of the kind we’re seeing states and localities use now. Local governments, as creations of the states, can exercise state police powers as well.

Much of the media seems wholly unaware of this basic feature of our system of government. Exemplifying the ignorance was a widely panned tweet from an editor at The Daily Beast who seemed to think states can’t “govern themselves” without permission or direction from the president.

Molly Jong-Fast@MollyJongFast

So the states are basically governing themselves because our president doesn’t know how to president at all?

After the Trump administration’s announcement on Monday of new, stricter guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, a media chorus arose that it wasn’t enough. “Ok. Someone finally talked some sense into the President two months into this. That’s good. But we need huge amounts of coordinated federal *action* *assistance* and *mobilization* along with the shift in rhetoric,” tweeted MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

An attitude of shock and outrage pervaded The New York Times’ coverage—as well as misleading tweets from some NYT editors—of a conference call in which Trump told governors that they should try to get ventilators and respirators for themselves. Many of the tweets left out the full context of what Trump said: “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

Asked about the Times report later in the day at the press conference, Trump explained that many governors might have a more direct line on this equipment and if so they should go ahead and acquire it themselves, no need to wait on Washington, D.C.

This is of course exactly the way federalism is supposed to work. Besides the media not getting it, many Democrats don’t seem to grasp federalism, either. A group of House Democrats on Monday urged Trump to invoke war powers to order the production of more facemasks and ventilators. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio went on cable news and declared that the federal government needs to “take over the supply chain right now” for needed medical supplies.

As the coronavirus get worse, we’re going to see a lot more actions being taken by cities, counties, and states—many more than we’ll see from the feds, in fact. That’s as it should be. We should expect the government power that’s closest to affected communities to be the most active, while Washington, D.C., concern itself with larger problems, like developing a vaccine and controlling our borders and ports of entry.

To put it another way, President Xi Jinping of China can order every Chinese citizen to stay in his or her home under threat of arrest. He can shutter every business in China by fiat. He can “take over the supply chain” of any industry whenever he wants. President Trump can’t do any of that. You’d think Democrats and the media would be relieved about that—and they might be, if they knew the first thing about federalism.


Why Bernie Sanders’s Praise of Fidel Castro Matters

He’s defended virtually every Communist tyrant he’s ever been asked about over the past 50 years.

By DAVID HARSANYINational Review

Did you know that infamous Nazi Hermann Göring was a great lover of animals, a protector of birds, and head of the forestry service in Germany? Unless you’re a history buff, probably not. After all, almost no one feels the need to preface their comments about the Third Reich with “Sure, the authoritarianism was pretty bad, but, boy, that Göring was one hell of an environmentalist!”

Western elites, however, like to use this kind of absurd criterion whenever they talk about socialism, ignoring its vast failures and praising its piddling and alleged successes — you know, “Denmark,” but not Algeria, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, China, Congo, East Germany, Ethiopia, Hungary, Latvia, Mongolia, Romania, Somalia, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, and so on and on.

And unlike many modern progressives, Bernie Sanders is old-school, still in the habit of praising old comrades. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?” Bernie told 60 Minutes this past weekend, reacting to criticism of his near-complete praise of the dictator back in the 1980s.

The answer is: Yes, massive literacy programs instituted using the machinery of a tyranny are, indeed, a bad thing. For one thing, you can institute massive literacy programs without authoritarianism, just as you can build impressive highways without fascism or alleviate most poverty without collectivism. Just ask the United States, or any other capitalistic nation with wealth and high literacy rates.

Even then, Sanders is regurgitating Communist propaganda. Cuba already had the highest literacy rate in Latin America before the revolution, and it basically kept trending in the same direction as every other nation in the region. When Castro triumphantly entered Havana in 1958, he didn’t bring truckloads of books; he ordered thousands of arrests and summary executions. When Castro “came into office,” he canceled elections, terminated the free press, and turned Cuba into the island prison that still exists today.

Cubans haven’t been able to freely read about their own oppression since Castro took power. (Cuba, though, has nearly eradicated the scourge of “inequality,” with most people making around 20 bucksa month.) And the only possible reason any American would feel the need to defend that dictator’s programs — Sanders once said Castro “educated the children, gave them health care” — is because they’re sympathetic to the cause.

