Selling Our Soul To China
By: Guest Authors
The Underlying Message
Can the U.S. survive their relationship with China? This question is worth pondering for many reasons, the most obvious one being the fact that the Chinese are not going away any time soon. It is also worth pondering because China underwrites a substantial amount of the U.S. national debt. That the Chinese are to be taken very seriously as players on the world stage was the primary message that the state wished to convey via their spectacular opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. True, the Chinese have been players for some time now, but this message was meant to declare something more: â€œWeâ€™re here, weâ€™re a world power, and youâ€™d all better be prepared to deal with us on our terms, because we are the future.â€
This is a major problem for the United States because our relationship with China has very significant consequences, domestically and internationally, economically and politically. Possibly the most damaging aspect of our courtship with a brutal, totalitarian regime is the damage done to our credibility in the world, and here at home, our confidence in our government and what it is suppose to represent. Of course, some will thumb their noses at such a claim, reminiscing back to when we were nice to the Soviets â€“ just before their evil empire collapsed. Sure, one could argue that toward the end of the Cold War we were sort of making nice with the Soviets, pretending to have dialogue with Chairman Gorbachev who, by all accounts was far more reasonable and realistic than any of his predecessors; but, one must keep in mind the important fact that at the time we were obliterating them economically, and they knew it. Not only that, but they also knew that there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. Their demise was imminent and so they were diplomatically making the best of a very, very bad situation. Unfortunately, things are very different regarding our relationship with China.
Learning Lessons From Uncle Joe
The Soviets simply ruled with an iron fist, demanding total allegiance, yet offering no incentives whatsoever for mandatory compliance – only the possibility that you might not be sent to the gulags or shot if you were a good and compliant subject. So, when Gorbachev allowed even the slightest economic and political reforms, the entire system collapsed because once the people got a taste of freedom, the fires of liberty were stoked and momentum swung decidedly to the cause of liberty which, of course, quickly overwhelmed the state apparatus almost before it could collect itself to react. It was as if neither side, the state or the people, could actually believe what was happening; but, the deciding factor was that the people, once experiencing even a mere flicker of liberty – were not going to squander their only opportunity for liberation in over seventy years.
Let us be clear here: the Chinese were paying very, very close attention to those events, and as a result the party apparatus in China greatly benefitted from Moscowâ€™s mistakes. Instead of really granting what we in the west would consider true economic reforms, Beijing allows foreign investors and businesses to enter the Chinese market but under the strictest of terms â€“ they [the Chinese government] dictate the terms, period. Not much room for negotiation. If you want access to 1.3 billion potential customers, you will comply. As for the average citizen, there is no question that their quality of life has, at least on the surface, improved over the last decade. To look at scenes from Beijing or other major cities in China, one might as well be looking at any other major city in the westâ€¦ that is except for the secret police, phone tapping, government monitoring and control of the internet, the highly visible presence of soldiers and police on every block and, lest we forget, the fact that there are cameras on trashcans, street lights, building facades, inside of restaurants and hotels â€“ which are all bugged â€“ so that the government can ensure compliance and crush dissent. That is, crush dissent as in Tiananmen Square and Tibet, with absolute overwhelming, brute force and no mercy whatsoever.
A Workers Paradise, To Be Sure
Some economic ventures are run by Chinese subjects [I dare not call them citizens] while most of the larger ones are run by the state or handpicked and very well connected party cronies. But really, one could make the argument that while people â€œrunâ€ these enterprises, it is the state that really â€œownsâ€ them, because in a totalitarian dictatorship rooted in Marxist despotism, the state really and truly owns everything â€“ even the rights of the people, and the people can do whatever they want to â€“ so long as they get permission from the state via the police.
Imagine yourself a loyal and compliant subject of the Chinese Communist Party, with a nice big picture of Mao at the entrance to your apartment and, of course, an even bigger one of President Hu Jintao, with lots of flowers and such around it like an altar for votive offerings. Say you are a woman and you and your husband would like to have a baby. Great! Now, all you have to do is to fill out the state application and questionnaire, submit to the required tests medical and otherwise, and then visit your friendly local police and have an interview wit a government/party official who will either approve or deny your application. If denied you may reapply, but you must be careful because you could be labeled a dissenter for not gleefully accepting the partyâ€™s decision on your behalf and thereby guilty of anti-party and anti-revolutionary activities. This unfortunate label could result in yourself and any number of your family and/or friends being tried, convicted and sent to a â€œre-education campâ€ where you will learn all bout the virtues of the great Communist Revolution, etc. After several years of torture, beatings, rapes, and brutal slave labor, like building Olympic venues or factories where products for western consumption will be produced, you might even be fortunate enough to be sent to work in one of those factories.
