Archive for March, 2010

UKRAINE UNDER THREAT – THE RISK OF A GEOPOLITICAL SHIFT

March 30, 2010

Wall Street Journal’s Ukraine expert U.S. Professor Alexander J. Motyl warns in a new article (March 29, 2010, “Ukraine’s Democracy in Danger – Viktor Yanukovych’s misrule is courting a second ‘Orange Revolution.’ “) that President Yanukovych is a threat to Ukraine’s democracy.

1. The new president violated the constitution of Ukraine when he changed the rules for forming coalitions in parliament.

2. Appointing his crony Mykola Azarov as prime minister opened up risks for corruption, high taxation rates, and hostility to small businesses. Now there is little chance for economic reform.

3. There are now 29 ministers in the cabinet (compared to 25 in the Tymoshenko coalition) which will not improve decision making.

4. Two unknowns are now ministers for agriculture and finance, important key ministries.

5. The worst mistake may be appointing the controversial Dmytro Tabachnik to be minister of education. He believes west Ukrainians are no real Ukrainians and that Soviet era views of history should be introduced in the Ukrainian education system. The result of his appointment has been strikes, petitions and demonstrations against the new administration.

Furthermore Yanukovych has fired the director of the Security Service archives, a fine scholar who permitted unrestricted public access to documents on Soviet crimes in Ukraine. Anti-democratic allies of the new president have been appointed as provincial ministers of internal affairs. This will give them opportunity to clamp down on liberties of ordinary citizens.

Motyl writes that:

Democratically inclined Ukrainians are increasingly persuaded that Mr. Yanukovych wants to become Ukraine’s version of Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. But Mr. Yanukovych’s vision of strong-man rule rests on a strategic, and possibly fatal, misunderstanding of Ukraine.

The Orange Revolution in 2004 has introduced democracy in Ukraine with professionals, intellectuals, students, and businesspeople that are unafraid of the powers that be.

The democratized government in Ukraine cannot serve as a basis for effective authoritarian government.

The new government seems to be ineffective and if Yanukovych fails to fix the economy that has recently been going through a crisis, this might result in strikes and unrest.

Professor Motyl’s conclusion is:

Indeed, if Mr. Yanukovych keeps on making anti-democratic mistakes, he could very well provoke a second Orange Revolution. But this time the demonstrators would consist of democrats, students, and workers. The prospect of growing instability will do little to attract foreign investors, while declining legitimacy, growing incompetence, and tub thumping will fail to modernize Ukraine’s industry, agriculture, and education.

Ukraine is of great geopolitical importance as one of Europe’s largest countries. The West must be very observant of Ukraine’s democracy and carefully watch the rule of President Yanukovych. Should Ukraine turn into a new Belarus it would be catastrophic for democracy in Eastern Europe.

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TIME TO COUNTER HOSTILE MUSLIM IDEOLOGIES EFFECTIVELY

March 29, 2010

In March 2010 Hudson Institute published the long awaited report Organizing the U.S. government to Counter Hostile Ideologies. Authors Douglas J. Feith and Abram N. Shulsky rightly conclude that the Global War on Terrorism is a far-ranging challenge with military, law enforcement, economic, philosophical, and ideological components.

So far the American answer to the ideological dimension of terrorism has not been strong enough. There is much to do. How can information operations be turned into a key tool of national security policy? How can they receive the necessary resources and high-level attention? Is the right answer to create a new governmental agency like the old U.S. Information Agency (USIA)? Could private, non-governmental organizations also be a response to the political warfare of the internatioanl terrorist organizations?

Encourage Muslims to reject the understanding of Islam that condones and encourages violence and subversion against the United States and the West

This would be one of the more important objects of a strengthened strategic communications effort by the U.S. It is indeed of great importance to affect debate about Islam within Muslim societies. The Islamist totalitarians ought to be isolated by promoting anti-extremist Muslim voices. It is time to counter violent Islamist extremists in the field of political warfare. One problem, however, is that the U.S. currently largely lacks the personnel to conduct an effective information program. Both operational and regional expertise is needed including political operatives, intellectuals specializing in the Muslim world and people prepared to work in covert information operations. Building this cadre of ideological warriors will take some time and establishing a cooperative relationship between different sectors of American life will be vital.

