Newsmax: Coronavirus: Beginning of the End for Communism in China?

During the presidential primaries of 2016, I was invited to a faculty dinner whose purpose was to host an editor of a major national newspaper. I found myself amongst a group of left-wing academics and students who represented the vast supermajority of the room.

Amongst the general horror felt by most as Donald Trump began to rack up election victories from the Republican side, a question was posed for dinner discussion: “What will be the major headline in 50 years?”

The majority of answers broke down into variations of an Earth ravaged by climate destruction, nuclear war, and big data manipulation. I began to laugh as I thought how the answers matched the personalities of their political inclinations: humorless at best, foreboding and dark at their worst.

When it fell upon me to deliver my pearl of wisdom, I glibly declared, “Not to burst the dystopian fantasies that we have all built here, but the major headline in 50 years will be a democratic China with which the United States is negotiating a military alliance with.” It goes without saying that the room fell silent in shock and disbelief.

In the early 2000s, I had been presenting the idea that China had just as much of a chance of national implosion as becoming a type of economic wunderkind of the early 21st century.

Both of these thoughts are converging. China, especially the Communist Party, is quickly losing runway to land their ideologies, policies and economic expansion. It has been decades since Chinese communist ideology was anything more than a rump placeholder for any sense of national identity or ethical behavior.

However, their world has become darker. Not only have they failed to meet the magical 8% growth rate of GDP that was always thought to be the price to purchase a compliant population, but they have suffered defeats over the Taiwan elections, international condemnation over Uighur “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, trade conflict with the United States, excessive violence usage in the Hong Kong protests, and finally, their latest catastrophic handling of the coronavirus.

With global deaths from coronavirus topping 1,000, far above that of the SARS outbreak from 2002 and 2003, the Chinese government has exhibited classic tactics of dystopian plotlines: They have manipulated the number of infected and dead since the virus’s initial onslaught; Chinese journalists covering the crisis have disappeared; Dr. Li Wenliang who warned about the virus back in December 2019, was detained and punished for “spreading rumors.”

Then there are the mysterious circumstances surrounding Dr. Li’s death. Social media posts show panicked citizens barricaded into their homes by authorities, while others are forcibly dragged from their homes. A woman was shown crying on her balcony pleading for help for her dying husband. One particularly disturbing image shows a couple thrown into a windowless, airless metal container while a little boy, off-camera, watched and asked what was happening.

It has yet to be seen how the coronavirus saga will unfold before it is relegated into the history books as a modern global pandemic. A major question remains: How many people will die from the virus and what percentage in quarantine zones will die from starvation and neglect reminiscent of Mao’s famine years?

For mainland Chinese, however, the question they absolutely will ask is, will we continue to tolerate this form of government, and will we allow it to consume our children? 

Accurate archival material of the Mao years may be hard to come by, and indeed, scholars in academia continue to argue whether he was the liberating leader of a Great Leap Forward, or an agent of evil.

But in this information age, Mao’s Communist legacy, as seen through today’s Chinese government, is made indisputable in its tactics, intentions and treatment of its own people.

For over 70 years, this Communist legacy has failed to grasp the concept that the most powerful emotion in the world, a close second to love, is found in freedom. If they had given Dr. Li the vehicle to speak freely and frequently, many would still be alive.

Instead, emblematic of dictatorships everywhere, they are scrambling to cover up yet another embarrassing policy failure, one of which was entirely in their control, and could have been entirely averted.

President Xi and the entire Chinese Communist Party face a continued trial against their de facto authority, and the coronavirus may prove to be the pivot point that fractures the party from within and without by further exposing its inner methodologies.

Confucianism, which Mao and the Communist Party attempted to stamp out, declared that rulers rule only at the behest of Heaven. Once corruption is exposed through natural disasters and unrest in the population, Confucius argued this was a way for Heaven to remove its blessing.

Perhaps the headline of 50-years-in-the-future is revealing itself sooner than expected.

This piece originally ran on on 11 February 2020 and was co-authored with my wife, Kathryn Colucci.

Newsmax: Why It’s Time for a ‘Triplanetary’ Economy

The Triplanetary project is an idea that recognizes the strategic future of the United States and the western alliance. It’s dependent on the dominance of space.

The concept envisions activity stretching from the planetary surface, Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO), Cislunar space, the moon, and Mars.

The Triplanetary (Earth/the moon/Mars) concept has far-reaching military, political, cultural, and economic consequences that will determine the success or failure of American strategic primacy for the 21st century and beyond.

