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“Internationalists” and Totalitarianism

October 16, 2019

In 1972 when President Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China, he played what was called “the China card.” The United States faced a totalitarian regime in Russia that was seen to be more dangerous to the national interest of the United States than a Communist government led by an aging Mao Tse-tung. In 1974, President Gerald Ford appointed George H. W. Bush to head a “Liaison Office” in Beijing. Four years later in December, 1978, the United States granted diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China.

Eleven years later in June 1989, demonstrations against the ruling Communist regime were countered by military force in what is called the “Tiananmen Square massacre. Six months later, in November 1989, the Berlin wall was torn apart by citizens of East Germany expressing their desires for an end to totalitarian rule.

That year of 1989 was a year that the United States could have reexamined American policy toward the PRC. But newly elected President

George W. Bush, perhaps remembering his service in the PRC of little more than fifteen months from late 1974 to early December 1975, was still in a mental “time warp.”

None, except some East and Central European intellectuals, and hardened U.S. State Department career officers, understood that the collapse of the USSR was imminent, and the strategic game in which a “China Card” was played, was about to end.

Instead of recognizing the long term danger of totalitarian control of China, America’s elite “internationalists” placed a large wager on the belief that the PRC would be transformed into a traditional nation-state through trade.

Click here to see a photo of some of American “Internationalists” who thought trade, even with a Communist regime, would be transformative.

Today the People’s Republic of China is compelling the West to pay an immoral price for the billions of dollars in income derived from sales of products to the PRC. Even the editorial board of the Washington Post is alarmed and at 7:45 PM last night, on October 15, 2019, the Washington Post issued this warning.

When the United States and its allies made the decision to engage with China, they imagined that economic growth and trade would promote political liberalization and a convergence of values. That hasn’t happened. Instead, there is competition between vastly different sets of values, and China doesn’t hesitate to use the lure of its market to demand fealty to its propaganda line.



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