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In a recent interview, Singapore’s elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew said that China was “unstoppable.” Speaking of the concentrated economic and brainpower of the People’s Republic, Lee said that Asia will have to accept China as the leading power in the Western Pacific. It is not so bad, Lee explained, because the Communist Chinese are not so warlike.
Lee attributed China’s “war is inevitable” statements to China’s generals — not to China’s politicians, who supposedly know better. At the same time Mr. Lee agreed with China’s persecution of Falun Gong and explained the removal of America from the U.N. Human Rights Commission in terms of growing opposition to America’s “unilateralism.”
Explaining what he meant by unilateralism, Mr. Lee said, “People feel squatted upon [by the United States].”
It seems that the United States does not want to hear what Asian countries have to say about U.S. plans to construct a National Missile Defense for the American homeland. President George W. Bush spoke of defending Taiwan against a Chinese attack. This is worrisome to the more timid Asian politicians. The small countries of Asia are afraid, desperately clinging to hopes of peace. Since they cannot defend themselves effectively, they fear that any conflict in Asia will force them into greater dependency on the United States.
The fantasy of pride is the greatest fantasy of all. We have now reached a point at which small countries want to believe the promises of the communists. They want to dismiss the war talk of China’s Central Military Commission, which is ultimately controlled by politicians and not generals. They want to blame America for tensions in the Far East.
This is the pattern we are seeing, from Singapore to South Korea and Japan. Our Asian friends have allowed their businessmen to invest too much capital in China. These investments now distort political perceptions and expectations, breaking down the political will to resist China’s hegemonic ambitions.
If the present trend continues, our Asian allies might one day drift into China’s camp, taking with them their industrial and intellectual resources. If this should occur we would see the economic might of Japan combined with China. We would see the oil of Indonesia and the rubber and tin of Malaysia coming under Chinese control.
There are many factors involved in a subtle global shift against the United States. Just as in Europe, some of Asia’s politicians have socialist backgrounds. In his youth, Lee Kuan Yew was not pro-American. He did not favor economic freedom or the capitalist system. He was a socialist who became progressively more conservative with time. One thinks of other prominent politicians in this mold, like British Prime Minister Tony Blair or German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
One should be careful of the alleged centrist qualities of these left-of-center chameleons. They often talk sweetly to the Americans, but inwardly what do they really think?
It is probable that socialist politicians in allied countries see no danger from the former Eastern Bloc. They might feel that America is too “right wing,” that George W. Bush is a “cowboy.” Therefore, they harp on American unilateralism. At the same time, they find it difficult to utter unkind words about the dictatorship in China or the KGB lieutenant colonel in the Kremlin.
It is clear that our “friends” in Europe and Asia aren’t always so friendly.
Aside from dubious politicians, what gives even greater impetus to communist influence and anti-Americanism world-wide is the shortsightedness of the international business community. China and the former Soviet Union have tremendous economic potential. Wishing to exploit this potential, many businessmen have made a “deal with the devil,” forgetting the criminal nature of the controlling institutions in former and current communist countries.
Judging from current practices, it appears that businessmen remember very little history. They do not know that communists have sucked Western businesses into partnerships before. And the Western businesses have suffered in the end.
It almost seems as if businessmen do not think very far ahead. They believe what they want to believe because there is so much money to be made. They understand nothing about the Great Game or socialist doublethink. If only they looked back into history they would see how the communists previously faked the collapse of their ideology — in the 1920s — and formed partnerships with Western companies.
It might surprise them to learn that all of this was Lenin’s idea, and it was called the New Economic Policy.
In his “Report to the Fourth Congress of the Communist International,” Lenin explained the basis for NEP. He said that Russia needed capitalism before it could have socialism. The form of capitalism Lenin advocated was called “state capitalism.” As early as 1918 Lenin had stated, “State capitalism would be a step forward as compared with the present state of affairs.”