The term, Triplanetary, is a catch-all phrase integraing  Earth, the moon, and Mars into a single synthesis. It’s a good and direct concept regardless of the howls by some that the moon is not a planet; those individuals — at best — miss the point.

The United States government must lead the Triplanetary project, but in partnership with American corporations, allied nations, and their corporations. It is the positive and optimistic side of a dark future dominated by authoritarian and totalitarian nations and organizations which are casting a wide net to dominate the same arena.

For example, the threat posed by nations like Russia and China, as well as non-state actors such as ISIS, is real and outlined. Failure of the United States to act, will by default, result in victory for those that seek not only the emasculation of American civilization but that of western values and the moral concert of nations.

The first stage of the Triplanetary economy will be an exchange of goods and services between two Earth-based entities in space. The economic impetus may be led by an asteroid mining company that will send raw extractions to a “floating” base, or moon-based processing plant where the minerals and metals can be extracted and used by another entity to build another spacecraft for future space exploration.

Regardless of what is the first great economic venture, none of it can be achieved without resolving the issue of security. This is not only security against threats to western democracy but against natural extinction-level events from space.

America is at this crossroads, not later, but right now.

This crossroads presents us with a decision about whether or not America will lead in space, create and facilitate the newest economic revolution, ensure the democratic international order, advance medicine through space technology and be able to dominate the next battlefield.

It is a national security and economic imperative, where anything else pales in comparison.

The benefits of a Triplanetary economy are innumerable.

The U.S. will lead and facilitate a new economic revolution based on an untapped market in the realm of space, the increase in satellites, and entirely new and exponentially powerful internet capabilities, shipping, space resources, energy production, surveillance, and military primacy.

The Triplanetary project will require economic and industrial output and innovation that will fundamentally change the international economic system not seen since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It will eventually lead to great exploration and colonization and will be the launchpad to a permanent human presence in this arena and beyond.

One of the concrete examples of the Triplanetary economy is President Trump’s Moon-Mars Development project, which will establish a base on the moon and develop technologies to take astronauts to Mars and beyond.

This development should be taking place within five years with a proposed moon landing in 2024, where the first of many replacement teams stay for three-week rotations as the base is built with routine travel established by 2028 and on to Mars by 2030.

America has the opportunity to reinvigorate its space strategy; it must go light years beyond a space program. It must lead a new military, economic, and scientific revolution that will determine mankind’s destiny.

If we surrender to the status quo thinking of the mid-20th century, we will be surrendering more than our imagination and innovation:

We will be surrendering our nation.

This piece originally ran on on 31 January 2020.

Newsmax: Trump Makes Good on American Values With Hong Kong Policy

Providence provides the best explanation when analyzing the odyssey of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong would have remained a poor cluster of fishing villages had it not been for the stain of the Opium War and the insightful actions of a clear-thinking British Officer, Captain Charles Elliot, who seized Hong Kong for Great Britain in 1842.

Elliot, personally opposed to the opium trade and advocated a conciliatory policy toward China, was recalled in disgrace by then-foreign minister Lord Palmerston. However, without the Opium War and Elliot’s actions, Hong Kong today would not pose as the dagger point to China’s corrupt communist dictatorship.

Last June, this column focused on the phenomena that it was Hong Kong’s Christian churches that kept the protests focused, civil, and moral. We should be reminded that it was China that violated its own promise that it would refrain from interfering in Hong Kong’s domestic and legal affairs for 50 years, by respecting Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

It is therefore not surprising that President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. The bill requires the U.S. government to impose sanctions against Chinese and HK officials that are responsible for human rights abuses in HK. It also requires yearly reports to re-assess the situation and directs various departments to determine whether political developments in HK justify changing HK’s unique treatment under U.S. Law.

The protestors know full well that they need to keep the momentum for democracy going or face the same fate as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protestors ending in bullets and show trials. Although the puppet rump-democracy government of Hong Kong argued they did not need American support, protestors by the thousands waved American flags and held up photos of President Trump with the body of Rambo. Just as in the period of Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, and Secretary of State John Hay, America is on the side of the Chinese people, not the corrupt government or pernicious foreign powers seeking to exploit the situation.

From America’s decision not to participate in the carving up of China, our Open Door policy at the turn of the 20th century, America’s covert entry into the Second World War on the side of China with groups like the Flying Tigers, to today, American values stand at the forefront of the battle against tyranny and the corrupting power of communism.

