President Barack Obama and the mainstream media have hailed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Beijing as demonstrating U.S. and Chinese cooperation on trade, climate change and regional issues. Chinese sources, however, have focused more on Beijing's diplomatic gains in competition with America. Global Times, a publication of the ruling Chinese Communist Party noted for its nationalist rhetoric has taken the lead. But as it likes to do, it has found an American voice to make its case; Clifford A. Kiracofe, Jr. a former staffer for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1987-1992) and then an adjunct professor of history and political science at the Virginia Military Institute.
In an op-ed entitled "Beijing APEC rebuffs US hegemonism" Kiracofe claimed,
The salient features of the meeting are embodied in innovative [Chinese] concepts such as the creation of an inclusive free trade zone, the commitment to connectivity, new Silk Roads, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Washington's vision for the Asia-Pacific region, on the other hand, has been the creation of an exclusive anti-China Trans-Pacific Partnership coupled with hard and soft-power containment of China. This counterproductive vision just hit a dead end in Beijing.
It is clear that Beijing's proposals were all aimed at competing with U.S.-led institutions, in particular the AIIB which will put Chinese capital to work to spread its influence and control over supply chains and export markets. What sent shock waves across the region was President Xi Jinping's speech November 9 calling for an "Asia-Pacific Dream" which echoed his theme of a "China Dream." The implication is that Beijing wants to incorporate the entire region within its own imperial vision of the future. The Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan all have reason to fear the expanding threats posed by Chinese forces operating off their coasts in disputed waters. Beijing's claims it owns the entire South and East China seas, based on maps from the ancient Chinese Empire. And China's support for North Korea keeps South Korea on edge as well.
After APEC, the G20 met in Brisbane, Australia. On the sidelines of that summit, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama renewed their alliance commitments, which include providing a security umbrella for the smaller nations along the Pacific Rim. Beijing has not broken these bonds.
The issue isn't whether there is a rivalry between the United States and China for influence in Asia (and globally as well). The issue is that Kiracofe sides with Beijing in this contest against his own country. But this should not be surprising given his past statements about America which should also raise eyebrows. He, of course, thinks the Vietnam War was "unjust" and relishes his "militant" days in the 1960's anti-war movement. After all, the U.S. was trying to defeat the expansion of communism. He also calls for coming to terms with Iran and has a warped version of how the Cold War ended. To Kiracofe,
The Cold War ended through diplomatic negotiations undertaken by the US and the Soviet Union. Then US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev ended the Cold War on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit. It was a win-win and not a zero-sum conclusion to a dangerous tension-filled period in international relations.
There is no mention of how the Soviet Union collapsed and disintegrated, the outcome President Reagan had been working towards since taking office. Reagan certainly had no respect for the communist regime. That moral failing falls to people like Kiracofe. Anyone who wants to know how negotiations pushed the USSR over the edge and brought victory to the U.S. should read Ken Adelman's recent book Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War.
Professor Kiracofe has often referred to the US political elite as an "imperial faction" and US policy as "imperialism." Yet, even these terms are mild compared to his thoughts about America expressed in a lecture given in Germany at a conference organized by the radical Executive Intelligence Review on July 7, 2006. Kiracofe argued at length that "in today's political situation in the United States we are, in effect, confronting the same forces that attempted to impose fascism in the United States during the 1930s." The EIR is published by the notorious conspiracy theorist and cult figure Lyndon LaRouche, and Kiracofe has participated in several of its events. In Germany, Kiracofe argued,
Radical Right ideology is promoted through the organized intellectual activity funded by a small group of private foundations backing a so-called "conservative" and "neo-conservative" ideology that is, in fact, similar to the European Fascist ideology of the 1920s and 1930s. These foundations include: the Bradley Foundation, the Koch Foundations, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Olin Foundation. Associated "think tanks" would include the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, both of Washington, D.C
Key features of the contemporary "New Right" and "neo-conservative" ideology in the United States are drawn from three main European sources: Italian nationalism and Fascism, French Integralism, and German National Socialism.
He devoted a large part of his lecture to what he believes was a fascist conspiracy-- which he defines in standard Marxist terms as tied to "finance capitalism"-- to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt under the banner of the American Liberty League. He then claims there was a continuation of this fascist plot after World War II which runs to the present. "For example, during the Truman Administration, Dean Acheson (1893-1971), an influential Washington, D.C. attorney, became Secretary of State under President Truman. Acheson had been a member of the American Liberty League," Kiracofe then goes on to assert,
"Is it any coincidence today that Condi Rice praises Acheson and President Bush praises Truman? Certainly not. We can recall the close business connection between the Bush family and pro-Nazi financial and industrial circles in Germany, particularly the Thyssen interests."
No wonder Prof. Kiracofe has left this lecture off his official VMI curriculum vitae! Such views could prove embarrassing to VMI administrators and alumni. It is, however, important to know what kind of people the Chinese Communist regime can find in America to do their dirty work for them. And speaking of fascism, does Lord Haw Haw come to mind when reading Kiracofe's propaganda against the U.S.?
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