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US China Policy

August 5, 2019

As I explained in my recent presentation on how Chinese artists, poets and intellectuals in 17th century China dealt with the invasion of their country, the long history of China reveals susceptibility to invasion, the division of China by warlords and the massacre of innocent civilians. The Chinese sense of loss of country is more than a literary reference. The Mongol invasions in the 13th and 17th centuries were two ancient examples, but in the 20th century Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 is fresh in Chinese memory. Even today, “The rape of Nanking” symbolizes a fear of Japan that drives the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

In that context, the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China’s commitment to revolution merges with its commitment to defend China and the role of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). China’s Xi Jinping is General Secretary of the Communist Party, head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the head of China’s domestic economy.

A careful balancing of military and economic power drives decisions of the Chinese Communist Party and should be the focus of American policy toward the PRC and explains a new plan of the Trump Administration to supply Asian allys with defensive missiles.

Here are eight additional actions worth considering:

  1. Liberal intellectuals have always asserted their belief that trade leads to peace. As we’ve seen in the PRC, growing the PRC economy has grown the power of the PLA. For that reason, the Trump Administration should review ways by which to reduce the power of the PLA by placing conditions on China’s trade relations with the United States in areas where the PLA directly benefits and in the overall equation of the Chinese economy.
  2. Privileged children of members of the Chinese communist Party are sent to the United States for education. The Trump administration should require that only children of non-Party members be granted student visas.
  3. Tens of thousands of pregnant Chinese women travel to give birth to their children in hostels established in California to enable them to give birth to “American” citizens. One of the fears of the Founders of the Constitution was that our enemies would impose a foreign national in high public office.  They inserted language that only “natural born” citizens may be eligible to serve in the Office of President. The Trump Administration should move to shut down “birth hostels” and block Chinese nationals born in the United States, but raised in China, from returning to the United States under claims of American citizenship. They ARE NOT Americans.
  4. In May 2017, China held 1244.6 billion dollars in U.S. Treasury Securities. In May 2019, the total was 1110.2 billion dollars, an amount even greater than Japan (1101.6  billion US). That gives possible leverage to the PRC in a financial crisis and the ability to create a financial crisis. The Trump Administration should prepare for the possibility that the PRC may dump a large number of those U.S. Treasury Securities.
  5. A review of all investments by PRC nationals in, or ownership of, national security-sensitive, especially high-technology, companies should be conducted and divestiture be required upon reaching a negative finding..
  6. When the Leftist papacy of Pope Francis passes, enlist the Vatican in a campaign against actions taken against the Roman Catholic Church in the PRC and deny visas to priests and bishops of the government of the PRC’s Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Moves by the PRC against underground Evangelical Christians should be criticized. The Trump Administration should make the exercise of freedom of religion a condition for any preferment granted by the U.S. government to any and all foreign nations.
  7. The identifies of persons in the PRC should be protected by law from “unmasking” by any U.S. Internet service providers. Actions by Yahoo in 2005 and 2007 that led to arrest, torture and imprisonment by revealing the identities of PRC account holders should be punishable to the full extent of the law, and new legislation should be initiated to make such actions punishable by long jail terms.  If Volkswagen can be subject to billions of dollars in fines for violation of U.S. emissions regulations, the same standards should be applied to Internet service providers.
  1. We cannot sit idly by while North Korea grows its ballistic missile forces. The willingness of the PRC to tolerate a nuclear arsenal to be assembled near its border with North Korea is not “normal.” That policy is motivated by the PRC military designed to facilitate the international goals of Communist ideology. As a result of the Korean War, the United States understood what that ideology meant, but we were lulled into accepting Communist domination of China by government policies designed to play off the PRC against the Soviet Union. Acceptance of that policy led to diplomatic recognition of the PRC and demotion of the Republic of China on Taiwan to a list of pariah states that included South Africa and Israel. The PRC became a “friend,” in the eyes of some American politicians and Foreign Service officers who should have known better, and we began to facilitate the economic recovery of a China destroyed by “Maoist” ideology. Across our great country are military bases, and near those bases are commercial companies that service the domestic and international markets. Many are not defense related but their proximity to military installations makes them useful for purposes of espionage. In 2013, Smithfield Foods, a producer of pork products, was sold to a PRC company for $4.2 billion. Pork products are not defense related, but Smithfield, Virginia is located near major military installations in what is called “Hampton Roads.”  Those installations include the U.S. Seals. the Norfolk and Oceana naval bases, Langley Air Force Base and the U.S. headquarters of NATO.

