Senator Marco Rubio: What is our model? Well, it’s been coming upon us Americans as leaders, and our democratic allies around the world, to make the case that our model just is as superior.
It’s been coming upon us to make the case that on behalf of our model just as aggressively as an authoritarian China is making their case for socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Our leadership must also be one that respects human dignity, that defends our interests in religious liberty and democracy, and human rights in the rule of law, which means consistently sticking up for nations committed to the same ideals.
And standing with people who are fighting for these and being crushed by the totalitarianism anywhere in the world.
By the way the 20th century and in the 21st century, American leadership brought peace after the carnage of the first half of the last century. The United States has led the world to avoid open great power conflicts. And that meant historically little bloodshed and deep international stability compared to previous eras.
The international system that America helped craft and lead comes with the promise of multilateral security.
And that’s why we must remain wholly committed to protecting our allies. We spare no cost to help them rebuild to defend themselves and to protect the dignity of their citizens.
The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, cannot conceive of the world that’s not driven by status of hierarchy. They are not partners and they see no one as partners. They view them as vassal states.
So this progress, even to someone like Waqing Fang, is a hidden plot to suppress others.
Such cynicism by the way reveals more about the Chinese Communist Party than it does about us, with the failure of American efforts to offer a helping hand to China in exchange for moderation.
To the Chinese Communist Party, power serves no purpose but the strength in the party’s rule and to spread its influence around the world.
And for them, those who deviate from the party’s expectations deserve to be sent to forced labor camps where they toil on the party’s behalf.
While mass surveillance is a necessary safeguard against deviants whose only crime is to want a private civic life.
As part of making the case for our model, we must continue to make the case as to why China is an untrustworthy partner in every endeavor, whether it is a nation state project, an industrial capacity or financial integration.
They have a neo-colonial project, the Belt and Road Initiative, which follows a very consistent playbook, approaches nations with promises of lucrative state projects, exploit corruption, bleed those nations dried, and then hijack their domestic infrastructure.
In Sri Lanka, what it meant was the de facto take-over of wide swaths of their political system after a project spoiled, and Beijing seized the port.
Beijing is also a non-trustworthy partner in international commitments. We’ve seen this repeatedly in the Asia Pacific where they have frequently violated international agreements and obligations on Hong Kong, on Taiwan. We see it right of the coast of Vietnam, in the Philippines where Beijing is literally building artificial islands to substantiate ludicrous territorial claims.
Chinese leaders have long claimed to never seek hegemony and yet the bullying of their neighbors, they justify it and they justify it on the grounds that China deserves the respect because of its power and position.
Doing business in China is not just like here or anywhere else. It’s not business between two private companies, it means doing business with companies backed by, sponsored by, protected by the Chinese Communist Party.
Their economy is purposely opaque and Chinese companies many of which are state-owned or state-directed are tools used by the Chinese Communist Party to further their merchantilist goals.
The telecommunication company we’ve heard so often of Huawei is just one example.
Nations that have naively partnered with Huawei on 5G exposed vital technical infrastructure to Beijing surveillance state, a partnership that Beijing has shown it will readily exploit.
The bottom line is that China no matter what will continue to play a prominent role in the future of our world and frankly we should welcome a growing, thriving China, but one that plays by the rules.
Today’s China governed by the Chinese Communist Party is not playing by any rules. It’s a predatory state in nature, and it actively seeks to supplant not just the United States but a world order committed to democracy, human rights and the dignity of all.‘
Since their induction in the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has shown itself to be anything but a responsible global partner. And this is a dangerous recipe for conflict. And that’s what China’s leaders are preparing for.
Xi Jinping put the party on notice in 2013 saying that “China must diligently prepare for a long period of cooperation and of conflict with capitalist democracies. If anything, the intervening years have strengthened this conviction.”
Wang Qishan told Chinese business leaders that Americans “want your life!” He called it an illusion that “some small amount of money” would resolve the trade war. “We do not want to fight but are not afraid to fight,” Wang concluded, quoting Mao.
China clearly sees the moment these decades really as their opportunity to suppress America from its global leadership role. And conflict armed otherwise is an inevitable byproduct of that progression.
America, Wang noted, has been the world’s leader for decades, and we have used that power to build an international system that prioritizes fundamental human rights, open democratic governance, and liberal economies. All the things that the Communist Party of China believes represents weakness.
So we must be absolutely clear as to what that means.
If China becomes the world’s dominant economic power, they will become the world’s dominant military power. They will become the world’s dominant financial power. They will become the world’s dominant cultural power.
And given their critique, I would say disdain of our system, we can expect that in the future such as that, it will look much different than the one, the reality we live now if China suppressed America in the west.
The world our children will inherit will be nothing like the one we grew up and know.
Instead of exploiting the Chinese Communist Party’s brand of authoritarianism country by country as they do now, China will be positioned to reorient the entire globe.
The application of the party’s governance at home applies on a global scale to the ways countries interact with one another.
Let me close with the prophetic words of a Chinese dissident Wei Jinsheng in his testimony before Congress in the year 2000 against – in opposition to China’s ascension to the WTO. This is: “If the United States will not fight the world’s largest tyranny politically, then inevitably we will have to fight it economically, and eventually militarily.”
Therefore the only way to preserve peace and freedom begins by comprehending democracy’s greatest enemy, and countering it effectively. “Blissful ignorance is no longer an option.”
We cannot overlook the obvious signs in favor of the near term economic gains. The world has reached a crossroads, one in which our inability to act will usher in a Chinese century and that will have disastrous consequences.
By Marco Rubio, Republican Senator
Notes taken by staff