The world is emboldening another once-in-a-century tyrant, Communist China's President Xi Jinping. The Communist Party is malicious and militant. No treaty, convention, compact, code, or agreement will restrain a belligerent state that seeks to take down the rules-based international system. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
George Shultz, writing a Wall Street Journal op-ed first posted August 26, believes America has a "collective future" with China.
Yes, Americans have one with the Chinese people — as they do with all other people — but is it possible to have a common future with a hostile state openly committed to overthrowing you and, among other things, committing crimes against humanity?
No, that is not possible.
Shultz, who served with great distinction in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, is greatly concerned "there is a risk that our two countries stumble into confrontation due to missteps or mutual miscalculation."
His remedy is one employed during the Cold War with the Soviets. "We should quietly develop specific off-ramps from conflict with China," he writes. Specifically, the two countries should establish "rules of the road for military ships and aircraft with a communication mechanism to address any incidents."
For decades, the U.S. had tried to regularize contacts with the Chinese military. In 2014, for instance, the U.S. Pacific Fleet promoted the adoption of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea. CUES, as the agreement is known, was supplemented with a 2015 annex for air-to-air encounters. Both China and the United States, along with 19 other nations, signed on.
Unfortunately, rules-of-the-road agreements have failed. "China has routinely violated the letter and spirit of CUES," James Fanell, a former director of Intelligence and Information Operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told Gatestone. "The problem," he wrote, "is that agreements can work only if both sides really do wish to avoid a military crisis and violent encounter."
China is trying to provoke crises, especially with its dangerous intercepts of U.S. ships and planes. No agreement or communication channel will stop an aggressor determined to cause an incident, and China's generals and admirals crave them from time to time. "China does not fear a war," the Communist Party's nationalistic Global Times declared on August 27 in an editorial titled "U.S. Exhausted, Alone in the South China Sea."
Beijing's continual provocations highlight the fundamental flaw in Shultz's reasoning. Yes, to his credit he acknowledges that China has changed from the Nixon and Reagan eras, but he still believes the United States of America and the People's Republic of China can, through continual diplomacy, ensure peace. "It is important that leaders here—and leaders there—work from a realistic view of China's position, our own position, and our collective future," he wrote.
Yes, Americans and others must be "realistic." Shultz — and most Americans — underestimate the audaciousness, ruthlessness, and maliciousness of China's Communist Party. China is not just another state competing with the U.S. in the Westphalian international system. Chinese Communists, with their ancient notions of Mandate of Heaven and tianxia — "all under Heaven" — are continually propagating the line that China has the right and obligation today to rule the entire world.
Worldwide Chinese rule poses, among other things, an existential threat to every other society. How can the United States cooperate with a regime that denies its right to exist?
In addition, how can the United States engage a regime committing crimes against humanity? China, in what it calls the "Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," holds more than a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minority members — and perhaps more than three million — in hundreds of facilities that meet the definition of "concentration camps." People are dying in these camps in not inconsiderable numbers. Beijing is building additional crematoria in the region.
Beijing has also engaged in a program of forced birth control, forced sterilization, forced abortions, and infanticide against captive Muslims, and these activities meet the definition of "genocide." China also forces minority women to literally share beds with Chinese officials, what looks like state-sanctioned rape. Uyghur activists report Chinese officials impregnating 14-year-old Uyghur girls.
Moreover, China transports Muslims around China in "dedicated trains" so they can provide labor. In March, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report titled "Uyghurs for Sale," accused Beijing of forcing more than 80,000 Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities to produce product for Nike and 82 other brands. That is "slavery."
As time passes, there is growing evidence of a state-sponsored program of organ harvesting. Only in China can a patient be assured of a delivery in weeks of a vital organ at a specific time. Recently, a patient reportedly even had four separate hearts available "on demand" in the space of 10 days. Beijing's large-scale program of just-in-time delivery of organs looks like organized murder.
Evil is not capable of reform. The Communist Party is malicious and militant. It is the enemy of liberty, the enemy of religion, the enemy of life. China is, therefore, the enemy of humanity.
The United States has a moral obligation to stop these crimes, which means, as a practical matter, it has a moral obligation to end Communist Party rule.
America has a practical reason to do so as well. In the 1930s, the Western democracies knew about the Third Reich's persecution of the Jews but did little. That feebleness emboldened Hitler, leading eventually to the destruction of much of Europe.
Now, the world is emboldening another once-in-a-century tyrant, Xi Jinping. The international community should not expect timidity to produce a better outcome this time.
Americans love agreements, but no treaty, convention, compact, code, or agreement will restrain a belligerent state that seeks to take down the rules-based international system. There is, Secretary Shultz, no "off-ramp" from confronting the horror of China's crimes.
America's goal should be to defeat Chinese communism, not accommodate it.
Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow, and member of its Advisory Board.