Many analysts assumed that President Trump would not sign the bill, led by legislators like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. The media assumed he did not want to upset ongoing trade talks with China. However, given the fact that local elections in Hong Kong were dominated by anti-government (read anti-communist party of China) by a whopping 87%, it is clear that the people of Hong Kong want reform and independence.

The Chinese communist party’s response was a typical reiteration of their tired old mantra that any attempt by the United States to speak about democratic values is inherently an intrusion in China’s internal affairs. In a sense, Beijing is right, democracy and Christianity pose a much greater threat to their rule than American hard power, they are correct to be alarmed, dismayed, and perhaps shocked.

President Trump’s decision to sign the Hong Kong human rights bill is not only a victory for him in a time of chaos but a victory for the American people and their values.

This piece originally ran on on 27 December 2019.

Newsmax: The Middle East Opening We Need

If there is a redemptive marker in the tangled web of Persian Gulf politics, it may very well be the burning of the Iranian Consulate in the Iraqi city of Najaf last Wednesday.

Prior to this, there had been an attack on the Iranian Consulate in Karbala.

It would be an important enough story illustrating Iraqi frustration with the imperialism of Iran over their country, but what is more interesting is that the majority of protestors are Shiite Iraqis, who one would assume would feel a closer kinship to Iran. This anti-Iranian groundswell, combined with the protests over Iraq’s government corruption and lack of services, offers the window for the United States to retrieve the Iraqi situation from the mess created by the Obama administration.

Regardless of one’s opinion about the Iraq war, the war would have been for naught if the United States continues to allow the dominance of an evil foreign dictatorship controlling a failed domestic regime. The current crisis where the Iraqi people are targeting both offer the United States the opportunity to repair both.

The problem with Iran and its adventurism in Iraq are clear. Iran is seeking a Persian-Shiite empire in the Persian Gulf, and has engaged in a laundry list of policies and behaviors designed to kill Americans and hurt American interests since 1979. It is engaged in a massive campaign to produce its own nuclear weapons; it is engaged in building, modernizing, and developing long-range ballistic missile capabilities; it is the number-one state sponsor of terrorism, with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah; it is the number-one partner or sponsor of other rogue regimes like Syria; it is the number one conduit for the training and arming of Shiite militias in Iran that killed U.S. troops and Iraqis; it has assisted, when it deems its own interests are at stake, both al-Qaida and the Taliban (regardless of theological differences, just as in the case of Hamas); and it continues to be one of the worst human rights violators of its own people.

Protests causing the current tremors in Iraq started from the Firing of Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, a popular Iraqi counter-terrorism leader and former commander of the “Gold Division.” He had a special relationship with the United States and coalition partners, particularly in the fight against ISIS. He was specifically feared by Iran, who has attempted to intimidate Iraq by controlling and supporting numerous Shiite militias throughout the country.

Leaked Iranian intelligence cables indicate that the head of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the most virulent of anti-American actors, has attempted to be the de-facto Viceroy over Iraq. He continuously manipulates Iraqi politics and politicians.

These cables delineated how Iran exploited the vacuum created by the Obama administration’s pull out of Iraq and President Obama’s disinterest in ensuring Iraqi security and independence.

Iran, reeling from its own protests, has overplayed its hand in the Persian Gulf, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. They have created a window of vulnerability that the United States should not hesitate to act upon. The ultimate goal of American foreign policy in Iraq has been a stable, democratic, and independent nation that could not only be a bulwark against Iranian expansionism but also be a showcase to the Arab world, countering both extremism and partnering with the United States.

In 2008, President Bush said it best concerning our future policy toward Iran, and it now clearly applies to Iraq. “We must stand with the good and decent people of Iran and Syria, who deserve so much better than the life they have today.” American foreign policy should strike multiple blows against the tyranny and aggression that the Iranian government fosters over the entire region and its own people.

This piece was first published at Newsmax on Wednesday, 4 December 2019.

Newsmax: Documentary Offers News Perspective on International Relations With Iran

By Lamont Colucci and Kathryn Colucci

Those that focus on international relations and diplomacy tend to concentrate on military power, political ideologies, and economic resources. When these foreign policy experts analyze religion, they often do so by lenses such as terrorism, extremism, or religious restrictions on behavior.

On the other hand, there are those that focus on religion where the emphasis is placed upon evangelism and belief. What the world is witnessing in Iran is a nexus where international relations and religious changes merge, creating the potential for a long-lasting positive change in both.

