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Red Flag Manuscript: On Exporting the U.S. Democratic System

[Editor’s Note: Red Flag Manuscript is another publication, in addition to Qiushi Journal, of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. In a recent article “On Exporting the U.S. Democracy System,” the author, who works at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, World Economics and Politics Research Institute, says, “The essence of the exportation of democracy is to create a world like the U.S., according to its own look, and to make it permanent.” “Almost all current major international issues, in particular international conflicts and friction, are related to the U.S. exporting its democratic system. To grasp this topic is to grasp the core of the current international issues.” “From a long-term strategic view, the ultimate targets of the exportation of U.S. democracy are Russia and China.” Below is a translation of excerpts from the article.] [1]

The U.S. global strategy has centered around one theme: exporting U.S. democracy. A dream since the nation’s birth has been to promote the U.S. democratic system to the whole world in an attempt to create a world for itself according to its own look. U.S. President Obama, facing an American fable that has been bursting day by day, has still not forgotten this dream. He said in his inauguration speech that he will let the American dream shine again. [2] Almost all the contradictions and conflicts that have occurred in the world are directly or indirectly related to the U.S. exportation of its democracy. By identifying the source and essence of the U.S. exportation of its democracy, we can grasp the core of international issues, and better understand the current situation and trend of international affairs, and, in particular, the crux of Sino-US relations and their future development. …

The substance of the exportation of American democracy is to create a world like the U.S. according to its own look, and to make it permanent. There are two levels of meaning here: the first is to have those who are pro-U.S. or the so-called democracy advocates come to power, and fully accept U.S. control, subject to U.S. interests and global strategies; the second is to use those in power to transplant the system of American democracy, generally first copying the U.S. constitution, or accepting U.S. human rights, values, and principles, and then, according to the U.S. Constitution, establishing the U.S. democratic political system, and gradually achieving Americanization in all aspects of social relations and social life.

For the U.S., the world’s only superpower, its global exportation of the democratic system is bound to affect the world’s situation, and the situations within all countries as well. Almost all current major international issues, in particular international conflicts and friction, are related to the U.S. exportation of its democratic system. To grasp this topic is to grasp the core of current international issues. …

In the early days, the export of American democracy mainly took the form of “assimilating” neighboring regions and states. Before World War I, the U.S.’s “Monroe Doctrine” targeted Latin America with a focus on the Caribbean. The goal in Asia was the Philippines. World War I provided opportunities to export U.S. democracy. President Wilson claimed that the “new freedom and democracy” was an important U.S. export. “As soon as he sent the war message to Congress, the president took steps to ensure that the war would change its character now that the United States was in it. No longer a conventional struggle for power among ambitious countries, it must now be redefined as a crusade – a war to ‘make the world safe for democracy.’ The United States would not be interested in merely helping the Europeans restore the prewar status quo. The nation was not fighting for such an old-fashioned goal; rather, it was eager to make a real difference in the shape of the future world, to contribute to defining it. And ‘democracy’ was a key guiding principle precisely in such a context, for it stood for a new political order at home and, therefore, abroad.” (The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations: Volume 3, The Globalizing of America, 1913-1945, page 45) During the two wars, the emphasis on exporting American values and the democratic system gradually expanded from Latin America to Asia and Europe, with a focus on Japan and Germany after World War II. To force the two countries to accept American values and the democratic system through military occupation was called the “successful model” of the U.S. exportation of democracy.

However, until the 1980s, due to the U.S. competition for hegemony with other world powers, the global exportation of the U.S. democratic system, or the globalization of America, was limited to some regions and some countries. Starting in the 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. entered the development stage of international monopolistic capitalism, or the post-imperialist era. During this period, the U.S. became the world’s only superpower with economic and military power unparalleled by any country in the world. It became the most powerful global empire in human history. As the rulers of the U.S. believed that it already had enough power to achieve the “U.S. historic mission” around the globe, starting with the Clinton administration, exporting the democratic system and the implementation of global “Americanization” has been the basic element of its global strategy.

After the “9.11” incident, the Bush administration, in the name of the war against terrorism, exerted itself to the utmost in the implementation of the global strategy of exporting democracy. Based on the overall situation around the world, it adopted different means catering to the different characteristics of different regions and different countries. For example, the U.S. export of democracy in the Middle East was begun by war. In 2003, the U.S. occupied Iraq using a brutal military operation. Now it is in full swing and full force, comprehensively “transplanting” American democracy to Iraq, which is to be used as a base for expanding the practices to other countries. Exporting democracy to Eastern Europe and Central Asia was pushed forward by means of “color revolution.” Since 2003, through political infiltration and supporting pro-American forces to take power by peaceful campaigns, the U.S. made so-called “comparatively satisfactory progress” in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. Now the U.S.’s exportation of democracy is focused on Asia, with China as the main objective for new tactics. All of this “progress” seems to strengthen the U.S. confidence in the global expansion of the democratic system. It claims that “the tide of U.S. democracy is rising in the world.”

