Thursday, December 10, 2009
Events of this past week, however, revealed that the mullahcracy's grip on the Iranian people remains as shaky as it was this past summer.
December 7 in Iran is National Students Day, a day to honor students who in 1953 protested a pro-American coup. For twenty years, the regime is happy to have large crowds marching in the streets, but anti-regime students essentially took over the day's events in 1999; the regime has tamped down December 7 ever since (Los Angeles Times).
It didn't work this year. Despite over a hundred pre-NSD arrests and the usual clamor about "foreign influence" (Fox News), campuses all over Iran witnessed large anti-regime protests. Even worse for the mullahs, for the first time, ethnic minorities (Kurds and Azeris) got in on the act (LAT).
Now, the regime did survive, and will for some time yet, but the mullahs will continue to waste energy terrifying their people into silence and imprisoning - or worse - those who refused to be cowed. This comes despite anemic support for the protesters coming from the free world.
That won't be lost on the folks in Zhongnanhai. They, too, have a potentially lethal combination of determined dissidents and ethnic issues - the latter exacerbated by the fact that the CCP conquered the nations in question (Tibet and East Turkestan). They, too, have done everything they can to take advantage of the free world's willingness to look the other way on human rights and other matters. Moreover, unlike the Iranian regime, the CCP long ago lost its ideological justification for its cruelty.
If the Iranian tyrants still have to worry about massive protests erupting at certain dates, to what can the CCP look forward? That is the question that keeps the cadres up nights.
For nearly two decades, the CCP has tried to avoid the fate of the European Communists. They deftly redesigned economic Marxism - effectively transforming the state from factory manager to the equivalent of an omnipresent holding company. They spent years polishing their image among the elites of the world, building alliances with other tyrants, and attempting to co-opt any dissident they could find.
Here's the problem: the first item, while quite ingenious, can only take the regime so far, and there's evidence aplenty that it has run its course. The rest is straight out of the European Communists' playbook - and it has led to the same paucity of results.
Anyone who remembers the 1970s has seen this movie before. The free world was willing to look the other way vis a vis European Communism, too (including both political parties here in America). There were other matters that seemed to trump human rights (in that decade, it was the nuclear arms race and, ahem, global cooling). Tyrants seemed on the march under Soviet protection. The decade ended with Iran itself succumbing to the Khomeinists. Yet European Communism still fell.
What we tend to forget, however, is that the 1970s was the one decade during which the CCP paid the least attention to the rest of the world. The chaos of the Cultural Revolution, the post-Mao factional battles within the CCP, and the first signs of popular protest against the regime combined to keep the eyes of the CCP leaders firmly fixed inward.
So, while the CCP learned the lessons of the 1980s (i.e., the state as factory manager doesn't work, and neither does open resistance to an assertive free world), they missed the lessons of the 1970s (an unassertive free world never stays that way, the people will never be won over by foreign plaudits, and allied tyrants inevitably cost more to prop up then their worth).
In other words, the CCP is marching into the same trap the snared their European brethren, but they don't see it coming, but they were not paying attention during the decade that most closely resembles this one. In time, when the free world arises from its stupor (as it inevitably does), the trap will be sprung, and the Chinese Communist Party will take its rightful place on the ash heap of history.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
After spending nearly ten years trying to warn my fellow Americans about the dangers of the Chinese Communist Party (and compared to some of the giants in the movement, I'm still a rookie), it is becoming clear that the "chattering classes" finally recognize the danger (a majority of Americans have always understood the problem). Unfortunately, the mood in the corridors of power and punditry have shifted not to firm resolve to resist the CCP, but mordant despair over its eventual conquest of the world.
The best (or, perhaps, worst) example of the gloom and doom comes from John Tkacik, a leading anti-Communist himself and a longtime defender of the island democracy currently on Taiwan (National Review Online):
As the smoke clears from President Obama’s 2009 Asia tour, America’s new status as the second-most powerful nation on earth is no longer obscured. It is the measure of a superpower that nobody else tells it what to do, but America is no longer the superpower. It is now China whom no one dares lecture.
The Obama administration has failed to muster the leverage necessary to gain China’s cooperation on any of its global priorities: nuclear proliferation, climate change, trade, exchange rates, human rights, competition for resources, environmental despoliation, or moderating China’s territorial claims against its neighbors — most of which are America’s friends and allies.
It simply is not credible in Beijing that Obama’s Washington has the courage to come up with an “or else” if China insists on pursuing its goals via a robust state-mercantilist ideology. So Beijing now does what it will, and will lecture the U.S. president if it pleases.
This was evident in Obama’s handling of the Tibet issue. He dared not meet with his fellow Nobel Laureate, the Dalai Lama, because China was not pleased. In his comments to Chinese leaders, Obama reassured them that the United States recognizes that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China,” without pausing to consider that China claims 32,000 square miles of Indian territory — the state of Arunachal Pradesh — as “part of Tibet.” Clearly, President Obama sees his challenge as managing America’s decline gracefully.
Now, not everyone is as glum as Tkacik, but most have a similar theme, driven by either criticism of the Obama Administration (which is justified) or concern over CCP-held American debt (which is badly overblown). Thus, I am now forced to shift gears myself, and remind everyone that things really aren't that bad.
True, the obsequiousness of the president is deeply disturbing, but that's not just for anti-Communists (see Victor Davis Hanson, also in NRO, for the overall details). America's allies are starting to notice the trend in other areas, too, and are not happy (America in the World, UK). Moreover, while "engagement" has become a standard lunacy among American presidents over the last two decades, the Obama version is so bad that even "engagement" luminaries such as the Financial Times (also UK) are telling the president that he "need not – and must not – kowtow" (via AITW).
In fact, the FT even goes so far as to detonate the myth of the CCP's power as American creditor: "Contrary to common perception, China’s huge holdings of US treasuries are not a sign of great strength. They are evidence of how dependent Chinese growth has been on the US consumer." I take a somewhat different angle in my view on the subject, but any comments that steer clear of unnecessary pessimism is welcome at this point.
In reality, America is weak toward the CCP because President Obama chooses to be weak. For the democracy on Taiwan - which is facing both a likely invasion deadline of 2012 and its own lack of resolve - this isn't very consoling. The American people, however, have available a simple solution - replace Obama with an anti-Communist president. Whether any Republicans or other Democrats are willing to embrace the anti-Communist model is another question, but Obama's errors here make it much more likely.
