Article audio sponsored by The John Birch Society

In recent years, both before and after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the U.S. foreign policy establishment has openly treated the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a friendly trading partner rather than a totalitarian Communist regime. The truth, of course, is that the Chinese Communist regime is the most prolific mass murderer in history — having amassed a body count of between 34 million and 64 million by the time the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security published its important study The Human Cost of Communism in China in 1971. In the years since, foreign policy experts have claimed that China had “mellowed.” The massacre in Tiananmen Square, however, brought into stark relief the regime’s complete disregard for human rights, a disregard also manifested in Beijing’s barbaric one-child-per-family policy and its reliance on forced abortions.

Now China, which has always oppressed its own citizens, is increasingly flexing its muscles on the world stage. Yet any honest survey of the historical landscape would demonstrate that the PRC would not even exist today — much less be in a position to threaten Taiwan or the United States — if not for the key role that America’s foreign policy establishment played in bringing that regime to power.


Losing China
Mainland China fell to Mao Tse-tung’s Communist forces in 1949, when the remnants of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist army and such citizens as could escape fled to the island of Formosa, now commonly known as Taiwan. But the principal reason for the Communist takeover occurred not on the battlefield, but at the conference table, not in 1949, but four years earlier, prior to the end of World War II — and not in China, but many thousands of miles away at the Yalta summit meeting. On that occasion, unbeknownst to our ally Chiang, who was fighting well over a million Japanese troops, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised Stalin the vast northern Chinese province of Manchuria and other concessions in exchange for Soviet entrance into the war against Japan.

The Soviet army, poised along the Manchurian border and supplied with American lend-lease equipment, entered the war against Japan three days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. At that late stage, noted General Albert C. Wedemeyer in his book, Wedemeyer Reports!, “the Red Army naturally met practically no enemy resistance and was soon in complete control of Manchuria” — after which “the Russians received the surrender of Japanese arms and equipment [stockpiled in the region], which they overtly and covertly made available to the Chinese Communists.” With that the balance of power in China shifted to Mao Tse-tung and his band of Communist terrorists.

But there were other significant steps along the way that insured Chiang’s defeat and the loss of China. Those steps included the cease-fires forced upon Chiang when he was making military progress, our insistence that Chiang form a coalition government with the Communists, and our 10-month embargo on the sale or shipment of arms to Chiang. When the embargo was fastened upon Chiang, General George Marshall boasted: “As Chief of Staff I armed 39 anti-Communist divisions; now with a stroke of the pen I disarm them.”

As the end approached, Congress did pass a measure to provide some aid to China’s beleaguered anti-Communist forces, but the delivery was sabotaged. The Truman administration, wrote Wedemeyer, “succeeded in thwarting the intent of the [1948] China Aid Act by delaying the shipment of munitions to China until the end of that critical year.” Some arms were even destroyed. As recounted by Senator Joseph McCarthy in his book America’s Retreat From Victory, “Over the hump in India, the United States military authorities were detonating large stores of ammunition and dumping 120,000 tons of war supplies in the Bay of Bengal — much of it undelivered to China but charged to her wartime lend-lease account.”

It was McCarthy’s assessment that U.S. policymakers lost China. Liberals who might dismiss this view as “McCarthyism” should consider the assessment of one young congressman, John F. Kennedy, who told the House on January 25, 1949, “The responsibility for the failure of our foreign policy in the Far East rests squarely with the White House and the Department of State. The continued insistence that aid would not be forthcoming, unless a coalition government with the Communists were formed, was a crippling blow to the national government.” Five days later JFK added: “What our young men had saved, our diplomats and our President have frittered away.”

Korea and Vietnam
The loss of China set the stage for the Korean War, which in turn set the stage for Vietnam. When the Soviets occupied Manchuria, they also — by agreement with the U.S. — continued into the Korean Peninsula, where they accepted the surrender of the Japanese above the 38th parallel. Subsequently, when the Soviet-trained North Korean Army invaded the South and when the Communist Chinese Army entered the fray, incredible restrictions were placed on the United Nations forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. In his book Reminiscences, MacArthur described the ordeal:

… I was forbidden “hot” pursuit of enemy planes that attacked our own. Manchuria and Siberia were sanctuaries of inviolate protection for all enemy forces and for all enemy purposes, no matter what depredations or assaults might come from there. Then I was denied the right to bomb the hydroelectric plants along the Yalu. The order was broadened to include every plant in North Korea which was capable of furnishing electric power to Manchuria and Siberia. Most incomprehensible of all was the refusal to let me bomb the important supply center at Racin, which was not in Manchuria or Siberia, but many miles from the border, in northeast Korea. Racin was a depot to which the Soviet Union forwarded supplies from Vladivostok for the North Korean Army.

These restrictions were so detrimental that Chinese General Lin Piao later admitted in an official leaflet: “I would never have made the attack and risked my men and military reputation if I had not been assured that Washington would restrain General MacArthur from taking adequate retaliatory measures against my lines of supply and communication.” The Communists were also assisted by Washington’s spurning of Chiang’s offer to provide troops. In fact, our Seventh Fleet was placed in the strait between mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan, not to protect Taiwan from invasion, but to protect the Communists. MacArthur explained: “This released the two great Red Chinese armies assigned to the coastal defense of central China and made them available for transfer elsewhere.”

