Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Return of an Old Red Friend

Well, "friend" many not be the right word to use, but I recognize this type of leftist (yes, they prefer to be called "progressives" today, but I will use my own, more historically correct term) from my young adulthood at the end of the Cold War.

They traveled in a mixed bag popular front; the well meaning left-leaning-liberals trying to find the cool kids to get kudos from, the blame-America-first crowd (we still have plenty of them), musty old Frankfurt commies or their 68-er red diaper babies, the silver-spoon-paper-plate radicals who liked to see themselves as anarchists, the useful doe-eyed idiots, and finally the real driving forces - the true believers.

They formed and used the popular popular front for what they felt they had to do - defend and support the goals of international communism and the Soviet Union. Classic example here - and an extreme example of the type - was the Professor Tobias Tischbier character from the series Deutschland 83/86.

We all know the type. Castro, Ortega, Allende, Gorbachev - you know the drill - any leftist autocrat or budding autocrat was to be supported as the anti-imperialist bla bla bla.

Well, from the mists of my misspent youth, I see the old, familiar form coming to the front again. The countries and words have changed here and there, but it is the same old band. Wrapped in the veneer of national self-loathing - the defeatist left is wandering in to the US-China game.

We have an example via a straight from central casting led website "Responsible Statecraft" via an author writing from well inside the lifelines at the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the U.S. Naval War College, Lyle J. Goldstein.

Lyle, I'll give you credit, you almost have the formula right. You modified it as best as you could considering that the Soviet Union and Communist China are not quite the same ... but this is a blast from the past.

I appreciate the trip down memory lane, and I am sure that we have not read the last of this line of thinking.

For everyone else I recommend you give Lyle's bit a full read ... but if you're in a hurry ... well ... here's his article "How progressives and restrainers can unite on Taiwan and reduce the potential for conflict with China" BEHOLD!
First, progressives jumping on the neo-liberal bandwagon should realize that they are creating almost irreparable damage to U.S.-China relations. Not only will military support for Taiwan fuel a multi-trillion dollar arms race with ever more destabilizing weaponry, for example hypersonic missiles, but this new weaponry will inevitably siphon off massive resources from other, more worthy priorities, such as the creaking American public health and transit systems. Moreover, progressives who believe that climate change is the most pressing global problem will be distressed to see that Washington and Beijing are increasingly at loggerheads and thus completely unable to cooperate against this dire common threat to the planet.

A second issue progressives need consider is historical. Why, after all, is the island of Formosa formally called in its own documentation (e.g. passports, constitution) the Republic of China? That simple, seemingly inconvenient semantic fact implies not Americans, but rather Chinese people should decide the future of Taiwan. In other words, this is a civil war — plain and simple.
Finally, and most importantly, the military balance in the Western Pacific and especially around Taiwan has shifted decisively. U.S. Navy and Air Force units would face enormous losses in any attempt to reinforce the beleaguered island. Even the vaunted U.S. submarine force almost certainly could not prevail in such circumstances, since it has limited numbers and firepower.

Moreover, Beijing has been working assiduously on decisive countermeasures to American submarines, including sea mines. Beijing would deploy its missile forces to easily gain vast superiority in the air, enabling an enormous mainland assault to go forward — spearheaded by heliborne infantry and commandos. The only thing worse than such a sad day would be either the utter defeat of American expeditionary forces at the lonely end of a 6,500 mile supply line, or the rather conceivable resort to nuclear war.

Instead of ducking tough questions about Taiwan, American progressives and restrainers should unite behind a sound policy of military disengagement from the Taiwan issue. Simultaneously, they should energetically promote “smart power” diplomacy to find a compromise — hardly an outlandish possibility.
See what I mean? Perfect alignment with the intellectual pedigree. Lyle, you'd make your philosophical predecessors proud.

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