What might be “helpful” in explaining “the nuances of [Sanders’s] views on the Soviet Union & the international left would be a degree of literacy about them from commentators,” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski recently noted. Bernie, after all, “was always critical of authoritarianism in the Soviet Union.”

Can you imagine this kind of goodwill being extended to someone who had spent 50 years praising fascist regimes? It’s truly unfathomable. The Soviet Union was authoritarianism — it had no other way to exist. When Sanders was honeymooning in Moscow, refuseniks — fellow Jews he didn’t think enough about to mention once between the singing and drinking — were still begging to leave the place.

But okay, let’s concede for the sake of argument that Bernie was genuinely impressed by some of the commissars’ more liberal reform ideas. Sanders claimed that Americans could learn a lot from the Soviet Union. So which of these nuanced ideas did Bernie admire? Does he still admire them? It’s a shame there’s no one at CNN who has access to the candidate and can ask these questions.

When Vox’s Ezra Klein, joining the effort to reimagine Sanders as some innocuous idealist, argued that the now–Democratic Party favorite isn’t really running on socialist economic ideas (highly debatable) but rather on a “socialist ethic,” “a deep, animating belief that our political and economic system is unjust,” he inadvertently hit on an ugly truth.

There’s little doubt that Bernie believes collectivism — the discarding of property rights, for starters — offers a more equitable and decent option than capitalism. Bernie’s career has never been propelled by policy, most of them untenable here, but rather by class warfare.

And younger voters are, and often have been, more susceptible to the “ethics” of socialism. At this point in history, they’ve not seen the economic infeasibility of those ideas, many of the massive disasters spawned by them, or the coercion that’s inevitably required to make them “work.”

Or, maybe they don’t care.

A number of people – some on the right, who are increasingly comfortable with statist economic ideas — have told me that no one wants to relitigate the 1960s or Bernie’s old opinions. “Socialism” is not the pejorative it once was. Voters, they say, are uninterested in a candidate’s decades-old actions or positions.

I suspect there are a few thousand people in Florida who still care very much about Cuban totalitarianism and who might disagree. It’s also worth remembering that Bernie defended a Communist dictator this weekend — a dictator whose brother still holds millions of people hostage. Bernie has never walked back his positions.

No, Bernie isn’t Stalin, but he also isn’t some naïve college freshman high off of reading his first Chomsky screed. Bernie is a socialist. He’s been a lifelong defender of authoritarians. We’re debating his positions. If it were really about “Denmark,” Bernie wouldn’t have defended virtually every Communist tyrant he’s ever been asked about over the past 50 years. This is who he was, and more importantly, this is who he is right now.


Lovable Ol’ Bernie

He has praised totalitarian regimes and thinks billionaires shouldn’t exist. What’s not to love?

By MONA CHARENNational Review


You won’t hear young Democrats deride Bernie Sanders with the “Okay, Boomer” dig. At 78, he’s actually too old for the cohort, but that’s not why he won’t get dinged. He’s the most popular Democrat among the under-35 crowd, and judging by recent polling, he’s the second most popular Democrat overall. Sanders has raised nearly twice as money as the front-runner, Joe Biden, and seems to have scooped up support from a declining Elizabeth Warren in the past 60 days. Despite a heart attack that sidelined him for a week, he marches on, now buoyed by a poll showing that in a head-to-head match-up against Donald Trump, he would do better than Biden — though within the margin of error.

Sanders’s appeal, the experts explain, is founded on “authenticity.” Is he humorless, repetitive, cloying, and rigid? Sure. But these are signs that he really believes something! He’s not a packaged, blow-dried (no argument there), insincere pol cooked up in a political laboratory. He’s the real deal.

Let’s concede that Sanders is sincere, and that he is, with some small hypocrisies (did you know he was a millionaire?), honest. But what people actually believe is kind of important, and Bernie Sanders professes and sells a series of prejudices that do him no credit.

