In last Sunday’s edition, the New York Times carried an article about pro-China advertisements that Western companies are running in China during the Olympic Games. McDonald’s is running a “Cheer for China” ad. Pepsi, which painted its blue cans red for the games, is advertising, “Go Red for China.” According to the Times, “The campaigns for Western companies are part of an advertising blitz the likes of which this ostensibly communist nation has never seen.”
Contrary to what the Times suggests, China is not just “ostensibly’ a communist nation. It is a communist nation. Despite market liberalization in recent years, the nation continues to be headed by the Communist Party, which brutally controls the political, intellectual, religious, and economic lives of the Chinese people.
Yet, notice something important here with respect to U.S. conservatives and neo-conservatives: Not one of them is calling on the U.S. government to invade, occupy, and liberate the Chinese people from communist control. This despite the fact that they continue to argue that the U.S. government behaved properly when it invaded, occupied, and “liberated” the Iraqi people from the clutches of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.
Why the difference?
Could it be that conservatives and neo-conservatives no longer feel that communism is so bad after all?
Well, on the one hand they still seem proud of having sacrificed 58,000 American men and more than a million Vietnamese in the undeclared U.S. war against “the communists” in Vietnam. On the other hand, however, they now favor the forcible repatriation of Cuban refugees into Cuban communist tyranny.
Speaking of Vietnam, have you noticed that amidst all the talk about Vietnam War during the presidential campaign, not one single conservative or neoconservative has called on the U.S. government to attack, invade, and occupy Vietnam and liberate the Vietnamese people from communist tyranny? If “liberation” from tyranny was a good thing for the Iraqi people, why wouldn’t conservatives and neoconservatives favor it for the Vietnamese people? In fact, have you noticed that most conservatives and neoconservatives have silently acquiesced to freer trade between Americans and Vietnamese (even while continuing to support the brutal embargo against the Cuban people)?
For that matter, during the entire 45 years of the Cold War most conservatives never called on the U.S. government to invade and occupy East Germany, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics to liberate them from the Soviet communists. One reason, of course, might be that everyone knew that President Roosevelt had knowingly and intentionally delivered those people into the clutches of the Soviet communists as part of a deal that FDR and Winston Churchill had made with their WW II partner, the brutal Soviet communist leader Joseph Stalin.
But what’s important about all this is the idea that the people of China, Vietnam, East Germany, Eastern Europe, Cuba, North Korea, and everywhere else have the right to decide the issue of revolution or violent regime change on their own.
The people of Eastern Europe and East Germany suffered for 45 years under Soviet communist control and they ultimately threw off the yoke of Soviet domination on their own, peacefully. Wasn’t it their right to make that call on their own? What right would the U.S. government have had to invade, bomb, and kill millions of East Germans and Eastern Europeans in the process of “liberating” them from Soviet control?
The same principle holds true with respect to China and the Chinese people, Cuba and the Cuban people, Vietnam and the Vietnamese people, and North Korea and the North Korean people. The U.S. government should leave those people alone and should instead liberate the American people — i.e., the private sector — to interact with such people with such things as advertising campaigns, opening businesses, trading, visiting, touring, entertaining, lecturing, and the like. That’s what’s going on today in China and Vietnam. It’s what should be going on in Cuba, North Korea, and everywhere else.
Given that conservatives and neoconservatives understand the importance of not permitting the U.S. government to invade, bomb, occupy, and “liberate” China, Vietnam, and North Korea (as well as East Germany and Eastern Europe during the Cold War) from the brutality of communist control, why do they have such a difficult time getting it when it comes to Iraq, where their invasion and occupation have killed and maimed more than a million people, destroyed the entire country, and sent into exile millions of refugees?