The New Balance factories are very nice â€“ modern, roomy, clean. Thatâ€™s because you donâ€™t get to spend much time in your room that you must rent from the factory located on the â€œfactory campusâ€ because you probably work 12 to 14 hours per day, and then get clean the factory workspaces and then, finally, your room. Of course, your room must be cleaned and inspected before you head down to the cafeteria where you pay for your food. [If your room doesnâ€™t pass inspection, you get fined.] Then perhaps itâ€™s off to a rehearsal for a show being put together to impress a visiting party official and some corporate officers from the U.S. or Europe. Youâ€™d better remember when to step and when to hold up the pretty colored signs and when to shout, because if you mess up and ruin the show, itâ€™s back to the â€œre-education campâ€ for you! Or, perhaps itâ€™s just easier to take you out by the garbage dump and shoot you in the back of your head â€“ then the state can bill your surviving family [assuming there are any] the 15 cents it cost them for the bullet they had to waste on you. But, I digress.
Letâ€™s assume you have your baby without being an anti-revolutionary criminal. Lets imagine that after a few years you end up pregnant again, unplanned of course, because you would never dream of intentionally having a second child in violation of the partyâ€™s one-child per family edict. The state says you must have an abortion. Or, letâ€™s imagine you get pregnant with your first baby without having obtained your government permit to have a child. A friendly policeman notices your bulge and asks for your papers, which, of course, you do not have. You are arrested, and transported to a facility where they murder your baby. Then they may charge you with being an anti-revolutionary criminal â€“ a sworn enemy of the state! Or, imagine you are one of the lucky subjects allowed to run a business. You get to run a McDonalds â€“ that is until the day one of your employees gets angry with you and denounces you to the police, who promptly come and speed you away to the â€œre-education camp.â€
This is how they treat their own people. Sure, they are allowed to have some creature comforts that make life a bit easier, but these things can be taken by the state away in an instant, because you are only allowed to have these things at the pleasure of the state.
The party and the state are synonymous, and smart enough to know that people tend to get a bit complacent when they are comfortable. The more stuff they are allowed to have, the more favorable they are likely to view the state â€“ itâ€™s amazing how a few years of â€œre-educationâ€ can make these things so clear! The state is also smart and despotic enough to know that every once in a while it needs to let the people know who is in control. Make no mistake â€“ the people understand this perfectly, and they comply, for what else can they do? Just think of it as a combination of Starbucks and Stalinism.
A Potential Credibility Gap?
Whatever image China wishes the world to see, the fact of the matter is that those poor people are living in fear under a brutally authoritarian despotic regime. Some human rights organizationâ€™s estimates of the number of people imprisoned in China run between 1.5 to 3 million, with the number of prisoners executed running between 10 to 15 thousand and some estimates up to 100,000 in 2007. It is likely that the latter number is inclusive of those who died during while engaged in or as a result of forced labor. Most agree that in the years since being awarded the 2008 Olympics, China has sought to re-cast itself as a kinder and gentler authoritarian system. There are even some organizations that estimate the number of executions has dropped almost 40 percent since 2001. This would be a welcome trend if it were permanent, but one must ask honestly what will happen after the next uprising or pro-democracy protest? Keep in mind that China is a nation of 1.3 billion people and that the secretive, authoritarian party, while surely keeping meticulous records itself of the numbers of prisoners and related information, would never allow the actual numbers to be released, so it is safe to assume that the numbers could well be far higher than those listed above.
One can easily see, then, how close economic ties with such a regime may raise some eyebrows around the world. America is supposed to represent liberty and freedom, while the Chinese regime represents fear, oppression and death. And, if you havenâ€™t heard yet, they underwrite our national debt. Let me say that again: China underwrites our national debt. Once more time for those who need to hear it: a brutal, despotic authoritarian regime that randomly imprisons and executes its subjects, that supports the government of North Korea â€“ you know, that workerâ€™s paradise where their barely sane â€œDear Leaderâ€ is starving them to death so he can build weapons and just keep them in line â€“ as well as many others oppressive and outright evil regimes throughout the world â€“ they own a substantial portion of our debt.
This is from the Treaurydirect.gov website: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/instit/auctfund/work/work.htm
â€œMarketable securities can be bought, sold, or transferred after they are originally issued. The U.S. Treasury uses an auction process to sell these securities and determine their rate or yield. Annual auction activity:
Offers 4 types of securities with varying maturities
Conducts approximately 200 public auctions
Issues more than $4.2 trillion in securities [emphasis mine]
To finance the public debt, the U.S. Treasury sells bills, notes, bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) to institutional and individual investors through public auctions. Starting in February 2006, Treasury resumed the auction of Treasury bonds. Treasury auctions occur regularly and have a set schedule.â€ Their words, not mine.