Sanders claims to be a democratic socialist in the European mold; an admirer of Sweden and Denmark. Yet his career is pockmarked with praise for regimes considerably to the left of those Scandinavian models. He has praised Cuba for “making enormous progress in improving the lives of poor and working people.” In his memoir, he bragged about attending a 1985 parade celebrating the Sandinistas’ seizure of power six years before. “Believe it or not,” he wrote, “I was the highest ranking American official there.” At the time, the Sandinista regime had already allied with Cuba and begun a large military buildup courtesy of the Soviet Union. The Sandinistas, Mr. Sanders had every reason to know, had censored independent news outlets, nationalized half of the nation’s industry, forcibly displaced the Misquito Indians, and formed “neighborhood watch” committees on the Cuban model. Sandinista forces, like those in East Germany and other communist countries, regularly opened fire on those attempting to flee the country. None of that appears to have dampened Sanders’s enthusiasm. The then-mayor of Burlington, Vt., gushed that under his leadership, “Vermont could set an example to the rest of the nation similar to the type of example Nicaragua is setting for the rest of Latin America.”

Sanders was impatient with those who found fault with the Nicaraguan regime:

Is [the Sandinistas’] crime that they have built new health clinics, schools, and distributed land to the peasants? Is their crime that they have given equal rights to women? Or that they are moving forward to wipe out illiteracy? No, their crime in Mr. Reagan’s eyes and the eyes of corporations and billionaires that determine American foreign policy is that they have refused to be a puppet and banana republic to American corporate interests.

Sanders now calls for a revolution in this country, and we’re all expected to nod knowingly.  Of course he means a peaceful, democratic revolution. It would be outrageous to suggest anything else. Well, it would not be possible for Bernie Sanders to usher in a revolution in the U.S., but his sympathy for the real thing is notable. As Michael Moynihan reported, in the case of the Sandinistas, he was willing to justify press censorship and even bread lines. The regime’s crackdown on the largest independent newspaper, La Prensa, “makes sense to me” Sanders explained, because the country was besieged by counterrevolutionary forces funded by the United States. As for bread lines, which soon appeared in Nicaragua as they would decades later in Venezuela, Sanders scoffed: “It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

Bernie Sanders stopped learning about economics and politics about the age of 17. He still believes that corporate “greed” is responsible for human poverty and that the world is a zero-sum pie. The more billionaires there are, the less there is for everyone else. “I don’t think billionaires should exist,” he told the New York Times. So in the Bernie ideal world, we non-billionaires would be deprived of Amazon.com, personal computers, smartphones, fracking (which reduces greenhouse gases), Uber, Walmart, Star Wars movies, and very possibly our jobs. Millions of children would be deprived of school scholarships, while the arts, medical research, and poverty programs would be that much poorer. Billionaires are not heroes, but by making them boogeymen, Sanders betrays his economic infantilism along with a large dose of demagoguery.


The Broken China Model

Column: A weak and unstable China is also more dangerous

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

You see it in the maps. In 2015, 1.4 million Hong Kongers voted in elections in which pro-Beijing candidates swept the city’s 18 district councils. Last week, 2.9 million Hong Kongers voted and pro-democracy candidates won every district but one. That is an increase in turnout of more than 100 percent and a stunning rebuke both of Beijing and of chief executive Carrie Lam, who has failed to respond adequately to the demands of the pro-democracy movement that has disrupted Hong Kong for the past six months. Maps of the city once shaded pro-mainland blue are now pro-liberty yellow.

Yes, the vote was symbolic. The councils have little say in the operations of government. But symbols matter. For Hong Kongers to express discontent with their rulers through one of the last vehicles for accountability is no trifle. Beijing was surprised. It had counted on a supposed “silent majority” of voters tired of the upheaval and violence to legitimize the mainland’s authority. That was a mistake. The prefabricated copy that Communist propagandists had been ready to spread was abandoned. “The problem is that under the increasingly paranoid regime of Xi Jinping, even these internal reports have become much more geared toward what the leadership wants to hear,” writes James Palmer, who a decade ago worked for the pro-China Global Times.

Hong Kong is the most visible reminder of the tenuous nature of Communist rule. The city has become a postmodern battleground where masked protesters wield social media and lasers to avoid armor-clad police and facial recognition technology powered by artificial intelligence. When one looks at Hong Kong one sees a possible future where champions of freedom the world over employ desperate measures against the overwhelming resources of a mechanized Leviathan. One also sees the brittleness, confusion, and embarrassment of despotism when challenged by subjects assumed to be grateful for growth and security and immune to the will to freedom.

