‘Peace’ With the CCP: Echoes of Soviet-Era ‘Peace’ Posturing

May 24, 2021 Updated: May 27, 2021


A cousin forwarded me a statement by “64 leading organizations,” headlined by the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security. I’m not sure if the paper should be categorized as a position paper, a petition, or a plea. But whatever it is, it denounces what they see as a growing bipartisan American “Cold War” mentality toward China. They would like to avert a hot war with China—especially one involving nuclear weapons.

So far, so good. I can’t imagine any Americans, regardless of political stripe, relishing the prospect of such a destructive conflict. However, the reasons they invoke in support of their plea for U.S. leaders to avoid antagonizing China’s leaders are more problematic.

The Campaign for Peace paper states, “Worryingly, both political parties are increasingly latching onto a dangerously short-sighted worldview that presents China as the pivotal existential threat to U.S. prosperity and security.” Actually, it would be short-sighted not to act with an awareness of the threat the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses. And while I would be willing to concede that the preposterous binge-spending by our national government, combined with seemingly unlimited monetary expansion by a compliant Federal Reserve, may exceed China as the greatest existential threat to our country’s prosperity, there’s no entity anywhere that rivals the CCP as a threat to our national security.

Incredibly, the Campaign for Peace argues that “outdated Cold War thinking … undermines the human rights agenda, providing ammunition for the Chinese government’s claim that criticism of abuses … is aimed at weakening China.” Ergo, what? Should our leaders remain silent about human rights abuses? Should they abandon the human rights agenda entirely to avoid the possibility of offending the perpetrators?

This is the same kind of naïve (or subversive—you decide) approach the American peace movement favored in dealing with the USSR: Oh, please don’t offend those people. If we’re nice to them, maybe they’ll be nice to us. Sorry, folks, but communist leaders who oppress, enslave, and murder some of their own citizens aren’t “just like us”—people who just want to get along. They have ambitious plans, and “being nice” to others isn’t one of them.

What is the agenda—the end game—of the Campaign for Peace initiative urging a nonconfrontational stance toward the CCP? Judging by their own statements, their primary objective seems to be the adoption of domestic socialism here in the United States. With religious zeal, they urge our leaders to beat our nukes into a cornucopia of free handouts. In their own words, they seek “a fundamental restructuring of our own economy through investment in innovation and green jobs; strengthening labor and raising wages; rooting out systemic racism, sexism, and inequality; and ensuring affordable health care, housing, education, and a livable planet.”

Wow. This could’ve been copied almost verbatim 40 years ago, during the Cold War. The parallels are astonishing. Just as was the case then, today’s left-wing peace movement asks us to downplay—if not ignore—an aggressive and malevolent state actor because our country’s only moral course of action is to channel all of our resources into creating a domestic utopian socialism. I doubt most Americans would agree that passively accepting the spread of totalitarian communism constitutes a moral foreign policy.

Indeed, the most glaring omission from the Campaign for Peace’s paper is that there’s not a shred of acknowledgment in the “peace” organizations’ statements that the CCP, like the Communist Party of the now-defunct Soviet Union, has been a brutal aggressor against human rights. There’s no recognition that the CCP exhibits the kind of behavior one expects from a thuggish expansionist regime. In the eyes of the Campaign for Peace, if tensions escalate between the United States and the CCP, it must, ipso facto, be our fault. As was the case during the Soviet Cold War, the current peace paper clearly favors a U.S. policy of unilateral nuclear arms reductions, if not total nuclear disarmament. There’s zero willingness to even consider the possibility that a world with the CCP having nuclear superiority would make the world a less peaceful place.

Practically speaking, do today’s peace advocates really believe that pouring trillions of dollars into green energy instead of billions into nuclear weapons will improve the prospects for peace? What a strange non sequitur! Oh, and the Campaign’s professed concern about “racism”? How about a little bit of balance, please? You would have a hard time finding more hardcore racism in this world than that of Xi Jinping. The Chinese belief in their racial superiority is far older than our country. The movie “Seven Years in Tibet” gave a rare cinematic peek into that repugnant mentality. For a more scholarly treatment, check out this book-length treatise titled, “The Strategic Consequences of Chinese Racism.” (pdf) If nothing else, read the conclusions from p. 221 to about p. 234.

Frankly, the Campaign for Peace tribe, with their implied glib assurance of peace if we refrain from objecting to the CCP’s crimes against humanity made me think of a verse in Jeremiah that decries the false assurance of “saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). In March 1775, American Founding Father Patrick Henry incorporated the Biblical text into his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, saying, “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!” Perhaps if Henry were here today, he would reprise that speech.

Has a war actually begun? Future events will provide a clearer picture, but clearly the time for American passivity is long past. We don’t need the hollow bluster of empty threats as practiced by Barack Obama (as seen in his lack of action when Syrian leader Bashar Assad crossed the line). I much prefer the dignity and seriousness of Teddy Roosevelt’s motto in foreign relations, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Knowing specifically how to respond to CCP aggressions is above my pay grade, but our leaders would do well to tune out the people who minimize the threat from China. What we need is for our leaders with the moral backbone to avoid showboating and theatrical saber-rattling while quietly and unambiguously showing the CCP that there are real consequences—actual prices to pay—for crossing certain lines.

Mark Hendrickson, an economist, recently retired from the faculty of Grove City College, where he remains a fellow for economic and social policy at the Institute for Faith and Freedom.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.