China Must Be Crushed

16 07 2020

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

China launched the deadly Coronavirus on the world—as a bioweapon or inadvertently—and it must pay with its very existence, and not be pampered as some would suggest.

Steven Lee Myers and Paul Mozur have written in the New York Times:

One by one, the United States has hit at the core tenets of Xi Jinping’s vision for a rising China ready to assume the mantle of superpower.

In a matter of weeks, the Trump administration has imposed sanctions over punitive policies in Hong Kong and China’s western region of Xinjiang. It took new measures to suffocate Chinese innovation by cutting it off from American technology and pushing allies to look elsewhere. On Monday, it challenged China’s claims in the South China Sea, setting the stage for sharper confrontation.

And President Trump said on Tuesday that he had signed into law a bill to punish Chinese officials for the new security law that curbs the rights of Hong Kong residents, along with an executive order ending preferential trade treatment for Hong Kong.

“The power gap is closing, and the ideological gap is widening,” said Rush Doshi, director of the China Strategy Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, adding that China and the United States had entered a downward “ideological spiral” years in the making.

“Where’s the bottom?” he asked.

For years, officials and historians have dismissed the idea that a new Cold War was emerging between the United States and China. The contours of today’s world, the argument went, are simply incomparable to the decades when the United States and the Soviet Union squared off in an existential struggle for supremacy. The world was said to be too interconnected to easily divide into ideological blocs.

Now, lines are being drawn and relations are in free fall, laying the foundation for a confrontation that will have many of the characteristics of the Cold War — and the dangers. As the two superpowers clash over technology, territory and clout, they face the same risk of small disputes escalating into military conflict.

The relationship is increasingly imbued with deep distrust and animosity, as well as the fraught tensions that come with two powers jockeying for primacy, especially in areas where their interests collide: in cyberspace and outer space, in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, and even in the Persian Gulf.

And the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with China’s recent aggressive actions on its borders — from the Pacific to the Himalayas — has turned existing fissures into chasms that could be difficult to overcome, no matter the outcome of this year’s American presidential election.

From Beijing’s perspective, it is the United States that has plunged relations to what China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said last week was their lowest point since the countries re-established diplomatic relations in 1979.

“The current China policy of the United States is based on ill-informed strategic miscalculation and is fraught with emotions and whims and McCarthyist bigotry,” Mr. Wang said, evoking the Cold War himself to describe the current level of tensions.

“It seems as if every Chinese investment is politically driven, every Chinese student is a spy and every cooperation initiative is a scheme with a hidden agenda,” he added.

Domestic politics in both countries have hardened views and given ammunition to hawks.

“What cooperation is there between China and the United States right now?” said Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore. “I can’t see any substantial cooperation.”

The pandemic, too, has inflamed tensions, especially in the United States. Mr. Trump refers to the coronavirus with racist tropes, while Beijing accuses his administration of attacking China to detract from its failures to contain the virus.

Mr. Trump, in a statement delivered from the Rose Garden Tuesday evening that focused harshly on China and his presidential rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., referred to the pandemic as “the plague pouring in from China,” and said that the Chinese “could have stopped it.”

Both countries are forcing other nations to take sides, even if they are disinclined to do so. The Trump administration, for example, has pressed allies — with some success in Australia and, on Tuesday, in Britain — to forswear the Chinese tech giant Huawei as they develop 5G networks. China, facing condemnation over its policies in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, has rallied countries to make public demonstrations of support for them.

At the United Nations Humans Rights Council in Geneva, 53 nations — from Belarus to Zimbabwe — signed a statement supporting China’s new security law for Hong Kong. Only 27 nations on the council criticized it, most of them European democracies, along with Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Such blocs would not have been unfamiliar at the height of the Cold War.

China has also wielded its vast economic power as a tool of political coercion, cutting off imports of beef and barley from Australia because its government called for an international investigation into the origins of the pandemic. On Tuesday, Beijing said it would sanction the American aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin over recent weapons sales to Taiwan.

With the world distracted by the pandemic, China has also wielded its military might, as it did by testing its disputed frontier with India in April and May. That led to the first deadly clash there since 1975. The damage to the relationship could take years to repair.

Increasingly, China seems willing to accept the risks of such actions. Only weeks later, it asserted a new territorial claim in Bhutan, the mountain kingdom that is closely allied with India.

With China menacing vessels from Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia in the South China Sea, the United States dispatched two aircraft carriers through the waters last month in an aggressive show of strength. Further brinkmanship appears inevitable now that the State Department has declared China’s claims there illegal.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, said on Tuesday that the American declaration would undermine regional peace and stability, asserting that China had controlled the islands in the sea “for thousands of years,” which is not true. As he stated, the Republic of China — then controlled by the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek — only made a formal claim in 1948.

“China is committed to resolving territorial and jurisdictional disputes with directly related sovereign states through negotiations and consultations,” he said.

That is not how its neighbors see things. Japan warned this week that China was attempting to “alter the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.” It called China a more serious long-term threat than a nuclear-armed North Korea.

Michael A. McFaul, a former American ambassador to Russia and professor of international studies at Stanford University, said China’s recent maneuvering appeared to be “overextended and overreaching,” likening it to one of the most fraught moments of the Cold War.

“It does remind me of Khrushchev,” he said. “He’s lashing out, and suddenly he’s in a Cuban missile crisis with the U.S.”

A backlash against Beijing appears to be growing. The tensions are particularly clear in tech, where China has sought to compete with the world in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and microchips, while harshly restricting what people can read, watch or listen to inside the country.

If the Berlin Wall was the physical symbol of the first Cold War, the Great Firewall could well be the virtual symbol of the new one.