The Cold War model is of great interest when building a new and more effective information tool. In the late 1940s the U.S. government could openly propagate the values of liberty. Meanwhile it faced opposition from sections of media that this was interference in the internal affairs of other countries. This resulted in some of the covert activities being instead funded openly like Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty by means of Congressional appropriations.

In the new report the authors recommend serious consideration to the creation of a new government agency along the lines of the former USIA. More is needed, however, like a non-profit private organization to create a mechanism for influencing the debates within Muslim societies in favor of those who reject extremist Islamism. This could be done according to several different models of which one is the organization created by the Reagan administration, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). An alternative to NED could be to create an international organization involving a group of prominent U.S. and foreign citizens which could in turn make grants to private U.S. or foreign organizations or individuals. Private counter-radicalization organizations already exist on several continents, which could be supported.

An important aspect could be the consideration of a possible covert action role. A potent weapon in the fight against religious and political fanaticism and intolerance is ridicule. This was a strong weapon against Nazi and Communist tyranny. Certain entertainment formats could be useful in spreading the anti-extremist message. Covert action operatives could pose as representatives of an extremist group and help sow dissension and confusion as part of a strategy to discredit extremist ideas.

There is interest in various places in official Washington for the ideas presented in this important report. The work continues. The stakes are high. Much more can be done by the United States to engage in a battle of ideas against the ideological enemies of the United States and the West.

IS OBAMA CHOOSING DECLINE?

March 28, 2010

Is America under President Barack Obama accepting a psychology of decline? Conservative author and columnist Mark Steyn (see Tattered Liberty, National Review Online, March 23, 2010) is comparing the fate of Britain with the United States. In 1897 Great Britain, the greatest empire in the world at the time, was at the height of its glory. It was gone in 1997, 100 years later.

Could America under Obama be Declinistan: unsustainable entitlements, a remorseless governmentalization of the economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power. Remember The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek: ”

There is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought. It is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people generally agreed to excel… The virtues possessed by Anglo-Saxons in a higher degree than most other people…were independence and selfreliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, noninterference with one’s neighbour and tolerance of the different…, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

In the case of Great Britain one can ask if not a determined state can change the character of a people in the space of a generation or two. In a geopolitical sense, so Steyn, it can be liberating. One has little responsibility and can still have a seat at the top of the table. Why is decline in Europe so pleasant. Because it was cushioned by American power. (Emphasis made on this blog). Defense is not any longer a problem. The Yanks are taking on the responsibility. The proportion of defense costs has fallen in the case of Great Britain from 24 percent to 7 percent while health and welfare rose from 22 percent to 53. One can have Euro-sized entitlments or a global military, but not both.

Will America soon be a large Sweden? Big Government works best in small countries with a homogenous population.

What happens if America would turn into Europe with its geopolitical decline, then who would be America? China? Russia? Or a new Caliphate with nuclear weapons? Most likely there would be no new order, but a world without order.

With another administration America would be much stronger, with a positive demography and with economic strength. As Charles Krauthammer has expressed it, “decline is a choice”. The Democrats are offering decline to America. Are there enough Americans to accept this offer of retreat and decline? More than ever an orderly world where freedom an democracy are respected depends on the United States. It is time for the West to rise to the challenge. A United States that voluntarily seeks decline must be supported by the rest of the West. The United States cannot do it by themselves.

We live in dangerous times. European and Japanese civilizations depend on American civilization. The strength of the West is there but is there the will. Hope now rests with a responsible American electorate in 2012.

STRATEGIC REVIEW OF AMERICAN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

March 27, 2010

In March the National Security Council promulgated a National Strategy for Strategic Communication. On March 10, 2010, Undersecretary Judith McHale testified in the U.S. Senate on the State Department roadmap in this matter (“U.S. Public Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement with the World”).

There seems to be an agreement that major institutional changes are on their way. One option could be greater coordination through the National Security Council (NSC) and an interagency process.

Since the end of the Cold War great challenges have emerged for the United States in the field of strategic communication and public diplomacy:

Extremists are showing increasing expertise in the field of media strategy used to recruit new followers. The extremists in question are of course Islamist extremists.

China’s global influence is growing with a large number of propaganda programs.