A new documentary, “Sheep Among Wolves II” produced by FAI (Frontier Alliance International) in conjunction with Dalton Thomas and Joel Richardson, depicts the growth of Christianity in Iran.

It begins with the revelation of a profound lack of faith among many in the Iranian population who remain Muslim-in-label only. Mosques are often empty, and religious laws are enforced due to the Shia extremists who hold power at the highest levels of government. These tyrannical actors overplayed their hand, and since 1979, have revealed to the entire nation that the purpose of their religion is to subjugate a people and rule them through the use of fear: beatings, tortures, assaults, and death.

So as the Iranian Shia theocracy attempts to pursue an imperial foreign policy endgame of ruling the Shiite Crescent (which stretches from the Persian Gulf through Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon), there exists an underground Christian movement that fosters peace and is not only pro-Jewish but pro-Israel. This Iranian Awakening has exploded across the country, majority-led by women who are former Muslims.

The movement, whose members potentially number in the millions, is characterized by a non-denominational, decentralized conversion process that the Iranian Christians call “Disciple-Making Moments” or DMM. DMM engages heavily with the super-natural aspect of Christianity, and at its roots is “relational” rather than “positional.” It begins with one believer within the movement engaging in prayer to be led by the Holy Spirit to a “person of peace,” sometimes even to a specific location where this person is. Once contact has been made, the believer initiates a conversation with the non-believer, shares personal vignettes of finding Jesus, witnesses to the nonbeliever, and prays for the non-believer’s needs.

In the documentary, one Iranian Christian says that Jesus moves among the non-believers faster than he had originally thought. In other words, many Iranian non-believers have already had visitations or dreams where Jesus appears to them, which makes the dialogue with potential new disciples much easier. After having this initial dialogue, the non-believer would be free to share the conversation with anyone within his/her social circle, although it usually begins with family members. If the non-believer returns to the Christian with at least two other people who are interested, this would be regarded as the beginnings of an infant church solely under the dominion of the Holy Spirit as it was conceived without a pastor, teacher, or evangelist. The leaders of DMM also make it abundantly clear that the number of people in a church is unimportant. Compared to churches in the West, the DMM method requires radical belief that God can plant seeds in hopeless deserts where Christianity is illegal and still achieve fruition under the threat of bodily death — not unlike the genesis of 1st century Christian-making under Roman rule.

There are many statistical debates about the number of Christians in Iran. The Iranian government, which has a vested interest in a propagandistic, low number, puts it at 117,000 people. However, both OpenDoors USA and the World Christian Database concurs with the documentary that the number is approximately more than half a million to one million and growing. It is interesting to note that arrests of Christians in Iran are on the upswing, and those labeled pastors are often prosecuted as threats to national security.

The implications made by “Sheep Among Wolves II” for international affairs and diplomacy are titanic. An Iran where Christianity flourishes is an Iran that will no longer harbor a desire of weapons of mass destruction, sponsor the worst forms of terrorism, commit horrible human rights atrocities against their own people, and seek the death of the Jewish people and Israel. It is also an Iran that comes back into the normal fold of civil international relations and has a flourishing relationship with the West, as it once did before the late 1970’s.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on Thursday, 7 November 2019.

Newsmax: Years After 9/11, US Rightly Develops Security Strategy for Space

Most reflections on 9/11 focus on one of two themes: the first is a sober reflection on the tragedy of the day, and honoring those that sacrificed their lives. The second reflection is on the war on terror, which can also encompass issues related to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Neither of these themes is incorrect or invaluable. Having spent two decades writing, speaking, lecturing, and analyzing counter-terrorism, Islamo-Bolshevism, and America’s strategy to counter this modern evil, I can attest to its importance and depth.

Equally, those that thought like me insisted that it was always the lesser threat. Even in the first few years when it was omnipresent, it was never going to equal the titanic struggle that existed between the USSR and the United States. In other words, it was never going to reach the great power struggles that have defined international affairs for over 5,000 years.

The question about the importance of 9/11 was, at its depth, never one about the sole issue of terrorism, or even more importantly, Islamo-Bolshevism (what some like to call Islamic extremism). The real issue was how to prevent another attempt to emasculate the United States from a strategic perspective. The somewhat fantastical attempt by Germany to goad Mexico into war in the early 20th century, the very surgical attempt by Japan at Pearl Harbor, and the chaotic yet quite effective attacks on 9/11 were all designed to place the United States into an inferior strategic position, in order to change the power dynamic in the world.

