The Rise of the China Party: How the American Elite became Captive to Chinese Money. By Lee Smith. Aka “The Thirty Tyrants.”
Following the money leads to the conclusion that the simplest explanation behind the rise of the new left elite is that China is making them rich. The uniparty is revealed as the China Party.
[Thomas Friedman’s 2009 article] documents the exact moment when the American elite decided that democracy wasn’t working for them. Blaming the Republican Party for preventing them from running roughshod over the American public, they migrated to the Democratic Party in the hopes of strengthening the relationships that were making them rich.
A trade consultant told Friedman: “The need to compete in a globalized world has forced the meritocracy, the multinational corporate manager, the Eastern financier and the technology entrepreneur to reconsider what the Republican Party has to offer. In principle, they have left the party, leaving behind not a pragmatic coalition but a group of ideological naysayers.”
In the more than 10 years since Friedman’s column was published, the disenchanted elite that the Times columnist identified has further impoverished American workers while enriching themselves. The one-word motto they came to live by was globalism — that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children. …
The elite that Friedman described saw enlightened Chinese autocracy as a friend and even as a model — which was not surprising, given that the Chinese Communist Party became their source of power, wealth, and prestige.
Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and by sending millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich.
They knew they were hurting their fellow countrymen, so in order to justify that (to their consciences) they had to demonize them as deplorables:
They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: It was big, productive, and efficient and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished — who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?
Trump was hardly the first to make the case that the corporate and political establishment’s trade relationship with China had sold out ordinary Americans. Former Democratic congressman and 1988 presidential candidate Richard Gephardt was the leading voice in an important but finally not very influential group of elected Democratic Party officials and policy experts who warned that trading with a state that employed slave labor would cost American jobs and sacrifice American honor. The only people who took Trump seriously were the more than 60 million American voters who believed him when he said he’d fight the elites to get those jobs back.
What he called “The Swamp” appeared at first just to be a random assortment of industries, institutions, and personalities that seemed to have nothing in common, outside of the fact they were excoriated by the newly elected president. But Trump’s incessant attacks on that elite gave them collective self-awareness as well as a powerful motive for solidarity. Together, they saw that they represented a nexus of public and private sector interests that shared not only the same prejudices and hatreds, cultural tastes and consumer habits but also the same center of gravity — the U.S.-China relationship. And so, the China Class was born.
Connections that might have once seemed tenuous or nonexistent now became lucid under the light of Trump’s scorn, and the reciprocal scorn of the elite that loathed him.
A decade ago, no one would’ve put NBA superstar LeBron James and Apple CEO Tim Cook in the same family album, but here they are now, linked by their fantastic wealth owing to cheap Chinese manufacturing (Nike sneakers, iPhones, etc.) and a growing Chinese consumer market. The NBA’s $1.5 billion contract with digital service provider Tencent made the Chinese firm the league’s biggest partner outside America. …
Because of Trump’s pressure on the Americans who benefited extravagantly from the U.S.-China relationship, these strange bedfellows acquired what Marxists call class consciousness — and joined together to fight back, further cementing their relationships with their Chinese patrons. United now, these disparate American institutions lost any sense of circumspection or shame about cashing checks from the Chinese Communist Party, no matter what horrors the CCP visited on the prisoners of its slave labor camps and no matter what threat China’s spy services and the People’s Liberation Army might pose to national security. Think tanks and research institutions like the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress, the EastWest Institute, the Carter Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and others gorged themselves on Chinese money. The world-famous Brookings Institution had no scruples about publishing a report funded by Chinese telecom company Huawei that praised Huawei technology.
The billions that China gave to major American research universities, like $58 million to Stanford, alarmed U.S. law enforcement, which warned of Chinese counterintelligence efforts to steal sensitive research. But the schools and their name faculty were in fact in the business of selling that research, much of it paid for directly by the U.S. government — which is why Harvard and Yale among other big-name schools appear to have systematically underreported the large amounts that China had gifted them.
Indeed, many of academia’s pay-for-play deals with the CCP were not particularly subtle. In June 2020, a Harvard professor who received a research grant of $15 million in taxpayer money was indicted for lying about his $50,000 per month work on behalf of a CCP institution to “recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.”
But if Donald Trump saw decoupling the United States from China as a way to dismantle the oligarchy that hated him and sent American jobs abroad, he couldn’t follow through on the vision. After correctly identifying the sources of corruption in our elite, the reasons for the impoverishment of the middle classes, and the threats foreign and domestic to our peace, he failed to staff and prepare to win the war he asked Americans to elect him to fight. …
Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.
For nearly a year, American officials have purposefully laid waste to our economy and society for the sole purpose of arrogating more power to themselves while the Chinese economy has gained on America’s. …
The cold war with Russia was a competition:
The United States didn’t trade with Moscow or allow Russians to make large campaign donations or enter into business partnerships with their spouses. Cold War American leadership understood that such practices would have opened the door to Moscow and allowed it to directly influence American politics and society in dangerous ways. Manufacturing our goods in their factories or allowing them to buy ours and ship them overseas would’ve made technology and intellectual property vulnerable. …
The industrialist Armand Hammer was famous because he was the American doing business with Moscow. His perspective was useful not because of his unique insights into Soviet society, politics, and business culture that he often shared with the American media, but because it was understood that he was presenting the views that the politburo wanted disseminated to an American audience.
