Wednesday, April 01, 2009

They just can't help themselves

The greatest instrument for the building of political anti-Communism in America and the rest of the free world in the 20th Century was the Soviet Union itself. Even at times when anti-Communism seemed at its nadir (the 1930s, the latter half of World War II, and the 1970s), the blatant and horrific actions of the U.S.S.R. drove pragmatists and idealists headlong into the anti-Communist camp.

One of the Chinese Communist Party's greatest achievements in international affairs was stopping that movement. It took oceans of lies, oceans of exports, and a wide net of espionage agents (not all of them willing) to do the trick, but it probably added years to the life of the regime. Yet now, the cadres seem to be forgetting all of their lessons of old, as anti-Communists are starting to pop up in the most unusual places.

By far the most shocking display of anti-Communism has to be from the Australian Liberal-National coalition. After more than a decade in power playing the "engagement" game, the Coalition was turfed by Australia's voters in 2007. Rudd himself was a firm "engagement" politician, but his government has stumbled a bit with an investigation into the Defense Minister's very close ties to Helen Liu, a Chinese-Australian with deep CCP ties (The Australian and the Epoch Times).

The surprise came when the Opposition decided to make this a major issue (Epoch Times) - a dramatic departure from the past. While it is certainly to early to predict how effective the Liberals will be (or even how long they keep this up), it is a pleasant surprise so far, and one that has to have the cadres worrying about what they thought was a relatively pliant Australia.

Still, the bigger shift came from Washington - or to be more precise, the United States Navy.

While presidents have been wedded to the "engagement" policy towards Beijing since 1989, there has always been a group of civilian (i.e., non-political) employees in the Department of Defense trying to sound the alarm about the CCP. This time, however, the cadres themselves drove the Navy's rethink, with the development of an anti-ship ballistic missile designed specifically to sink American aircraft carriers (U.S. Naval Institute):

Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat.

After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters near coastlines, the U.S. Navy seems to have quickly
changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the
capabilities of its deep sea fleet and developing anti-ballistic defenses.

In other words, the Navy has an eye fixed on Beijing. Again, it's too early to discern the effect (especially given the support for "engagement" at the highest levels of the Obama Administration), but it is nonetheless a good sign.

The inevitable question then arises: how did the cadres let this happen? The answer is equally inevitable: they can't help themselves. While the Tienanmen massacre removed economic growth as a sufficient means of justifying the Communist regime, growth was still necessary on several levels. Now, the CCP will be lucky to have the economy keep up with population growth (Bloomberg). Thus, radical nationalism - the regime's claimed raison d'etre since the bloody summer of 1989 - becomes even more important.

So, challenging the United States becomes more essential - exports or no exports. So does espionage (Business Day). Meanwhile, desperate attempts to resuscitate the local economy leads to barriers against imports, further alienating the democratic world whose appeasement is so vital to the regime's survival (Bloomberg).

It is likely that the regime is convinced they have a free ride, thanks to President Obama. However, the Soviets made the exact same error regarding President Carter, and thus allowed anti-Communism to grow by leaps and bounds outside Washington, until Ronald Reagan stepped in to lead the free world to victory in the First Cold War.

Today, an anti-Communist government holds power (however tenuously) in Canada; anti-Communism is on the rise in Australia; and the leading contenders for power in India are both vying for the anti-Communist label. The CCP is making the same Soviet-era mistakes they sought to avoid.

Their loss is our gain. It is becoming more and more clear that when an anti-Communist finally does become president (perhaps in 2013), the rest of the free world will be there to help him or her win the Second Cold War.

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