Thus, instead of looking backward at the specific cause of 9/11, a threat, I will note, that is still very real and very dangerous, we should look at the how to prevent the next strategic attack on U.S. primacy.

Such a potential threat, from henceforth, will emanate from space.

The strategic equation for the 21st century is already here, and it is simply which nation will determine the rules for space regarding all aspects of life, including military, scientific, economic, and political.

Both China and Russia are rushing headlong in an attempt to dominate strategic space while pursuing tools to blunt American advantages, exploiting a period in time where our space strategy is in flux, yet at a crossroads.

If the United States wishes to avoid a dark future where the atmosphere of 9/11 is commonplace, it must make clear decisions to avoid this.

The first is that it must integrate its entire national strategy with all issues related to space. This is grand strategy, the goal of using current strategic decisions to ensure American primacy into the next century and beyond. This will be accomplished by engaging in the following clear decisions.

The first is to understand that any positive earth future, what some like to call the “Star Trek” scenario is one where democratic political values serving under God’s natural law and natural rights is the only acceptable future. Thus, an American led alliance of western nations that adhere to these principles must lead humankind into space for the benefit of all.

Space cannot be left to chaos or the authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships. Space must be a place where freedom, entrepreneurship, property rights, the rule of law, and security rule supreme. The beginnings of this will be America’s leadership in creating the tri-planetary economy: harnessing and lassoing the opportunities of Earth, Moon, and Mars for the next revolution in economics.

In order to achieve this, the very practical national security decision to create a Space Force whose purpose, mission, and power will ensure that space does not descend into chaos, war, terror, and criminality.

There are many mottos of a future Space Force being proposed, but “Protecting Freedom and Defending the Earth,” one of those floating around, may be a good place to start.

Space is not different than any other issue in international security. Freedom and peace require order and security. If the order and security come from a benevolent power, freedom and peace will follow.

All the dreams of colonization, asteroid mining, resource harvesting will come to naught if America allows the malevolent powers of the earth to dictate the strategic and economic future of mankind.

Thus, as we remember 9/11, we need to ensure that it never happens again. We face our Maginot Line moment — a time where we can either invest in old strategic thinking to ensure disaster or grip the future with both hands to propel mankind into a new age of enlightenment, morality, and prosperity.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on Tuesday, 10 September 2019.

Newsmax: The Great Divide Between America and Europe

After spending much of August in the United Kingdom, I began thinking about the idea of substructure in foreign policy. Substructure is the foundation upon which a building rests. There are three tiers to any building (or idea, or philosophy).

We tend to focus on the first tier, the visible ornamentations. Some deeper thinkers focus on the second tier, which consists of the sturdiness of its walls. But rarely do we reflect upon the foundation of the structure. The world media is almost exclusively focused on ornamentation, overturning this ladder to make us believe that it is the substructure.

In 2003, Robert Kagan published a book entitled, “Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order.” The book contended that post-Second World War consensus was vanishing. Unlike Europeans, Americans saw the world in stark terms of good and evil, were sure of their mission, their willingness to use force, and their primacy.

Kagan’s argument still resonates well today, but it focuses on the wall, not the substructure.

The real divide between the United States and Western Europe, especially the original NATO countries, is over Christianity. The latest statistics indicated that under half the population of the United Kingdom profess the faith. This compares with over 2/3 of the American population. However, now, I am only looking at the wall and not the foundation. The statistic is valuable, or at least as valuable as any piece of quantitative data can be. It ignores the deeper issue. After attending service at both St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey, I was struck by the contrasts.

The presence of God was palpable, the attendees were primarily tourists (more often than not American), and the ceremony (beautiful as it was) was center stage. The sermons in both cases were expressions of traditional Christian belief, and in the case of St. Paul’s, there was even an attempt to link the sermon to contemporary events and people. This all misses the point that in my numerous trips to Europe and especially the UK, there is an absence of God from the human perspective (naturally, God is omnipresent regardless of perspective). It is almost an exercise in mental gymnastics not to use religious terms or arguments. Thus, there exist societies that are full of the ornamentation of Christianity, which, for example, in the UK is dominated by the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian traditions.

Meanwhile, it is a society rent by upheaval, which on the one hand wishes to declare independence from the yoke of the European Union while trying to maintain a bizarre nanny-state and an infantilization of its citizenry. The obsession with “safety” is omnipresent.