Indeed, the recent election results in New Jersey hint to a second, and still underemphasized, reason for optimism: India. Even the FT took note of India's role as "a potential regional counterweight to China." Now, I've been talking about the geopolitical importance of India for years, but if what Michael Barone (DC Examiner) is any indication, Indian-Americans may be shifting to the Republicans. This will give the GOP more reason to emphasize India's role in the world. Democrats, if they're wise, will likely follow suit (lest anyone forget, the first notion of upending Communist regimes in Eastern Europe came from Republican candidates desperate to peel immigrants from said countries away from the Democrats in the 1950s). As more Americans become aware that there are three superpowers rather than two - and that the "third" is a far better fit with the free world than the CCP - they will realize their strength, and demand leaders act upon said strength.
Last but most, we need to remember the adversary: the Chinese Communist Party. Yes, it is bloodthirsty, ruthless, and very effective is presenting the veneer of respectable calm across Chinese and occupied territory. In the final piece of irony, it is John Derbyshire (author of the pessimism manifesto titled We Are Doomed), who reminds us of our reasons for hope:
Let us bear in mind that those (economic) growth rates are based on an economic model that may already have ceased to be tenable (see Gordon Chang in the November 23 issue of National Review); that Chinese weapons, now as in the past, are intended for use against those inhabitants, or recalcitrant ex-inhabitants, of the Celestial Empire who will not bow to the Son of Heaven; that Chinese diplomats excel mainly at making their nation disliked; that resentments of class and wealth inequality can sunder a nation as surely as can ethnic troubles; and that the median duration of a Chinese dynasty has been 45 years.
In other words, between America and the CCP, America is the weakest - except for the CCP.
So, while we can shake our heads at the Obama Administration's mistakes, and cringe as the CCP takes advantage of them, the fundamentals have not really changed. The CCP is still a regime hiding its weaknesses from itself and everyone else, while America and the rest of the free world has strengths that remain unacknowledged - or even ignored - but won't disappear.
After all, how many of us on December 31, 1979 would even dare dream that European Communism would be crushed just a dozen years later?
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
If you're the cadres, that's supposed to be fantastic news, a sign that they have finally arrived as an institution that can be accepted and celebrated. Now, New Yorkers and Americans can look at the skyscraper and marvel at the oceans of blood spilled in their name.
If that sounds a little odd, it's because things haven't quite gone according to plan.
The Empire State had barely turned on the CCP lights before Fox News was wading through a smorgasbord of furious anger from tourists, a historian, and a local Congressman (Anthony Weiner). So, instead of "oohs" and "ahs," the cadres are reading this:
"I think it's a bad idea," said Dick Paasch, 69, from Billings, Montana. "The Chinese Revolution ... in the years 1958-1960, there were something like 26 million people starved to death. Why would we want to celebrate something like that?"Um, that wasn't supposed to happen.
"China gets treatment that other dictatorships can only dream of — a free pass on human rights," said Arthur Waldron, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Would we have lit the Empire State Building for the USSR knowing what we
do about the Gulag?"
New York politicians have paid notice as well, and say they are let down by the light-up. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said it was a mistake to pay tribute to what he
called "a nation with a shameful history on human rights."
Even worse for the cadres, their 60 years of rule have been permanently linked with another number: its 72 million victims. That certainly wasn't part of the plan, but it has darkened any celebration.
In fact, no matter where one looks (the aforementioned Fox News, Associated Press, The New York Times, National Review Online, U.S. News and World Report, NBC, etc.), the "celebration" is given so perfunctory quotes while the anger and outrage gets a majority of the coverage.
Of course, the real purpose of the lighting - to ensure the Chinese people are told how much the rest of the world loves the CCP - was a smashing success. So long as the peasants, migrant workers, prisoners, and appellants don't see the seething of the American people, it's all systems go for the demoralizing propaganda.
Keep in mind, stuff like this isn't about Chinese pride; it's about debasement. It's about keeping the Chinese people scared, isolated, and quiet. It's about making sure they have no idea that the people of the democratic world would love to see them rise up and take their country back.
Still, that would have been a lot easier had the red-and-yellow vibe lasted longer than a New York minute. Now the cadres will have to keep an even tighter grip on its contacts with the outside world. All nations dealing with it will have to be even more intrusive within its own borders so as not to "offend Chinese dignitaries."
All of this brings inevitably closer the day when the democratic world throws up its hands in exasperation - the exact opposite of the long-term objectives stemming from the 60th anniversary.
If anything, here in this country, the Empire State fiasco revealed an anti-Communist majority as strong as it ever was - if only one of the political parties would step up to represent them.
The American and Chinese peoples are still waiting.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Friedman embarasses himself with an ode to the "enlightened" CCP in his latest column:
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.
Nothing is more dangerous than claiming to know the future, and Friedman painfully proves it here. This is a regime that is still working its citizens to death - literally - in labor camps, still imprisoning and killing those who refuse to put the Party between themselves and their God, and still actively helping America's enemies abroad. None of it matters to Mr. Friedman, because so long as the regime dyes its bloody hands "green," it can become "a reasonably enlightened group of people."
Keep in mind, Mr. Friedman, and so many like him, know nothing of the real CCP. They have spent time in one or more of the Potemkin cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Shenzhen), and fool themselves into thinking they've seen China.
Only this can explain the nonsense Friedman spews next:
It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
Of course, this would come as a shock to Canada, which is watching these very same leaders make a massive move on Alberta's oil sands, which according to Friedman et al is not only a no-no because it is oil, but even worse, it's "dirty" oil.
What would a regime "committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power" want with Albertan oil? Well, they'd want energy, and unlike Friedman, they understand that it takes more than pies in the sky to get it. Meanwhile, China outside of the Potemkin cities remains an ecological nightmare.
So what's driving this strange impulse by Friedman to embrace dictatorship. It is as simple as it is tragic: Friedman is not getting what he wants politically in America. Frustrated with the American people refusing to agree with him, he longs for the will to impose his views on them anyway.
It is the typical column of a frustrated "in" pundit - railing at the "out" party (in this case the Republicans) as doomed to irrelevance and powerful enough to stop the Democrats at the same time. The problem is, the GOP can't be both. Unable to control the agenda in the House or even slow it down in the Senate, Republicans can do nothing but dissent - unless the American people stand with them.
It is the same in any democracy - even the parliamentary ones where traditionally a majority government reigns supreme. If the opposition has the ear of the people (or vice versa) governing suddenly becomes difficult, if not impossible.
The proper, democratic thing to do is try to persuade the people that you are correct and they are not - but that requires effort, effort "in" parties usually don't have after some years in power. That Friedman is already exhausted after mere months of the Obama Administration is tellng about its weakness.
That said, different people resort to different methods. President Bush, for all his faults, made a dramatic pitch to the American people on the "surge" in Iraq. The people were surprised, and more than a little apprehensive, but they agreed to give it a chance, with very good results.
