Recently more excerpts from the vast trove of Wikileaks came available. Remember, this is the very large number of classified cables and other documentation, all deemed “top secret”, that were deliberately leaked by an Army soldier a few years ago. Its content was quite embarrassing to the West.
Here are a few excerpts as regards China:
China has “defended the retention of the organs of suppression, meaning the Army and Secret Police, on the ground that as long as there is capitalistic encirclement, there will be danger of intervention” from outside forces.
True enough, China is indeed encircled. Japan, Korea(moderately), even Vietnam are all “anti-China”, if you will. Anti-Chinese feeling in Japan and Vietnam in particular is extremely high. Of course, relations with Russia are doing very well at the moment. Nothing to brag about, though.
Further, the analysis continues….
“today the major part of the structure of Chinese power is committed to the perfection…..and maintenance of the concept of China as in a state of siege.”
This of course, China has brought upon itself. Its declaration of the South China Sea as its own “lake”, the aggression against both Vietnam and the Philippines, the declaration of a “defense zone”, that stretches nearly to the shores of many Southeast Asian countries.
“The quest for absolute power, pursued now…with a ruthlessness unparalleled in modern times, has again produced internally…its own reaction. The excesses of the police apparatus have fanned the..opposition to the regime”.
The above relates nicely to the banning of Twitter, Facebook, and other “Western tools” of fanning dissent beyond the control of the State.
As regards foreign affairs, another cable back to the States from US Diplomatic Compound is as follows:
“the Chinese government occasionally sets its signature to documents which would indicate the contrary, this is to be regarded as a tactical maneuver permissible in dealing with the enemy…..the secretiveness, the lack of frankness, the duplicity, the wary suspiciousness, and the basic unfriendliness of purpose”….
Here the author is saying that China lies. It doesn’t like to uphold its own treaties. This could be applied to its dealings with Hong Kong. The agreement to not interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs for fifty years after the Handover is pretty much a farce. With a velvet glove, self censorship in Hong Kong is now becoming increasingly prevalent.
The author of the above cable summarizes:
“this means we are going to continue for a long time to find the Chinese difficult to deal with”
Another writing concerns the infallibility of Beijing:
“The Chinese concept of power..requires that the Party leadership remain in theory the sole repository of truth..no focal points of organization outside the Party itself” shall be allowed. “The Communist Party is therefore always right, and has been always right”.
“once a given party line has been laid down on a given issue of current policy, the whole Chinese governmental machine…moves along its prescribed path”.
The above I have seen up close in action. When living in Beijing in 1999, I remember the sudden out of nowhere, but extremely well organized Anti Falun Gong campaign. It was in the papers, the news, even the radio. The day before there had been nary a mention of this cult. I was impressed with the efficiency of the machine, and to this day I consider it a major teaching moment of my time spent in China.
That China, if it wanted to, could do anything within its borders, if only it felt threatened.
Eradicate bootleg dvd’s? Done
Stamp out Fake North Face jackets? No problem
Maybe it was because there were too many government officials making a cut from the above, but from that day forward I never believed a Chinese official on TV explain why something could not be done. It could be done, if only Beijing itself felt threatened.
As regards the West, China has continued to look at everything with suspicion:
“their whole training has taught them to mistrust and discount the glib persuasiveness of the outside world…the foreign representative cannot hope that his words will make any impression on them…there can be no appeal to common purpose, there can be no appeal to common mental approaches”
The writer’s words continue:
Beijing “is under no ideological compulsion to accomplish its purposes in a hurry…it can afford to be patient.” Here Chinese history comes to the fore: “of centuries of obscure battles between nomadic forces over the stretches of a vast unfortified plain”. Here caution, circumspection, flexibility and deception are the valuable qualities…there is thus “no trace of any feeling in Chinese psychology that the goal must be reached at any given time”…the Chinese ”look forward to a duel of infinite duration”.
“In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy..must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of..expansive tendencies”.
So there you have it….US policy openly states that China must be “contained”.
In summary, the author concludes, “the mass of the people are disillusioned, skeptical and no longer as accessible as they once were to the magical attraction”..of Socialism, “here the younger generations can help. The younger generation…is numerous and vigorous…economic development…has been precariously spotty and uneven….here is a nation striving to become in a short period one of the great industrial nations of the world…while it still has no highway network worthy of the name and only a relatively primitive network of railways(things I’ve mentioned previously)…construction is hasty and poor in quality….”
“It is clear that the United States cannot expect in the foreseeable future to enjoy political intimacy with the… regime. It must continue to regard” China “ as a rival, not a partner, in the political arena. It must continue to expect that…policies will reflect no …love of peace and stability, no real faith in the possibility of a permanent happy coexistence”
After having read the above, I was left with the feeling that China is still an insecure country, worried about being “contained” by the West, while at the same time, really not doing very much to alleviate the reasons for the Containment. It is a country with a “long view”, that only a Dictatorship can have. The West, realizing this, has thus pinned its hopes on the Young.
All the while one must realize the Power of the Regime to Change, but only when it feels threatened. Indeed, it can change on a dime. The Chinese are quite capable of bold action, but only when an organized threat from within is perceived.(Falun Gong)
Yet could the above only be applied to China?
Actually, the above, as I’m sure more than a few of you immediately surmised from the Title, is not about China at all. The above quotations are actually 100% taken from an article written in 1946 by George Kennan, a noted Russian expert, and the topic of his writing above was Russia, not China.
I simply substituted the words “Russia” for “China” in the quotes. The name of the above is the “Long Telegram”. It was later published under the pseudonym “X”. I encourage those with time on their hands to look it up and read it.
One has to wonder at the similarities between Russia in 1947 and China today, in terms of psychology, and paranoia with the West. Even today, Russia and China are both constantly looking over their shoulder at the West. Is it merely a coincidence that both Russia and China became Communist Countries? I think not. Rather, their shared histories of relatively recent backwardness and neurotic insecurity towards Outsiders drew both societies inward.
Reading the “Long Telegram” today one cannot but help think of China, and the Chinese Condition. It’s mental state and mental outlook are, never mind the upward prosperity of the People, unchanged at the highest levels of government. And this is what matters the most because in these societies change can only come from Top Down. Change any other way is known as a Violent Revolution.