One vignette was when I was putting fuel in my car at a station in Nottingham; my son came out of the car to watch me do this. First, the pump shut off. I thought there was a mechanical problem; suddenly over the loudspeaker came an announcement, I was told: “Pump number 7, the child must remain in the car!” Later, when the station had reduced Def-Con 1 back to Def Con 5, I asked the lady if this was common in the UK. She was equally taken aback by my question and joked that Americans must allow children to pump gas with a lit cigarette in hand. To the dismay of my family, I jokingly stated that not only do I let my son be with me, but pumps gas with a gun in his hand. I felt it was a good time to enhance a stereotype.

The great author and devout Christian, JRR Tolkien remarked that he hated the notion of the state being treated as a person or glorified beyond its needed limitations.

“I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could get back to personal names, it would do a lot of good.”

Some may ask what any of this has to with foreign policy. Nothing, unless we are looking at substructure, the substructure for the future, for diplomacy, for the alliance, for our place in the 21st century. If Western Europe shifts ever more into a combination of secular progressiveness, and an abstract nationalism without tradition, it will distance itself from not only American civilization but from American interests. We witness this American vs. European substructure disparity over many contemporary issues such as the UK’s handling of issues with Iran, France, Germany, and Italy’s reluctance to sufficiently prosecute the war on terror, and in general, an attitude of quiet acquiescence over Russian and Chinese actions.

In the end, all is determined by the substructure and only in these depths can any issue be understood or resolved. A civilization that does not correct itself with a moral compass which can only be derived from God is doomed to strife, conflict, and aggression.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on Tuesday, 20 August 2019.

Newsmax: Religious Freedom a Factor in Hong Kong Protests

Coverage about the protests in Hong Kong has been sparse compared to the aftermath of the Muller report, women’s soccer, and the weather.
Most of the Hong Kong coverage focuses on the protestors’ demands that the Hong Kong government withdraw a bill that would allow for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China.

The deep-rooted issue here is China’s complete violation of its promise that it would refrain from interfering in Hong Kong’s domestic and legal affairs for 50 years, by respecting Hong Kong’s Basic Law. This means that until 2047, Hong Kong should have been untouchable in these areas. In practical terms, this means that in subjects such as freedom of the press, expression, assembly, and religion, as well as external relations in trade, communications, tourism, and culture, Hong Kong should be left well alone.

Beijing would dominate defense and foreign policy issues only. Politics in Hong Kong are divided between those that want to push for greater independence and democracy and those who side with China and, in effect, embrace Hong Kong as a Chinese colony.

In the 1990s, the happy phrase one heard all over Hong Kong was “One country, two systems.” This author was in Hong Kong in 1997 and remembered immediately thinking that there would be no chance that China would keep its word. But many pundits and apologists were ready to pounce on anyone suggesting that realism would dictate China’s politics.

There have been many protests in Hong Kong over this relationship: 2003, over anti-subversion legislation; 2012, over China’s attempt to influence education; 2014, over universal suffrage and the requirement for candidates for office to get approved by the Chinese Communist Party. The current protest over extradition ignited a firestorm when Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam (the first woman to hold that position) tried to shove the bill through without significant debate. Pro-democracy activists fear that Beijing will simply use this as a tool to silence freedom and democracy in Hong Kong.

Lam retreated on June 15 by suspending the bill and issuing an apology due to “errors of communication,” though still defending the actual bill. Many of the protestors want Lam to resign and withdrawal the bill permanently.

Great Britain bears much of the responsibility for its poorly conceived handover in 1997. President Trump has sympathy for the protestors but would not commit to raising the issue with China at the G-20 summit. Senators Marco Rubio and Jim McGovern have sponsored the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy act which reaffirms the U.S commitment to rights in Hong Kong which among other things would require certification by the Secretary of State that Hong Kong continues to enjoy its promised autonomy.

As deep-rooted as this issue is, it does not compare to the least reported aspect of the protests, that of the role of Christian faith. Hong Kong was ground zero for Christian missionaries in East Asia and as a result the Christian population of Hong Kong is 850,000 out of 7,000,000, with over 1,500 churches, providing 25% of Hong Kong’s educational needs.

It was the Christian faith and church leadership that was the focal point of the current protests with the unofficial anthem of the protests being “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.” Christians feel the law is unjust and fear that the new law could be used to punish believers and churches.