It is understandable that MacArthur felt that “step-by-step my weapons were being taken away from me.” Eventually MacArthur himself was removed, and Korea became the first war America did not win.

In Vietnam the story was much the same, the most notable difference being that in the latter conflict Washington’s no-win policies succeeded in rescuing defeat instead of stalemate from the jaws of victory.

Fast Forward to the Present
After the fall of the mainland, the People’s Republic of China was officially shunned by Washington. But that abruptly changed in 1972 when Republican President Richard Nixon made his pilgrimage to China, setting the stage for Democratic President Jimmy Carter’s termination of diplomatic relations with Taiwan on the last day of 1978 and the establishment of diplomatic relations with the PRC on the first day of 1979. From that date on, the U.S. has recognized only the Communist government as legitimate, but undoubtedly no American president has put this betrayal in as explicit terms as Bill Clinton, who stated on last year’s China trip: “[W]e don’t support independence for Taiwan, or ‘two Chinas,’ or ‘one Taiwan, one China,’ and we don’t believe Taiwan should be a member in any organization for which statehood is a requirement.”

Even anti-Communist icon Ronald Reagan embraced China, referring to it as a “so-called Communist” country on his return trip from China in 1984. During Reagan’s tenure, the Communist Chinese were the beneficiaries of U.S. Export-Import Bank credits and an acceleration of U.S. technology transfers. They were even allowed to purchase U.S. military equipment.

When the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred in June 1989, then-President George Bush exclaimed that the United States “cannot ignore the consequences for our relationship with China.” Yet he responded to the tragedy by suspending rather than dismantling that relationship. He kept the basic mechanisms for U.S.-Chinese relations in place, ready to shift back into high gear as soon as the political climate warmed. It didn’t take long. The following month Mr. Bush broke his promise that there would be a suspension of high-level contacts. By the end of the year, he had waived a congressional ban on the use of Export-Import Bank loans and loan guarantees for China.

When Bill Clinton ousted George Bush, the U.S. government’s accommodation of the PRC became even more overt — so overt in fact that the name “Chinagate” became a part of our political lexicon. Clinton was impeached for charges related to the Monica Lewinsky affair, yet his most impeachable offense was his acceptance of bribes from Communist China.

In one instance of bribery, Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chao-ying of China’s People’s Liberation Army transferred $300,000 to Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung, who in turn sluiced $110,000 of that bribe into Clinton’s campaign coffers. Clinton, whose run for the White House was lavishly funded not only by China but by its American high-tech collaborators, tilted U.S. policy in favor of his benefactors — to the detriment of U.S. security. Chung observed: “The White House is like a subway; you have to put in coins to open the gates.” On the other hand, Bill Clinton declared: “I don’t believe you can find any evidence of the fact that I had changed government policy solely because of a contribution” — which means, according to the equivocator-in-chief himself, he may have changed U.S. foreign policy based partly on a contribution.

Based on his own understanding of the seriousness of Chinagate, House Majority Leader Dick Armey went so far as to raise the specter of the dreaded “T” word. “The more you look into this business of the transfer of advanced, sophisticated technology to the Chinese military, which seems to be clearly for campaign contributions, the harder it is to stay way from words like treason,” he observed in a speech on August 25, 1998.

With just a few months in office under his belt, President George W. Bush seems to be following the example of his predecessor. Bush chose for his secretary of labor Elaine Chao, whose longtime ties to the PRC should have, but did not, set off national security alarm bells.

Long-standing Pattern
The overall record of U.S. policy toward China reveals a tragic pattern of supporting Communism while ostensibly opposing it. The same can be said regarding our policy toward Russia — from the $11 billion WWII lend-lease program (more than $100 billion in today’s currency), to the incredible wartime concessions that made possible the brutal Soviet subjugation of Eastern Europe, to U.S. taxpayer-subsidized wheat sales, to technology transfers that enabled the Soviets to modernize their military. Regarding the latter, Senator William Armstrong stated on the Senate floor on April 13, 1982: “The great irony for Americans who will be asked to tighten their belts in order to pay for our defense needs is that much of the additional money that must be spent on defense is required to offset Soviet weapons that probably could not have been built without our assistance.” Ditto regarding the U.S.-enhanced PRC threat.

This long-standing pattern of foreign policy betrayals could not have occurred without the unwavering support of the American establishment, including the “wise men” who formulate policy and the media mavens who repackage or cover up their betrayals. The most visible manifestation of this insider establishment is the Council on Foreign Relations, whose members have dominated key U.S. government positions pertaining to national security and foreign policy since WWII, regardless of whether the White House was occupied by a Republican or a Democrat. CFR members in the Bush administration, for instance, include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (past CFR), CIA Director George Tenet, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, and the aforementioned Elaine Chao. As long as this CFR foreign policy cartel maintains its grip on the reins of power, legitimate American interests will continue to be sold down the river in favor of the left-wing new world order long sought after by Communists.


This article originally appeared in the May 7, 2001 issue of The New American.