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  • A former government official

  • Has a controversial idea

  • About how to deal with China

  • Should the US take his advice

  • Welcome to China Uncensored. I'm Chris Chappell.

  • Today I'm going to talk about a bad  idea. It's the kind of bad idea that  

  • sounds like a good idea...at least to some people.

  • Like the time that my roommate Carl decided  to go skinny dipping...in the neighbor's pool.

  • At least this bad idea comes with less jail time.

  • What's the bad idea? Last  week, the Atlantic Council,  

  • a prestigious think tank, published an  anonymous report called The Longer Telegram.

  • It waswritten by a former senior  government official with deep expertise  

  • and experience dealing with China.”

  • Oh, so you know this is going to be good

  • Why is it called the Longer TelegramThe anonymous author wants to compare  

  • his report to theLong Telegram,” an  actual telegram sent by George Kennan,  

  • an American diplomat in Moscow  to the State Department in 1946.

  • Kennan's telegram presentedclear-eyed view of the Soviet Union  

  • and correctly predicted what the communist  government would do during the Cold War

  • Kennan called the Soviet Unionhighly  sensitive to logic of force.” And said  

  • that it would withdrawwhen strong  resistance is encountered at any point.”  

  • And he said that the Western world  needed to provide that resistance.

  • Kennan's telegram dramatically  changed how the US government  

  • dealt with the Soviet Unionby essentially proposing what  

  • became known as the containment strategy  that the US used during the Cold War.

  • So now in the Longer Telegram, this anonymous  

  • former senior government official is proposing  his own strategy for the US to deal with China.

  • I'm not going to go through the whole thingWhen this guy said it was a longer telegram,  

  • he wasn't kidding. The original  Long Telegram is 8,000 words long.  

  • The Longer Telegram is almost 30,000 words long.

  • And you don't watch China Uncensored  to see a 3-hour dissection  

  • of a think tank policy paperThis isn't Reports Unread.

  • Welcome to Reports Unread, I'm Chris  Chappell. Today I'll be talking about...Wait,  

  • how long is this thing? I'm not reading this!

  • The real show I need to make  is Content Undemonetized.

  • Anyway, back to the longest telegram ever

  • Don't get me wrong, the anonymous  author gets some stuff right.  

  • Like when he says thatThe single most  important challenge facing the United States  

  • in the twenty-first century is the rise  of an increasingly authoritarian China.”

  • And when he says that the US urgently needs  todevelop an integrated, operational, and  

  • bipartisan national strategy to guide the content  and implementation of US policy toward Xi's China

  • But the biggest problem with this  report is his central strategic  

  • idea of how to deal with the Chinese Communist  Party. The anonymous author spells that out in  

  • this opinion piece he wrote for Politico. The  US should focus on Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

  • That's the idea: The US needs  to get rid of Xi Jinping

  • I know what you're thinking: The US is  bad at regime change. But don't worry!  

  • This is not regime change. Because  we're going to get rid of Xi Jinping,  

  • but we're going to keep the  Chinese Communist Party.

  • Yeah, let that sink in for a moment.

  • Why are we keeping the Communist Party

  • According to the Longer Telegram, treating  the Chinese Communist Party the way we  

  • treated the Soviet Union, what he calls  “containment with Chinese characteristics,”  

  • is too blunt of an instrument. And  CCP collapse is just a dream.  

  • By contrast, a strategy that focuses more  narrowly on Xi, rather than the CCP as a whole,  

  • presents a more achievable objective.”

  • That's right, it's not regime change. It's  leadership change. Totally different

  • This is a bad idea. This isn't just  skinny dipping in your neighbor's pool.  

  • It's diving off Niagara Falls naked. In a canoe.

  • And I'll explain why after the break.

  • Welcome back. The strategy  to get rid of Xi Jinping,  

  • while keeping the Chinese Communist  Party is a really bad idea.

  • And I say that even though  I'm no fan of Xi Jinping.  

  • He's never responded even once  to any of my interview requests.

  • So it's not a bad idea because Xi Jinping is  somehow a good guy who should stay in power.  

  • It's a bad idea because it's a fundamental  misunderstanding of the Chinese Communist Party.  

  • One that is dangerous for the  US and the rest of the world.