China is treated very differently, as a cash cow for the new elite:
Today, America has thousands of Armand Hammers, all making the case for the source of their wealth, prestige, and power. …
Companies like Ford, FedEx, and Honeywell, as well as Qualcomm and other semiconductor manufacturers that fought to continue selling chips to Huawei, all exist with one leg in America and the other leg planted firmly in America’s chief geopolitical rival. To protect both halves of their business, they soft-sell the issue by calling China a competitor in order to obscure their role in boosting a dangerous rival.
Nearly every major American industry has a stake in China. From Wall Street — Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley — to hospitality. A Marriott Hotel employee was fired when Chinese officials objected to his liking a tweet about Tibet. They all learned to play by CCP rules.
“It’s so pervasive, it’s better to ask who’s not tied into China,” says former Trump administration official Gen. (Ret.) Robert Spalding. …
Even the Trump administration was split between hawks and accommodationists, caustically referred to by the former as “Panda Huggers.” …
Apple, Nike, and Coca Cola even lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. On Trump’s penultimate day in office, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has “determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.” That makes a number of major American brands that use forced Uyghur labor — including, according to a 2020 Australian study, Nike, Adidas, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and General Motors — complicit in genocide. …
The China Party took down Trump:
Riding the media tsunami of Trump hatred, the China Class cemented its power within state institutions and security bureaucracies that have long been Democratic preserves — and whose salary-class inhabitants were eager not to be labeled as “collaborators” with the president they ostensibly served. Accommodation with even the worst and most threatening aspects of the Chinese communist regime, ongoing since the late 1990s, was put on fast-forward.
Talk about how Nike made its sneakers in Chinese slave labor camps was no longer fashionable. News that China was stealing American scientific and military secrets, running large spy rings in Silicon Valley and compromising congressmen like Eric Swalwell, paying large retainers to top Ivy League professors in a well-organized program of intellectual theft, or in any way posed a danger to its own people or to its neighbors, let alone to the American way of life, were muted and dismissed as pro-Trump propaganda.
The Central Intelligence Agency openly protected Chinese efforts to undermine American institutions. … Protecting America is not CIA management’s most urgent equity — the technology that stores the agency’s information is run by Amazon Web Services, owned by China’s No. 1 American distributor, Jeff Bezos. …
For those who actually understood what the Chinese were doing, partisanship was a distinctly secondary concern. Chinese behavior was authentically alarming — as was the seeming inability of core American security institutions to take it seriously. “Through the 1980s, people who advanced the interests of foreign powers whose ideas were inimical to republican form of government were ostracized,” says a former Obama administration intelligence official. “But with the advent of globalism, they made excuses for China, even bending the intelligence to fit their preferences. During the Bush and Obama years, the standard assessment was that the Chinese have no desire to build a blue-water navy. It was inconvenient to their view. China now has a third aircraft carrier in production.” …
In Afghanistan, the large copper, metal, and minerals mines whose security American troops still ostensibly ensure are owned by Chinese companies. And because Afghanistan borders Xinjiang, Xi Jinping is worried that “after the United States pulls troops out of Afghanistan, terrorist organizations positioned on the frontiers of Afghanistan and Pakistan may quickly infiltrate into Central Asia.” In other words, American troops are deployed abroad in places like Afghanistan less to protect American interests than to provide security for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
“There’s a belief that we are not in the same type of conflict with them as we were with the USSR,” says the former Obama official. “But we are.” The problem is that virtually all of the American establishment — which is centered in the Democratic Party — is firmly on the other side.
Biden is returning the US to a pro-China stance. It’s not necessarily good for the US — in fact it’s obviously bad for most Americans — but it makes the American elite a lot of money. Even worse, by osmosis and imitation America is becoming like China:
Reports claiming that the Biden administration will continue the Trump administration’s aggressive efforts to roll back China’s technology industry are misdirection. The new administration is loaded with lobbyists for the American tech industry, who are determined to get the U.S.-China relationship back on track. …
The pro-China oligarchy is not competing with the country from which it draws its wealth, power, and prestige.
Chinese autocracy is their model. Consider the deployment of more than 20,000 U.S. armed forces members throughout Washington, D.C., to provide security for an inauguration of a president who is rarely seen in public in the wake of a sporadically violent protest march that was cast as an insurrection and a coup; the removal of opposition voices from social media, along with the removal of competing social media platforms themselves; the nascent effort to keep the Trump-supporting half of America from access to health care, credit, legal representation, education, and employment, with the ultimate goal of redefining protest against the policies of the current administration as “domestic terrorism.”
What seems clear is that Biden’s inauguration marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen. … They are not simply contemptuous of a political system that recognizes the natural rights of all its citizens that are endowed by our creator; they despise in particular the notion that those they rule have the same rights they do.
Witness their newfound respect for the idea that speech should only be free for the enlightened few who know how to use it properly.
Trump impeded a lot of people from getting rich on Chinese money. No wonder he was hated by all the right people.
The Chinese conquest of America will be over in another decade, without a shot being fired. Just bribing and cheating.
Read it all.
hat-tip David Archibald