 

 

Virginia Loves Government Not Horses

August 4, 2019

Colonial Williamsburg  in Virginia vied with New York, Boston and Philadelphia in influence over life in 18th century America and in appreciation for a good horse race. In the Old Dominion horse racing, breeding, training  and the care of thoroughbred horses for races was a major business competing only with the business of government.

Today, only government has been constant from colonial days, the Confederate States of America and now the cities in Northern Virginia where federal government offices and the votes of federal government employees dominate.  Yes, Virginia’s true love is government, but this month one may see a glimmer of an enduring culture of horseracing.  This coming Thursday, thoroughbred racing returns to Colonial Downs located in a former cornfield so far from Richmond and Norfolk that it ceased operating several years ago.

Had Colonial Downs been placed on the ocean at Virginia Beach, Colonial Downs would have come to rival Del Mar racecourse in California.  But, Virginia loves government more and the then-Republican governor of the Commonwealth directed that horse racing’s return be placed on property owned by his friends. So, a great Virginia tradition that once vied for the attention of Virginians will be consigned to exist as a one-month-a- year attraction, like a State Fair, for as long as… Well, not for long. The appetite for risk will be sated at nearby casinos and an art form and great Vieginia tradition will pass into memory.

“What a tragedy,” I’ll say to myself next Saturday when I place wagers on some of the very best thoroughbred horses brought into the Commonwealth for three major races from other States where their leaders love the sport and nourish it–but not in Virginia. Virginia loves government more than horses.

One last point:  Why August?  Reader’s Digest editor, the late Ken Tomlinson,  a fellow conservative who raced thoroughbred horses at Colonial Downs, told me that the stables were “too hot” and he would bring his horses to the Downs on race days and not board them overnight. Why schedule races in August, if it endangers their health?

The reason is that Virginia loves government more than horses.

Irving Kristol, Populism & Donald Trump

August 3, 2019

Many years ago, in 1975, the late Irving Kristol wrote that populism

“is an eternal problem for the American democratic republic .It incarnates an antinomian impulse, a Jacobin contempt for the “mere” forms of law and order and civility. It also engenders an impulse toward a rather infantile political utopianism, on the premise that nothing is too good for “the people.” Above all, it is a temper and state of mind which too easily degenerates into political paranoia, with “enemies of the people” being constantly discovered and exorcised and convulsively purged. Populist paranoia  is always busy subverting the very institutions and authorities that the democratic republic laboriously creates for the purpose of orderly self-government.”

As I faced the voting booth in 2016 my intellect told me that Donald Trump was unqualified to serve as President of the United States. I later reasoned that the Republic could survive President Hillary Clinton, but I worried what damage or cataclysm a President Trump would bring to his Office.

So far, my greatest fear that a President Trump would trigger a war has not occurred. It’s clear, however, that he is destroying what was already a dead Republican Party. After Donald Trump the United States will struggle to form new means to achieve political consensus, though it is certain that Progressives will dominate the American Party system and what remains of a conservative consensus will await for the carnage that comes to clear itself and leave what remains of our country’s political culture to fate.

Irving Kristol, an astute observer of American culture, was right. Our politics is always prone to a populist, “antinomian impulse” that can lead to “political paranoia.” Whether Trump’s denunciations are deeply rooted in a disturbed and disordered spiritual condition, or a marketing technique, doesn’t really matter. He offers us nothing but disorder, destruction of mores and patterns of belief, and leaves us open to what Plato and Aristotle saw was “what’s next” after the excesses of democracy have run their course.

I’ve argued that Trump should be Impeached–immediately–and this virus removed from our politics. It’s clear that even if the most moderate Democrat, Joseph Biden, wins the 2020 Presidential election, there is no bottom to the ideological crevasse that resides in today’s Democrats. Election of Joe Biden merely delays a calamity made possible by the failure of the GOP to generate leaders capable of blocking the populist impulses that are now dominant.

 

Elijah Cummings and President Trump

July 31, 2019

President Trump’s attack on House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and criticism of Baltimore have drawn considerable criticism as “racist.” There are “race baiters” black and white, but President Trump and Elijah Cummings are not of their ilk.

I worked in Baltimore for about six months in 1993 as a political appointee of President George H. W. Bush. During that time I would drive to Baltimore from northern Virginia and sometimes I would dine at a restaurant in Fells Point and visit an area nearby that I remember for its memorial to Polish leaders killed by the Soviet KGB in Katyn Forest.

Denver has a memorial to a Polish uprising against the Soviet Union also and both cities are favorites of mine, for those memorials, and their many great restaurants.

