BY ZACHARY HUBBARD
June 23, 2009 - I was recently surprised to discover my local cable-TV carrier had added a station. According to the station’s Web site, CCTV International is the English-language, 24-hour news channel of China Central Television.
It explains, “CCTV International is China’s contribution to greater diversity and more perspective in the global information flow.”
While serving as director of the Information Warfare faculty at the Department of Defense’s Joint Forces Staff College, I lectured on strategic communication, psychological operations and propaganda. I rate much of the programming on CCTV as little more than propaganda.
Some of CCTV’s propaganda is amateurish by Western standards. They should hire a Madison Avenue company that designs marketing campaigns for beer. Those folks know how to persuade!
The Chinese still have a lot to learn about Westerners. For example, recently while channel surfing, I noticed a symphony orchestra playing on CCTV. The orchestra was accompanying a woman singer. She was wearing a military uniform and singing (with English subtitles) about the glories of the homeland, where everyone is happy and everyone helps their fellow man. It was laughably corny.
What this patriotic diva failed to mention is China’s for-profit forced labor camps, its persecution of citizens who embrace the spiritual practice of Falun Gong, and China’s violent oppression of Tibet, a free country it seized by force in 1951.
Despite what the Chinese Communist leadership would have us think about the culture, China is a political, economic and military adversary of the United States. It represents the antithesis of American ideals.
CCTV is part of China’s public diplomacy campaign, which attempts to convey positive images and messages about China to the populations in other countries where the Chinese have economic interests and ambitions.
In April 2009, Zhang Zhexin of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies spoke at the national Information Warfare Conference in National Harbor, Md. Zhang explained that China’s public diplomacy has gone through three phases.
The first, from 1949 until the late 1980s, was propaganda oriented.
Phase two, from the end of the Cold War until the early 2000s, aimed to minimize China’s perceived threat to other countries.
Phase three, which is ongoing, aims to inform foreign populations about China’s culture and cultivate good perceptions of China throughout the rest of the world.
The current phase of China’s public diplomacy is critical. China needs other countries to be comfortable with and accepting of its culture. This goes far beyond encouraging us to buy Chinese takeout for dinner.
The Chinese leadership must make Chinese culture appear totally acceptable to the West – at least the parts of the culture they allow us to see. China’s leaders don’t want us to see the poverty, the ecological disasters their industries have created or the way they brutally suppress anyone who disagrees with them.
The acceptance of Chinese culture by Western populations is absolutely essential if China is to maintain its aggressive economic growth (8 percent projected for 2010), because only Western powers can disrupt China’s economic plans. They need the West to continue buying Chinese goods and to refrain from a new East-West arms race.
To maintain its robust economic growth, China must expand its global presence. Chinese government purchasing agents are heavily engaged around the world securing the natural resources and raw materials China needs to fuel its growth. Oil and natural gas are at the top of the list.
China’s development of a blue-water navy, which may include aircraft carriers, is a part of its global engagement strategy. A true superpower must be able to project power globally.
The Chinese are also buying up America. As General Motors quietly slips down the toilet, China is negotiating to purchase the Hummer, the auto line that once symbolized the raw audacity of GM’s brand.
The Chinese are also snatching up American real estate. At the aptly named “America Is for Sale Expo,” which occurred in Beijing in April 2009, Chinese buyers grabbed more than $100 million in U.S. real estate. Shortly after the expo, it was reported that an additional $400 million in sales was in the works.
The next expo is scheduled for October.
Why should average Americans care about this? For starters, near the end of 2008 China surpassed Japan as the largest owner of U.S. national debt instruments. China’s leaders are using this advantageous position to pressure American leaders to support their global ambitions.
China and Russia recently announced plans to use their own currencies for trade between their countries, instead of the U.S. dollar, placing more pressure on the Obama administration.
The subservient demeanor of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during his recent visit to Beijing is an indicator of how far America has fallen.
Geithner and a bunch of elected fools on Capitol Hill are mortgaging our country’s future to China. Therefore they have to pay homage to China’s leaders at the expense of American taxpayers.
Behold the United States, the country which ultimately defeated the Third Reich and Imperial Japan, kowtowing to a gang of Chinese Communist thugs. At the same time, China’s brutal regime subsidizes its own manufacturers and manipulates its currency’s value, making American goods less competitive in China and globally.
The new Chinese superpower that made its world debut at the Beijing Olympics continues to rise. It appears nothing can stem the red tide.
Will China’s rise mean the end of America’s global superpower status? Unfortunately, the answer may be yes. We may be witnessing one of those rare occasions in world history where a great power is deposed by a weaker adversary, without even having put up a fight. You can thank a lot of folks on Capitol Hill for making this possible.
With no end to America’s economic crisis in sight and no apparent end to China’s economic growth, Americans have little to look forward to these days, except perhaps the midterm elections. Then at last we can start clearing out the bums who got us into this mess.
Zachary Hubbard is a retired Army officer residing in Upper Yoder Township. He is a member of The Tribune-Democrat readership advisory committee.