by Ramin Mazaheri
So there I was again, flying from San Francisco to New York on the “job creators’ redeye” when I came across another great New York Times article.
Long-time readers know that I prefer to only read about Russian meddling, but articles about Chinese meddling take a respectable second place.
The article reviews a history book describing the victory of communism in China in 1949, entitled “A Force So Swift”. Swift indeed…preceded by 20+ years of civil war, the Long March of 1934, allowing the Japanese to run free in Manchuria in order to focus on wiping out the commies – but still, Chinese communism really did come out of nowhere.
The book takes a dangerously novel approach: “Instead of putting readers ‘present at the creation’ of the postwar global architecture in Europe, Peraino’s narrative puts them present at the genesis of that storm system of ambiguities and contradictions that came to grip Asia once Mao defeated Chiang.”
This article’s author is right: everybody should be more interested in Europe, and at all points in history.
Not just in 1949, when the global architecture was created and for which, I note, we don’t get enough credit from the Third World for doing all the heavy lifting.
Come to think of it, why would anybody read a book which isn’t about Europe, much less this book review? But I guess we really do need to momentarily pull our attention away from Europe to clean up these “ambiguities and contradictions” that are gripping Asia and eating into my profits.
Obviously, we just need to restore Chiang, but he’s dead. Thankfully, we still have Taiwan.
But this article does a good job in restoring the name of Dean Acheson of the US, who from 1941 to 1953 was Assistant to, Undersecretary of, and Secretary of State.
A lot of people give Acheson a bad rap for doing things like: instituting the oil embargo against Japan in 1941 behind FDR’s back to push Japan into World War II, murderously repressing leftists in Greece and elsewhere to prevent them from coming to power democratically, drafting the NSC-68 paper which created the postwar military industrial complex, being the main architect of the anti-Soviet “Cold War” that created immeasurable and unnecessary conflict and suffering, being the main designer of what would become NATO and for being a fanatically rabid anti-communist.
Clearly, Acheson was a man of peace and diplomacy. And, just as clearly, we desperately need a new Dean Acheson for Cold War 2.0 against Putin! I assume that one is being molded now in one of our nation’s many private fundamentalist Christian schools.
So why didn’t Acheson just bomb China back to the Stone Age in 1949? Were we saving our bombs until 1950 for North Korea?
“He refused to heed the pleas of Walter Judd, a Republican congressman from Minnesota and a former missionary in China.”
We all know that missionaries have nothing but the best interest of the natives in mind, so I can see why the extremely leftist New York Times would reference such an enlightened politician from that era.
However, back in 1949: “Because of wanton corruption, Chiang’s ‘house appeared to be falling down,’ leading Acheson to call for ‘strategic restraint,’ and for building ‘a great crescent’ of containment around China.”
I don’t understand how the US didn’t remedy this “wanton corruption” despite decades of collaborating with Chiang while he was in power? Curiously unexplained…but it seems that Washington DC should have been focusing on his better half.
“Being a devout Christian and a believer in freedom of the individual, Madame Chiang was appalled when Acheson came out with (the idea of containment)….For Madame Chiang, Acheson’s stand was an American betrayal not only of a loyal ally, but also of its own vaunted principles of freedom and democracy. She fled her Riverdale estate for Taiwan in pique…”
Clearly, being forced to flee your “estate” was reason enough to launch a humanitarian intervention against China! Frankly, just causing “pique” to such a leader may be cause enough! It’s amazing that the Chinese people found the Madame out of touch and somehow unfit to lead.
But the great peacemaker Acheson came around soon enough, and worked to subvert the Chinese People’s Revolution:
“Indeed, even though (Acheson’s successor in 1949 as Sec. of State George F.) Kennan proclaimed that the United States was ‘not yet really ready to lead the world to salvation,’ China’s Marxist-Leninist, one-party system had values so antithetical to America’s that certain agencies in Washington had begun covert operations against Mao anyway. The United States soon found itself pursuing a hedging strategy that claimed neither to embrace nor to confront Chinese Communism, but nonetheless excited Mao’s paranoia.
That crazy Mao…getting paranoid just because certain agencies in the US “had begun covert operations against” him. Reminds me of that guy in North Korea who keeps misunderstanding that our annual war games are just games. Our soldiers stationed on his border need to have fun too! East Asians just take things WAY too seriously….
“In fact, the last words of Peraino’s book read like an epitaph: ‘In their way, the quarrels of 1949 endure.’”
It’s really amazing that something from nearly 70 years ago is still of concern to the Chinese. That reminds me: I have to tell my secretary to stop putting my father’s nursing home through to me – he keeps asking to spend more time together since they “fixed” his meds.
But the author moves on to the present, and examines how we can support the only alternative there is: globalism, and how to sway China to it. He laments:
“But instead of being led by an elite trained abroad (and not just in engineering, business administration and the sciences), allowing them to feel comfortable on both sides of the East-West divide, ranking Chinese leaders today remain so encumbered by the party’s official historical narrative of humiliation, victimization and ‘hostile foreign forces,’ and so pumped up on nationalism, that even close personal friendships with American counterparts are grounds for suspicion.”
I thought the US State Department had strict rules about close personal relationships between our embassy officials in foreign countries and the locals to prevent espionage, but I guess those have been lifted? Must be “free love” baby-boomer types in charge of that one now….
