Twain famously observed how history doesn’t repeat, but that it tends to rhyme. America and the West learned a hard lesson during the Cold War when the preeminent communist power of the day attempted to sedate the free world into a geopolitical slumber using an ingenious approach.
Today, we are making an uncannily similar mistake, this time with the modern-day communist power of China. If we don’t heed the historical rhyming and lessons that come with it, troubled times are certain.
The 1950s and the Geopolitical Sedative of ‘Peaceful Coexistence’
In early 1956 Soviet ruler Nikita Khrushchev delivered a secret speech to the Twentieth Party Congress. In it he unveiled the new official state policy of ‘peaceful coexistence,’ which the Soviet Union would apply when dealing with its rival, the West.
Peaceful coexistence was packaged to be appealing to western Europe and the United States. The concept advertised a future where communist nations in the Soviet sphere could live alongside western democracies, without fear of constant strife and with an eye toward reducing tensions.
Of course, the Soviet Union’s and Khrushchev’s true intentions with the application of peaceful coexistence were quite different than what was promoted to the West. Behind the rhetoric of détente sat the long-term twin objectives of lulling the West into a false sense of security and of laying the groundwork to decisively vanquish democracy. Peaceful coexistence was in many ways a marketing campaign to produce the opposite result of its name.
The Soviet propaganda machine got fully behind the promotion of peaceful coexistence.
Countless influential individuals in the West, including the powerful in European and American governments, took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Peaceful coexistence was quickly embraced by the elite and expert classes.
The few who early on saw peaceful coexistence as a sham were initially labeled as narrow-minded and backward thinking. Until the Soviets brutally invaded Hungary later in 1956. Russian tanks in the streets of Budapest immediately clarified that peaceful coexistence was nothing but a ruse to buy time, gain advantage, and outmaneuver the West.
Peaceful Coexistence Redux: Modern China and the West
China has been promoting its own brand of peaceful coexistence for decades. It is masterfully good at it; China today is much more persuasive, effective, and patient than the Soviets ever were in the 1950s.
China’s version of peaceful coexistence has successfully permeated just about every institutional pillar of modern western society.
Academia, having a seemingly incurable ideological soft spot for communism and its cousin socialism, needed little coaxing to jump on the peaceful coexistence bandwagon. Colleges have been eagerly pocketing Chinese money to fund a broad spectrum of research and programs. Universities compete to take on as many full-tuition-paying Chinese nationals as possible in undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral slots. Individual professors, departments, and universities across higher education are hopelessly conflicted and financially indentured to China.
The capital markets have behaved badly under the influence of peaceful coexistence. The largest investment houses, banks, and private equity firms assessed the growth prospects of China, and happily poured trillions of dollars into the communist economy. Much of that economy is designed to pilfer technology from the West, further militarize the communist nation to better prepare for conflict with the West, and to build strategic industries that aim to destroy competition in the West. Ironically, the biggest capitalists in the free world have willingly funded a regime that exists to destroy capitalism.
Big business, specifically global corporations, saw over a billion potential new Chinese customers for products. They quickly became transfixed with peaceful coexistence, to where companies began acting illogically.
Major US airlines refuse to acknowledge the nation of Taiwan on their global maps resting in the seat pockets of their planes, for fear of upsetting China.
Tech firms grant Chinese state security access to user personal data that they would never dream of providing to US authorities.
Peaceful coexistence coupled with over a billion potential viewers have hypnotized western media and entertainment. The Chinese Communist Party acts as director, editor, and producer of most major Hollywood films these days. And marquee athletes and professional sports franchises are much more comfortable deriding their home nations and ticket-buying customers than they are speaking truth to the power that is China.
The western environmental movement fully embraced peaceful coexistence and commits the most egregious acts of aiding and abetting China. Much of this knowing collusion falls under the flaw and folly of ‘tackling climate change.’
Environmentalism used anti-science ideology and nonsensical concepts of zero-carbon and renewable energy to drive policy mandates, subsidies, and protections for products with supply chains controlled by China.
Environmentalism is proving to be a geopolitical trump card for China: eradicating American energy independence brought on by the shale revolution and replacing it with a certain energy dependence on China.
Politicians, not always the sturdiest of moral fortitude and discipline, were often easy marks for China’s brand of peaceful coexistence. Outwitted and outmaneuvered presidents, popes, and climate czars engage China with visions of world peace/détente, new members of the religious flock, and climate accords. These western leaders bring back nothing of substantive value from the negotiating table, yet they readily cede value on the most vital of issues.
The biggest error politicians and state bureaucrats make when dealing with China is assuming discrete issues can be segregated from China’s grand strategy residing under its umbrella of peaceful coexistence. Our self-anointed climate czar pretends we can put fundamental differences aside in a winner-take-all competition, so that we can agree on setting targets for future atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. China sees that miscalculation and happily utilizes it to secure more advantage and advance its strategic objectives. That gives Code Red a new meaning.
A Wake Up Call from Sun Tzu
Communism remains the gravest threat to individual rights and human quality of life. It desires to destroy the free world, bring what is left into its orbit, and grow its power. The approach attempting to achieve these aims is insidious and steadfast. It follows the ancient strategic teachings of Sun Tzu and the principles of Choho No Jutsu.
There is no art higher than that of destroying the enemy’s resistance without a fight on the battlefield.
Subvert anything of value in the enemy’s country. Implicate the emissaries of the major powers in criminal undertakings; undermine their position and destroy their reputation in other ways as well, and expose them to the public ridicule of their fellow citizens.
Do not shun the aid of even the lowest and most despicable people. Disrupt the work of their government with every means you can.
Spread disunity and dispute among the citizens of the enemy’s country. Turn the young against the old. Use every means to destroy their arms, their supplies, and the discipline of the enemy’s forces.
Debase the old traditions and accepted gods. Be generous with promises and rewards to purchase intelligence and accomplices. Send out your secret agents in all directions. Do not skimp with money or with promises, for they yield a high return.
Act with Moral Superiority to draw the trust of the enemy’s people, in this way you gain the enemy’s own people as an ally against him.
Does reading that send a chill down your spine?
Global leaders of the communist ideology do not intend compromise, reform, or peaceful coexistence. That was the reality during the Cold War with the Soviets, and it remains the reality today with China.
China understands that the elite in the free world desperately want to believe communism desires compromise and reform. That desperate want is our biggest weakness.