The Chinese Communist Party fears true Christianity to its core. The Communist Party continually persecutes Christians and demolishes churches that are not members of the various “patriotic Christian” churches sanctioned by the atheist government. It is predicted that if current trends continue, China will have over 247 million Christians by 2030. The greatest proliferation of Christians is in “house” churches, which the Chinese government considers illegal. Much of the growth of Christians in China comes from Hong Kong, with missionaries and Bibles entering China from and through Hong Kong. The CCP rightly knows that Christianity poses the greatest threat to its continued oppression and corrupt rule and some have suggested that the real goal of the bill in Hong Kong is to eventually create a quasi “legal” pathway for China to crack down on the faithful.

Hong Kong churches provide shelter, water, and food to the protestors and create an atmosphere that pushes for non-violent and orderly resistance to the bill. It adds a sense of legitimacy that no other institution could to both Christian and non-Christian Hong Kongers who view the faith and the Church with great admiration. Further, there are attempts to sway Carrie Lam by appealing to her devotion to the Catholic Church. A joint statement asking to withdraw the bill was made by Cardinal John Tong Hon and Reverend Eric So Shing-Yit.

American religious and political values are merged over the issue of Hong Kong autonomy. This is a golden moment for American diplomacy to be forcefully used for both.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on Friday, 28 June 2019.

Newsmax: Revisiting China’s One Belt One Road Ambitions

President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China opened the Second Belt and Road Initiative Forum stressing cooperation, sustainability, and green technology.

This conference, held a few days ago on April 26, demonstrates the transformation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI, whose former acronym is far better at getting at the political dynamic, One Belt One Road (OBOR) is attempting to rebrand itself as softer, and more collegial.

Gone from Chinese foreign policy is the bombastic, grinding rants of the Mao years, but with a goal that is much darker and more problematic for the United States.

From 2013 to 2018, many reports about China’s OBOR program surfaced and were primarily focused on the economic attempt to gain dominance. OBOR was divided along a land-based route titled the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and a sea-based route, the Maritime Silk Road (MSR); it was and is an overt attempt by China to enter the 21st century as a global power.

OBOR reflects Chinese contemporary strategic statements that desire a “harmonious world” system by taking advantage of a period of “strategic opportunity.” OBOR is propelled by nationalistic chauvinism, a climate of resource unpredictability, their “First Island Chain” ambitions, and the need to counter American primacy and a forward-looking strategy for space dominance.

In other words, the PRC is putting old wine into new bottles with several rebranding transformations.

OBOR now has 152 nations participating and counting. It was only a short while ago that people were shocked that OBOR had reached as far as the Greek port of Piraeus. OBOR is engaged in an overt targeting of the European Union, taking advantage of the chaos, and lackluster leadership that has been in the offing for decades.

This is best exemplified by the Italian government’s myopic decision on April 9 to officially join the OBOR network. The EU, whose member states often lecture the United States on issues such as free trade, human rights, and expression, now finds itself partnering with a totalitarian vision of humanity based on corruption and dictatorship. Although China has had success partnering with lower-tiered European economic powers, Italy was the first G-7 nation and is the linchpin to China’s Five Ports Initiative, three of which are Italian (Venice, Trieste, and Ravenna). Italy seems to have learned nothing from Asian nations who have experienced the predatory financial practices of China (Newsmax article Feb 20, 2019).

On the other hand, China is encountering pushback from several countries including the United States. One example, in particular, is the American International Development Finance Corporation which is dangling $60 billion for capital development so that U.S. companies can invest in developing nations. However, rather than slowing down OBOR, these challenges have intensified China’s desire to gain footholds abroad. China realizes that its economy is particularly vulnerable to trade patterns and trade disruptions and OBOR is a way to overcome and even control these winds of change.

China is becoming more sophisticated in its approach by trying to appear to be more culturally sensitive, renegotiating prices and costs, opening the door to other partnerships, such as countries like Japan and Germany. This is also clearly an attempt to drive a diplomatic wedge between the United States and our closest allies.

China is also diversifying its geographical stretch. Just as OBOR is headed into the heart of Western Europe, it is going south into Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia, not only upsetting the geopolitical balance but the dominance of ANZUS in the region. This is at a time when Australia to a lesser degree and New Zealand to a large degree have questioned their role as the deputy sheriff of the South Pacific. In many ways, the chickens of the 1980s, when American dominance was sometimes shunned especially by New Zealand, have come home to roost. However, rather than serving Soviet interests, those decades-old mistakes will benefit Beijing. They also wish to pursue a joint “Arctic Silk Road” with the Russians.

The New OBOR Frontier

The greatest long-term threat from China’s OBOR plans is in the high frontier of space.

