Who Lost America? (xposted at DK)

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

If the American middle class collapses, the first order of the day will be assigning blame and settling scores. This is a task that the right is much better prepared to do than the left, simply because the right controls the corporate media/propaganda apparatus – and with it the social narrative and the conventional wisdom. You can bet that, instead of trying to fix problems or help ordinary people, the right will redouble its normal scapegoat patrol. This is presaged in their incessant screaming of “socialism” – in homage to obsolete “red scare” tactics – such as the Palmer Raids of the 1920s and  the McCarthy witchunts of the 1950s, which really took off with the loss of China.

When the Chinese Communists declared victory in 1949, an immediate outcry asked “Who lost China?”…Senator Joe McCarthy expanded these accusations…

– Wikipedia China Hands

The irony in my not-unlikely blame-casting scenario is that the roles are now reversed. A corrupt American government is totally dependent on a lifeline of Communist Chinese loans and trade imbalances. As we shall see, America is at risk today for the same reasons Nationalist China was.

Background

As usual in my essays, some historical background is necessary. The Kuomintang (KMT) started out as a democratizing party in China after the fall of the Manchu Empire in 1911. But, before they could stamp out the warlordism which overtook that ruined empire, the Japanese started nibbling at them in 1931 in Manchuria – cited by some as the first battle of World War 2. As a result of the ensuing 14 years of war (and of on-going anti-leftist purges within the KMT and the country), the KMT became little more than a corrupt dictatorship ruled by Chiang Kai-shek (CKS).

Whitney Griswold, future president of Yale, named (CKS’s government) in 1938 “a fascist dictatorship,” though a slovenly and ineffectual one.

– Barbara Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1941-5 (1971), p 321

The book by Tuchman, written at the height of the Viet Nam war, described how blind anti-communism and “enemy of my enemy” thinking led to the loss of China and how it could have been different. In fact, it was at this time (1971) that the “China Hands”, villified and blacklisted by Joe McCarthy, were rehabilitated – just in time for Nixon to go to China.

Today, the corrupt and dictatorial character of our former WW2 ally is an unremarkable fact.

During Chiang’s rule, the Kuomintang became rampantly corrupt, where leading officials and military leaders hoarded funding, material and armaments. This was especially the case during the Second Sino-Japanese War, an issue which proved to be a hindrance with US military leaders, where military aid provided by the US was hoarded by various KMT generals. US President Truman wrote that “the Chiangs, the Kungs, and the Soongs (were) all thieves” , having taken $750 million in US aid.

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Kuomintang

The Kuomintang was also known to have used terror tactics against suspected communists, through the utilization of a secret police force, whom were employed to maintain surveillance on suspected communists and political opponents. In “The Birth of Communist China”, C.P. Fitzgerald describes China under the rule of KMT thus: “the Chinese people groaned under a regime Fascist in every quality except efficiency.”

– Wikipedia Kuomintang

With that introduction, I want to compare some historical facts about KMT China to current conditions in the U.S. In other words, I am going to make an analogy between two ridiculously complex situations. Of course, this analogy will not be perfect. For starters, let me stipulate that I am NOT comparing Obama to CKS. But, I am comparing the Democratic Party to the KMT. And, I am comparing the GOP to the pillaging and brutal Japanese Army. Ready? Let’s start analogizing.

1. How did the Democratic Party become beholden to the right?

Beaten by circumstance, long since helpless to accomplish its original purpose, the Kuomintang like the last Manchus had settled for one thing – retention of power –  without the strength or capacity to cope with multiplying troubles.

Loss of the chief cities and the industrial base to the Japanese had ruined many of the business class, including the most modern and Western-oriented group, who had been strong supporters of the regime. As their influence waned, that of the extreme right wing within the Kuomintang Party grew. Loss of capital and the means of production produced the inflation that ruined the salaried class and drew them into a swelling contagion of black markets and graft in order to live…Unrelenting rents, taxes and conscription pauperized the countryside.

– Tuchman, p 335.