President Obama may face a similar choice in Afghanistan. That one of the capital's leading columnistst is now longing for the power to imprision dissidents is a sign of trouble.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
The week began (badly) in Japan, where Taro Aso - the latest and possibly most passionate in a line of anti-Communist Japanese premiers that included Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe - became the first Liberal Democrat in sixteen years (and arguably the first in over fifty) to suffer an outright defeat at the hands of the voters. The newly empowered Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has been spouting about moving away from the United States and closer to the Chinese Communist Party for years. Now, with a hammerlock on Japan's House of Representatives, they can form the government for the first time in history.
The next day brought a double-whammy: the family of Chen Shui-bian (former President of Taiwan and former leader of the anti-Communist Democratic Progressive Party) were convicted of perjury in his corruption trial. Chen himself will hear his verdict in about a week (Epoch Times); a conviction is all but certain. Meanwhile, Petrochina put in a nearly $2-billion bid for a major Albertan oil project, possibly turning North America's alternative to Middle Eastern oil into Beijing's overseas resource center.
All in all, the week looked horrific - and it was only Monday.
In fact, however, that was the whole point: the week still had five days left. Much as you don't declare the football game over at half-time, one cannot declare a week a disaster just two days in. On the contrary, as the week wore on, it started to wear a little better.
While the anti-Communist leaders were reeling from the Chen drama in Taiwan, the anti-Communist populace were making their presence known. President Ma Ying-jeou continued to take it on the chin politically on several fronts, while the presence of the Dalai Lama (whom Ma could not dare to ban from the island democracy) brought out the worst in the CCP - and reminded all who live on Taiwan just what reunification under Zhongnanhai would mean (Central News Agency). Much like the Republicans here have sprung back to life with the departure of George W. Bush, recent events on Taiwan make clear the anti-Communist DPP could have a revival of its own once the Chens leave the scene (voluntarily or otherwise).
The situation in Japan also improved - or to be more precise, it was revealed to be better than originally thought. For all the DPJ talk of moving closer to Beijing, one glaring obstacle stares them dead in the face - the choatic House of Councillors (known as the "upper house"). While the outgoing LDP lost control of that chamber in 2007, the DPJ doesn't control it either. Instead, it will have to rely on smaller parties from left and right - the latter will likely be nonplussed with any serious move in Beijing's direction. Until new Councillor elections next year, any new move in foreign policy could lead to trouble, which is why the triumphant DPJ is suddenly talking down any references to them.
Even the situation in Canada improved, and not just because the anti-Communists in the country began rousing themselves to take on their former friends in the governing Conservative Party (Calgary Herald). The bigger news may have come from the Gulf of Mexico, where a massive oil reservoir was discovered deep underground (Washington Post). While it will be a while before the field brings oil to the market, there is already talk of its effect on world oil prices. This could dampen the dollars enough for the Tories in Ottowa to clear their heads and give the Petrochina deal the long, painful look it deserves.
Meanwhile, word leaked out to the Epoch Times that the latest attempt by the cadres to pilfer state-owned assets and line their pockets had been met with a labor strike in Hunan Province - a telling reminder that the CCP's ongoing struggle to silence and dominate its own people continues to run into problems.
Of course, we have no idea how any of these items will resolve themselves, but we can be more optimistic about them than we could have been earlier in the week. While no one is really sure who coined the phrase "a week is a lifetime in politics" (the late UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson came close with the British subdued/deadpan version "a week is a long time in politics"), they were certainly validated this week.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
About 1.5 million people in China need transplants, but only about 10,000 operations are performed annually, according to the health ministry . . . the government passed a law in 2007 banning trafficking as well as the donation of organs to unrelated recipients. But in practice, illegal transplants - some from living donors - are still frequently reported by the media and the Ministry of Health . . . In a rare admission of the extent to which this takes place, China Daily - citing unnamed experts - said on Wednesday that more than 65% of organ donations come from death row prisoners.In other words, the CCP just admitted that over 6,000 organ "donations" came from the condemned, 2007 law be damned.
Of interest to many readers of this column, the cadres of course did not make any admission about organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners. Then again, they don't really admit to killing them either, so this is no surprise.
What is important (and as with most important things regarding the CCP, it has been largely ignored) is this: the CCP admitted, once again, that it can't or won't enforce its own laws among its own members. After all, who else could be selling the organs taken from prisoners but the very Communist regime that supposedly made such organ selling illegal?
While most of the rest of us may not have noticed that whopping admission, the cadres certainly did: they were so nervous about it the rushed out anti-Uighur propaganda without notifying their "Xinjiang" counterparts. Even worse, the BBC got to the cadres in occupied East Turkestan before Zhongnanhai did.
That this would so badly scare the regime will surprise most people. After all, they have the friendliest Administration in Washington since Nixon. The elites in the free world are still seeing the mounds of American debt held by Beijing in economic terms (where it appears powerful) rather than in geopolitical terms (where it's practically worthless). Perceptions like that mean something, and for the CCP, it means a lot.
Still, reality trumps perception in the end - no matter how late that end comes. The one thing the cadres fear the most is the Chinese people rising up to take their country back. Amidst massive unemployment (as the Epoch Times noted earlier this week), the cadres were clearly worried that another example of their refusal to follow the rules could cause problems.
At the same time, with the next CCP Congress only three years away, and most cadres looking to take advantage of the transition from Hu Jintao, information like this could easily be used by one faction against another. So, off it goes into China Daily, leaving the party apparatus scrambling to distract the people's attention.
Lest anyone forget, Hu Jintao is the first leader in CCP history whose exit is considered common knowledge (Mao died in power, while Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin hung on as Central Military Commission Chairman for years after handing over the ostensibly omnipotent role as CCP General Secretary). As any other "lame duck" can attest, the people supposedly following Hu's orders are starting to look beyond him. Even in most democratic countries, factions within the incumbent party will start leaking against each other in an effort to gain the upper hand for their champion come convention or primary time - except that the leader is still considered legitimate and everyone accepts that the voters will decide the successor.
Neither of the above applies to the Chinese Communist Party. Thus, every factional battle has the potential for disaster - and the cadres have three more years of this coming, unless Hu has enough power left to tell everyone to calm down for the good of the Party.
That may be more wistful than it initially appears, for the factions within the CCP are marching straight into the classic "prisoner's dilemma" - concern for weakening the tyranny is trumped by the fear of the other faction (or factions) doing it anyway and getting the upper hand in the process.
European Communists, whose leaders almost always died in power, never had these problems unless the Soviet leader himself was gravely ill - and even then there was a faction interested in keeping that news under wraps to preserve their position. Ironically, in an attempt to ensure a smoother transition from one leader to the next, the Chinese Communists stumbled into this new problem without any guide to solve it.