What is happening in Hong Kong is not isolated. The China model of authoritarian development is damaged and scarred. What seemed as sturdy and invulnerable as a Borg Cube looks more like a fragile and wobbly mobile by Alexander Calder. The regime of Xi Jinping is under economic and political and diplomatic pressure that it is not handling well. This beleaguered combatant in an era of great power competition is more dangerous to the United States than before.

What legitimacy the Communist Party possessed was based on the decades of economic growth inaugurated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. But growth has slowed to its lowest level in decades as the Chinese workforce ages, low-hanging investment opportunities disappear, and the trade war with the United States reduces manufacturing output and sends supply lines to Vietnam and Mexico. Capital is fleeing China at a record pace as the bourgeoisie hedge against stagnation and turmoil.

For all of the Chinese government’s much publicized investments in research and development and defense, and despite the size of its economy, per capita gross domestic product is $10,000, slightly less than that of the Russia Federation ($11,000) and a fraction of that of the United States ($65,000). Recent weeks have brought an uptick in bank runs. The government’s response to slowdown has been to tighten state control. “Between 2012 and 2018, assets of state companies grew at more than 15 percent annually, well over twice the pace of expansion of China’s GDP and double the pace of growth of gross domestic capital formation,” writesNicholas R. Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. This is not state capitalism. It’s statism.

The Chinese authorities use mechanisms of repression to maintain control over what can only be described as an internal empire. The New York Times recently published a horrifying and damning trove of documents relating the extent of Beijing’s efforts to detain, imprison, intimidate, and reeducate Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities in western Xinjiang Province. China wants to override the Dalai Lama’s choice of successor in its continuing efforts to police Tibetan Buddhism and aspirations to sovereignty. China leads the world in the number of political prisoners, its Great Firewall has become more difficult to penetrate, and its influence operations in Taiwan, Australia, and other democracies more sophisticated. Defector Wang Liqiang has told Australian officials of his personal involvement in the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers who had the temerity to advocate democracy.

These are not the moves of a regime confident in its ability to win the allegiance of a multi-ethnic population of 1.4 billion people. They are the policies of an insular and jittery faction whose uncertainty toward a changing economic and demographic landscape has made it suspicious of and opposed to even the slightest hints of liberal democracy. The ambitions of Chairman Xi for a Eurasia integrated under the Belt and Road Initiative, where the preponderance of the latest equipment in key sectors is manufactured, are both grand and mismatched for a nation whose leaders are concerned most with the operation of the surveillance state that keeps them in power.

The resistance to Beijing is both domestic and foreign. Lost in all the predictions of Chinese dominance were the voices of China’s neighbors in the Pacific. Neither Japan, nor Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, nor Australia want to live in a Chinese lake. Most extraordinary has been the response of the United States. Within four years, the American elite has swapped its belief in China’s “peaceful rise” for the recognition that it may be in the opening phase of a Second Cold War whose outcome will determine the ideological character of the 21st century. While Tariff Man wages his trade war, opposing Chinese theft of intellectual property and arguing for structural changes to China’s state owned enterprises, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speak of the political and security challenges presented by Chinese authoritarians who become more willing to lash out as they lose their grip.

Senator Josh Hawley spoke for the emerging consensus when he wrote in the November 24 Wall Street Journal: “And everywhere, in every region, we must ask whether our actions are contributing to the great task of this era, resisting hegemony in the Asia-Pacific.” A few days before Hawley’s op-ed, Congress passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. Though the president already may possess the authorities to sanction Chinese officials granted him by Congress, the bill remains both a powerful statement of American support for the principles of liberty and democracy and a sign of American resolution before the specter of autocracy.

Good for President Trump to have signed the Democracy Act—and better still if he would link human rights to trade and refrain from speaking of his “friend,” the “incredible guy” who seeks nothing less than the defeat and displacement of the United States.


The Berlin Wall Is Gone, but Its Lessons Remain

Socialism is not cuddly or compassionate, and it has been tried many times, to ruinous effect. Will today’s young people have to learn this all over again?

By JOHN FUNDNational Review

The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years until in 1989 a wave of citizen protest forced the East German Communist government to open its gates. We’ve now gone longer without the Berlin Wall than it existed.

As we marked the anniversary, on November 9, of its demise, I couldn’t help but recall with wonder how astonishingly quickly the ugly scar of the wall along with its guards, dogs, and mines were all swept away in a wave of euphoria.