But clearly, the floundering state of China and the floundering Chinese state make it impermissible that their leaders be trained in Chinese schools. Their elite must be indoctrinated abroad, preferably at the School of the Americas so that they can join our special forces during the invasion and cut down our costs. It’s cost-cutting like this that has me in first-class, saving my shareholders money! And, obviously, the Chinese need indoctrination in all areas and not just engineering, business administration and the sciences – we must demand a comprehensive Chinese menu and fill up! And no using chopsticks!
“(For example, I am not aware of a single ranking party official or military officer in China who has a foreign spouse.)”
I think the answer here is to create a sort of “Comfort Women Squad” in the CIA, which can train women to lure Chinese elites into marriage. I don’t know why the author doesn’t just come out and say that directly – the demands of globalization are too urgent.
Because the Chinese are not like you and me. None of my five wives were foreigners, but you can’t find a more open-minded, tolerant and cosmopolitan person: I have sweatshop factories all over the world and I make sure to tell my driver to bring me some of the local food at least once every visit, except in India.
“What is more, the party now squeezes out as untrustworthy those Chinese whom it fears to have been overly influenced by the West, and even seeks to ostracize those foreign voices with which it disagrees.”
China really needs to learn from our example regarding openness: Obama’s militarist “pivot to China” was obviously the result of the many, many unabashedly pro-Chinese voices who are embraced with open arms at the top levels of the United States government.
But how can we promote globalism, Western capitalism and corporate American dominance when the Chinese “ostracize foreign voices”? When will they start to care about human rights! And when is our Putin-loving President going to implement John McCain’s new ban on RT and all Russian state media?
“Despite China’s remarkable economic “rejuvenation” and new wealth and power, there has been no commensurate restoration of that elusive quality possessed by Chiang’s Nationalist officials, and even his wife, that allowed them to be more comprehensively engaged with the outside world. The absence of this elusive cosmopolitanism constitutes a serious obstruction between the two countries, hindering their ability to reset the terms of the game and get along.”
It’s now clear that uncosmopolitan deplorables are running China. As a Hillary supporter, I’m almost starting to sympathize with them.
If Trump didn’t orchestrate this, we can still blame Russia – it was their 1917 revolution that started this childish infatuation with communism! Maybe we can’t blame Putin, but somebody dig up great-Grandpa Putin…run some DNA tests, at least!
Yes, China is dealing with Africa and Latin America in hugely productive, mutually-beneficial ways more than ever, even The Economist admits that…but that doesn’t count as being “engaged with the outside world”, because that world doesn’t count!
But this lack of “that elusive quality” greatly hinders my ability to elude paying taxes, elude providing honorable working conditions, elude providing stability, economic justice and a host of other commie hindrances to the American way, which is: no hindrances on us 1% job creators!
I wish I could describe what made the Chiangs of China, both Monsieur and Madame, so good for the interest of United States but, alas, that is also proving elusive….
So I went to the back of the airplane to the coach section to see my colleague, Fazlollah, who is almost as elusive as a Chinese cosmopolitan elite who feels closer kinship with urbane foreign urbanites than his or her middle-class compatriots.
No one can pronounce his name so we all just call him “Lefty”. I asked him what his people – I forget if they’re in Africa or Asia – thought of Dean Acheson.
“Ugh, at least he wasn’t John Foster Dulles. He deposed our prime minister and reinstalled a backwards monarchy in 1953. But it’s not like the two were very different from each other and didn’t collaborate for years,” said Lefty.
Lefty has an accent, so I ignore a lot of what he says.
I was on my phone anyway. I found that Acheson described some sort of development which had been kicked off by the nationalization of oil in Fazlollah’s tribal region where: “Never had so few lost so much so stupidly and so fast.”
I told Lefty: “I don’t know what either of you are talking about, but Acheson was clearly against whatever happened – it was ‘lost’, after all.”
Left looked annoyed. Come to think of it, most people from his part the world look that way when I bring up politics with them.
“Well, we lost it again pretty soon thanks to Dulles, and certainly with no help from Acheson….But now it’s found.”
Lefty must be Asian – he’s so inscrutable: Even when he speaks decent American I still can’t make him out.
The final paragraph begins with more proof of Acheson’s genius:
“Washington must once again decide, as Acheson asked in 1949, ‘what is possible, what is impossible, what are the consequences of some actions, what are the consequences of others?’”
I have no idea what that means, but I think I said the same thing once to one of my misbehaving five-year-olds. (Over the phone of course). Can you imagine hearing that at a diplomatic roundtable? You’d be parsing its meaning for days while the CIA does its dirty work. I don’t know how Acheson didn’t sway the Chinese with such breathtaking political koans?
The author concludes: “The relationship, always a difficult one, once again begs reinvention. However, unlike the world of 1949, so dramatically described by Peraino in his timely book, our current globalized world renders separation not even thinkable.”
I don’t know why the Chinese are always so difficult: first adopting communism, then forcing us to invade Korea, then forcing us to invade Vietnam, then forcing us to invade Laos and Cambodia, then forcing our “pivot to China”.
The Chinese need to realize that globalization is now here to stay. This isn’t 1955, when we turned Formosa into Taiwan. And this isn’t the 19th century, during Britain’s totally justified wars to force opium into China. China needs to accept that this is a brand-new day which has no historical precedent, so don’t even bother bringing up the past.
And if China refuses to accept that there is no alternative to globalism? Send in the “Comfort Women Squad”.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.