The United Kingdom’s party chairman evoked echoes of former UK Prime Minister Margret Thatcher’s recent speech at the Heritage Foundation. The chairman reminded the audience of how Ronald Reagan and Thatcher confronted the Soviet Union with a united front in the speech. Dowden urged for a revival of that cooperation but this time for a new adversary, the Chinese Communist Party.
There has been a very pollyannaish belief that open trade with China would liberalize the country and tamp down its more authoritarian tendencies. The exact opposite has happened. Instead of creating a partner, the West has only enriched and emboldened the CCP. China’s economy now rivals (if not surpasses) the United States. Its military has been modernized, and its cozy relationship with dictators (Russia, Iran, North Korea) creates a de facto alliance that imperils the West. Dowden makes a strong point that the sooner the US puts down its naïve beliefs and pivots to face its new adversary, the better.
It has yet to happen in large part because of the economic interests that large American conglomerates have in the region. Activists like Enes Freedom, who was cut from the NBA for his beliefs about the CCP, learn that speaking out against China is a losing economic proposition. Other industries are turning a blind eye to China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, which lays debt traps for developing countries because of the financial incentives at stake in other areas.
For sure, China’s authoritarian plans are only getting more ambitious. It continues to build its surveillance state and control its people with social credit scores. The CCP has placed over 1.8 million people (about twice the population of Delaware) in concentration camps. Soon it will look to the south and Taiwan.
Chairman Dowden is ahead of the curve compared to most people in the West by recognizing the need to band together to confront the threat posed by the CCP. If we do not heed his call voluntarily, it is a certainty that given enough time, China will force our unity with the UK by its actions. In the United States geopolitical best interest, it is to see our adversary for what it truly is, an authoritarian state with a system wholly incompatible with ours. We should make our plans, and alliances, with this in mind.