What began as a divide in cyberspace to insulate Chinese citizens from views not authorized by the Communist Party has now proved to be a prescient indicator of the deeper fissures between China and much of the Western world.

Mr. Wang, in his speech, said China had never sought to impose its way on other countries. But it has done exactly that by getting Zoom to censor talks that were being held in the United States and by launching cyberattacks on Uighurs across the globe.

Its controls have been hugely successful at home in stifling dissent and helping to seed domestic internet giants, but they have won China little influence abroad. India’s move to block 59 Chinese apps threatens to hobble China’s biggest overseas internet success to date, the meme-laden short-video app TikTok.

Last week, TikTok also shut down in Hong Kong because of China’s new national security law there. The American tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter said they would stop reviewing data requests from the Hong Kong authorities as they assessed the law’s restrictions.

“China is big, it will be successful, it will develop its own tech, but there are limits to what it can do,” said James A. Lewis, a former American official who writes on cybersecurity and espionage for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Even in places where China has succeeded in selling its technology, the tide appears to be turning.

Beijing’s recent truculence has now led the United Kingdom to block new Huawei equipment from going into its networks, and the Trump administration is determined to cut the company off from microchips and other components it needs. To counter, Beijing has redoubled efforts to build homegrown options.

Calls for a total decoupling of China’s supply chain from American tech companies are unrealistic in the short term, and would prove massively expensive in the longer term. Still, the United States has moved to pull Taiwan’s microchip manufacturing — crucial to the supply chains of Huawei and other Chinese tech companies — closer to its backyard, with plans to support a new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing plant in Arizona.

Mr. Wang, the foreign minister, urged the United States to step back and seek areas where the two countries can work together. Pessimism about the relationship is nonetheless widespread, though most Chinese officials and analysts blame the Trump administration for trying to deflect attention from its failure to control the pandemic.

“It is not difficult to see that under the impact of the coronavirus in this U.S. election year various powers in the U.S. are focused on China,” Zhao Kejin, a professor of international relations at Tsinghua University, wrote in a recent paper. “The China-U.S. relationship faces the most serious moment since the establishment of diplomatic relations.”

While he eschewed the idea of a new Cold War, his alternative phrasing was no more reassuring: “The new reality is China-U.S. relations are not entering ‘a new Cold War’ but sliding into a ‘soft war.’”[2]

China’s economy was almost in free-fall before it unleashed the Coronavirus and caused so much suffering globally.  Now, the consumers of the world must boycott anything and everything containing Chinese components for the next twenty years—by “voting” with their pocketbooks—just as Americans did with German and Japanese cars after their savagery in World War II.  Nothing less will suffice.[3]

As I wrote recently:

[Y]es, China’s evil leadership tier thirsts for power, but so did the Soviet leadership that is no more. Perhaps symbolic is that China’s aircraft carrier the Liaoning was a Soviet-era rusting hulk that the Chinese acquired and put a [flat top] on. For the longest time, [China] couldn’t land jets on it, and it was a joke. . . .

The longer that India exposes the weak underbelly of the Chinese military, the better. However, it appears that China is willing to sacrifice Hong Kong’s position as a global financial center in order to subjugate its residents and snuff out democracy. Similarly, it is “reeducating”—persecuting—at least 120,000 and possibly over 1 million Uyghurs.[4]

At the very least, the thoroughly-evil regime of Xi Jinping in China must be crushed.

 

 

© 2020, Timothy D. Naegele


[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and Timothy D. Naegele Resume-20-6-30). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service). Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/articles/), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/world/asia/cold-war-china-us.html (“Caught in ‘Ideological Spiral,’ U.S. and China Drift Toward Cold War”—”Relations are in free fall. Lines are being drawn. As the two superpowers clash over technology, territory and clout, a new geopolitical era is dawning”)

[3]  See Timothy D. Naegele, The Coronavirus and Similar Global Issues: How to Address Them, 137 BANKING L. J. 285 (June 2020) (Naegele June 2020) (Timothy D. Naegele) [NOTE: To download The Banking Law Journal article, please click on the link to the left of this note]; see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/can-we-coexist-with-asias-communists/ (“Can We Coexist with Asia’s Communists?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/coexistence-with-china-or-war/ (“Coexistence With China Or War?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/the-coronavirus-must-become-chinas-chernobyl-hastening-the-collapse-of-its-evil-regime/ (“The Coronavirus Must Become China’s Chernobyl, Hastening The Collapse Of Its Evil Regime”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/why-should-the-world-trust-china-ever-again/ (“Why Should The World Trust China Ever Again?”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/china-infects-the-world-then-lies-and-blames-america/ (“China Infects The World, Then Lies And Blames America”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/expert-warns-quarantine-process-failed-as-china-stands-ready-to-crash-world-economy/ (“Expert Warns Quarantine Process Failed, As China Stands Ready To Crash World Economy”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/china-is-americas-enemy-and-the-enemy-of-free-people-everywhere/ (“China Is America’s Enemy, And The Enemy Of Free People Everywhere”) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/china-is-americas-enemy-make-no-mistake-about-that/ (“China Is America’s Enemy: Make No Mistake About That”)

[4]  See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/07/will-america-be-the-great-and-glorious-republic-of-the-past-or-the-social-and-cultural-marxist-hellhole-that-is-the-promise-of-the-mobs/#comment-24915; see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_aircraft_carrier_Liaoning (“Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning”) and https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jul/8/us-admirals-china-sea-carrier-operation-meant-mess/ (“China Sea carrier operation meant as message to Beijing, say U.S. admirals”) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uyghurs#Persecution_of_Uyghurs_in_Xinjiang (“Persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang”)








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