- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 10, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

COMMENTARY:

President Bush’s decision to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing was a disgrace - both to the United States and to China’s long-suffering people. Mr. Bush’s appearance has given political legitimacy and moral credibility to Beijing’s murderous regime. His denunciations of China’s human rights record ring hollow. Mr. Bush has now provided his stamp of approval to the premier international sports competition that is being used by the world’s leading fascist power to bolster its image and prestige.

The Beijing Olympics is not the first time the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded the games to a modern dictatorship. In 1936, the Berlin Olympics were a huge propaganda victory for Adolf Hitler. He was able to showcase his ideals of Aryan supremacy and xenophobic militarism. Although the games are remembered in the United States for sprinter Jesse Owens capturing four gold medals, at the time, they were viewed as the triumph of totalitarianism over the declining democracies. The Germans won 33 gold medals, nine more than the second-place Americans. Benito Mussolini’s Italy finished third, ahead of France and Britain. The message was clear: Nazi Germany and fascist Italy represented the wave of the future, while capitalist democracies like the U.S. - embodied the old, dying order.

In a similar manner, China is seeking to use the Olympics as a symbol of its emerging global might. The Chinese are in a gold medal war with the United States. China hopes that, by defeating America in athletic competition, it can demonstrate the country’s superior political and socio-economic system. In short, Beijing wants to replicate the Berlin games, and show the world that China is the new rising superpower.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, China is not a communist state. Rather, it is the world’s most powerful neo-fascist empire. Resembling right-wing dictatorships such as Francisco Franco’s Spain or Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, Beijing’s leaders champion one-party rule combined with free-market policies and a rigid social order. During the 1990s, China’s communists realized Marxist economics and central planning had become discredited. Hence, they adopted the fascist model: a new emphasis on militarism, national chauvinism and imperial expansion. The result is that international class struggle is out; bellicose nationalism is in.

China is engaged in a massive military buildup. It has deployed hundreds of missiles facing Taiwan. It threatens to crush the island democracy’s bid for independence. It sustains North Korea’s Stalinist regime. It has sold precious missile technology to Iran. It supports Sudan’s Islamist regime and its campaign of genocide in Darfur. It has close ties with Venezuela’s strongman, Hugo Chavez. In short, Beijing is flexing its geopolitical muscles in the hopes of becoming America’s global rival.

China’s politics may no longer be red but black. Yet the regime remains the authoritarian successor to Mao Tse-tung - the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. Mao’s terror purges, collectivization policies and state-induced famines resulted in the deaths of over 60 million Chinese. Today, however, his giant portrait can still be seen in Tiananmen Square. Beijing’s official line is that Mao’s legacy was “70 percent good, 30 percent bad.” In fact, it was zero percent good, 100 percent bad.

China’s rulers cannot completely break with the Maoist past because their iron grip on power depends upon it. Beijing maintains an elaborate system of slave labor camps. It controls the media. It censors the Internet. It jails dissidents and journalists. It persecutes Christians and the Falun Gong religious sect. It continues to subjugate Tibet, and wage a campaign of ethnic cleansing. It ruthlessly suppresses the national aspirations of diverse peoples within its vast, artificial borders.

China presents a clear, dangerous alternative to the West’s liberal democracy. Success leads to imitation. Dictators everywhere are now seeing that impressive economic growth and technological modernization are possible without political pluralism.

The most important protege has been Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He has transformed Russia into an authoritarian, Czarist-style state. He has copied China’s brand of corporatist fascism, in which a powerful ruling elite exercises control over the private sector.

It is no accident that over the past decade China and Russia have forged an anti-Western alliance. They share similar political systems, values and interests. Their primary strategic goal is to undermine the United States on the world stage and decisively defeat democratic capitalism. Beijing and Moscow form the new international fascist axis.

The IOC made a monumental blunder in granting China the Olympics. The IOC’s actions have done nothing to enhance democracy, improve human rights or even clean up Beijing’s suffocating pollution and smog. The IOC has simply rewarded China for its authoritarian, aggressive behavior. And it’s not like the IOC has learned its lesson: Mr. Putin’s Russia has been awarded the 2014 winter Olympics. It pays to be part of the dictators’ club - at least as far as the IOC is concerned.

That’s why I’m hoping America’s athletes trounce the Chinese (and the Russians) in the gold medal count. Beijing may think the games signal its new-found grandeur; they only cast a spotlight on its grotesque malevolence.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times.

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