Visit http://www.treasurydirect.gov/instit/auctfund/work/auctime/auctime.htm for the published schedule of these auctions.
This is how it works: Congress decides yet again that they need to spend far more money than we have because they, somewhat like the Chinese and the Soviets I guess, have come to the conclusion that the government ought to provide everything we need, and even more that we donâ€™t. Bills filled with pork and out of control budgets are passed. The Treasury then has to figure out a way to pay for this, because the people who decided to spend more than we have wonâ€™t. Logically, the Treasury auctions off portions of the debt to the bidders who will charge the lowest interest rate. Over 25 percent of the entire debt is presently being financed by foreign interests and of that, over 20 percent is held by the Communist government of China. Nice. So much for heeding the warnings of our Founders about becoming involved in foreign entanglements! If other countries own your debt, and especially countries to whom you are ideologically opposed; if that isnâ€™t foreign entanglement I am hard pressed to understand what is.
Ideologically speaking the Communist government of China is our enemy, and yet we have allowed ourselves to become very vulnerable to them. Think about this: what would happen if all of the foreign entities holding portions of our debt called our loan? When the Treasury says it auctions bonds, bills, etc. â€œto finance the public debtâ€ that is government speak for â€œto keep the government running.â€ But what is the true price we pay? Consider that the Chinese Communist government plays a major role in keeping our government financed, and I am sure that the full impact of this situation is not missed on our government officials when they have to tiptoe around the globe consulting with the Chinese to ensure that we do not upset them by our intended actions. What will be the ultimate cost? How can a free people allow themselves to be financed in part by tyrants â€“ tyrants of a magnitude that the Founding Fathers could not even begin to fathom.
It is going to far to say that we are, in a very real way, now beholden to the Communist government of China? Will it be possible to wrest ourselves from their influence in our affairs and our economy? And what of our reputation in the world and the subsequent influence backed up by that reputation? Is it not slightly hypocritical to claim to be fighting to bring freedom and liberty to one part of the world while enabling it to be oppressed in another? Any what will be the ultimate economical impact on our nation and, for that matter, on the world? How long can we sustain such a detrimental trade deficit with China where we cave in to their terms almost on command? What has happened to the America that less than a decade ago was the sole remaining superpower after defeating the Soviet Union?
And speaking of the Soviets, it appears theyâ€™re back â€“ and with a vengeance too. Those old KGB guys havenâ€™t lost their touch â€“ invade your neighbor while the rest of the world is watching the Olympics. Brilliant strategy. Especially when you know that Georgiaâ€™s biggest ally, the United States, however much we protest and demand a Russian withdrawal, is more or less impotent when it comes to this situation. The Russians want their Soviet Empire back and they are testing the waters: what will the U.S. do? What can they do? For our poor ally is that with our battle weary and overextended military, a looming economic crisis, a weak dollar and a popular political movement demanding we stick our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well, the unfortunate answer is: not much. And so the future for Georgia is uncertain indeed.
What is certain is that the Chinese are once again paying close attention to what Moscow is doing â€“ and will learn from any mistakes. Make no mistake about it: our relationship with China in its current form is absolutely deadly for us. It is suicide. It is the beginning of our abdication of superpower status at a time when those who most appreciate liberty, like Georgia, are looking to the U.S. for leadership and action to inspire and help them, yet all we can offer is words. And talk is cheap, especially when it is backed up by a plunging dollar, an unconscionable deficit and a government that fails to see the consequences of cozying up to tyrants and preferring to let the U.N. take the lead. Make no mistake about it, Beijing has one eye on Moscow and the other on Taiwan, and we, my follow Americans, have precious little time to take back or government before it signs our death warrant and becomes the cause of our downfall. Can we survive a relationship with China? Our action or inaction over the next several years will be the determining factor. So, either we can work together to pull Washingtonâ€™s collective head out of its rear, or we can start studying Chinese and Russian. Personally, I prefer the former.
Chad MacINNES is an independent conservative author who originally hails from Massachusetts and is now living in Orlando Florida with his wife and children. He is a former pilot for a large US carrier, a former police officer and a veteran of the US Army where, incidentally, he was cured of his disordered liberalism. He has studied politics and government, international relations, philosophy and theology. His blog may be found at http://freebornman.blogtownhall.com/. Chad is a frequent contributor to landofthefree.net and may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.