By 2012, the factional warfare could end up with enough exposures to lead to a full-blown revolution. It may seem improbable, but it can't be seen as impossible. Hard as it is to believe, the Chinese Communist Party's attempt to modernize itself could very well be what seals its doom.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The first problem with Jacques' theory is that he apparently takes the cadres' economic growth statistics at face value. Anyone who has been tracking the regime for a while should know by now the danger in that. National statistics in Communist China are just amalgamations of provincial statistics, which are themselves summations of county, city, village, and town numbers. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but with cadres at every level trying to justify their existence, the "fudge factor" can be significant. A few years ago, Communist economic chicanery was estimated to add almost 1.5% of false growth to their GDP statistics. Stretch that out to the supposed date the CCP passes the U.S. in economic size (sometime in midcentury), and one sees a lot of padding.
Criticism number two is centered around the notion (at the end of the interview) that the Chinese are a patient people. This has long been marked as a virtue that someday would lead China to pass the shortsighted Western powers. There's only one problem: the Chinese Communist Party has no such patience. While Western observers fret over Beijing's plans for the next century, the leaders in Zhongnanhai are too busy plotting against each other's plans over the next decade, at most. One could even argue that most high-ranking cadres can't even think past three years (i.e., the 2012 CCP Congress, which could very well include a major shakeup), let alone three decades.
One would expect Jacques, "an academic and journalist working throughout East Asia" would have taken the factionalism of the CCP into account - until they notice his glaring error with one of the most hackneyed examples of the "patience" theory (Macleans again).
You remember what Deng Xiaoping was supposed to have said when Henry Kissinger asked whether he thought the French Revolution was a good thing: “It’s too early to say.” That to me is a very good insight into the Chinese mentality.
In fact, it was Zhou Enlai, not Deng, who dropped that famous line about the French Revolution - Deng was not even rehabilitated by the regime until after Kissinger and Nixon's trip to Beijing. While this doesn't necessarily impeach Jacques' views about the Chinese culture, it certainly calls into question his knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party.
All that aside, what really sinks Jacques' vision of a CCP-dominated world is his regional bias, i.e., toward East Asia. Normally, this is hard to spot, as Eurocentricism remains the dominant bias nearly everyone tries to combat. However, in his discussion about the fate of the globe, Jacques focuses entirely on the CCP's relationship with its eastern neighbors (Japan, Vietnam, etc.), while its western neighbors are barely an afterthought. Thus, Jacques falls into the common yet catastrophic China-and-India trap (one more time with Macleans).
We’re moving into a world where former colonized countries like China and India will become the big players. This is going to shake up the global value system. So I’m not arguing personally against democracy, but I’m trying to imagine what the world’s going to be like when countries have different imperatives, different histories, and therefore different priorities.
I am continually and perpetually amazed at how many people treat Communist China and democratic India as indentical twins. Nothing could be further from the truth. While India could probably care less about what Europe wants (and that's not necessarily a bad thing, by the way), its entire foreign policy has evolved into a deep mistrust and concern for the CCP. Beijing and New Delhi still don't have an agreed-upon border, and the Indian people know full well that Pakistan - which lacks either the will, the ability, or both to prevent terrorists from crossing into India and killing hundreds to thousands of people - is protected by Zhongnanhai.
The idea the India would be willing to play second fiddle to the CCP would be hilarious if it weren't so insulting. That India furthermore would not use its democratic history as part of its rivalry with Beijing is to further insult the intelligence of the Indian people and its elected leaders.
Again, I don't want this to appear to be a criticism of Jacques' book itself (although I don't have high expectations for it), but it is clear that the author has a worldview that is lacking not only in vital information about Asia, but even about China itself. More to the point, these areas of ignorance are the only things that have allowed Jacques to even entertain the notion that the CCP could ever "rule the world."
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Half a world away, in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (or, as he is known in this corner, Mad Mouthpiece Mahmoud) was officially inaugurated to a second term as President - despite thousands of protesters in the streets and a slew of boycotting legislators still angry over the obvious fraud behind his "re-election" two months ago (Washington Post).
Most would presume that these events have nothing to do with each other. I'm not so sure.
First of all, we need to remember that Kim Jong-il is a lot like Teamsters pension-fund head "Andy Stone" from Casino - "by all appearances . . . a powerful man . . . but Andy Stone also took orders." Kim Jong-il may be many things (including on death's door), but he remains the Chinese Communist Party's Korean viceroy - even more so now that he is desperate to ensure his son as his successor. Thus, if the CCP wanted those two journalists back in America and out of the headlines, it would have gotten exactly what it wanted.
The question becomes, then, why now? What made early August different from July? Or, for that matter, April? That's where the Iranian inauguration farce comes in.
The CCP has a habit of using the Korean colony to change the subject from any unfortunate matter it would rather avoid. The most dramatic example of this came just over two months ago when Kim and his cronies conducted a nuclear test less than two weeks before the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. So, it was fairly obvious the moment these reporters were captured that this could be of use to the CCP.
How they could be useful wasn't clear until the Iranian uprising, which was as much of a surprise to Beijing as it was to the Tehran regime itself. Under normal circumstances, the CCP would pay no attention to a tyranny cracking down on its own frustrated people - besides making sure everyone knew it stood with the tyranny.
Things became a bit more sensitive when the Iranian people - noticing Beijing's long alliance with the mullahcracy - included "Death to China" among their street slogans. Suddenly, the CCP was itself the target of the protesters, and any trouble coming out of Iran could redound to the free world (whose anti-Communists continue to make the regime very nervous) and China itself (ditto - and then some).
Thus, August 5, the date Iran requires its president to be inaugurated for a new term, became a very important date the cadres in Beijing - important enough to ensure the rest of the world paid no attention to the ongoing battle between the Persian people and the Tehran tyranny. Can we really be surprised that North Korea suddenly jumped on Bill Clinton's trip as an excuse to release the captured journalists just as Iran was approaching another flash point?
As it is, hardly anyone paid attention to Tehran, even when White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs slipped and called the Mad Mouthpiece Iran's "elected" leader (Fox News). All eyes were on North Korea, Bill Clinton, and the two released reporters. Speculation swirled around Kim Jong-il's motives, pundits praised Bill Clinton to the skies (although some are now wondering what was offered in return), breathless reports about the "deep involvement" of the Obama Administration (now that things went well) were whispered and then broadcast.
