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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 26-Oct-2018
26-Oct-18 World View -- Mike Pence's China 'containment' speech signals more contentious US-China relations

Web Log - October, 2018

26-Oct-18 World View -- Mike Pence's China 'containment' speech signals more contentious US-China relations

Post-war speeches by Churchill and Kennan defined 'containment' policy for Soviet Union

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Post-war speeches by Churchill and Kennan defined 'containment' policy for Soviet Union

President Harry Truman and Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946
President Harry Truman and Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946

On October 4, VP Mike Pence gave a speech on US policy towards China. Since then, the speech has taken on a great deal of importance, and it's being compared to speeches by Western officials after World War II to "contain" the Soviet Union.

On March 3, 1946, Winston Churchill gave a speech he called "The Sinews of Peace." It contained the following well-remembered excerpts:

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone-Greece with its immortal glories-is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation. The Russian-dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy. ...

However, in a great number of countries, far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world, Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist centre. Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilisation. These are sombre facts for anyone to have to recite on the morrow of a victory gained by so much splendid comradeship in arms and in the cause of freedom and democracy; but we should be most unwise not to face them squarely while time remains."

On February 22, 1946, America's ambassador to Moscow George Kennan sent a "Long Telegram," 8,000 words long, to the US State Department, describing his recommended policy towards the Soviet Union. The text was made public in a 1947 article in Foreign Affairs magazine as "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," by "X" (no relation to me).

Kennan described the ideology of the Soviet Union, and by changing a few words, the same description would apply to China today. He described the history of Marxist ideology and how it led to the Bolshevik revolution. "[T]he capitalist system of production is a nefarious one which inevitable leads to the exploitation of the working class by the capital-owning class; ... capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction; ... imperialism, the final phase of capitalism, leads directly to war and revolution." However:

"Now it must be noted that through all the years of preparation for revolution, the attention of these men, as indeed of Marx himself, had been centered less on the future form which Socialism would take than on the necessary overthrow of rival power which, in their view, had to precede the introduction of Socialism. Their views, therefore, on the positive program to be put into effect, once power was attained, were for the most part nebulous, visionary and impractical, beyond the nationalization of industry and the expropriation of large private capital holdings there was no agreed program. ...

Let it be stressed again that subjectively these men probably did not seek absolutism for its own sake. They doubtless believed -- and found it easy to believe -- that they alone knew what was good for society and that they would accomplish that good once their power was secure and unchallengeable. But in seeking that security of their own rule they were prepared to recognize no restrictions, either of God or man, on the character of their methods. And until such time as that security might be achieved, they placed far down on their scale of operational priorities the comforts and happiness of the peoples entrusted to their care.

As things stand today, the rulers can no longer dream of parting with these organs of suppression. The quest for absolute power, pursued now for nearly three decades with a ruthlessness unparalleled (in scope at least) in modern times, has again produced internally, as it did externally, its own reaction. The excesses of the police apparatus have fanned the potential opposition to the regime into something far greater and more dangerous than it could have been before those excesses began."

So Kennan is saying that once these people have won the civil war and created their Socialist paradises, they turn into cruel, ruthless despots that retain power by any means possible.

Kennan's description is so well written, and sounds so familiar, because applies to so many countries today. Of course we can see it in Venezuela, but we've also seen it in non-Socialist Paradise countries, including Cameroon, Burundi, Iran and Cambodia. This is a statement of the finding of Generational Dynamics that whenever any country experiences an ethnic civil war which is also a generational crisis war, then in the aftermath, the winning ethnic group oppresses the losing ethnic group, using torture, beatings, rape and slaughter to keep the other ethnic group in line. It also applies to all the other Communist countries that were formed during and after World War II.

Kennan, writing in 1946, says that the Soviet leaders are still struggling to complete the 1917 Revolution:

"As things stand today, the rulers can no longer dream of parting with these organs of suppression. The quest for absolute power, pursued now for nearly three decades with a ruthlessness unparalleled (in scope at least) in modern times, has again produced internally, as it did externally, its own reaction. The excesses of the police apparatus have fanned the potential opposition to the regime into something far greater and more dangerous than it could have been before those excesses began.

But least of all can the rulers dispense with the fiction by which the maintenance of dictatorial power has been defended. For this fiction has been canonized in Soviet philosophy by the excesses already committed in its name; and it is now anchored in the Soviet structure of thought by bonds far greater than those of mere ideology."

Kennan says that this dictatorial power, with all its oppression and atrocities, is so ingrained in the Kremlin's ideology that they believe they have to use force to spread the same ideology to other countries. In 1946, this observation was already to clear to many people, as described in Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech.

In response, Kennan describes his policy of containment:

"In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies. ...

In the light of the above, it will be clearly seen that the Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the western world is something that can be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and maneuvers of Soviet policy, but which cannot be charmed or talked out of existence."

Kennan went on to describe details of how the Soviet Union could be contained. Kennan's "Long Telegraph" had a huge impact on Washington policy, and was debated for years. Winston Churchill (5-March-1946) and History Guide - George Kennan (22-Feb-1946)

Mike Pence's China 'containment' speech signals more contentious US-China relations

VP Mike Pence's October 4 speech gives a scathing criticism of China's behavior. Pence's speech is being described as a "containment" speech, like those of Churchill and Kennan, but directed at China.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's important to remember that there's a big difference. In 1946, WW II had just ended, and the US, Russia and China were all war-weary, in a generational Recovery era, with absolutely no desire to fight another war. There was a war in Korea in which all three countries fought, but that war was fought so half-heartedly that it ended in a ceasefire, with no conclusion. Technically, the Korean War has never ended.

But today, we're all in a generation Crisis era, with xenophobia and nationalism at a peak in all three countries. If there were a new Korean war today -- and it's a definite possibility -- then it would also certainly spread to a wider war and a world war.

Pence says that Donald Trump's administration has adopted "a new approach to China, ... grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty."

Pence reminded the Chinese that America has always supported China, during the so-called "Century of Humiliation" and World War II, and in the decades after World War II, when "America ensured that China became a charter member of the United Nations, and a great shaper of the post-war world." America has opened its markets to China, and "American universities began training a new generation of Chinese engineers, business leaders, scholars, and officials."

Pence said that "After the fall of the Soviet Union, we assumed that a free China was inevitable." As I've written many times, China's reaction to the fall of the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party was not to emulate it, but to become paranoid about it, doubling down on violence and atrocities, for fear that the same thing would happen to the Chinese Communist Party. So today, says Pence, "The dream of freedom remains distant for the Chinese people"

Pence went through a list of Chinese policies that have harmed the Chinese people.

Pence went on to describe American's responses to these Chinese actions, including strengthening the military and implementing reciprocal tariffs.

In the view of many Chinese, Pence's speech indicates that the United States has finally dropped its hypocritical mask and shown its true colors, which is to contain China’s rise just like it did to the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War, and that the United States and China are on an irreversible course of conflict in the coming years. White House and Diplomat

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Oct-18 World View -- Mike Pence's China 'containment' speech signals more contentious US-China relations thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Oct-2018) Permanent Link
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