After the new U.S. president, Obama, took office, he emphasized in his inaugural speech that American democracy is the embodiment of its national faith and spirit, and is the eternal power of the U.S. The American dream of global promotion of American democracy still shines and is the relentless pursuit of the U.S. However, the U.S. faces a situation where its reputation has been thoroughly destroyed after the wars arrogantly waged against Afghanistan and Iraq, its violence in those wars, and especially the strikes from the global financial crisis triggered by Wall Street. Therefore the Obama administration has been forced to adopt a strategy of retreating as a way of advancing. It is claiming to change from the Bush-style unipolar hegemony and unilateral approach of relying solely on military force to rebuilding traditional alliances and taking multilateral actions. From a series of remarks and actions by Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we can more and more clearly see what the true meaning of rebuilding traditional alliances and taking multilateral actions is. While the U.S. feels powerless, it wants to take advantage of alliances to help it complete its mission of promoting American democracy to the world and achieving its American dream. For example, the Obama administration actively engages in political infiltration in nations and regions favorable for the expansion of American democracy, overtly or covertly dispatching special forces; blatantly meddles in Asian affairs by using historic issues, especially the border issue, to sow dissension between Asian countries; and openly threatens the core interests of China in the South China Sea by launching military exercises at China’s doorstep. All these show that the Obama administration has no intention of changing or abandoning the fundamental strategies of promoting American democracy to the world and “Americanizing” the world, but is also actively pursuing this strategy.

From a long-term strategic view, the ultimate targets of the exportation of U.S. democracy are Russia and China. As anyone can see, the current world order and structure shows that whoever controls Russia and China the same way as it controls Japan, controls the whole world. After the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, although Russia and the Eastern European countries embarked on a Western capitalist road based on private ownership, and although the U.S. realized the goal of changing the nature of the socialism that was in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe through peaceful evolution, the political systems in these countries didn’t copy the American model. More importantly, Russia, as a military power, not only refused to be controlled by the U.S., but was competing with the U.S. for interests in the Middle East and Central Asia. This is what the U.S. cannot tolerate. Apparently, the purpose of the exportation of American democracy in these countries hasn’t been fully met. This is why the U.S. again adopted “color revolutions” to re-export the democratic system to these countries. The Bush administration has frequently put pressure on the Russian leaders to implement American-style democracy, and has made a great effort and invested much capital to foster pro-American forces in Russia. It is evident that Russia is the last target of the U.S. to implement the “color revolution” among the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Even before proposing the “open door” policy, the U.S. was dreaming of China and wanted to control China alone, by turning China into an “America’s sister republic,” and making China its base to control the Pacific, so as to make “the Pacific the inland sea of the United States.” When dealing with China, the U.S. has never given up its dream. Now, China is not only a large developing country, but also a large socialist country. Its ever growing economic and military strength has naturally become a source of great anxiety for America. American academia and politicians have admitted that it is not that the U.S. does not want to achieve a regime change in China by force so as to control China, but that the cost of using force is too high and success is not assured. That’s why the U.S. had to adopt a “containment” and “contact” policy. Everyone knows that “containment” and “contact” are the means and tactics, but the ultimate goal is still to change the nature of the regime, removing the last and largest obstacle toward controlling the whole world.

No matter how the Sino-US relationship develops and changes, the U.S. strategy of exporting democracy to China so as to achieve a regime change will not change. This is the crux of all the contradictions, frictions, and conflicts in the Sino-U.S. relationship, and the crux of the Taiwan Strait issue. On this, the Chinese people must keep a clear mind. For example, on one hand, the U.S. said to “contact” China and develop Sino-US relations, but on the other it is sensationalizing the “China threat theory,” sowing dissension in countries that neighbor China, and conducting military deployment in full swing to contain China. On issues of human rights, the political system, ethnic and religious policy, and energy and financial policies, the U.S. has been “demonizing” China in its propaganda. In particular, the U.S. openly declared that how China deals with the South China Sea issue will threaten U.S. interests, and launched a joint military exercise with South Korean in Yellow Sea at the gate of China. All of these serve one purpose, that is, by not using force but military threats, political isolation, and cultural infiltration, to push China to embark on a road of peaceful evolution toward American style democracy.

[1] Qiushi journal, October 9, 2010
[2] The article is a direct translation from the Red Flag Manuscript article. However, the editor cannot find the corresponding words in President Obama’s inaugural address.