In short, the plight of the hostages dominated the news day - and the ongoing reverberations of the Iranian uprising did not. The Chinese Communist Party not only saw more press for its Korean colony, but also no press for its Iranian ally. Whatever kind of day it was for Clinton, the reporters, the president, and the media, it was certainly an excellent day for the CCP.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
That the Communist regime now holds more American debt than anyone or anything on earth has given them a perception of economic power. Granted, there isn't much reality behind that perception, but that will take some time to sink in over here. What is important here is what Beijing's carping reveals: deep concern about their own economy, and an inability to fix it.
The latest economic figures out of Beijing trumpeted 7.9% GDP growth in the second quarter. However, given the cadres' penchant for phony statistics, the actual growth number could be as low as 6% - well below population growth. In other words, the average victim of the CCP is continues to grow poorer. This despite a half-trillion-dollar "stimulus."
Meanwhile, the already creeky banking sector continued to dig itself a deeper hole, with wave after wave of reckless loans that have brought back the dreaded B-word ("bubble"). The regime has promised to use "market tools" (Bloomberg) to slow down the lending spree - without explaining to anyone just what it means by that.
So, with the economy not recovering to the extent required, corruption still out of control, and several banks sure to end up drowning in bad loans in the near future, the regime needs someone to blame - and up steps the Obama Administration. To be clear, I am in no way endorsing the reckless spending of the president. The consequences of trillion-dollar-deficits (the entire federal budget was less than a trillion dollars just twenty-five years ago) are obvious: high inflation, a devalued dollar, and a crippling effect on business investment. That's what makes it so easy for the cadres to hide behind America's mistakes.
If things continue to get worse in Communist China, look for the cadres to make more threats about dumping American bonds, while blaming the falling value of said bonds for the regime's own failures. Unfortunately, too many critics of the Administration will seize upon the cadres' smoke screen as yet another consequence of the president's refusal to slow down the spending train. This is especially true regarding the Communist banks, who will scream bloody murder about the loss of value in American assets while hoping no one notices the domestic-default tsunami.
In fact, this entire ruse is yet one more reason Washington should get its fiscal house in order. Without this crutch, Beijing will have no explanation for the continuing economic downturn, and more of their victims will rise up to take their country back. Instead, the regime could very well succeed (and certainly will attempt) to lay blame for all of their economic difficulties at the feet of the president. Foreign investors (who should know better, but that's for another day) will hear stories about worthwhile projects withering on the vine due to weakened Communist banks and those spendthrift Americans, and odds are they'll believe them. The cadres may very dupe the foreigners out of millions to billions of new dollars to make up for the mythical investment gap, giving the regime yet another vein of money siphon off for party members.
Contrary to what the Chinese Communist Party would like the world to believe, they are in a very weak position. Their economic policies are causing more problems while leaving unsolved the ones that led to the policies in the first place. However, so long as the United States continues to spend money like it grows on trees, the cadres will have the cover story they desperately need to survive. Once again, like nearly every other tyrant on the planet, they will find their survival in whipping up anti-American hatred and blaming us for things we did not do.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
With just about every tyranny that has darkened the world with its shadow, there is an event, a moment, where an observer can pinpoint things beginning to go "off the rails." At that moment, the regime loses its rationality and its perspective - an inevitable consequence of its loss of humanity. Difficult to see when they happen, these inflection points stand out in bas relief when the regime's history is reviewed.
On occasion, this is a foreign policy blunder (the Nazis' invasion of the Soviet Union), but usually it occurs when the regime decided to turn a non-political issue into a political one - best shown by European Communism's visceral reaction to Solidarity in Poland. The world's peoples understand when a tyrants go after their political enemies - they don't approve, mind you, but they understand the reasons for it. As such, the tyrants' victims use this understanding to help survive the dictatorship - stay clear of political no-go areas, chant the regime's slogans at the right place and the right time, etc., and no one will come for you in the middle of the night. It is when the regime decides to attack something widely perceived as apoliticial that the persecuted people(s) realize they have no choice but to rise up against the regime. The regime need not fall immediately (it took eleven years for European Communism to finally and completely collapse), but it will, inevitably, fall. For the CCP, that moment was July 25, 1999.
To understand why, we need to remember what Falun Gong was before it became an enemy of the state. In the 1990s, Falun Gong was one of many qigong movements spreading among the Chinese people. Unlike most of the others, it quickly found favor with the regime for its refusal to engage in politics. Moreover, Falun Gong was inherently Chinese in its aspirations, its methods, and even its flaws (note: I am not a practitioner). If there was any spiritual movement that the CCP could co-opt, it was Falun Gong.
However, as the decade came to a close, the regime suddenly discovered that Falun Gong had more adherents than the Chinese Communist Party. This, in the minds of the paranoid post-Tiananmen leadership of the CCP, made it dangerous, and worthy of a crackdown. Outside the CCP, however, the crackdown made no sense whatsoever. Why would the regime care about something so firmly non-political as Falun Gong? What else would the regime suddenly decide was "political" and worthy of a prison term or a spell in a labor camp? Practitioners themselves were so surprised that they demanded the regime stop: 10,000 of them in one April day. Ironically, that demonstration (which was largely a show of fealty to the CCP) was twisted by the regime into an act of dissent it never was.
The rest is tragic history - although there have been some darkly comical moments. As always, they center around the regime's charges of foreign influence - an utterly hilarious notion given that it comes from a regime inspired by German philosopher and aided in its quest for power by two Russian tyrants. Looking from 2009, it appears the regime succeeded. However, it looked just as dark in Poland in 1987, or even the Soviet Union itself in early 1991. We now know better.
The regime does, too. They're not foolish enough to think they've won the Falun Gong War (although they are intelligent enough to claim they have). Perhaps they are even aware of the massive unforced error they committed in turning Falun Gong into a dissident faith. In any event, the regime will - and in fact, must - continue its path of repression until the Chinese people rise up and take their country back.
When that happens, history and historians may very well look back to July 25, 1999 as the tipping point.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
To hear MSM discuss it, it was yet another sad case of clashes between Chinese police and restive Uighur Muslims. As Matthew Little noted yesterday (full disclosure, he interviewed yours truly for the piece, as you can see via the link), that was almost exactly how the CCP wanted the incident reported, and at least at first, the cadres got their wish.
Still, I fear that even most anti-Communists have failed (so far) to understand the immense importance of Urumqi 2009 - even I was prepared to largely underemphasize it for quite some time. Upon further review, however, it becomes clear just how dangerous this was to the CCP - and it had nothing to do with the religious faith of the Uighurs.
Roughly two weeks before the people of Urumqi took to the streets, an argument in Shaoguan, Guangdong between Uighurs and ethnic Chinese in a local factory became violent. Two Uighurs died - and the rest were summarily fired. It seems yet another sordid combination of repression and radical ethnic nationalism for which the regime has become infamous, sure to be remembered locally, but not anywhere else.