  • The anonymous author believes that  “if leadership change were to occur,  

  • it would be more likely to  move in the direction of a more  

  • moderate collective leadership, given that  the burden of the internal critique of Xi  

  • so far has been that he has been too  leftist at home and too assertive abroad.”

  • And how would leadership change occurWell, did you know that there's this  

  • thing called factional infighting going  on within the Chinese Communist Party?

  • It's always nice when more people find out about  my favorite factional infighting soap opera,  

  • General Hostility.

  • But the Longer Telegram says that since  there is infighting, “The central focus  

  • of an effective US and allied China strategy  must be directed at the internal fault lines  

  • of domestic Chinese politics in general and  concerning Xi's leadership in particular.”

  • On China Uncensored, we differentiate between  the Chinese Communist Party and China as a whole.  

  • But the Longer Telegram argues that just like  attackingChinain general is an error,  

  • it's just as significant of an error to crudely  attack the Chinese Communist Party itself

  • It's simply an unsophisticated strategy  when fault lines exist between Xi Jinping  

  • and other senior Party officials.

  • So what's the sophisticated strategy?  “The mission for US China strategy  

  • should be to see China return to its pre-2013  path—i.e., the pre-Xi strategic status quo.”

  • And how would we know that the strategy has been  successful? According to the Longer Telegram,  

  • one of the indicators would be thatXi has been  replaced by a more moderate party leadership.”

  • I know that's a lot to take in, so  

  • let me summarize in a way that  the internet can understand.

  • Broke: Nuke China. Woke: Take down the CCP

  • Bespoke: Leverage factional infighting  within the CCP to take down Xi Jinping  

  • and ensure that a “moderate”  CCP leader replaces him

  • Sounds great! Except this is exactly how we  got into this situation in the first place

  • I'll explain after the break.

  • Welcome back. A lot of people in the west  are completely clueless about the Chinese  

  • Communist Party. They think the CCP is just  a bunch of benign moderate technocrats.

  • Oh, Chairman Xi Jinping isbad guy, so let's get rid of him  

  • so the good guys can take over? Yeah, right.

  • The problem is, there are no good guys at  the top levels of the Chinese Communist  

  • Party leadership. They've all had to  do terrible things to get to where  

  • they are today. It's a classic deal with  the devil, and the Party gets your soul

  • Look at what happened to former  Chinese leader Hu Jintao.

  • He used to be an actual human being  who experienced actual emotions:

  • And by the end of his term he looked like  this. Although it can't be easy having to  

  • sit next to the guy who's stabbing you  in the back and twisting the knife

  • Speaking of former Chinese leader and  toadfish Jiang Zemin, this guy and his minions  

  • are on the other side of the factional  struggle against Xi Jinping

  • If Xi Jinping goes down, he's just  going to be replaced by another bad guy,  

  • probably someone from Jiang Zemin's faction.

  • The Longer Telegram imagines that there's some  moderate leader in the Chinese Communist Party  

  • that can take over and make it  better, the way it used to be

  • And it uses former leaders like Deng  Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao as  

  • examples of the former, status quo moderate  leadersyou know, from the good old days.

  • Except, the good old days weren't that good.

  • Like how in 1989, Deng Xiaoping  ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre.

  • And then in the 90s, Jiang Zemin rose to power  by supporting that massacre. He also started the  

  • campaign to crush Falun Gong, which included  things like killing people for their organs

  • Hu Jintao used to be Party chief of  Tibet. He was indicted in a Spanish court  

  • for genocide because of his policies in Tibet.

  • These top Party leaders were all killing people  

  • way before Xi Jinping was in power. There were  no good old days of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • But the Longer Telegram treats these former  Party leaders as more moderate because they  

  • seemed to have a less aggressive stance towards  the US and changing the international order.

  • But that's wrong. The Communist Party always  had an aggressive stance towards the US.  

  • It was already going down the same road it  is currently under Xi Jinping. The Party  

  • just wasn't as rich or powerful back then as it  is now, so a lot of people just didn't see it

  • Here's the problem: The Longer Telegram  isn't about getting a better CCP leader.  

  • It's about getting a CCP leader that  makes the West feel better about the CCP.

