It's been difficult to be a proud American over the last several days. When U.S. citizens weren't hammered by the incessant media drumbeat concerning the rise of "rival" China, the expansion of the Chinese economy, the seemingly imminent global supremacy of China as a military power, a sea power, a manufacturing power, a superpower, we were watching the Chinese humiliate our leaders.
President Obama gave his State of the Union address recently, which served as a line break at the end of this degrading paragraph in national history. He spent that address lying to the American people, proclaiming all income and endeavor the property of government. His message was clear: You will be allowed to earn, to make, to keep and to do only what your government grudgingly permits you – and America, in turn, will make do with the crumbs from its new Chinese masters' table.
The last straw, at least in terms of propriety, was the playing of an anti-American war anthem by a Chinese pianist during the state visit of Chinese "President" Hu Jintao. (Hu is more accurately termed China's "paramount leader." As general secretary of the Communist Party, he is the ChiCom's highest authority; calling him "president" is euphemistic.) Americans have by now become accustomed to Obama's sniveling obeisance to foreign leaders. It was not a surprise when our community organizer in chief bowed and scraped in greeting Hu, nor was it a shock when Obama claimed the American people "welcome China's rise." There was no doubt in any observer's mind that Obama's warm greeting to Hu was that of a cowed debtor attempting to curry favor with his chief creditor. China owns vast quantities of U.S. debt precisely because this gives it power over us – and it is pushing for the Chinese yuan to replace the U.S. dollar as the world's currency standard.
Americans know all this. No, what bothered decent people most was not that the Chinese leader had deigned to make his presence known so that Obama could kiss Hu Jintao's ring. It was that the Chinese delegates' histrionics were, essentially, rudely rubbing our noses in China's looming threat to American exceptionalism. As their red star rises, our faded stars and stripes are doomed to fall. China, so dynamic, so vibrant, so powerful, seems poised to crush all resistance; Americans are, our media says or implies, already relegated to the position of also-ran, destined to be pitied or tolerated as global economic opportunity passes them by. That is the mantra chanted by foreign press and domestic media alike.
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The truth is that China has, at every turn, achieved its position in the world through theft, espionage and murder. Totalitarian states are notoriously unresponsive to their subjects' true needs, legitimate dissent or individual rights. They do, however, get things done.
Most of the time, the Chinese method of "getting things done" is stealing. They sold more cars than the U.S. in January of last year. (Keep in mind that General Motors sold more cars in China than in the U.S. last year, too.) But how have the Chinese achieved such great strides in automobile manufacturing and sales? They've copied Western autmobiles. They've copied everything from luxury cars to the smallest of compact cars. They even copied the Hummer, that quintessential symbol of American vehicular and military excess – because they couldn't conceive of its equal themselves.
Recent Chinese military advancements are no different. China previously copied the obsolete Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" fighter. This is part of what Pravda has asserted (echoing a Wall Street Journal report) is a campaign to "disrupt military balance globally" by selling "cheap rip-offs of Russian weaponry" to developing states. China's newest military aircraft, purported to be a stealth fighter, is visibly a copy of the United States' F-22 Raptor. The Chinese have had ample opportunity both to recover the technology and to use espionage to further their understanding of it.
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There is almost no market that Chinese thieving has not affected. From handbags to microchips, from inkjet cartridges to counterfeit art treasures, there isn't a thing in the world not now made in China – legally or illegally. While the thefts of military technology are the most disturbing, every one of these expressions of China's global economic kleptomania is damaging to greater or lesser degree. We seldom ask, though, just why the Chinese steal.
Not too long ago, Judith Apter Klinghoffer wrote that Communist China "has hit the innovation roadblock." She explains that a society that prevents freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas – a totalitarian state like China, whose human rights abuses abound – cannot compete with free societies. The latter encourage innovation, while the former suppress it. "If Chinese military buildup is moving faster than some expected," she indicts, "it is because 'European nations have been selling China hundreds of millions of dollars worth of dual use military equipment each year, but as long as the embargo is in force, explicitly military gear can only be sold under the table and smuggled in.'" The "Chinese totalitarian system," she writes, "depends on continued democratic aid."
In other words, China steals what it wants but cannot produce. Obama and his ilk help the Chinese cut our throats by selling China our debts and absorbing without protest its nationalist antagonism. The proof is found in the patent system, which until recently the Chinese largely ignored as inconvenient. Despite a huge increase in patent applications from China, the director of the Beijing Intellectual Property Institute says that "valid patents in China accounted for less than half of the 6 million patents granted, and two-thirds of the valid patents consisted of design and utility patents." What this means is that many of the patents are worthless.
The Chinese aren't innovators; they're thieves. They aren't world power; they're a world bully. They aren't an expanding economy; they're a slave-labor command market. They aren't a rival; they're a military and socio-political opponent with a long history of enmity to every ideal held by right-thinking Americans.