That the news of this made it to Urumqi at all was something new - and, for the regime, something grave.
The CCP has survived the last twenty years on two things - a radical nationalist agenda (its justification for its continued existence) and a deliberate atomization of any resistance (to prevent a nationwide anti-Communist movement from threatening its continued existence). The latter in particular has made sure outrages like Hanyuan, Taishi, or Shanwei were known only to local victims and their grieving relatives.
Needless to say, things didn't go according to plan in Shaoguan. That an incident in a southeastern province should extend all the way to the formerly independent East Turkestan must have come as quite a shock to the regime. Here, suddenly, was the possible beginning of a continental network of resistance - after all, if a Guangdong incident could get this far, a future clash between cadres and locals reaching the eyes and ears of Beijing appellants, Henan AIDS victims, or Sichuan earthquake survivors was all-but-certain.
How the cadres can prevent those scenarios will keep them up nights for months, but the top priority was making sure no one knew about this. So, the cadres sent in their police to either disperse the protesters or incite them to violence (depending on your source of information, they managed to do at least one), while Beijing told the rest of the world that it was all about Islam.
For the most part, the cadres' desperate gambit worked. The Uighur-Han dimension has dominated everything else. Precious few news outlets are even aware of the Shaoguan incident, let alone the larger significance of it all. Even the death toll (which local sources put well over the ridiculous cadre-endorsed number of 156) has been largely misreported.
Still, the cadres cannot consider this a complete victory. Hardly anyone is willing to defend their brutal occupation of the region - something the Communists have craved ever since the beginning of the War on Terror. Moreover, one of their methods in overhyping the ethnic angle - empowering and arming ethnic Chinese mobs in Urumqi - risks serious public-relations blowback. Many elite Westerners have feared their own native populations going into a rage against the nearest Muslims they can find. To see their nightmare come true not in their homelands, but under the Chinese Communist regime will come as a complete shock - one that could shake more than a few of their "engagement" notions.
However, the real problem for the cadres - the one they can't fix with a heavy police presence or a hail of bullets - is the one still largely unnoticed: the connections among anti-Communists revealed by Shaoguan and Urumqi. Long after the streets of the latter calm down, the CCP will desperately try to figure out how news of the former traveled thousands of miles in less than two weeks. If they can't prevent similar incidents from traveling similar information paths, then every incident of local repression will become nationally known, and help create the nationwide resistance that frightens the CCP more than anything else on earth.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Anyhow, Gordon has decided to examine the CCP's situation regarding its massive holdings of American debt (Weekly Standard), something into which I delved last year. I am happy to say that this time, Chang not only agrees with me, but echoes the very same arguments I did, including the most critical one - the reaction of the rest of the world:
What would happen in the worst case scenario if the Chinese central government decided to dump U.S. Treasuries? Beijing would have to buy something with the proceeds of its sales. As a practical matter, it would have to buy debt denominated in pounds, euros, and yen. The values of those currencies would then skyrocket. London, Brussels, and Tokyo would then have to try to depress the values of their currencies, which means they would have to buy . . . dollars. In short, there would be a great circular flow of cash in the world's currency and debt markets.
There would be turmoil in those markets, but it would not last long beyond the time the Chinese ended their dollar dump. And we would end up in just the same place that we are now, except that our friends, instead of a potential adversary, would be holding our debt. Global markets are still deep and flexible and can handle just about anything. The fact that Beijing has not employed its so-called nuclear weapon is an indication that the Chinese know it is not, as a practical matter, usable.
I would add one more ironic twist for those who are simply worried about American debts and deficits in general (not an unfounded concern): the odds are far better that our allies and friends could convince us to slow down our rampant spending at home - in part because more Americans would be willing to listen and in part because none would be so dependent upon Americans importing their goods as the CCP. This is probably why, as Chang notes, the cadres have suddenly stopped hectoring us about our excessive borrowing - because they desperately need to keep lending to us.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
For a large number of Iran-watchers, the last few weeks have been somewhat bewildering. No tyranny on earth has been so careful to project a democratic image than the Islamic theocracy of Iran. By allowing discussion and argument within an infinitesimal political space, the Iranian mullahs managed to look far more favorable to the rest of the world than their Arab neighbor tyrants. This was especially the case during the presidency of "reformer" Mohammed Khatami, who managed to put the free world at ease about his fellow mullahs even as the regime continued to develop nuclear weapons, funnel aid, money, and weapons to foreign terrorist groups, and cement an alliance with the largest dictatorship on earth (measured by people imprisoned): the Chinese Communist Party.
Four years ago, the Iranian regime began its departure from the charm offensive with the "election" of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I pondered what the rise of Mahmoud the Mouthpiece meant, and I came to the conclusion that the regime was close enough to the CCP that it didn't feel the need to pretend at being democratic. It was full speed ahead to nuclear weapons, terrorism abroad, and tyranny at home. Iran had just become a large Taishi.
Now, we are once again seeing the effects of Tehran's ties to the CCP, but this time, the Iranian people refuse to play along. If anything, the events in Iran have unfolded as they have because the mullahcracy has become too close to the CCP.
The Communists had their own experiments with "elections" at a local level for roughly a decade before basically closing it down in 2006. Like the mullahs, the cadres hoped to score points with the outside world and perhaps soothe some very ruffled feathers at home. However, like Tehran, Beijing insisted on its rules, including approval of candidates and real power staying outside the elected bodies and in the hands of the local Party leaders.
However, events in small towns like Taishi made it clear to the cadres that even controlled elections can wreak havoc on their plans. Thus, they had to go. That Beijing went back to the straight dictatorial path just as Iran was relying more heavily on its CCP allies may be coincidental to the embarrassment of last month's "vote," but I'm not so sure.
After all, the Iranian mullahs couldn't help but notice the division caused by the local elections, and the factionalism within the CCP (the mullahcracy has similar factional issues). Moreover, the stubborn refusal of Hong Kong's democrats to go away had to be a shock to the mullahs in Tehran, and perhaps made them think twice about letting anyone even remotely linked to "reform" achieve the powerless but highly public role of president.
After all, something had to occur that made the regime - a group so willing to hand Khatami the reins - balk at giving Mir Hossein Mousavi the post. After all, Mousavi - the 1980s prime minister who railed against the west and cheered Hezbollah - was no less nationalist than the Mouthpiece. He never stated an intention to change the regime - even minimally. He called for greater freedoms for the Iranian people, but only within the framework of the "Islamic Republic."