By 1922, when Lenin delivered his report, state capitalism was still the order of the day. “This sounds very strange,” admitted Lenin, “and perhaps even absurd.” Russia was unready for socialism and lacked the strength to create communism. In his report Lenin said that socialism in Russia had been adopted “perhaps too hastily.”
Does this mean Lenin, like the Chinese and Russian leaders after him, had abandoned the ultimate communist goal?
“I repeat,” said Lenin in his 1922 report, “it seems very strange to everyone that a nonsocialist element should be … regarded superior to socialism in a republic which declares itself as socialist republic. But the fact will become clear if you recall that … the economic system of Russia [is backward].”
This exact formulation could be applied to communist China. In fact, this is the line that the Chinese Communist Party has adopted for itself. And what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore has mistaken for China’s commercial objectives, are actually communist objectives. Talk of a future war with America is not simply a question of Taiwan. China’s leaders look ahead to a day when a socialist civilization will be possible — thanks to what Lenin called “state capitalism.”
The purpose of state capitalism, as it exists in today’s China and Lenin’s Russia, is to pave the way for socialism. “The state capitalism that we have introduced in our country is of a special kind,” noted Lenin. “It does not correspond to the usual conception of state capitalism. We hold all the key positions.”
Lenin emphasized that all land in Russia belonged to the state. “This is very important,” said Lenin, “although our opponents think it of no importance at all.”
This is a revealing statement. Politicians like Lee Kuan Yew seem to be clueless. China is a communist country that practices state capitalism. China is following the Leninist path. “We have already succeeded in making the peasantry content and in reviving both industry and trade,” boasted Lenin. Furthermore, the communist form of state capitalism not only owns the land which the peasants use, but “our proletarian state owns … all the vital branches of industry.”
Lenin said that Soviet partnerships with Western countries were done at no risk to the communists. “We are always in a position to dissolve these companies if we deem it necessary, and do not, therefore, run any risks, so to speak.”
It is interesting to note what happened to many capitalist ventures in the Soviet Union of the 1920s. According to researcher Joseph Finder, leading American capitalists were robbed by Lenin’s NEP strategy. In 1924 William Averell Harriman, the son of “robber baron” Edward Henry Harriman, became interested in Soviet manganese ore. Harrimen invested millions in developing Soviet mines which were to produce half a million tons of ore per year. Harriman was also called upon to invest in Soviet infrastructure, including railroad lines, and he was required to loan the Soviet state bank a $1 million security deposit.
Harriman expected to make $120 million in 1925 dollars.
But the Kremlin turned the whole relationship into an opportunity to rob the son of the American “robber baron.” The Soviet Concessions Committee soon began pressuring Harriman for a 15 percent raise for Soviet workers. The railroad Harriman was to build somehow became twice as expensive. The greatest American concession in Soviet Russia at the time soon became known as “Harriman’s Folly.”
Finder wrote that “Americans laughed at this vision of a capitalist dream of empire dashed upon the shoals of Bolshevik perfidy.”
American and European businessmen had more sense in 1925 than they do today. Communist China’s state capitalism is clearly modeled after Lenin’s NEP strategy, and is designed to blackmail the investor. Rather than humiliating the odd capitalist at the outset, as the early Bolsheviks did to Harriman, the Chinese have learned to be more sophisticated. The trick has become to lure larger and larger investments, bigger and bigger business concerns. The blackmail is now deep and subtle. The Chinese can now apply incredible pressure on businessmen from a host of countries. These businessmen, in turn, apply pressure on democratically elected officials.
This is the great danger we have courted. While latter-day businesses have made huge profits in China already, the future is yet held hostage. By going into business with communist countries we foolishly expect to modify communist behavior, but in reality we modify our own behavior. Without thinking about the long-term consequences we have put powerful tools of influence into the hands of our enemies, who presently wear a mask of cooperation.
We should not be surprised, therefore, that Asia’s elder statesmen should speak more favorably of communist China than of capitalist America. We are now reaping what Nixon and Kissinger sowed almost 30 years ago.