The Russian media presence is increasing.

Iran’s cultural centers seek to influence key audiences.

McHales testimony offered only modest changes to the State Department program which is certainly insufficient. What is needed is among other things a staff within the International Information Programs (IIP) to conduct audience research among foreign publics. Since 2009 it is increasingly clear that the State Department cannot offer much of an inspiring public diplomacy.

It does not much believe in the technique of soft power to influence abroad. When it comes to NSC there seems to be insufficient staffing. The present policy for the U.S. president to apologize for American history most of the time is not very inspiring. Instead the U.S. administration should reinforce a narrative that portrays the United States as a unique, global leader and a decisive source of stability which can spread democratic and free-market values across the globe.

As often is the case Congress has to step in using its oversight powers.

One must hope for hearings in the future on public diplomacy strategy and the great challenges facing the United States:
radical Islamism, Chinese expansionism, Russian revanchism, and disinformation from countries such as Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

Congress should also fund pilot projects that illustrates the effectiveness of foreign audience research. This might be one road to travel to create a revitalized and multifaceted public diplomacy doctrine to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

There are other options, however, if the federal government is failing to do its part. That would be for instance the creation of a Freedom Academy for Public Diplomacy, a privately funded academy for research and education in the field. Such a freedom academy on Soviet political and psychological warfare existed in the United States during the Cold War after a congressional effort to create a federally funded academy failed.

For additional information on the subject see Helle C. Dale’s Heritage Foundation Web Memo No. 2840 of March 22, 2010 (“Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications Review: Key Issues for Con

THE WEST MUST INCREASE CONDEMNATION OF IRAN

March 25, 2010

In The Miami Herald (March 21, 2010: “We can’t coddle Iran”) Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called for steps that the United States could take against the Iranian tyranny. The regime in Teheran is involved in ongoing, systematic violations of human rights involving torture, flogging, amputation and stoning. Arbitrary arrests, detentions and killings are used against the opposition. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen pointed to the fact that:

Stalinesque show-trials continue, with demonstrators and other political prisoners charged with the amorphous accusation of being mohareb (rebelling against God), for which the punishment is death.

She is calling for aid to those who seek human rights in Iran and monitor abuses – such as the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, which recently saw its funding cut.

Sanctions should further be used against foreign companies — like China’s Sinopec, France’s Total, Brazil’s Petrobras and Malaysia’s SKS — that have invested billions in Iran’s energy sector. Congress could also quickly enact legislation targeting refined petroleum exports to Iran.

If the United States and other democracies continue to participate in the UN’s Human Rights Council (of which Iran is a member) they should be obligated to push for resolutions and special sessions condemning the Iranian regime’s abuses. The West has not done that.

To change the inadequate Obama administration approach Ros-Lehtinen has introduced the bipartisan House companion (H.R. 4649) to the Iran Human Rights Sanctions Act, authored by Sen. John McCain and Joe Lieberman. So far on the demands of the U.S. legislator.

This legislation requires the president to designate and sanction — via financial measures and a visa ban — those who violate the human rights of Iranians.

It should be added that it is time for Europe as well to introduce sharper sanctions against the regime in Teheran. The present policies are not enough. It is time for the whole West to strengthen the opposition in Iran. The sooner there is a new government in Teheran the faster the nuclear threat from the extremist regime can be reduced.

NETANYAHU STRONGLY DEFENDS JERUSALEM AS CAPITAL OF ISRAEL

March 24, 2010

The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu strongly defended Jerusalem as the capital of Israel when he spoke to AIPAC on March 22 in the United States. The building in East Jerusalem is an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everybody knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement. Building them does not stop the possibility of a two-state solution.

Israel, so the Prime Minister, wants peace with the Palestinians. The government of Israel is presently showing its commitment to peace both in word and deed. From day one we have called on the Palestinian Authority to begin peace negotiations without delay.

On March 24, 2010, it was reported by AP that the Jerusalem municipality had approved 20 new apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem.