To most of the rest of the world, Mousavi is hardly different from the Mouthpiece (and many believed just that), but anyone who observed Hong Kong politics would (or, in my case, should, as I did not) know better. Hong Kong's democrats are as nationalistic as the Communists; they have never expressed any interest in challenging the CCP's control across China; all they have asked for is greater freedom in their city. Yet even with these limited aims (and in no small part because of them), they still give the CCP fits, and dissidents hope.
Could it be that the Iranian regime looked out at Mousavi and saw a home-grown Kam Nai-wai? Did they see his wife as a Persian Emily Lau? Did they fear the "reform" movement - previously known for its fealty to the regime on the big issues - would someday become the Hong Kong democratic movement writ large?
Whatever their motivation, the Iranian regime lost its subtle advantages just as it drew closer to Beijing's embrace. Much like Czechoslovakia's Communist movement lost popularity, independence, and legitimacy as it moved closer to Moscow after World War II, the Iranian mullahcracy lost its deft ability to appear at least somewhat democratic just as it moved closer to a regime that came to see any democratic appearance as an unnecessary headache.
Thus, all the regime has left now are the same weapons the CCP has had since 1989: brutal military force and radical nationalism. The CCP has managed to hold itself together for two decades. Only time will tell if the Iranian mullahcracy can likewise thwart the will of the people it oppresses.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
While such nonsense is not entirely unexpected from Zoellick, who prior to his current sinecure was doing far more damage as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, it certainly was treated as heady stuff in Zhongnanhai. There's only one problem: the CCP's economic "recovery" is largely a regime-driven fantasy that could very well repeat Japan's "lost decade."
To see what I mean, let's take a look at the recent "growth" Zoellick trumpets (Bloomberg). For starters, growth in the first quarter (January to March) was only 6.1% a figure that does not keep up with population growth - meaning the average resident under the CCP's thumb grew poorer this year.
Secondly, the forces behind the "growth" should be troubling to anyone knowledgeable of recent economic history (Bloomberg again):
China’s spending on factories, property and roads surged by the most in five years as the government’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package countered a record slump in exports.
. . .
Since the stimulus was announced in November, the nation has built 20,000 kilometers (12,430 miles) of rural roads, 445 kilometers of highway and 100,000
square meters (1.08 million square feet) of airport buildings, the National Development and Reform Commission said on May 21. China is also building 5.2
million low-rent homes over three years.
In other words, regime-driven "stimulus" was the main driver; without it, there might not have been any "growth" at all. To anyone even remotely familiar with 1990s Japan, this is not a comforting development.
A slew of Japanese governments tried public works spending in a desperate attempt to pull the Japanese economy out of the ditch. It failed so spectacularly that the period is now known as Japan's "lost decade." Even today, the Japanese economy is still feeling the after-effects of wasted resources, mounting debt, and lost private investment.
If this is where the CCP is headed, it will be a much rougher ride.
Japan's "lost decade" also came with unprecedented political competition. The long-governing Liberal Democratic Party actually lost power for brief intervals, and its dominance over Japanese politics was forever destroyed. Meanwhile, even within the LDP, reformers fought pitched battles for control - and sometimes actually won them. The economic doldrums brought with them a pathway to political maturity for the Land of the Rising Sun, a pathway it is still walking to this day.
The CCP, by contrast, will be in no mood for any political competition should the economy continue to stumble. Instead, we will see more arrests, more phantom concessions to protesters, and - as always when the Chinese Communist Party is involved - more bloodshed.
Even so, one would think that the CCP would find a way to muddle through, as it always has. I'm not so sure this time, and ironically, it could be the "engagement" crew itself that has unwittingly put in motion the regime's unexpected endgame.
What with Zoellick's comments (which are far from isolated) there will be many in the elites of the democratic world who are expecting and hoping for CCP-fueled economic growth to pull the rest of the world out of recession. When it doesn't happen, Beijing will be peppered with friendly advice on what to do different. In Japan, such advice was outwardly taken with a mixture of false gratitude and real annoyance, but opposition movements within the country seized upon the admonitions of Wall Street, Washington, and others to force domestic debates.
The CCP will allow no such thing. As it slowly dawns on the "engagement" crowd that the CCP cares less for their various nations' economies and more about preserving its own power, it could very well lose some of its strongest and most vital foreign supporters. It will certainly make the electorates in those nations far more anti-Communist in thoughts and votes.
Thus could the largest piece missing from the anti-Communist puzzle - a united free world determined to help the Chinese people take their country back - be put in place by the very people who are trying to prevent it from happening, all because no one seems to have remembered the lessons from Japan's "lost decade."
Those who do not remember history . . .
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The irony here – and one we must remember – is that this year, more than any other except perhaps for 1989 itself, we can truly say that those who were murdered did not die in vain. For whatever the rest of the world thinks of the Tiananmen Square bloodbath, the Chinese Communist Party is more afraid of it than it has ever been.
It would seem odd that this would be so. After all, the cadres have spent the last two decades erasing the Tiananmen Spring from local history books, and have rather brilliantly co-opted the previously non-Communist elite into the regime. Likewise, they seem to have convinced much of the rest of the world to move on and embrace the “new” China of the 21st Century. However, below the surface, it’s abundantly clear that the pressures that led the people to take to the streets in 1989 have never really gone away. They just went underground, and thus have become the cadres’ obsession.
We remember the students of 1989, but the CCP also remembers the laborers, farmers, pensioners, and other ordinary Chinese who joined the demonstrations (yes, that’s plural – it’s believed that 1 in 10 Chinese citizens joined some demonstration in hundreds of cities and towns that year). The cadres knew how to handle the intellectuals: a dose of radical nationalism and a slew of licenses-to-steal (otherwise known as Party Cards) did much of the trick. Thus, Beijing appears the model of peace and tranquility – to locals and outsiders.
Go beyond Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Shenzhen, however, and it’s a different story. The anger, fear, and frustrations are still there, met not with kind words and incentives but party-sanctioned violence and corruption. In fact, the CCP pyramid scheme used to win over the intellectuals in the cities actually made the situation in the countryside worse – since it was peasants and laborers who were forced to pay for the CCP’s plans.
This is the real reason Tiananmen – even today – must remain buried in the past: too many people outside the cities remember what really happened, and have no interest in forgetting. We who live and work outside China rarely see this, in no small part because the cadres cannot afford to let us. Much like the hard-line Communists in Europe saw their regimes collapse when the outside world noticed the people’s anger, so, too, would the CCP if the foreign approval upon which it depends turned into wishing – and helping – the Chinese take their country back.
So, to prevent this, the cadres have to make sure June 4 passes by quietly – or, to be more accurate, that something else distracts our attention. For years, it hasn’t taken very much (a late Presidential primary, the proximity of the D-Day anniversary, etc.). This year, however, the anniversary so spooked the cadres that they apparently allowed (and perhaps even encouraged) their Korean colony to become a nuclear power – a rather large role of the dice that, if they’re not careful, could lead to more Americans and others catching on to the ruse.
