In 2002, Michael A. Ledeen, Freedom Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, speculated that China might be something the world had never seen before: a mature fascist state. This is the most apt description of China. Its fascism was never under wraps but after the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world is realizing what catastrophe a fascist state can occasion.
In May 2008, Ledeen elaborated the idea: “Even though they still call themselves communists, and the Communist Party rules the country, classical fascism should be the starting point for our efforts to understand the People’s Republic.” He argued that Marxism in China has metamorphosed into jingoism or fascism. “Unlike traditional communist dictators—Mao, for example—who extirpated traditional culture and replaced it with a sterile Marxism-Leninism, the Chinese now enthusiastically, even compulsively, embrace the glories of China’s long history. Their passionate reassertion of the greatness of past dynasties has both entranced and baffled Western observers, because it does not fit the model of an ‘evolving communist system’.”
This is indeed fascism, only a more mature—and more dangerous—version of it. “Since classical fascism had such a brief life span, it is hard to know whether or not a stable, durable fascist state is possible,” Leeden wrote. “Economically, the corporate state, of which the current Chinese system is a textbook example, may prove more flexible and adaptable than the rigid central planning that doomed communism in the Soviet Empire and elsewhere.”
Is a stable, durable fascist state possible? The answer doesn’t depend on what does it do; it depends on what others do. In this instant, it means, primarily, what America does.
China today is the most powerful country in the world, save the US and, to some extent, Russia. It is, however, America—to be precise, President Donald Trump’s America—that has dared to take on Beijing. The earlier regimes in this century, including that of the Republican George Bush Jr, were reluctant to call out China. This was despite various acts of misdemeanors by the Asian giant, ranging from theft of intellectual property and espionage to grossly abusing human rights and defying international law.
Trump, however, is not willing to let China do whatever it wants to. By manipulating top US investors and bankers, Chinese leaders were able to deindustrialize America and set up factories in China instead. Trump is reversing that. This is the reason they hate him, as also do the princes of the financial world.
Beijing’s voyage to global dominance is without moral compass, just like that of Adolf Hitler’s. It is singular pursuit of power, whatever be the costs, human or otherwise.
This has alarmed everybody, save the liberal elites, the Davos types who are still China’s apologists. This is the reason that, immediately after the outbreak of the coronavirus, theories started doing the rounds that the pandemic had something to do with Beijing’s biowarfare plans—a leak, an accident, or even a deliberate attack.
In a defensive stratagem, the Chinese authorities tried to peddle an outlandish conspiracy theory that the American soldiers did that. It is interesting to note that, perhaps for the first time, this lie could not be sold, despite widespread anti-Americanism all over the world.
In an earlier article, I had mentioned a 1999 book, Unrestricted Warfare, by two People’s Liberation Army colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. They had argued that China should not fight a stronger like the US with conventional military means, so it should take recourse to non-military means.
The two colonels went on to describe the “means and methods used to fight a non-military war, some of which already exist and some of which may exist in the future. Such means and methods include psychological warfare (spreading rumors to intimidate the enemy and break down his will); smuggling warfare (throwing markets into confusion and attacking economic order); media warfare (manipulating what people see and hear in order to lead public opinion along); drug warfare (obtaining sudden and huge illicit profits by spreading disaster in other countries); network warfare (venturing out in secret and concealing one's identity in a type of warfare that is virtually impossible to guard against); technological warfare (creating monopolies by setting standards independently); fabrication warfare (presenting a counterfeit appearance of real strength before the eyes of the enemy); resources warfare (grabbing riches by plundering stores of resources); economic aid warfare (bestowing favor in the open and contriving to control matters in secret); cultural warfare (leading cultural trends along in order to assimilate those with different views); and international law warfare (seizing the earliest opportunity to set up regulations), etc.”
The military officers went on to assert: “manmade earthquakes, tsunamis, weather disasters, or subsonic wave and new biological and chemical weapons all constitute new concept weapons.”
Even Hitler and Mussolini did not venture as far as to think of manmade earthquakes, tsunamis, and weather disasters. Evidently, they hadn’t matured and evolved enough. China has..