Nixon visited Beijing in 1972 and opened China up for trade. We were going to profit, they were going to profit, and all the while, Nixon explained, we were building a “bridge” across the “hostilities” separating free America and Communist China; someone, China hopefully, was supposed to cross that bridge.
Notwithstanding the fact that Nixon resigned in disgrace, he is renowned and applauded, by both the left and right, for his policy towards China. That should give a moments pause. Perhaps this was the beginning of the Swamp Uniparty.
It’s now fifty years later and if the policy of reforming Communists — bent on our destruction — by treating them with kindness was going to work, we would know by now. However, according to China’s military, media, Central Committee, and Politburo: they are still Communist. Recently, their General Secretary Xi Jinping launched into an hour long commemoration of Karl Marx’s 200th birthday where he talked about Marx as if he were a priest talking about Jesus Christ. It’s time we take them at their word.
Their political system has not liberalized. Rather than go forward, Xi has adopted the honorific term “lingxiu” which was formerly reserved for Mao. Xi has also abolished term limits, allowing him to further follow in the path of Mao. He is using this power to pursue traditional Communist policies like persecuting Christians; the situation is so bad that even the Communist friendly New York Times, the people who explained that Stalin “can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs,” called attention to what Xi is doing.
In sum, the Establishment plan for China, the strategy of transforming Communist China with kindness, has failed. Utterly and miserably. All we are left with are the results of this disaster: Americans who think China is our friend, and a super-strong Communist powerhouse who is beginning to flex its muscles on the world stage.
Following the Establishment’s old plan, American Presidents have tried to work with China on foreign policy as partners. That means North Korea. Even Ronald Reagan, America’s archetypal Cold War warrior, followed the same playbook. He went to Beijing in 1984 with effusive praise for the Chinese and said, “we share a stake in preserving peace on the Korean peninsula.”
But what if — not only did we miss the mark on understanding internal Chinese politics — we totally misunderstood China’s foreign policy? What if we don’t share any mutual interests with China on the Korean peninsula?
The basis for an American-Chinese understanding regarding North Korea is that China’s primary desire is for economic growth via trade and thus stability. This idea would be perfectly reasonable assuming China had crossed the bridge Nixon laid down half a century ago. But they haven’t. As such, we are projecting American values onto China.
Looking at Chinese ideology on its own terms. China has a tradition of supremacy. The very name China literally means “middle kingdom” or “center country.” They are still racial supremacists. Here is a Chinese advertisement where a dirty black man has to be put put into the washing machine so he can become a clean ethnically Chinese man.
China also has that Communist thing going on. Communism is one of the most arrogant, aggressive, expansionist ideologies that humanity has known.
China was never poised to cross Nixon’s bridge so much as seize control of it. Seen in this context, the contradictory and confused notion that China accidentally let North Korea get so dangerous, but they really want to reign North Korea in now, can finally be cast aside in favor of a theory that is actually consistent with China’s actions.
China didn’t stop North Korea from getting nuclear weapons, or stay neutral, so much as actively help Kim, because Kim is a tool for China to assert itself. Their priority is not stability or trade, it is power. Traditional power. Hard power.
It’s hard to see any mutual interests between America and China here.
The question becomes, how does China want North Korea to use their nuclear weapons? On the face of it, people give people things to use them. And Kim is not exactly a restrained guy.
However, the assumption, even of America’s most dire hawks, has been that China wants Kim to have nuclear weapons just as a threat to scare us which can never possibly be used.
The first reason given for why China doesn’t want Kim to use nukes is because the Korean refugees would swamp China. Again, understanding the refugees as a problem for China only works if we project American values onto the Chinese government. If China had to house, feed, and show the refugees compassion like we would, then yes, it would be very tough on China. But China doesn’t care if Koreans suffer now. Why would they care if they suffer after a war? China still has gulags and they would simply put Koreans to work in the gulag. The refugees would actually be a net plus for the Chinese Central Committee.
The second reason given for why China is terrified of a nuclear war involving Korea is because the radioactive fallout would hit China. However, upon close inspection, radioactive fallout wouldn’t be a problem for China. That is to say, it wouldn’t be a problem for the Party Bosses. They live in Beijing. That is a safe 500 miles from Pyongyang. That is far away, and if things really went haywire, they have plenty of money to move even farther away as well as buy the safest food and best medical care imaginable. Chinese peasants may die, but the Communists have always been willing to make that sacrifice, as the New York Times would say, that’s an omelet Xi may want to eat.
It’s time for America to consider, for its own safety, that not only does China want North Korea to have nuclear weapons, they actually want North Korea to use them.
Imagine if North Korea and the United States go into a nuclear exchange. It would do grave damage to America economically, politically, culturally, in just about every way imaginable. America’s prestige would be damaged. America’s will to assert itself would likely evaporate. American will to stand with Japan and South Korea would weaken. There would be a massive power vacuum and China would assert itself.
America and Koreans would be the direct losers. The Chinese government would be the big winner.
To add insult to injury, when China grows into the power vacuum, they will do it as saviors. They will weep over the “needless deaths” that were caused by America’s “wanton imperialist policies.” They will take over Korea, Japan, and the near by international waters, and do it as benefactors and protectors. They don’t want to do it, they’ll say, but they have to, because of the unspeakable tragedy America caused.