I visited the Berlin Wall and crossed into East Germany several times during the 1980s while I worked at the Wall Street Journal. I will never forget the brave dissidents I met on the Eastern side who never accepted the wall, or the bureaucrats who ran the state machinery that sustained it.

While it now appears easy to simply divide the East German population into oppressors and the people they oppressed, I learned that the truth was a bit more complicated even for someone like me who grew up with anti-Communism in his bloodstream.

Here are some snapshots of people I met before the fall of the wall whom I will never forget.

One: Christa Luft, was the last person to serve as minister of economics in the East German government. Appointed just after the wall fell, she faced the daunting challenge of holding together a collapsing centrally planned economy. When I interviewed her just before Christmas 1989, I asked her how long East Germany could have preserved Communism if the wall hadn’t collapsed. With remarkable candor she said: “We had at most six months to a year.” The economy, she explained, was so inefficient at the end that if a machine tool broke down in Leipzig there would likely be no spare part available. A factory manager desperate to produce his quota of goods would often pay to have the needed part stolen for him from a factory in another city.

Excited to hear such a realistic explanation of the collectivist system, I then asked how the American CIA had possibly calculated that East Germany had a higher GDP than Ireland did, and indeed that West German per capita GDP was only 32 percent higher than East Germany’s. A clearly exhausted Christa Luft started to offer a rationalization and then gave up. “We lied,” she suddenly burst out. “But it wasn’t entirely our fault. You in the West believed our lies, and even gave us loans and other money based on our lies.” The wildly inaccurate economic statistics of the regime became so much a part of the system that even the ruling Communist Politburo members were not given the most accurate numbers.

Two: Peter Janz, who was the energetic first secretary of the East German Embassy in Washington during the 1980s and the point man for arranging interviews and journalist visas for me. He was always politem and he never engaged in attempts to peddle the more preposterous of Communist spin.

After the wall came down, he naturally wasn’t kept on by the German Foreign Ministry. I visited him a couple of years later after he’d settled down as owner of a video-rental store in Berlin. I asked him when he first realized that he was working for a regime that didn’t serve its people and was built on untruths.

He explained that as the son of Communist Party insiders, he had gone to high school in Moscow and been trained for a career as a top government official. But a school vacation trip he and four fellow East German classmates earned to the Baltic States changed his perspective.

He explained that he and his friends had been taught that Estonia, Latviam and Lithuania had all been liberated by Stalin from Nazi rule during World War II. They were now proud, loyal republics of the Soviet Union. But when he and his friends spoke Russian on the streets, they were met with hostile glares and suspicion by the local population. When they switched to German, they were approached by curious passersby and greeted warmly. “I suddenly realized my world was upside down. Nazis had indeed brutalized the Baltic States, but the Soviets had been at least as bad and stayed far longer,” he told me.

What did he do with this new knowledge, I asked him. He explained patiently that his options were limited: “I could become a dissident and give up hope of university or a career. I could leave my entire family and try to start over elsewhere. Or I could stay on my career path and try not to become too morally compromised and perhaps even do some good around the margins.” To those who would criticize his choice, he had a tart response: “People who’ve never grown up in a dictatorship should ask themselves how easily they would rebel against it and risk its full wrath,” he said. “Many of us have no idea how we would react until we are confronted directly with such choices.”

Three: Monica Stern, who was one of four teenage girls whom a German friend of mine and I encountered in 1984 while touring an East Berlin museum. Their teacher had brought them from a rural area to see their nation’s capital and had given them the afternoon off. My friend and I knew Berlin far better than they did, so we volunteered to be their tour guides.

By dusk it was time for my friend and I to return to the glittering lights of West Berlin. The girls came along to bid us farewell. They had never seen the Berlin Wall, but they sensed it was close. They stopped on a street corner and said, “We really shouldn’t go any farther. We are not Berliners. If we are stopped, the guards will ask us why we are so close to the border.”

As we stood in the growing darkness, a feeling of sadness came over me. I wasn’t rich, but I could go anywhere in the world from that street corner for a few hundred dollars. They could not go another 100 yards. Their world ended at the wall. They were trapped in a human zoo.

