Many conservatives just don’t get it when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.
After Lu Shaye, China’s outspoken ambassador to France, stated during a televised interview last month that the former Soviet republics “have no effective status in international law because there is no international agreement to recognize their status as sovereign countries,” American Enterprise Institute (AEI) “senior fellow” Dalibor Rohac used the occasion to rail against China’s foreign policy.
At the AEI— a right-leaning, inside-the-Beltway think tank — Rohac “studies European political and economic trends, specifically Central and Eastern Europe, the European Union (EU) and the eurozone, US-EU relations, and the post-Communist transitions and backsliding of countries in the former Soviet bloc.” He is also “a research associate at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels and a fellow at Anglo-American University in Prague.”
In a recent article in the Spectator magazine, “A Chinese Diplomat Has Let Slip the Truth about Beijing’s Foreign Policy,” Rohac characterized the Chinese ambassador’s remarks as “a telling admission of Beijing’s real thinking about international relations, which is far cruder and Hobbesian than most Europeans are willing to admit.”
We should take Lu Shaye at his word, Rohac writes, because he is “a veteran of both Chinese communist politics and foreign service” who “epitomises China’s aggressive approach to diplomacy, exemplified by his warning, in the context of a visit by former US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s to Taiwan, that the Taiwanese would have to be ‘re-educated,’ bringing back eerie echoes of Maoist and Stalinist terror.”
The Chinese embassy in Paris issued a statement in response to another of Lu Shaye’s gaffes that Rohac should have paid attention to: “China respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all nations and supports the objectives and principles of the UN Charter. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the countries concerned.”
I am not making an apology for the Chinese government. There is no question that China is ruled by a lying, oppressive, totalitarian, authoritarian regime that forbids its citizens from enjoying political and religious liberty and seeks to control every facet of their lives. But what is the truth about Beijing’s foreign policy that Rohac takes issue with?
Does China have tens of thousands of troops stationed in over a hundred countries?
Does China go abroad seeking monsters to destroy?
Does China have hundreds of military bases on foreign soil?
Does China destroy foreign industry and infrastructure?
Does China make widows and orphans across the globe?
Does China police the world?
Does China bomb countries back to the stone age?
Does China intervene in civil wars?
Does China engage in regime change?
Does China have an empire?
Does China have an interventionist foreign policy?
Does China have entangling military alliances?
Does China institute no-fly zones in other countries?
Does China keep its troops in other countries for 50 years?
Does China occupy other countries?
Does China fight foreign wars?
Does China spread its political ideology at the point of a gun?
Does China launch preemptive strikes?
Does China attack other countries and call it defense?
Does China spend more on defense than the next 10 countries combined?
Does China fight the war on drugs in other countries?
Does China engage in provocative naval actions in international waters under the guise of protecting freedom of navigation?
Does China use humanitarian interventions as a guise for imperialism?
Does China downplay massive numbers of civilian casualties by dismissing them as collateral damage?
Does China interfere with elections in other countries?
The terrible truth about U.S. foreign policy is that it is the United States that does all of these things, not China.
U.S. foreign policy is arrogant, aggressive, reckless, immoral, belligerent, interventionist, and meddling. The United States would never tolerate another country building a string of bases around North America, stationing thousands of its troops on our soil, enforcing a no-fly zone over American territory, or sending their fleets to patrol off our coasts.
Many conservatives have their head in the sand with blinders on, because they do not see that U.S. foreign policy is a global force for evil. There is simply no other way to describe it. It is so far removed from the foreign policy of the Founders that they would be horrified. The Jeffersonian foreign policy of “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none” was basically followed until the Spanish-American War of 1898. The price of departing from that simple yet profound foreign policy has been trillions of dollars wasted and hundreds of thousands of Americans dead. And for what?
The reelection of conservative darling Donald Trump won’t change anything. Trump doubled down on the worst of Obama’s foreign policy actions. He redefined Russia and China as U.S. enemies and led the United States back into a Cold War with them. He pushed for a perpetual increase in the already bloated U.S. military budget. He foolishly engaged in brinkmanship with Iran. He increased tariffs on Chinese goods to the detriment of American consumers. He increased the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. His foreign policy legacy is one of continued U.S. wars, militarism, aggression, trade and travel restrictions, and intervention.
The Right is wedded to foreign interventionism as much as the Left is to domestic interventionism.