You are browsing the archive for 2019 November 28.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Beijing’s Costly Lesson in Hong Kong

November 28, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Hong Kong’s people used local elections to make their preferences clear. They want to live in a free society. No propaganda and threats from Beijing will change that. Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have decisively lost the battle for Hong Kongers’ hearts and minds.

,

Founded in 1949, the People’s Republic of China cast itself as a revolutionary force around the world. Some in the West found Mao Zedong’s rhetoric appealing — while in high school I bought a copy of Mao’s little red book in London’s legendary Hyde Park. But the PRC’s disastrous experience of mass repression, poverty, and starvation dimmed enthusiasm for the experiment.

After Mao’s death in 1976, a more measured and moderate leadership took control. Desperate to promote his nation’s economic rejuvenation, “paramount leader” Deng Xiaoping emphasized China’s “peaceful rise.” Beijing was assertive — no doubt a British refusal to negotiate Hong Kong’s return to the PRC would have triggered an international crisis — but issued few threats. The country’s stunning economic growth allowed Chinese officials to use commerce to expand their influence. In suppressing the Tiananmen Square demonstrations Deng bloodily rejected political reform, but the authoritarian system was loose enough to encourage expanding international ties.

,

,

Everything changed with Xi Jinping’s ascension to the top of the party and government in 2013. Xi embarked upon a brutal domestic campaign to suppress dissent, strengthen the CCP, purge potential adversaries, and seize personal control. The result is an ongoing, systematic campaign to destroy religious liberty, close independent NGOs, greatly tighten censorship, round up Muslims, create a surveillance state, and impose true totalitarianism with a “social credit” system that monitors almost every aspect of individual behavior, both personal and official.

It is a striking return to Maoism and well beyond. The original Mao had little ability to enforce his wild rhetoric. Beijing had manpower in abundance but could not project power much beyond its land borders, as in North Korea.

That limitation has disappeared as Xi, essentially Mao reincarnated, has hardened China’s international approach. No more squishy …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

2020 Could Bring a U.S.-North Korea Crisis. Here Is How It Could Unfold.

November 28, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

In fall of 2017 threats of fire and fury filled the air. President Donald Trump applied his “maximum pressure” policy to North Korea, tightening sanctions while sending the “armada” to sit off the North’s coast. Pyongyang responded with a cascade of unique insults and threats.

,

Reflexive hawks such as Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed worries about starting a war “over there” in Northeast Asia. The U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea appeared to be but one errant tweet away from Korean War II.

Then came the unexpected in 2018: an explosion of diplomacy. Kim Jong-un made the rounds, meeting Moon Jae-in, Xi Jinping, and, most importantly, Donald Trump. Missile and nuclear tests were suspended. Military exercises were halted. Official visits were exchanged. Promises of denuclearization were made. America’s president fell in love, or so he said.

Relations warmed, but the president’s expectation that the North Korean leader was going to show up, nukes in hand, never was realistic. The push for an all-or-nothing deal stalled, along with separate steps to offer the DPRK some assurance that Washington no longer was pressing for regime change—such as making a peace declaration/treaty and opening liaison offices.

,

,

The surprise collapse of the Hanoi summit triggered a global diplomatic retreat by North Korea. The June Panmunjom “drive-by” handshake between Trump and Kim briefly revived hopes of renewed negotiation, but later talks ended quickly with Pyongyang complaining that the administration offered nothing new, presumably meaning a realistic path forward with meaningful sanctions relief before full denuclearization. Kim Yong-chol, a top DPRK official, said that Washington “should not dream of the negotiations for denuclearization before dropping its hostile policy toward” the North.

Kim set the end of the year as a deadline for an agreement being reached. And in his 2019 New Year’s speech warned that the North would be “compelled to explore a new path” if the United States “seeks to force …read more

Source: OP-EDS