CommentaryIt was, by any measure, an extraordinary performance. George Soros, doyen of the global elites, declared on Jan. 24 at Davos that the People’s Republic of China is the chief threat to free societies around the world.
This “mortal danger,” he went on to say, arises from “the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the hands of repressive regimes [like] China, where Xi Jinping wants a one-party state to reign supreme.”
Sounding for all the world like he was channeling Ronald Reagan, Soros warned that China, through the use of such technology, was well on the way to becoming “totalitarian.”
I imagine that his audience emitted a collective gasp at hearing that particular word. Progressives of all stripes have long scoffed that no state can be truly totalitarian—in the sense of totally controlling their populations. And here was George Soros, one of their own, using a term which is not only politically incorrect, but virtually banned among their company.
What has shocked Soros into describing China as totalitarian and a threat to the world? He has, it seems, come to learn about that country’s nascent “social credit system.”
The social credit system is China’s plan to constantly monitor the electronic behavior of everyone in the country. Their texts, tweets and posts, their comings and goings, their reading habits and their friends, will all be fed into a centralized database where a computer algorithm will assign them a “social credit score” that will reflect their degree of political reliability.
Those with high scores will receive preferential treatment by the state in education, jobs, travel, and credit. Those with low social credit scores will be denied those same benefits. Most terrifyingly, those whose scores fall too low will be judged a threat to the one-party state. They will be preemptively arrested and sent to re-education camps that already hold millions.
George Orwell’s nightmare society of constant surveillance is well on the way to becoming the day-to-day lived reality of the Chinese people. Soros is right in characterizing this as “frightening and abhorrent.”
While acknowledging that China isn’t the only authoritarian regime in the world, Soros singled it out because “it’s undoubtedly the wealthiest, strongest and most developed in machine learning and artificial intelligence.”
So what does Soros advocate doing in response, besides “recognizing the [China] threat?”
Here is where he must have stunned his audience again.
Soros praises the Trump administration for “identif[ying] China as a ‘strategic rival’… [as] outlined in a seminal speech by Vice President Mike Pence on October 4th.”
Of course, no bona fide member of the global elite—not even a George Soros—can afford to be seen praising the policies of “America Firster” Donald Trump. So he credits the new policy to “Asian affairs advisor of the National Security Council, Matt Pottinger.” Trump himself he disses as “notoriously unpredictable.”
Now I am sure that Mr. Pottinger, whom I respect, made important contributions to America’s new China policy. But everyone—except, apparently, George Soros—knows that Donald Trump has been sounding the alarm about China’s unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, and theft of intellectual property for over two decades.
In other words, America’s tough new policy towards China owes its very existence to Trump’s leadership, whether Soros wants to admit it or not.
And he clearly doesn’t. In fact, he goes on to bizarrely accuse Trump of violating his own policy: “President Trump seems to be following a different course,” says Soros, “making concessions to China and declaring victory while renewing his attacks on U.S. allies.”
Does Soros regard Trump’s tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, his sanctions on Chinese companies, or his arrest of Huawei “princess” Meng Wanzhou, as concessions? I doubt that Chinese leader Xi Jinping views them that way.
This is a perfect example of Trump Derangement Syndrome. The global elites hate Trump so much that they won’t give him credit even when they agree with his policies.
Actually, our newly minted China hawk’s main complaint is that the current U.S. policy does not go far enough.
“[America’s policy] needs to be far more sophisticated, detailed and practical; and it must include an American economic response to the Belt and Road Initiative,” argues Soros. “The reality is that we are in a Cold War that threatens to turn into a hot one.”
Did you get that? One of the leaders of the global elite wants America to save the world again by declaring a Cold War on China.
The good news is that, thanks to President Trump, we already have.