It was the deindustrialization of America, begun by the corporations in the 1980s, which decimated the labor unions who were the ground troops of the old Democratic coalition. (This being but one arm of the “Starve the Beast” strategy of Lenin-quoting Grover Norquist.) The gobbling up of productive, but “unprofitable” businesses by Wall St. takeover artists also removed “traditional”, small business conservative influence from the GOP, leaving it to theocratic and neocon ideologues. In short, both parties moved to the right in the 1980s due to economic actions that were every bit as destructive to small American business and labor as Japanese occupation and exploitation was to Nationalist China.

“Carrying their burdens of…heavy rent and interest, squeeze by middlemen, absentee land-lordism”, (Stilwell) wrote of the farmers, “naturally they agitated for a readjustment of land ownership and this made them communists – at least that was the label put on them”.

– Tuchman, p 200.

As our economy has been outsourced,  the average “middle class” American came to face the same relentless economic pressure that has historically been the lot of impoverished peasants. Meanwhile, the right continues its non-stop vilification of labor unions as communists.

2. How did the Democratic Party become so corrupt?

The KMT had never really succeeded in uniting the country…The opportunity (for reform) had passed (CKS) by. Dependent more than ever on the right wing since the loss of the modernist and business community of the coastal cities, he could not afford to antagonize them by reform measures. He governed for survival and ignored what he wanted to ignore.

– Tuchman,  p 413

Stilwell knew…that Chiang was a prisoner of the complex private interests of the military structure of his country…Stilwell analyzed the factors that limited Chiang’s freedom of action…”The way it works is by threat. (CKS) tries to shake Yueh loose. If he pulls out troops, Yueh squawks, ‘I cannot be responsible for the security of my area.” He might even arrange for a Jap reaction. The understrappers are told to pressurize and a flood of protest reaches various officials of the Central Government. They then tell (CKS) the opposition is very strong, and that forcing the issue might cause dirty work. So (CKS) lays off and waits. The plain fact is he doesn’t dare to take vigorous action.”

– Tuchman,  p 393

Stilwell’s description of how private interests trump efficient government prosecution of the war sounds just like politics in today’s money-corrupted (oh, excuse me, our SCOTUS-sanctified, free-market) Congress. Every industrial grouping wants to be an autocratic warlord on its own turf. (See today’s EPA cave-in to the ethanol and “clean coal” crowd.) And, if a Democratic White House doesn’t want to go along, well a corporate Dem sellout like Max Baucus can “arrange for some GOP reaction”.

In truth, today’s Democratic Congress is totally beholden to corporate warlords. The needs of the people are ignored so that more pork can be doled out to defense contractors. And, as we know, our soldiers are being ill-served by their VA, by their unending tours of duty and stop-loss orders.

(Stilwell) saw “officers getting rich, men dying of malnutrition, malaria, dysentery, cholera, the sick simply turned loose. Ammo and weapons being sold. Open traffic with the enemy on all fronts. Transport being used for smuggling. None to move troops.

–  Tuchman, p 391

Doesn’t this sound exactly like our double-barreled clusterfuck in Iraq/Afghanistan? Billions in cash tossed from the back of an airplane. Bribing the Sunni militants to be on our side. The President of Afghanistan up to his eyeballs in the drug trade. Meanwhile, our VA has been left to rot by Bush; and Rumsfeld screwed up the entire military and national guard.

When we put Dems into office, we expected military policy to change. Instead, we got more of the same. What finer compliment, then, for the soldiers of our modern-day KMT’s army than Stilwell’s own words:

“The Chinese soldier is excellent material, wasted and betrayed by stupid leadership.” – J. Stilwell

– Tuchman, p 246

Having talked about Democratic corruption, what then to say about the GOP?

Well, they behave like foreign conquerors. They throw millions out of work as they ship their jobs , and the factories at which those jobs used to be,  overseas. They have a racist policy, and they treat women as second class citizens – the exact  master-race behavior of the Japanese as they raped and killed and looted their way across China.

The only Chinese who supported the Japanese were collaborators and criminals. Ditto for any American who supports traitors like Tom Tancredo and lying jurists like Roberts and Alito.

3. Why has the Democratic Party become progressive-phobic?

You might wonder then why the KMT Dems would not want all the help they could get against the imperialist GOP. Well, for the same reason that CKS would not form a joint front with the Mao’s Communists.

