There is a story, that since I heard it, has stayed with me as a sobering lesson of greed, arrogance and short-sightedness. Under British rule, the mandate of Palestine had been taken over from the Ottomans post WW1. In 1920, the mandate was predominantly an Arab state, with a population of some 700,000 people, whilst the Jews numbered not more than 76,000. Then, as Hitler tightened his grip on the German Jews, they started to migrate to Palestine between 1936 and 1939. The Arabs took advantage of these new immigrants, by selling them, what they thought, were worthless marshlands, for exorbitant prices. However, the industrious Jewish immigrants drained the marshes and built productive settlements. In so doing, they gained a toe hold in what they viewed as their homeland. Such that when the war ended in 1945, the flood of escaping Jews, who had survived the Holocaust, had a safe haven from which to then expand and ultimately displace the Arabs, to build what we now know as modern Israel. The moral of the story is very clear. Greed and hubris are often our downfall.
Switching back to modern times, when China joined the WTO in 2001, they purposefully portrayed themselves as seeking to join what we called the western rules-based global system. Thus from 2001 to 2012, it was natural that western investors and businesses sought Chinese counterparties, as there were potentially plenty of profits to be made with the biggest manufacturing and consumer society in the world. However, when President Xi became president, to those that chose to watch his actions carefully, it was soon apparent that whilst expounding integration, his actions displayed a more nefarious agenda to challenge America as the global hegemony.
By the October 2015 state visit to the UK, the plight of the Uighurs and the island-building program in the China Seas, all pointed to a very different CCP agenda under the surface. However, the Cameron/Osborne strategy of rolling out the red carpet for Xi to promote a new golden era of relations could not have been any more misjudged than the actions of the Arabs selling their marshlands. Yet both liberal politicians and business heads chose to turn a blind eye to the Nazi-like agenda of the CCP and sought through greed, to line their pockets.
In 2017, at a London thought leader event to welcome the Chinese trade ambassador, the room was filled with those that hoped to do business with China. On that evening, I stood up and welcomed the Ambassador and then asked the question as to why those in the room sought to mortgage their and their children’s future just for profit. That they were in effect, betraying their democratic nation and its future and would one day be viewed as quislings, a Norwegian term for a traitor who collaborates with an enemy force seeking to occupy their country. Naturally there was a deafening silence as I sat down. So much so, I thought I might fall victim to being run over by car on the way home! But since then, many have remembered that day and commented that whilst bold, I had spoken a truth. However, sadly for a further three years, politicians and business men have kowtowed to Beijing, seeking trade relations and personnel advantage, such as Lord Brown with Huawei.
However, businessmen and politicians are not alone, as the Hollywood companies have also sought advantage by gaining Chinese investment in films that expose the Western world with the imagery that the CCP seek to project with respect to their rising power. Remember the film 2012, about a planetary apocalypse where massive arks were built by the Chinese as the only nation capable of such enormous feats of engineering? Furthermore, they have responded to demands of censorship over topics that the CCP do not approve of, or if they did not comply have faced threats of cessation of business relations and funding. Like many other Western institutions like the UN, WTO and WHO, the CCP is using them like Hollywood against the West.
The Chinese are probably one of the most Machiavellian of races on our planet. One only has to study Sun Zu and his The Art of War to appreciate how ingrained such a cultural perspective is. The reality is that the CCP has run rings around the West in every arena over the past two decades. In essence, it has duped the West into accelerating the growth of its empire, by harnessing the liberal hope that China wanted to join the free world. As the saying goes, the path to war, is paved with good intentions. However, learning and applying the lesson from history, that hope has no place when malign intentions have been clearly demonstrated is now critical. The CCP is no different in essence from the Nazi Party and as such we in the West need to recognise the darkness and threat it represents to the free world and take bold and strong action to protect ourselves, as time is fast running out.
Thus the raft of potential anti-Russia and Chinese legislation, the changing of treason laws to protect against covert manipulation of our political decision-making process by Russian and China, are long overdue in Britain and across the West. Furthermore, the laws and resources of GCHQ and M15 should be extended to ensure that those that have escaped Russia and China and who are sheltering in the UK are not threatened or intimidated by either regime. Intimidation when linked to family members still in China or Russia represents a major security risk that will need to be monitored constantly.
Most importantly, post the Chinese propagation of the pandemic, the horrendous crimes perpetrated against the Uighurs, the issues around 5G and other similar Chinese state-controlled monopolies and most recently the suppression and annexation of HK, the threat is all too clear. A key step on the path to begin defending our Western values is to evolve a social sentiment that does not accept working with the CCP and China which in any way undermines our own values or the construct of the free world. This process starts with consumers boycotting "Made in China" products and demanding that Western distributors mention source of production clearly and honestly.
Otherwise we risk following the fate of the Palestinian Arabs, who sold their salt marshes and lost their country. Who were also driven by hope, greed, hubris and most of all short-sightedness.