The new project is funded by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz. An old hotel, the Shepherd, will be torn down and 20 apartments and a three-level underground parking lot will be built instead. AP wrote:

City spokesman Gidi Schmerling said plans for the project have been known since last July and that last week’s approval was merely a procedural step. He said media reports were blowing the matter out of proportion, saying they were “meant to create a provocation during the prime minister’s visit in the U.S.” … Moskowitz, an influential supporter of Israeli settlement in east Jerusalem, purchased the Shepherd Hotel in 1985. The hotel is located near a government compound that includes several ministries and the national police headquarters.

Since 1967 Jerusalem has abounded with activity: symphony orchestras, dance troupes, chamber ensembles and choirs perform regularly. There is a wide selection of museums and festivals: the Israel Museum, the Rockefeller Museum, the Tower of David Museum, the Bible Lands Museum, the Islamic Museum and Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

DEMOGRAPHY – THE COMING GEOPOLITICAL SHIFT

March 24, 2010

More and more geopolitical books are focusing on coming demographic problems. In 2006 Mark Steyn in his America Alone –The End of the World As We Know warned that to have a stable population a fertility rate of 2.1 live births per woman was needed. That is what America had. Canada had 1.48, Europe as a whole had 1.38, Japan 1.32 and Russia 1.14. Steyn warned of self extinction.

When pundits presently revel in declinism it is as usual the imminent demise of the United States that is predicted. There is, however, reason to be cheerful when it comes to America. The worry should be about Europe, Japan and Russia.

How is it possible to be cheerful about the future of the United States? Unemployment is at 10 percent, there has been a financial crisis from 2008, bailouts have further sharpened the crisis and now the struggle about health care reform which is costing billions. Then there is the Chinese juggernaut.

Even if the present might not be so good it is much brighter in the near future. There is reason to listen to Joel Kotkin in his new book The Next Hundred Million – America in 2050 (Penguin Press, 2010). The birth rate in America is growing. Young workers are immigrating from poorer countries. The future of America seems to be ethnic diversity.

Kotkin believes that population expansion between 2000 and 2050 will translate into economic vitality. It will be possible for the present hegemon in the future to create wealth and a rapidly growing standard of living which can resolve the problems of burden in the future. Europe and Asia will be veritable old-age homes. This will create great problems for the vast welfare-states of the Old Continent. The pension obligations will be crushing. Meanwhile people in working age are protesting. In France the pension age is 59 and is not much higher in Greece. Who wants to loose the benefits mostly created by socialist governments.

Europe and Asia will decline and America will continue to expand and thrive. During the four coming decades the United States will emerge, in the words of Kotkin, as the most affluent, culturally rich, and successful nation in world history. Could civilization shift across the Pacific Ocean to China? No problem because the great tyranny across the ocean will decline due to the rising burdens of retirees. The one-child policy has also contributed to the coming slide.

Mr. Kotkin believes the coming hundreds of millions of new citizens will live in the suburbs. It would be the best choice for the raising of families and the enjoyment of the benefits of the community. With 100 more millions of inhabitants USA will be less crowded than Germany.

The vision in this excellent book is convincing although as a result upward mobility will be more difficult. At the same time the family in America is taking ever new shapes. It is adapting and taking on different forms.

It should be added that with continuing prosperity American can retain its military strength and continue to be able to protect the rest of the West. The problem with Europe, however, is that continuing decline of birth rates may cause Europe to be unable keep up its already small part of the defense of the West.

THE SWEDISH CAPTURE OF MOSCOW IN 1610 – 400 YEARS AGO

March 22, 2010

Introduction

The Russian Tsar Feodore I (1584 – 1598) was by many observers believed to have been a cretin. He was unsteady on his feets (probably from rickets or polio in his youth). Feodore in spite of his physical problems was however a staunch imperialist and he built forts in many frontier areas of Russia. When he passed away in 1598 his wife Irene for a short while kept the reins. After a while Boris Gudonov was elected czar. At this time the ‘Time of the Troubles’ (1598 – 1613) were at hand.

Rule of Boris Gudonov in Russia

Boris reign was marred by terrible famines (1601 – 1603). A young man of unknown ancestry appeared at the time in Russia and called himself Czarevich Dmitry. This young man joined the Polish side of King Sigismund III. Dmitry marched into Russia in 1604 supported by the Poles. He swept into Moscow and was supported by the people. Boris soon lost control of his Russians and soon died mysteriously. His son Feodore was proclaimed czar but only ruled from April to July 1605, when he too died mysteriously. A while after Dmitry entered Moscow and was crowned. Soon, however, he was killed and Prince Vasily Shuisky was proclaimed czar. Now a second “false” Dmitry appeared on the scene (there would also be a third. For two years he held court around six miles from Moscow.

