Posted by Curt on 5 January, 2021 at 2:42 pm. 1 comment.


By Lee Smith

Why is America’s political, corporate, and cultural establishment so eager to mimic and embrace China, a country that our outgoing intelligence chiefs identify as a daunting threat to American interests? Consider the response to the coronavirus. It was Beijing that pioneered the lockdown measures being implemented by mayors and governors like California’s Gavin Newsom and New York’s Andrew Cuomo. The fact that lockdowns were never before part of the American public health playbook and are being widely applied in ways that have been rejected by the Supreme Court seems to have only cemented their appeal to those who look to China as a model.

With the unemployment rate at 6.7%, and the largest economy in world history in ruins, what could America’s ruling class possibly have in store for us next after it has used the lockdowns to facilitate the largest transfer of wealth in human history. After all, it is not the coronavirus, which has a 99.7% survival rate, that has plunged nearly 8 million Americans into poverty over the last nine months while destroying 40% or more of local stores and restaurants even in wealthy states like New Jersey. Those numbers are the result of an offensive waged by the American political and corporate elite that aims to legitimize the destruction of private wealth in the name of public health.

Where did all the money go? Ask the owner of Washington, D.C.’s hometown paper, Jeff Bezos, who as the founder of Amazon has added $80 billion to his personal account by supplying citizens confined to their homes by unconstitutional edicts that have shuttered local businesses and keep children from going to school while also sucking up the CIA’s data into Amazon’s proprietary cloud services. Facebook, Twitter, and Google did their part by blocking negative stories about the Biden family’s lucrative involvement with China from reaching the public before the election—earning seats for their executives on the Biden transition team. All in all, it seems fair to say that the top-down merger of corporate monopoly and party interests that is taking place in Washington looks a lot more like China than it does like America.

The enthusiasm with which large portions of the American corporate and political elite have apparently embraced the Chinese one-party model—complete with an ever-growing appetite for state control of information and warrantless surveillance—against the messiness of life in a democratic republic under the rule of law was prefigured in an article written by New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman more than a decade ago. In a Sept. 9, 2009, column, “Our One-Party Democracy,” he expressed dissatisfaction with Republican obstructionism. “There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy,” wrote Friedman, “and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.”

He continued: “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.”

Why the urgency for America to be more like China, way back in 2009? Because, according to Friedman, “one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”

Friedman wasn’t flattering dictators. At the time he wrote his column, Americans had yet to understand that the high-end Chinese-made goods they consumed—Apple computers, Nike sneakers, etc.—were often manufactured in slave labor camps. The horror of harvesting organs from political prisoners was not yet fully known.

Instead, the American political and corporate establishment saw China’s massive workforce and growing consumer market as the linchpin of the new economic order—globalism, the flat, borderless world that the New York Times columnist and others had written about with great optimism. What they imagined was a China that wanted to be more like America—and an America that could stand to learn a thing or two from its eager junior partner.

I spoke with Friedman recently about the article and related matters. “If you look at my books and writings since I left the Middle East, a lot of my focus has been on how America realizes its full potential in the 21st century,” he told me. “I am not interested in China. I am interested in America. I think China has the worst political system in the world. I think America has the best political system in the world. But I think that China today is getting 80% out of its bad system and America is getting 20% out of its good system. And that worries me a lot.”

Yet while Friedman wasn’t advocating China’s autocracy as a model, others saw it as such. Congressional Republicans were refusing to sign on to two of Obama’s key domestic issues, universal health care and “clean tech”—two seemingly pragmatic, future-oriented proposals that only hidebound ideologues could oppose. Friedman’s column was a response to the apparent failure of the system to deliver common sense reform.

However, the abject failure of Obama’s environmental initiatives illustrates the considerable drawbacks of Friedman’s commonsense statist model in practice. Most famously, Obama’s Department of Energy awarded Solyndra, a California solar panel manufacturer, loan guarantees worth more than half a billion dollars only to see its investment go up in smoke when the price of a key ingredient used by Solyndra’s competitors dropped dramatically. At the same time, fracking ushered in the age of cheap natural gas, turning the United States into a net energy exporter and creating jobs for millions of Americans. It wasn’t bitter Republican fossils who thwarted Obama’s forward-looking green initiatives; it was reality.

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