The first is in satellites which will create, according to China a “Belt and Road spatial information corridor,” controlling communication, navigation, and remote sensing. China plans to build, manage, launch, and finance satellite projects for other nations. This will create a dependency on nations partnering with China making technological vassals out of them. It is a masterful plan that one can be in awe of it were it not so sinister.

What many forecasters and analysts miss is that this is done only in part for economic dominance. The real engine of OBOR is political and diplomatic dominance. In the end, China’s imperialism is motivated by control and political supremacy more than it is about money. China’s prime motive is power, power, and authority over the geopolitical landscape. This is dwarfed by China’s overt intentions to dominate space-based resources, space-based solar power, space presence, and eventually colonize the Moon for military, intelligence, scientific, and economic supremacy. This has led to an interesting phenomenon; OBOR analysts are laser-focused on energy contracts, infrastructure projects, and trade routes.

Meanwhile, space power advocates are focused on China’s “dark space” activity. In fact, China’s terrestrial dominance attempts are merely the precursor to space dominance, which if successful, will ensure the very terrestrial dominance that OBOR was based on. In simpler terms, OBOR and space dominance are the same phenomena, not separate events or entities. The United States and its allies will either counter this with more than economic means or willingly enter into a submissive global role.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on Monday, 29 April 2019.

Newsmax: Chemical Weapons in Syria a Possibility Again?

From February of 2013 through the present, this author has highlighted the war crimes of the illegitimate Assad regime, especially in regards to their use of chemical weapons in more than 13 articles over five separate periodicals with a different readership.

The world continues to watch as the Assad regime engages in evil behavior, violating God’s and man’s laws with impunity. Each time Assad crosses “red lines,” many world leaders wring their hands, condemn it, and move on to whatever they interpret as more pressing. We have all been part of this theater of the macabre for six years. In six years, the western world has failed to stop the Assad regime from murdering its own subjects, including children, using, among other things, the very weapons that were seen as too horrible to use in WWI, 100 years ago.

In September and October 2013, the UN and OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) ordered Syria to destroy its chemical weapons, and with the “help” of Russia, the international community declared victory in this disposal. It is noteworthy that the Assad regime would use chemical weapons on numerous occasions from 2015 through today, including the use of chlorine gas and sarin.

On either May 18 or 19, Assad allegedly used chlorine munitions on the village of Kabana on the border of Idlib province. The Idlib Health Directorate reported that four people were suffering from “respiratory failure.” The use of chemical munitions may indicate the start of another offensive by Assad’s regime to take Idlib province from rebels, an area that has many refugees displaced by the Syrian civil war. Assad’s forces have been known to attack schools, residences, refugee camps, and healthcare facilities. Although this attack has not yet been confirmed by third-party sources, it would be in line with the Assad regime’s tactics. Assad’s forces and their Russian allies are allegedly using incendiary munitions to destroy farmland.

Further, as this author has pointed out many times, the question is moot. Whether or not Assad uses chemical weapons rather than bullets and conventional bombs is irrelevant to the major issue. He is killing civilians; the use of chemical weapons is simply another example of evil, not the root of the evil itself.

It is always an amazing act of immoral rationalization that the world was unmoved by tens of thousands of deaths by the Assad regime when they used bullets, mortars, tanks, and conventional bombs — but when they used chemical weapons, they had to be stopped. In the typical thinking of liberal internationalism, that was solved by the deal brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, but liberal internationalists worship the deal more than its outcome: The Syrians give up their chemical weapons, and then they are free to kill with conventional means. Now, even that twisted philosophy is again, as it was for the past few years, turned on its head by the use, once more, of chemical weapons.

The Russian pattern of behavior continues, as in the past, the Russians have blamed the rebels for orchestrating chemical attacks against themselves. This denial and deception campaign strategy is used by both the Russians and the Iranians who wish to use Syria as an appendage for foreign adventurism and a base for offensive operations.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom appear as though they would take retaliatory measures if the use of chemical weapons is confirmed. On May 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued this: “Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019. We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.”

The UN Security Council met on May 28, 2019, to discuss the recent attack. The parties seemed more interested in “reinforcing” the ceasefire agreements than in holding the Assad regime accountable.

It is rational to try to establish the truth of the matter. However, regardless, the Assad regime is an impediment not only to our allies such as Israel, and America’s overall Middle East strategy, but the regime’s continued existence strains American credibility for the foreseeable future.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on Thursday, 30 May 2019.