In 1609 Shuisky was forced to abdicate and the Russian invited Ladislaus, the Polish heir, to rule but Sigsmund of Poland wanted Russia for himself and seized Moscow.

Marching on Moscow 1609

Meanwhile the Swedes acted. King Charles IX of Sweden did not want a czar of Russia that was supported by Poland. On February 28, 1609, he signed the Treaty at Viborg with Shuisky. A Swedish army of 5 000 lead by Field Marshal Jakob De la Gardie, an enlisted officer from France, to invade Russia and place Shuisky on the Muscovite throne. The first leg of the march was for the city of Novgorod. Here the newphew of Shuisky, Michael Shuisky, waited with between 1,000 and 1,500 troops. On May 2 1609 the march on Moscow continued. The Swedish General Evert Horn took Staraja Russa during the waiting for the main army with De la Gardie. On May 17 General Horn led a force to defeat fleeing Russians at Kamenka and two days laters took the city of Torzhok. The Swedish army then turned on the city of Tver. The First Battle of Tver was undecided but a Swedish victory followed in the Second Battle of Tver.

Conquering Moscow in 1610

On March 12, 1610, the Swedish army under Field Marshal De la Gardie entered Moscow greeted by jubilant citizens. It was from this time suggestions were made for the incorporation of the whole Russian province of Novgorod in the Swedish empire and for a permanent link between Sweden and Russia in the form of a Swedish royal family Vasa czar (as secundogeniture in the reigning Swedish dynasty). This, however, came to a halt when Michael Romanov was elected czar

In June 1610 De la Gardie and Shuisky left Moscow to stop a Polish siege of Smolensk. This lead to the Battle of Klushino of June 25, 1610, and the Swedish army was here defeated by the Poles. From 1610 – 1617 Sweden and Russia fought the so called Ingrian Continuation War. Swedish armies maintained themselves in the Ingria and Kexholm regions even if Charlex IX had to deal with a Danish attack on Sweden. At the Peace of Stolbovo in 1617 the Russians had to cede the territories of Ingria and Kexholm. The frontier now went through Lake Ladoga and Gustavus II Adolphus now contemplating that “the Russian bear won’t find it so easy to jump that ditch.”

JERUSALEM UNITED FOREVER

March 21, 2010

The capital of Israel is familiar to more people than any other city of earth. It has been the focus of Judaism since King David made it the capital of his kingdom more than 3000 years ago. He transferred the Ark of the Covenant to the city making it both religious and political center of the kingdom. A thousand years later Christians started to hold the city in reverence where Jesus preached and died a thousand years later. Only since the seventh century it has been cherished by Muslims as a holy place.

During three periods of Jewish independence in the Land it has been the capital of a nation. When the Temple was desecrated by the Greek ruler Alexander the Jews rose in revolt led by the Hasmonean family. It rebuilt the Temple and restored its interior. When the Jewish kingdom in the Land of Israel was restored Jerusalem entered a period of growth and development which lasted until the Land became a Roman province in 63 BCE.

When the State of Israel was once more established in 1948 Jerusalem became its capital. It has grown and thrived as the capital of a democratic. Here is the Knesset, the Supreme Court, most government ministries and the President’s residence where foreign envoys to Israel present their credentials.

When in July of 1996 Benjamin Netanyahu visited the United States he had just been elected leader of the Jewish State. He was then invited to speak to a Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress.

The mood was exceptionally warm, and the Prime Minister was interrupted by applause several times in the first 40 minutes. When he spoke about Jerusalem he received a long applause:

Since 1967, under Israeli sovereignty, united Jerusalem has, for the first time in 2,000 years, become the city of peace….For the first time, a single sovereign authority has afforded security and protection to members of every nationality who sought to come to pray there. There have been efforts to re-divide this city by those who claim that peace can come through division, that it can be secured through multiple sovereignties, multiple laws and multiple police forces. This is a groundless and dangerous assumption, which impels me to declare today: There will never be such a re-division of Jerusalem. Never.