To keep the conversation going, I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. One said a beautician, one said a nurse, and one said a teacher. But the oldest and wisest, whose name was Monika, looked up at me and said very slowly: “It doesn’t matter what we become when we grow up. They will always treat us like children.”

That sentence really defined Communism in its waning years. People were rarely taken away to a political prison. Instead, there was an insufferable and widespread paternalism. It weighed down people’s spirits and prevented them from becoming what was the best within them.

We parted almost tearfully, exchanging addresses so we could swap postcards at Christmas. She wrote that her application for university studies had been rejected because of her views.

Five years later, in 1989, Monika turned 19 and the Berlin Wall came down. I watched in New York as East Germans crossed over, and I wondered if Monika and her friends were among them.

At about ten o’clock the next morning, the telephone rang. AT&T, already trying to introduce a consumer culture to the 84 percent of East Germans without a telephone, had set up phone kiosks near the wall. They gave prospective customers the chance to make a call anywhere in the world for free. Monika called me. Her first words were, “John, this is Monika. I am over the wall.”

We talked for a few minutes, and I reminded her of our talk on a street corner in East Berlin. “Well, does this mean you country has grown up, and you are no longer to be treated as children?” I asked. She responded with a laugh. “I think my entire country has graduated from kindergarten to high school overnight.”

Today, Monika is happily married and a successful veterinarian. But after more than a generation during which civics, Cold War history, and Communism were barely taught in American public schools, today’s young people know very little about this era.

A new poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation finds that Communism is viewed favorably by more than one in three Millennials (36 percent). Only 57 percent of Generation Z and 62 percent of Millennials believe that China is a Communist country and not a democratic country. And finally, only 57 percent of Millennials (compared with 94 percent of the World War II ‘Silent Generation’), believe that the Declaration of Independence guarantees freedom and equality better than the Communist Manifesto does.

Luckily, many Millennials either don’t understand what collectivism is, or they want “an imaginary, pure, democratic, cuddly socialism,” in the words of Daniel Hannan, a British member of the European Parliament. “Even where history has given us laboratory-condition experiments — East and West Germany, and Hong Kong and mainland China — they refuse to infer anything from them, airily dismission each actual instance of socialism as ‘not real socialism.’”

West Berlin’s fight for freedom is now part of history, but here’s hoping that the human-rights story of 2019 — the fight of another isolated “island of freedom” called Hong Kong to protect its institutions from an authoritarian takeover — similarly captures the attention of the world and prompts young people to better comprehend the difference between free and controlled societies.


Communism’s Legacy: Tyranny, Terror, and Torture

By Richard M. Ebeling • Foundation for Economic Education

In August of 1993, I was invited to participate in a conference in Vilnius, Lithuania on “Liberty and Private Business.” This was less than two years after the formal disappearance of the Soviet Union as a political entity on the map of the world.

During our time there, my wife and I were offered the opportunity to be given a tour of the building that had served as the headquarters of the local KGB, the infamous Soviet secret police. Our guide was a man who had been a prisoner in its walls in the late 1950s. The most nightmarish part of the tour was the basement containing the prison cells and the interrogation rooms.

Going Through Hell at the Hands of the KGB

As we reached the bottom Continue reading


Socialism’s Bloody History Shows Millennials Should Think Twice Before Supporting It

Socialism demands that we place blind trust in whoever takes the power to distribute society’s goods and services. History shows those who have this power abuse it in horrific ways.

by Stella Morabito     •     The Federalist

Nikolai Bukharin was executed by shooting in Moscow on March 15, 1938. He had been revered as a giant of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, as one who even worked side by side with Vladimir Lenin himself. Alas, Bukharin’s Marxist chickens had come home to roost by the time he was shot like a dog during Josef Stalin’s reign of terror. His execution marked the pinnacle of Stalin’s show trials of high-level officials.

You see, Bukharin invested in building a political system that inevitably puts the reins of power into the hands of just a few strongmen who end up calling all the shots. It’s a system in which suspicion and the smell of treason tend to hang in the air.

Socialism, by the way, is just such a system. This is the case whether you call it by any other name, whether communism, utopianism, or collectivism. Oh, go ahead and slap some lipstick on that pig and call it “democratic” socialism or “progressivism” or “communitarianism.” Continue reading


The Difference Between Capitalism and Communism


WP2FB Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com