Thursday, November 19, 2009

A dangerous paradigm shift

This past week, the anti-Communist community came to grips with the painful reality best described by this summary of the Greek tragedy genre: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."

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?