On Chinese Racism and American Confusion

Someone has managed through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to dislodge a consultant’s 254-page report to Andy Marshall’s legendary Office of Net Assessment in the Department of Defense from way back in 2013. Marshall, who died in 2019, and his ONA are legendary in defense and intelligence circles (his nickname was Yoda) for its outside-the-box thinking and projections, many of which proved themselves out over time.

The 2013 report in question bears the title “The Strategic Consequences of Chinese Racism: A Strategic Asymmetry for the United States.” The author’s name is redacted, but is identified as “a political scientist, [and] the managing member of Thayer Limited, LLC. Formerly, he was a tenured associate professor in Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies.” He has also served as a Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and as a consultant to the Rand Corporation, along with several other distinguished academic things. Other publications by the author are also redacted.

The author’s name may have been redacted because of the blunt language contained in the report. Such as:

Racism remains a key component of how the Chinese see the world, their central place in it, and the world’s other, inferior inhabitants. . .

Virulent racism and eugenics heavily inform Chinese perceptions of the world. United States decision‐makers must recognize that China is a racist state, much closer to Nazi Germany than to the values upheld in the West. Most often, the Chinese do not even recognize their racism as a problem. They believe that racism is a Western phenomenon and that Westerners are obsessed with race. This obsession is seen by the Chinese to be a strategic vulnerability of the West, whereas China is not affected by racism.

Second, racism informs their view of the United States. From the Chinese perspective, the United States used to be a strong society that the Chinese respected when it was unicultural, defined by the centrality of Anglo-Protestant culture at the core of American national identity aligned with the political ideology of liberalism, the rule of law, and free market capitalism. The Chinese see multiculturalism as a sickness that has overtaken the United States, and a component of U.S. decline.

Let us pause here, and raise the question about whether the author of this report has dual purposes in mind. Could this be a classic example of not-entirely-esoteric writing where the author, while writing in detail about China, is also trying to make perceptive readers reflect on the problem in the United States? Is not his characterization of the Chinese perception that “multiculturalism is a sickness that has overtaken the United States” essentially correct?  While much of the rest of the report goes on to analyze how the United States might be able to exploit China’s racism, the unstated premise of this exploitation would require the United States sorting out its current perverse racial obsessions.

More from this remarkable and politically incorrect report:

Chinese racism retards their relations with the Third World. Chinese racism makes it difficult for China to advance a positive message in the Third World, especially Africa, but also in Latin America and the Middle East. . .

Chinese racism, and the degree to which the Chinese permit their view of the United States to be informed by racism, has the potential to hinder China in its competition with the United States because it contributes to their overconfidence. This overconfidence is a result of ethnocentrism and a sense of superiority rooted in racism.

The Chinese are never going to go through a civil rights movement like the United States. This is because, first, they have no freedom of the press, freedom to petition their government, freedom to assemble, all of which are necessary to support a civil rights movement. Second, there is no political drive or consciousness for equality in Chinese thought. Equality is associated with Maoism and rejected in today’s China, where inequality is accepted and celebrated. In addition, there is no notion of civil rights in Chinese political thought or, practically, in jurisprudence.

The report observes that China will play the “race card” in the developing world by embracing the self-critical narrative of the United States and Europe, but that it will be ultimately unconvincing or effective in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere.

These themes allow the United States and other states to challenge China’s projected image of an oppressed victim of racism with actual empirical reality: China is a racist superpower. It does not equal the horrors of Nazi Germany, but it is far closer to Nazism than it is to the free and tolerant societies found in the West.

The second major implication is that it provided the United States with a major asymmetry in the Third World. Chinese racism allows the United States to undermine China in the Third World.

Of course, the moral and cultural relativism of the United States and other Western nations will likely make any such American appeal incoherent. And I suspect the sophisticated Chinese know this.  In fact, I have old notes about President Clinton visiting China in the 1990s, and the then-Premier Jiang saying “the two countries have different means and ways of realizing human rights and fundamental freedoms” —perfect faculty room multiculturalism! Clinton responded weakly about how American values change over time, and apologized for the “painful moments” in American history when we fell short of our ideals, as though he was afraid the Chinese might suggest that Kent State was the moral equivalent of Tiananmen Square. Actually, that’s what of American leftists do believe.

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