The Republican foreign policy establishments excessive attachment to the Chinese Communist Party has ripped apart the GOP for nearly a half century.
At first it was part of realpolitik to offset the Soviet Union versus principled anti-communists. Realpolitik morphed into realism which became reality and a constant thirst to turn what had been a Soviet offset into a superpower that poured cash into both American political parties.
A dour Strangelovian character became the Chinese regimes recruiter and gatekeeper, surrounded by a bipartisan constellation of those he deemed lesser but usable figures who made politics and national security a business for themselves and their friends. Year after year they rewarded eager collaborators by handing out policy credentials, government posts, and business opportunities. They marginalized the principled few as extreme and even dangerous. To elements of the foreign policy establishment, the Chinese Communist Party would become, in every way, a fetish.
That fetish remains as big as ever at liberal, pay-to-play influence mills like the Brookings Institution. But its just as arousing among GOP establishmentarians. One of the most outrageous fronts: The George H.W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, a Texas-based foothold of the Beijing faction of the Republican Party.
Foundation CEO (((David J. Firestein))), a career diplomat, took a break from the national pandemic emergency to express himself frankly to a Chinese Communist Party propaganda outlet. His words overlapped comfortably with the CCP line. A seasoned diplomat and sinologist with a top command of Mandarin who put America First would never do such a thing.
And so Firesteins words merit our careful attention.
Judging by the length of his answers and odd punctuation that could not be transcribed from speech, it looks like Firestein wasnt just spouting off in a phone interview, but that he wrote his words carefully to the Global Times, a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Partys authoritative Peoples Daily.
Firestein reaffirmed or repeated many of the Partys key pandemic propaganda themes against the United States.
His words had the inadvertent effect of indicting the Kissingerian Republican establishment that built up the Chinese regime to become the global threat that it is today.
Lets pick apart Firesteins Global Times interview, published on May 4. The CCP propaganda themes are summarized in bold, all drawn from Part 1 and Part 2 of the Center for Securitys Wuhan Virus propaganda timeline. Firesteins words are contained in quotation marks (full text is here). Excerpts:
Trumps relentless blame China messaging is to blame for bad US perceptions.
there is a growing perception, fueled by the relentless blame China messaging noted above, that Chinese actions (or inactions) actually hurt the US in a direct and major way and even resulted in American loss of life.
US is diverting or shifting blame for political campaign purposes. Given its evident effectiveness in terms of shifting American public opinion and taking the heat off of US political leaders of both parties and in both the executive and legislative branches of the government I think the current negativity we see toward China and the blame China messaging we now see proliferating across the US will continue indefinitely and certainly through the general election in early November.
US leaders are trying to rationalize their own failures. Its not that US political leaders arent talking about how to cope with COVID-19; its just easier for them, against the backdrop of steadily rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, to rationalize why they initially failed than to make the case that theyve succeeded.
China is an easy and convenient scapegoat, and one lone Chinese official reciprocated. For many US politicians, China is the easy, convenient and expedient scapegoat. Presumably, a comparable mindset is why at least one Chinese official, as well as some other voices in the Chinese social media, have similarly sought to lay the blame for the pandemic on the United States. The blame game is being played on both sides.
We mustnt hold Chinese regime accountable. After all, US did bad things, too. This sue China campaign we now see emerging in the US is good political theater but bad and ineffectual policy. If a US state can sue China for something like this, then what would prevent a Chinese entity from suing the US for, say, bombing Chinas Belgrade embassy in 1999 or sparking the global financial crisis of 2007-08, among other instances in which US actions generated negative consequences for people outside the borders of the United States?
Dont strip China of sovereign immunity. The slope gets very slippery; the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act the 1976 US law which holds foreign governments immune from being sued in US courts exists for good reason.
If we call for reparations from China, we will be liable for slavery reparations. For that matter, how many of those who are calling for reparations from China for what they regard as Chinas role in the emergence of this pandemic take the same principled stand when it comes to, say, reparations for slavery in the US? Not many, I think.
Holding China accountable is just an election ploy. One increasingly hears references made by US politicians to the idea of holding China accountable; interestingly, the references are often made these days as part of campaign fundraising appeals: Donate to my campaign so I can hold China accountable! That fact, I think, speaks pretty clearly to the motivation behind this type of framing.
Lets do what Xi Jinping says and not point fingers but work together. In my view, all of us Americans and Chinese alike need to focus at this moment less on assigning blame and more on solving problems. People are dying and economies are reeling. Thats what we need to focus on right now.
Luckily, the George H.W. Bush Foundation and CCP are still calling for cooperation (as they always have). There are still voices in both the US and China including our Foundations calling for US-China collaboration on COVID-19 and a host of other global and international challenges. My colleagues and I at the George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations continue to believe that no major global challenge can be solved in the absence of robust cooperation between the US and China.
Moral equivalence is good. Lets share the blame. In my view, both China and the US made significant mistakes in the early stages of responding to the COVID-19 crisis; neither country has handled the pandemic flawlessly. Perhaps most obviously and fundamentally, neither side fully communicated to the general public the seriousness of the situation as accurately, openly or quickly as each could and should have.
It really doesnt matter whos to blame. Still, I am of the view that what matters most at present is not who is to blame for the current state of affairs, but rather, what we can do, together, to curb the spread of this virus and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the physical and economic health of the worlds population. To my mind, that is where our two countries focus ought to be.
Its all about the money. I have always viewed with some skepticism the notion that it is feasible for the US and China to decouple from each other, relative to the current level of bilateral engagement, to any truly significant degree.
Supply-chain concerns reject the theory of comparative advantage. There is now a growing feeling in the US that reliance on overseas supply chains generally and China-based supply chains specifically is problematic and risky for the US; and further, that reliance on China for key pharmaceutical products and precursors (as well as other vital resources) is also imprudent. Though this thinking essentially rejects the validity of the economic construct of comparative advantage, it is on the ascendancy in this country, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its deadly and economically devastating march.
Pandemic is perfect gift to Americans who see CCP as dangerous. For those in the US who regard the Peoples Republic of China as Americas enemy, COVID-19 is the perfect gift: the opportunity to showcase how dangerous China ostensibly is relative to US interests and how harmful both engagement with, and especially dependence on China is for America. And this message has started to resonate with the general public to a degree that it wasnt resonating before the onset of this pandemic.
Dont worry, the Chinese regime doesnt want to be a superpower. I certainly dont think this pandemic will end the US tenure as the worlds sole superpower, nor will it elevate China to superpower status a status China doesnt want, in any case (at least as such status is defined by the US).
Parting thought: Lets not pin blame on anyone. Desisting from hurling accusations at each other and instead working together to bring the pandemic under control as quickly as possible will go a long way toward reversing the damage that has been done.
Insight into the mind of a kikenvermin asshole whose words will be read with nodding heads across Crapitol Hill....