Thursday, October 29, 2015

America’s Little Dictators Just Might Be Wrong About the Chinese

Jack D. Douglas, a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego, writes to Lew Rockwell:

American gunboats patrolled Chinese sovereign territory, even up the Yangtze, from 1854 to 1941, to protect U.S. Imperialist interests.

This deeply wounded the pride of the Chinese, especially the government of the Middle Kingdom which lost face by not being able to stop the imperialist invasion of China’s waters.

When I see the  U.S. doing these viciously imperialist things to China these days I always remember vividly a talk I had 59 years ago over lunch at Harvard with a good friend of mine who was a very American Chinese who hated the Communist regime of China at that time. We were talking about China in general, probably because I was studying Chinese and Asian history. He suddenly got very serious, looked at me intently and said, “I have to admit that when I see there are no American gunboats up the Yangtze these days it fills me with pride.” I  understood because I knew the deep wound to China’s ancient pride of  having U.S. gunboats force their way up China’s rivers and along its vast coastline.

Americans are almost totally ignorant of the vast history of China, even of the long century of American imperialism in China along with the imperialism of their European allies, most notably the U.K. They  have no idea how enraged the billion and a half Chinese are by these U.S. gunboats once again invading China’s waters, specifically the waters within 12 miles of the small islands of China in the S. China sea where China is building up the islands for ports, on a tiny scale compared to the vast oil rigs the U.S. builds into the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. asserts it has a right to enter the waters within 12 miles of the Chinese islands. That is not in dispute. If the U.S. merely officially filed requests to pass by  the islands within 12 miles of them, the Chinese would likely agree to let them IF the U.S. allows the Chinese to do the same within 12 miles of U.S. territory. That’s diplomacy. But the U.S. asserts these small ancient islands of China are not really Chinese territory. Implicitly, the U.S. Empire is asserting that its assertions are all that is needed.

The American analysts at State and DOD and the CIA, etc., are not ignorant of Chinese history. They know how this poses a direct threat of losing face to the government of China, so that is obviously its intent.

Right now President Xi of China has more passionate support from all real Chinese than he did before the U.S. slapped him in the face on world tv with its gunboats.

But XI must be ready to defend China’s sovereignty or he will eventually lose face and that will threaten the government of China and the people. He knows the  U.S. will see any weakness as an invitation to move from slapping Xi in the face to spitting on him and then….That’s what vicious imperialists do. They only understand force and violence.

The U.S. is assuming China will have to kowtow to the imperialist Americans once again and will thence obey American commands to stop developing a hard currency and on and on, ever deeper into servile submission once again.

Maybe so, but I doubt it.

If you don’t have a nuclear bomb shelter, you might want to get one very quickly.

I doubt you’ll need it, but when vicious imperialists start invading a huge, nuclear nation, you can never be sure. Hitler thought the U.K. and French would swallow their pride and roll over once again as his Wehrmacht invaded Poland under the pretense that Poland had attacked first, as all imperialists say.

You will remember that the little dictator was wrong about that.

America’s little dictators just might be wrong about the Chinese.

The above originally appeared at


  1. Ok enough comparing sh!+ to Hitler or wwII.

  2. This is a very weak argument, but that's exactly what I would expect from a sociology professor (retired or not).

    The Chinese government's claim is that because these islands were once included on imperial maps, they are still Chinese territory. This is absolutely absurd.

    China is now, in it's vicious imperialism (the professor's term for the U.S. policy), building ports to project it's own sea power and dominance over its neighbors (who also claim this territory, but do not have sufficient military power to back up their claim).

    Yes, the Chinese government (and its people) see this as a slap in the face. But no, that does not make the Chinese claim to the territory valid. Apparently, Douglas thinks that for a territorial claim to be valid, the claimant country's people just have to believe that it's valid. So, since he pathetically invoked Hitler, under the professor's argument,1930s German claims to all of Europe would be equally valid. Like I said, pathetic and, more to the point ... stupid.

    The professor calls it an invasion for the U.S. to pass by the islands, and compares it to Hitler's invasion of Poland (with reference to the UK and France). For his Godwin's Law violation analogy to work, China would need to be like the weak nation of Poland, and two major powers would then declare war against the U.S. Or, alternatively, he views the uninhabited Spratly Islands as their own nation and China (a la UK and France in WWII) is coming to their defense (by building ports for Chinese warships and Chinese government owned or crony companies to take the Spratlys' natural resources, I guess). Either of these are absurd.

    Douglas needs to just go back into retirement and enjoy the taxpayer dollars he receives through his pension. Based on his lack of logic, he definitely has not earned it.

    1. Instead of taking sides on who is right or wrong here, I just look at it as two gangs engaging in a pissing contest over territory. Of course china is expanding it's claim to the territory but this article's comparison to the oil rigs in the gulf is valid. You can't expect the US (gang 1) to play by one set of rules and china (gang 2) to play by another. If the US can expand into the gulf of mexico at will then expect other gangs to do the same in their areas. The rub is, this is NO WHERE NEAR US territory. This "world police" game needs to end.

    2. I am not taking sides, particularly. I think there is a sort of knee-jerk anti-Americanism that leads some libertarians to defend other imperialists, so long as they march under a different flag.

      Imperialism should be condemned no matter who is doing it. The point of the original letter from Mr. Douglas was that the U.S. are vicious imperialists and China is akin to Poland being invaded by Nazis. It was a stupid argument from a weak mind, as by any objective standard, two imperial powers are engaged in geopolitical battles over territory that neither have a right to claim.

      The world police game does need to end, but that doesn't mean that anyone should be defending Chinese government imperial land or sea grabs (and I don't believe you are doing so, but Douglas definitely did).

    3. Wow! You are reading way too much into Douglas' letter. First he was not comparing China to Poland, he was comparing China to France and the UK. Countries who did not accept Germany's imperialist expansion into Poland which lead to WWII. Douglas makes a loose comparison of German imperialism with US imperialism and suggests that like German imperialism somebody may object to US imperialism and that somebody could be China. Second, he is not supporting China he is relating an observation that even among Chinese who oppose the communist government, their pride was hurt by US gunboats up and down China's coastline and rivers. And their pride may be hurt by todays US violation of the 12 mile limit. In fact this clumsy move by the US government may have generated more support for the Chinese government. Rather than a "stupid argument from a weak mind" it is an insightful observation and leads to a reasonable concern that a violent response may be forthcoming.

  3. In my original comment, I stated that Douglas might be comparing China to France and the UK, but doing so would be implying that the Spratly's are a sovereign nation which China feels the need to protect from outside aggression. That is not the case. So, the analogy used made no sense. It likely wasn't intended to be taken literally, but instead simply to go the Godwin's Law route for a bit of sensationalism.

    Douglas refers to the Islands as part of Chinese territory. From his letter, he seems to in no way dispute this "fact", even though there are several claimant countries to the island chain. He bashes the U.S.'s imperialism, while not once mentioning that the activities of China in the South China Sea are an act of Chinese imperialism, or that China actually has no claim to the territory.

    And although the act of sailing within 12 miles may incite a violent response (not likely, for reasons I won't go into), that does not make it particularly insightful.