Communism – defined as centralized suppression of individual liberty, Marxist justification, class warfare, public ownership of property, compliance with a coercive the state – is a real threat. Americans think we are immune to radical turns. Anniversaries remind us, we are not.
History progresses slowly, sometimes backwards – moving sand of society, like a capricious wind or lazy tide, imperceptibly redistributing rights, sometimes emasculating them. Some shapes are agreeable, others ominous. Communism’s creep on America – is ominous.
Fifty-one years after Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto was published in English (1848), the Socialist – eventually Communist – Party of the United States was founded (1901). Socialists gained until WWI (1914), when we rescued Europe (1917), rejecting the anti-freedom party.
But Communists, far-left Bolsheviks, swept to power in Russia in 1917, overthrowing the post-Czarist, democratic government. Russia would wait 70 years for freedom to return.
American President Ronald Reagan helped restore freedom. Having watched the Soviet Union rise, he facilitated its fall. All told, more than 20 million Russians died during Stalin’s regime.
Communism – alternately Socialism, Democratic-Socialism, Social Democratic Labor, Far Left, and Marxism – promises ease. It delivers hell. Anyone who lived under Soviet rule can tell.
Fast forward to 1949, when Communist China – through intimidation, power consolidation, violence, propaganda, and promises – captured the mainland, forcing the non-communist nationalists to Taiwan. Still, until 1971, Taiwan held China’s UN Security Council seat.
That year, the West indulged Communism as innocuous, unsustainable by repugnance to our values. Communist China pushed the West bent. Exactly 50 years ago, Communist China took Taiwan’s seat on the UN Security Council. The world yawned.
Instead of withholding American money – key to the UN, or creating a freedom-preserving alliance, we shrugged. The five-member Security Council got two Communist nations.
Wind the clock ahead. While Ronald Reagan and freedom-loving Russians ended the Soviet Union, Communist China advanced, bleeding America of technology, manipulating trade, modernizing their military, perfecting cyberwarfare, intimidating small nations, using their UN Security Council veto – to push for Chinese dominance.
Today, we face a new threat. Communist China – long determined to divide America, constantly using democratic openness to split their rival from within – is upping the ante.
Communist China seems to think they are at a tipping point. Using information warfare, high tech, social media, election-related misinformation, penetration of American universities, and influence inside the Democratic Party, they believe they are on the cusp of a major turn.
Let us hope not. But are US allies nervous? Yes, thus a public effort to get the United States to stand up to China. Australia sought to compel the US reaffirmation of security commitments, while Taiwan trumpets weekly increases in China’s aggression, subjugation of Hong Kong, minorities, and dissidents. Japan, meantime, is increasingly fearful, and smaller nations more so.
In the US, we see evidence that China is not just stealing, influencing younger Americans, seeking illegitimate advantage, but threatening elections with disaffection, dividing us.
Putting aside the Chinese-origin COVID virus – which may be akin to putting aside nuclear technology in WWII – one is struck by how quickly US political dialogue is shifting left.
The nub: Communism, driven by Chinese information operations, Socialist political pressure, ignorance, naivete, and misplaced idealism, is patently dangerous.
History is clear about the reality behind Communism, whether pushed by well-meaning, angry, resentful, or diabolical forces. The road ends in a precipice, no exceptions.
For those who want to call China an exception, do not think of it. Ask tens of millions killed by this regime, hundreds of millions under suppression, no rights to tout, lights out. Only you cannot do that – as the first group is dead, second under constant surveillance.
Communism – centralized suppression, Marxist justification, class warfare, public ownership of property, loss of liberty – is a dead end. Anniversaries – like Taiwan’s loss of their UN Security Council seat – remind us. Sands of time shift. We must ensure they shift in the right direction.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.