  • Once we get rid of Xi Jinping and go back to those  benign moderate technocrats, we can work together.  

  • And by work together, I mean, we  can keep making money together.

  • This is wrong. The Chinese Communist Party is  engaged in an ideological struggle with the West

  • To its credit, the Longer Telegram realizes  this, and says the West must fight back.

  • But it makes the mistake of thinking that  the Communist Party leaders can pull back on  

  • the ideological struggle if we appeal to their  self interests by helping them get rid of Xi.  

  • That's not how it works. The Chinese Communist  Party needs the ideological struggle against the  

  • West in order to survive. They've always had  it, and they're never going to give that up.

  • Fundamentally, blaming all of  CCP's actions on just Xi Jinping  

  • is...unsophisticated. It's the CCP not the XiXiP.

  • Everything that the Longer Telegram blames Xi for  

  • can be traced back to policies that were in place  before Xi. Did Xi make things more aggressive and  

  • worse? Sure. But that's no guarantee that  the next CCP leader won't do the same.

  • And here's another problem:  

  • The US government does not understand the  factional struggle within the Communist Party.  

  • Remember in 2013, when everyone thought that Xi  Jinping was going to be some liberal reformer?

  • The Longer Telegram suggests  that the US can somehow pressure  

  • Party leaders to choose a moderate leader  *this* time. This is a joke. And it's not funny.

  • The danger in getting involved the  way that the Longer Telegram suggests  

  • is that the US government accidentally ends  up doing the dirty work in the factional  

  • struggle. And strengthening  the Chinese Communist Party

  • No matter how moderate the next leader may  appear to be, they're not going to change  

  • the fundamental nature of the Communist PartyUnless they get rid of the Party completely.

  • No matter who is in charge, the Party  will continue the genocide in Xinjiang,  

  • crushing Hong Kong, militarizing the South  China Sea, getting ready to invade Taiwan.  

  • They're not going to stop

  • So in the end, the Longer  Telegram's main idea doesn't work.

  • The US would basically be saying that we  don't care if the CCP oppresses people,  

  • as long as they do it quietly. And hey, can  we buy some more of those Chinese bonds?

  • I guess we'll just have to see  what happens on General Hostility.

  • Next time on General Hostility...Xi Jinping  appears to be winning the factional struggle  

  • for the Chinese people's  hearts. But he's lost the love  

  • of the West. Could the West betray  Xi by sleeping with his mortal enemy,  

  • Jiang Zemin? Does the West really believe Jiang  will treat her better than Xi? Or is the West  

  • just doing it for the money? Find out  next time...on General Hostility.  

  • And now it's time for me to answer a question  from a China Uncensored fan who supports the show  

  • on the crowd-funding website Patreon. We could  always use more support at patreon.com/China  

  • Uncensored. It makes a huge  difference for our team.  

  • Charlie Badge says, Chris my question is, if  places like Sansha city on the paracel islands  

  • are just normal parts of  China, can anyone visit them?

  • Well Charlie, as far as I know foreigners  aren't really visiting Sansha city yet.  

  • Although Chinese officials definitely  want to develop tourism in the area  

  • as a way of further staking their  claim on the South China Sea

  • Since 2016, there have beenpatriotic cruises”  

  • running to Sansha from Hainan island in  southern China. What is a patriotic cruise?

  • Aside from sightseeing, tourists will sign  a long paper scroll to show their support for  

  • China's territory sovereignty and sing China's  national anthem on the disputed islands.”

  • Sounds fun! But obviously that's geared at Chinese  tourists. The artificial islands themselves don't  

  • have a lot of tourism infrastructure yet. But  that's definitely a possibility for the future

  • Back in 2018, the Hainan government started  offering visa waivers to foreign travelers.  

  • But I haven't seen reports of  foreigners going to Sansha yet.

  • I for one recommend going to the South China Sea  the old-fashioned way. On a Filipino fishing boat.

  • Thanks for your question, Charlie

  • And thanks for watching. I'm Chris ChappellThanks for watching China Uncensored.

A former government official

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B1 US xi communist communist party jinping xi jinping chinese

Should the US Take Down China's Communist Leader Xi Jinping?

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    zijun su posted on 2021/05/12
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