That the CCP felt compelled to let Kim Jong-il frighten the entire free world, spin South Korea permanently away from the pro-Beijing “sunshine” of the last decade, and nearly inject an unexpected hawkishness into the Obama Administration is a sign of just how desperate the regime wanted the Tiananmen anniversary off the front pages. If they remain that scared of the 20-year-old crackdown, lovers of freedom cannot be completely discouraged.
Moreover, despite what the CCP would have us believe, the future is actually bright for anti-Communists. After two decades of prosperity-fueled corruption, the regime is facing a recession that could leave tens of millions of Party Members without the ill-gotten perks to which they think they are entitled. India and the United States have moved closer than at any time in 40 years, while CCP ally Pakistan is losing credibility in Washington faster than it’s losing territory to the Taliban. Japan and South Korea are now firmly in the anti-Communist camp, and even Taiwan, despite the Communist-friendly Nationalist government, seems to be returning to its anti-Communist roots.
All the while, the historical symbol of bloody repression hangs everywhere. Invisible but undeniable, it reminds tens of millions of Chinese that there was, once, a different path, and makes laughable every effort by the CCP to make it go away. With what the regime felt it had to do to keep the past away, we can truly see that it (the past) is still strong enough to guide the present and the future.Communism in China will fall; the only question remains: how much time, blood, and treasure must be lost before it does? That question can only be answered by those who helped accelerate the end of European Communism but, for now, have yet to do the same to Chinese Communism – namely, us.
Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal and Virginia Virtucon
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Well said, Dr. Krauthammer. Until Washington comes to terms with the root of the problem - namely, the CCP - "nothing happens."
North Korea is a nuclear power. It's not going to be stopped. The only issue is what do we actually do?
I would say forget about U.N. resolutions. Forget about the six- party talks, and forget about even bilateral negotiations. What we need is action.
Action number one, a nuclear Japan. Japan is a country that is directly threatened. I think we ought to have intensive negotiations with the Japanese to encourage them to declare themselves a nuclear power.
The only way in which we're going to have any progress in the area is if we reshuffle the interest of the parties here. A nuclear in Japan will send a message to China, especially, to recalculate its interests.
Up until now, it had zero interest in curbing its client. It is a thorn in our side. It is an ally in the area. It is a threat to South Korea. It supports its hegemony in the region.
A nuclear Japan will reshuffle the deck on its recalculations. It may send a message which would encourage China to change its policy.
Otherwise, nothing happens.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Whatever reasons the Stalinists had for conducting the test can and will be analyzed and debated around the world and throughout the world wide web. However, we must not forget to examine why the Chinese Communist Party allowed it to happen - and make no mistake; this sort of thing does not happen unless it was run by the CCP. For the answer to this question, we must go back to the calendar.
I write this on May 26; in roughly a week and a half, the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre will be upon us. It was the one anniversary that scared the cadres more than any other - not because it alone could threaten the regime, but because it could aid or even set in motion a chain of events that could lead to the regime's downfall in the future. This is why I assumed that the Iranian mullahcracy - the CCP's strongest ally in the Middle East - would gladly take attention away from Beijing with a nuclear test.
Instead, Kim Jong-il seized the honor, but for the cadres, the main effect is the same. This test assures Beijing that Tiananmen Square will be nowhere near the front page on June 4, 2009. In fact, the CCP will likely see more democratic leaders praise it for trying to restrain its Korean colony, while insisting no one has the right to push the regime on touchy domestic issues while it is busy with the critical task of bringing Kim Jong-il et al into line.
To get an idea how this will play out, take a look at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's utterly forgettable trip to meet with CCP leaders. For years, Pelosi was one of the very few members of Congress who understood the danger the CCP posed to the world. Now, flushy with power and allies in the White House, she has fallen for the "engagement" nonsense and has gone instead - hat in hand - to talk about climate change, an issue in which the CCP can once again look "responsible" without doing anything except pull the wool over the eyes of politicians who know better.
It will be the same with Korea. Already, the regime is calling for "coolheaded and appropriate" (Voice of America) action - i.e., don't do anything to risk the Korean colony. Keep in mind, the CCP has had plenty of opportunities to solve this problem all by itself. Yet it has instead chosen to prop up Kim even as he starved his own people and threatened his neighbors (I would even say it has preserved him because he threatened his neighbors, but more on that later). We must also remember that Beijing voted for sanctions against its colony in the past - only to announce it wouldn't enforce them hours later. In short, the Chinese Communist Party has never been serious about keeping Kim Jong-il in check.
Why? The reason is simple: Kim doesn't threaten Beijing; he only threatens the United States and America's allies, which makes him immensely useful. Moreover, he is more than willing to take full blame for his actions in the world community, knowing that Beijing's backing ensures that he can survive the ever growing pile of hollow words. Thus, the CCP gets the benefit of a distracted and scared free world with none of the consequences of having a hand in the distracting and scaring. The CCP even ends up watching the democratic world beg it to fix the mess that it created.
In other words, the CCP allows Kim Jong-il to behave like this because they want him to behave like this. Until that changes, he will keep this up, to the point of actually helping terrorists acquire the weapons they need to do us grievous harm.
If we truly wish to have the Korean colony reined in, we'll have to go over their heads. We'll have to make sure Beijing suffers immediate consequences for this: things like the revocation of Permanent Normal Trade Relations, talks with Japan and South Korea about deploying domestic nuclear deterrents (Japan will likely be more receptive to that than South Korea, but the offer should be made), a permanent American naval presence in the South China Sea, and perhaps even a revival of the American defense pact with the Republic of China (currently on Taiwan). The CCP has been using North Korea to distract us for nearly two decades; we need to create and push our own distractions against them.
However, that cannot be all we do. We must also make clear that any act of nuclear terrorism against America, her interests, or her allies, will be taken as an act of war by the CCP against the United States. Whether it's al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Iranian mullahs, the Kimist regime in northern Korea, or anyone in between, nearly every terrorist state or entity has been blessed with support from the CCP. Zhongnanhai must be told in no uncertain terms that we will bear the CCP personally responsible (as opposed to China in general) for actions that any of them take against us.
Finally, we must come to terms with the painful but unavoidable truth: America and her allies will never be secure until China is free. Our enemies in the War on Terror will, if defeated, simply be replaced by other ones as quickly as the CCP get find ambitious people who hate America as much as Beijing fears her. North Korea is, in many respects, the first and last evidence we should need on this. It is time we recognize that we are fighting - and must win - the Second Cold War.