When Mr. Netanyahu repeated the word “never,” it resulted in a standing ovation during close to a minute.

The United Nation had for some time advanced an idea that Jerusalem would become an international city. The United States had not accepted that idea. The division of the city lasted until 1967, when Israel annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem. Walls and wire were removed.

An admirable change took place. The population rose to more than 700,000 from about a quarter of a million in 1967.

The U.S. Congress in 1995 had passed, by an overwhelming vote, the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Clearly the American people wanted the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It said that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.

The measure taken by Congress went to law without a signature of the American President Bill Clinton. The presidency continues to delay the embassy move to Jerusalem. Even President Georg W. Bush did so but stated that he intended to move the embassy, but at the right time.

In 2010 the sentiments of the American administration are different. It seems as if only Israel is called upon to make concessions in an attempt to restart the peace process. Not the Palestinians. In 1997 Mr. Netanyahu actually retreated from Israel’s second holiest city, Hebron, leaving the Jewish families there in an armed camp. It has not helped.

Meanwhile there has been a Second Intifada. The Clinton administration had actually offered to give the Palestinians part of Jerusalem as a capital. Yasser Arafat, however, refused the offer preferring the uprising to a peace deal. Now Ariel Sharon took over the Israeli government. He understood that the jihadist enemy of the United States was also the Israeli enemy.

Sharon defeated the intifada and the United States went to war against the jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama administration should understand that Palestinian demands and Israeli retreat will only cause more violence from the office in Ramallah. To divide Jerusalem again is impossible. There has to be other solutions, finding another capital for the Palestinian entity. There is an overwhelming Israeli majority of a peaceful and strong capital of Jerusalem. President Obama has not learned the lesson from the failure of President Clinton. There cannot be a divided Jerusalem. Ever.

CHINA IS UNSTABLE

March 18, 2010

In his new book (Shifting Superpowers: The New and Emerging Relationship between the United States, China and India, January 2010) Martin Sieff shows how China has over the past 170 years gone through wild shifts every 20 to 40 years between openness and engagement with the outside world. There have also been murderous xenophobic outrages that caused the death of many millions of pro-Western Chinese.

Sieff writes on Fox News on March 18, 2010, that the Taiping rebellion of the 1850s resulted in the worst civil war in human history. Between 20 to 40 million lives were lost before it was finally suppressed. It was followed by an era of political misery and humiliation. After that China opened up to Western investment and technology. Then the 1900 Boxer Rebellion erupted, when thousands of Chinese Christians were killed.

After the Chinese revolution during the 1920s and 1930s there was an opportunity for transformation of the country to democracy under Chiang Kai-shek. Sieff does not rightly understand what happened when the murderous civil war initiated by Mao Tse-tung. He wants to place Chiang in the same tyrannical class as Mao. The recent book by Jay Taylor, The Generalissimo – Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China (2009) shows that it is the vision of Chiang that drives the modernization of China, not that of Mao.

Mao defeated Chiang in December 1949, who then established the Republic of China on Taiwan, a model for the modernization of China. Mao proceeded to cause the death of around 80 million people on the mainland.

In 1972 President Richard Nixon established a strategic partnership with communist China and to a great extent abandoned Taiwan. After the death of Mao it was time for a new turnabout. China embraced some sort of state capitalism.When the Soviet tyranny started to crumble in 1989 thousands of student’s demanded democracy in China. They were massacred.

After that the pendulum turned the other way and somehow China managed to convince America that it was OK with endless balance of payment deficits. As sovietologists had predicted during the Cold War with the Soviet tyranny now the Chinese tyranny would become more democratic and liberal, some China “experts” believed. Like with the Soviets it has never happened.

Sieff believes the pendulum is once more swinging towards violence, economic crisis and anti-Western nationalism. Corruption is rampant and the Chinese banking sector is full of bad loans. There is a growing gap between the coastal provinces and the poor interior. An economic crisis or conflict over Taiwan could trigger the new swing. It could topple the present leadership and replace it with a xenophobic faction of the Chinese Communist Party and the military. It has happended before with Taiping, the Boxer Rebellion, and Mao’s tyranny turned into Cultural Revolution.

It is time to rethink on China not only in the United States but in Europe as well.