From first to last Chiang Kai-shek had one purpose: to destroy the Communists and wait for foreign help to defeat the Japanese.

– Tuchman, p 213

Like the corrupt KMT, our Dems feel threatened by the genuine populism and grass roots energy of the Progressives. And, this is where the analogy breaks down. Unlike the 1940s Chinese Communists, today’s American Progressives are not the cat’s paw of any foreign power or foreign ideology. Furthermore, there are no foreigners to rescue the KMT Dems from the GOP and/or the leftish Progressives.

When they honestly look at the situation of the U.S. in today’s world, who do the KMT Dems think is going to rescue the American people they claim to represent? If the Dems are genuinely patriotic, then they are the worse off than the KMT – facing the Japanese but bereft of  any outside funders. They are doomed; they have “settled for one thing – retention of power –  without the strength or capacity to cope with multiplying troubles.”

Another place the analogy has trouble is with the ludicrous Tea Party. In the frame of the analogy, its as if the Japanese set up a bunch of last-ditch loyalists to the Manchu Empire as a competitor to the Communists – after all, they are both opposed to the KMT. Nevertheless, the threat of the TP is real, as Matt Taibbi pointed out in The Peasant Mentality lives on in America – because America’s peasants are as gullible and downtrodden as Chinese peasants ever were.

4. Why do the Progressives tolerate the crap they are being handed?

Chiang demanded impossibly large amounts of supplies before he would agree to take offensive action.

– Wikipedia Stilwell

The KMT Dems demanded and got huge Progressive support in the 2008 elections – plenty of “supplies” with which to attack the GOP. And, like CKS and the KMT, they did nothing to help ordinary people. Now, it seems like the KMT Dems are trying to continue to sucker the Progressives into giving them aid under threat of surrender.

Some historians, such as David Halberstam in his final book, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, have theorized that Roosevelt was concerned that Chiang would sign a separate peace with Japan, which would free many Japanese divisions to fight elsewhere, and that Roosevelt wanted to placate Chiang.

– Wikipedia Stilwell

In fact, the corporate Dems “support us or the GOP will win” meme is straight from the CKS playbook.

—-

In closing, let me revisit the “breakdown” of the China analogy. It seems that the KMT Dems are schizophrenic about Progressives. They simultaneously think of us as a huge resource they can use to “survive” and a dangerous left wing enemy that they must constantly be on guard against. So, we get this crazy-making double-bind interaction with them. The fact of that interaction is the “dog that didn’t bark” which tells the true nature of the KMT Dems.

But most people haven’t got time for such a subtle analysis. The bottom line for most Americans will be the economy. I don’t think I can put our situation in any simpler terms than the following:

The difference between a kleptocrat and a wise statesman, between a robber baron and a public benefactor, is merely one of degree: a matter of just how large a percentage of the tribute extracted from the producers is retained by the elite, and how much the commoners like the public uses to which the redistributed tribute is put….Kleptocracies with little public support run the risk of being overthrown, either by downtrodden commoners or by upstart would-be replacement kleptocrats seeking public support by promising a higher ratio of services rendered to fruits stolen.

– Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel

At this point, its up to the KMT Dems. They can deal with the Progressives or be thrown out by the emperor-loving American peasantry. Its their choice to make.

Of course, the American people are making their own choices. Today, Larry Lessig called for a Constitutional Convention; and Jonathan Turley called for an end to the two-party duopoly. The game is on, whether the KMT Dems want it or not.

7 comments

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  1. I can rec it here as well.

  2. I blame Clinton…now to go over there and see what’s cooking.

    (of course, Clinton won the nomination because it was already in the works, after Dukakis’ loss)

    • dkmich on February 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Photobucket

  3. Bilderberg

    CFR

    Trilateral Commission

    Club of Rome

    Rothchild/Rockefeller and the other 13 families

    • ANKOSS on February 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    These factions used the ugliest motivators of the mob, fear, aggression, and superstition, to loot the nation’s wealth and cripple its productive facilities (honest markets and investment in innovation).

    We live in a TV-crazed mobocracy, in which predators wielding crude ideas are tearing down every civilized principle and institution Americans worked for two hundred years to establish.

    • Robyn on February 13, 2010 at 12:04 am

    …but few people took the time to notice.

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