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The State Department’s obsession with unifying China under the Communists was so great that once the Communists had seized the mainland, serious consideration was given to using American troops to force the Nationalists out of Taiwan, and General MacArthur was publicly lynched by the press for agreeing with the Republican Minority Leader’s suggestion of bringing Taiwanese troops into the Korean War.
We never actually did try to invade Taiwan, but we bombed Libya in the name of peace and unity. And we are likely to do the same thing in Syria. Each war has been fought and will be fought in the name of peace and unity under an Islamist flag and it will not be the first time that we have tried to win over a terrible and ruthless foe through senseless shows of generosity.
“I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return,” FDR said, “he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” The man he was speaking of was Joseph Stalin, proving that maybe Obama really does have some things in common with the architect of the New Deal and the fall of Eastern Europe and China into Communist hands.
In China, as in the Middle East, the instruments of American policy backed by a propaganda press corps tore down the “reactionary” governments and opened the door for the Communists and Islamists to take over, while pretending to put their faith in a liberal political triumph that had no basis in reality.
Four Americans were murdered in Benghazi by Islamists and three US Marines were killed by Chinese Communists near Beijing. Neither of those events did anything to shift the diplomats from their course. The Arab Spring was the China reform effort writ large across the Middle East, its slogan deriving from George Marshall’s statement to Chiang Kai-shek: “You can’t win with the people against you” while Chiang’s rejoinder that sympathy for Communism hurts both China and the United States cuts deeper than ever.
The false dichotomy of a choice between a corrupt dictator and a popular revolution join China and Egypt together. It was false because the corruption and tyranny of both Chiang Kai-shek and Mubarak were greatly exaggerated and the totalitarian nature of their enemies, whose populism was a matter of manufactured propaganda, was widely understated.
American liberal policymakers kept abandoning “reactionary allies” like Chiang Kai-shek and Mubarak while seeking some progressive alternative. The progressive alternative that Truman’s diplomats found are ominously similar to the progressive alternative that Obama’s diplomats have discovered. In sixty years surprisingly little has changed as all the old warnings continue to come true.
Congressman Joe Martin, the Republican House Minority Leader, warned that the only way to stop Communism in Europe and Asia was “to clear out the State Department from top to bottom.” As Libya burns and Syria smolders, as darkness falls over Egypt, Mali and Tunisia, that call for action still holds true today.
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