Would the US have let the Soviet Union invade West Berlin? By no means. But America is on the verge of permitting Communist China to enslave the free metropolis of Hong Kong. If this occurs, will probably be one of many biggest abdications of U.S. ethical management in historical past.
Proper now, Communist China is massing paramilitary forces on its border with Hong Kong. The aim seems apparent: Intimidate the pro-freedom motion that has introduced elements of town to a standstill in latest weeks. In the meantime, Beijing’s rulers have labeled Hong Kong’s protesters “terrorists,” whereas stating that “those that play with hearth will perish by it.” The echoes of the Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath 30 years in the past are unmistakable.
These developments are eerily acquainted to the Soviet Union’s makes an attempt to dominate West Berlin. But the US at all times made it clear that we would defend town. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan even traveled there personally, proving by their presence that America stood with its residents.
Examine that with at this time. The perfect President Donald Trump can muster is a tweet: “Everybody ought to be calm and protected!”
A brand new Chilly Struggle
It’s time to confess that we’re in a brand new Chilly Struggle. The blockade of Berlin in 1948 was extensively seen because the opening salvo of the decades-long wrestle between freedom and communism. With Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong already effectively underway, possibly now we’ll admit that one other wrestle has arrived. The Soviet Union is gone, and America’s new adversary is the Chinese language Communist Social gathering.
But in contrast to the primary Chilly Struggle, this time it’s unclear whether or not America has the desire to win.
After we had been up in opposition to the Soviet Union, we stood with out apology for our civilization and for freedom. For almost half a century, we made it clear that our lifestyle was superior, that liberty was everybody’s birthright, and that we might assist free individuals, wherever they had been. By holding aloft the torch of freedom, we illuminated the monstrous evil of communism.
Not. The USA is apparently unwilling to make the case for freedom — or even to publicly say a free metropolis like Hong Kong even deserves to remain free. America having put down the torch of freedom, communist tyranny is on the march, now not content material to assemble power within the shadows.
Worse, whereas we now have forgotten the teachings of the primary Chilly Struggle, the Chinese language Communist Social gathering has realized from them.
We must always be taught from the Chilly Struggle: Compete onerous, maintain quick to our values
Beijing is aware of that ideology is every part. Whereas Soviet leaders gave up on communism, President Xi Jingping has doubled down. He has stepped up repression at residence and aggression overseas. The shortage of U.S. pushback has solely emboldened Xi. The tepid U.S. condemnation of human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, in addition to its threats in opposition to its neighbors and Taiwan, has doubtless satisfied Xi that he can get away with oppressing Hong Kong.
Continued American silence will persuade Communist China that it might advance on different fronts. The ethical crucial is to point out Beijing that Hong Kong’s freedom isn’t up for grabs.
America should present management
Such management might take many types. At a minimal, it ought to contain congressional laws that may finish U.S. particular remedy of Hong Kong on commerce and immigration. Such a blow would hit Communist China within the pockets, onerous.
One other view: No, we aren’t getting ready to a brand new Chilly Struggle with Russia and China
It might even contain President Trump flying to Hong Kong, like JFK did in West Berlin after the development of the Berlin Wall. Such a transfer isn’t out of the query for a president identified for unorthodox actions. It will electrify town’s freedom motion — and terrify Beijing.
Above all, America wants to start out criticizing Communist China for being communist, simply as we used to do with the Soviet Union. At current, our leaders are solely asking — half-heartedly — for Beijing’s tyranny to cease at Hong Kong’s border. Examine that with Reagan’s name to “tear down this wall.” He knew that freedom would swiftly sweep throughout Japanese Europe if the wall fell — and it did.
Such American management is desperately wanted at this time. On the outset of the primary Chilly Struggle, the Soviet Union tried to dominate Berlin, exactly as a result of they knew that the free metropolis confirmed the ethical chapter of their totalitarian regime. China is attempting to do the identical factor with Hong Kong.
If we don’t stand for freedom there, then we’re already dropping this new Chilly Struggle.
Marion Smith is government director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Basis in Washington, D.C. Observe him on Twitter: @smithmarion