The 'Peace Movement' Embraces China

The Chinese Communist Party media outlet Global Times was happy to report that an international forum of thirteen “peace groups” and assorted academic fellow-travelers had been held to protest the opening of a new U.S.-led Cold War against China on September 26. The story quoted from a statement issued by the “No Cold War” movement, "We note the increasingly aggressive statements and actions being taken by the U.S. government in regard to China. These constitute a threat to world peace and are an obstacle to humanity successfully dealing with extremely serious common issues which confront it, such as climate change, control of pandemics, racist discrimination and economic development." The timing of this meeting is significant because Beijing is in an assertive mood; flexing its military muscle across the Indo-Pacific region, from border battles with India to air and naval exercise threatening Taiwan to confrontations with Japan and Vietnam over maritime disputes. It also comes at a time when President Donald Trump has been featuring China in his re-election campaign speeches contrasting his strong reactions to China’s aggressive acts to the appeasement policies that his opponent Joe Biden will likely adopt given his past behavior.

Global Times concentrated on CODEPINK identified as “a women-led grassroots organization working to end the US wars and militarism’ citing directly from the group’s website. The citation stops before mention of “human rights initiatives” since such concerns are anathema to the Beijing dictatorship, but it should not worry. CODEPINK does not pursue “human rights initiatives” in countries it favors such as Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela. A CODEPINK posting “We Love Iranians” (which means the theocrats, not the people) hailed the expulsion of cofounder Medea Benjamin from a program at the Hudson Institute in Washington. She had tried to disrupt a “belligerent speech” by Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Envoy on Iran. Benjamin has written a book defending the Tehran regime even as she acknowledges it as a theocratic dictatorship. That is fine so long as it opposes the U.S. In her mind, Washington has long been under the control of Jewish and Arab “puppet masters” who have spread the false claim that Iran wants nuclear weapons. She believes “Israel is run by war criminals.”  

CODEPINK has long practiced a one-sided embrace of “peace” which has prepared it for its alignment with Beijing. It has condemned the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran’s proxies in Yemen without any mention that it was the Shiite Houthis who started the civil war. That the Houthis have used Iranian missiles and drones to widen the war with attacks on Saudi cities, shipping, and infrastructure is never mentioned. Benjamin has, however, written a book denouncing the use of drones by the U.S. against terrorist groups, with no uneasiness about terrorist attacks meant to inflict mass civilian casualties. Benjamin is old enough to link her activism back to the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the spread of communism, having stated “I wouldn’t characterize anybody who fought in Vietnam as a war hero” and “If it weren't for people like the people in Berkeley, standing up for what they believe, we'd be living under Hitler.” More recently, she has not been so optimistic, comparing President Trump to Hitler.  

The Left has been slow to come around to the defense of the Beijing regime. In part, there has been due to its brutal human rights record in Tibet, Tiananmen Square, and Xinjiang, where the regime operates concentration camps that victimize Uyghurs. There has been another obstacle to embracing China since Deng Xiaoping declared that “to get rich is wonderful” and that “some will get rich before others.” Economic reforms that jettisoned the failed doctrines of Mao Zedong soured the Left’s love affair with the purest of communist systems. They are shocked when the state media hails the fact that there are more billionaires in China than in America. Extolling growth while dismissing “green” notions as hostile to poverty reduction led many on the Left to agree with those of the Right that China had not evolved from communism into liberalism, but into fascism;  a one-party State-capitalist dictatorship.

There are those who have been working to assure leftists that they can embrace Beijing with a clear conscience. One such activist is Jeffrey E. Brown. He holds joint U.S. and French citizenship and is a member of the French Communist Party. He moved to Shenzhen, China in 2010 and now operates Rising China Sinoland Radio and its website where he posts articles defending Beijing. His latest book gives the required spin China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations. His argument is that in China, corporations do not rule the country, but instead help the government reach its goals. It features a smiling young Chinese woman in military uniform saluting on the cover. The purpose of the book is to use “history, personal memory, sociology, political analysis. and above all a fair dose of invaluable first-hand information designed to detoxify the Western reader's mind from the constant lies served by the Western media in support of Washington's global imperial agenda.” Among Brown’s insights is “the so-called ‘Tiananmen Massacre’ organized by the CIA.”  

Brown has started to appear in OpEd News, a Left-wing website that has a long history of posting articles defending Vladimir Putin’s Russia in addition to Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela. Indeed, even though its writers hate President Trump, a common theme is to dismiss the Russian collusion charges because they put Moscow in a bad light and led too many Democrats to consider a resumption of the old Cold War. A frequent contributor to OpEd News who praised Brown’s work was Andre Vltchek, a Soviet-born activist who became an American citizen to better subvert the country from within. Vltchek died recently and was remembered in Counter Punch for “weaving together unforgettable narratives of Western imperialism and capitalistic fundamentalism.” and for being “a lifetime communist and advocate of Chinese globalism, which he described as beneficial to former colonized countries throughout the world.” Vltchek believed “China is much more democratic than the West” and that is it is the Chinese people who are telling the regime “do not succumb to the West. If you do, our nation will suffer immensely, and the rest of the world will turn to ashes.”

For those of us who remember the old Cold War, these line of argument from the Left are all too familiar. It does not matter the nature of the foreign states and movements who work against American interests, values, and security, or how contradictory they may be. The core of the western Left is hatred of the West. The immense success of the West has been built on principles contrary to their ideology, and any enemy of their enemy is a friend. But it works both ways. Any friend of our enemies is an enemy, to be defeated be they foreign or domestic. The new Cold War is on.

William R. Hawkins is an economist and widely published author in the fields of national security and international economics with a long career in academe, think tanks and national government.  

Image: Cory Doctorow

If you experience technical problems, please write to