There are parts of the city of Baltimore–different from Baltimore City represented frequently by Republicans–Spiro Agnew is one–that are not safe and run down. The area around Johns Hopkins University and hospital is a disgrace and fits President Trump’s description. Yet sheiks from the Middle East travel to Baltimore for checkups and surgery at Johns Hopkins. If you’re attentive when visiting Baltimore, you may see limousines with diplomatic plates drop off dignitaries in dress we associate with Saudi Arabian culture at Baltimore’s finest hotels.

However, attacking Elijah Cummings raises other issues. Other cities where race baiters profit from control of municipal government are better targets than Cong. Cummings. Is there another reason?

The Wall Street Journal for July 30 reports that the House Oversight Committee has released a report that reveals details about Tom Barrack, an investor and ally of President Trump, who attempted to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The timing of that Committee report and President Trump’s criticism of Elijah Cummings is coincidental, but also raises questions about the President’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

 

Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University

July 26, 2019

Jerry Falwell

There is much to admire in Liberty University that Jerry Falwell founded, not the least of which is his use of the Internet to disseminate degree programs. If I were a youngster of Protestant faith, I would consider going to Liberty. To a lesser extent, the Rev. Pat Robertson has built Regent University’s degree programs online. But, making a University requires more than religious faith. It requires scholars–and there’s “the rub.”

Good ones are hard to find. Faithful Christian scholars even more difficult to find, and sometimes the obedience desired by a religious college’s “founder” runs smack into the problems that American culture coughs up.

Today’s Washington Post publishes a long essay by Will E. Young, the former editor of Liberty University’s student newspaper that illustrates how very difficult it is to study as an undergraduate at religious colleges like Liberty and refers to the angst of some faculty who must serve without academic tenure.

On the other side of that “angst” is the desire by University administrators to adhere to their religious mission. Given the bias of contemporary scholars, that is not an easy task.

William Schulz, RIP

July 25, 2019

For those of us who grew up in the Conservative Movement, a group of editors that included Bill Buckley at National Review, Bill Schulz and Ken Tomlinson at Reader’s Digest, M. Stanton Evans at the Indianapolis News and National Journalism Center and Allan Ryskin at Human Events were sources of news and opinion that we relied upon.

I met Bill Schulz, Ken Tomlinson and Stan Evans in summer 1961 at an ISI seminar at     C. W. Post College. I was 20, Ken Tomlinson was 17 and Stan Evans was 27. Ken and Stan preceded Bill Schulz who died on Monday, July 22.

Bill was a journeyman writer and superb editor at Reader’s Digest where he shook Washington’s political world with devastating analysis of the foibles of Liberal politicians. His study of the movement of ocean tides put a lie to Ted Kennedy’s cover-up of the tragedy at Chappaquiddick and he withdrew the Digest’s financial support of AEI when that “think tank” became neoconservative.

At Ken Tomlinson’s funeral in 2014, Stan and Allan were present to honor their younger colleague. I saw Stan Evans more frequently, and last saw Ken Tomlinson at a gala fete honoring Stan Evans. I saw Allan Ryskin infrequently, but at a meeting three years ago of the Pumpkin Papers group that meets annually to celebrate Whittaker Chambers, there he was.

That was what “made” the Conservative Movement: friends and acquaintances made over a lifetime of commitment.

A Worst Possible Case: After Trump

July 25, 2019

Yesterday’s testimony before two Committees of Congress by Robert Mueller compels that we ask what will happen “after Trump.”

Donald Trump’s political views and political affiliations changed from pro-choice to right to life, from Democrat to Republican and political Liberal to political Conservative. The President’s knowledge of government (non-existent) will not change.  The Trump Organization’s business practices, which range from borderline criminal to criminal, will lead to criminal prosecutions of former President Donald Trump upon leaving office.

What will happen to our country, if this occurs?

If President Trump is re-elected which, in light of a weak and fragmented Democrat Party, is likely, management of the U.S. government will remain in disarray, even fewer qualified citizens will seek public office, a large number of “celebrities” will consider seeking elective office and our two party system will weaken. Multiple minority parties will challenge the GOP and Democrats in Congressional elections and await abolition of the Electoral College.

This instability will encourage Russia to absorb former Soviet satellite countries into a new Russian Empire. The People’s Republic of China will absorb the Republic of China (Taiwan), seek to reduce American influence in South Korea and destabilize Japan. It’s anyone’s guess what the Islamic regime in Iran will do, but all options are contrary to secure access to oil.