Twofish's Blog

April 11, 2008

The National Endowment of Democracy is dumb…..

Filed under: china — twofish @ 4:31 am

Xniteman: This is so obvious, are they really too dumb ro realize it?

It’s obvious to anyone that has had any exposure to China, which doesn’t include the people at the NED

1) They believe what they are doing is right. Part of the problem with believing what you are doing is right, is that it make you blind to how rational and well-intentioned people might oppose you.

This is one reason I perfer the world of business to non-profits. Business people are just trying to make money so they tend to be less blind to understanding how someone could hate them.

2) The trouble with a lot of people in US foreign policy circles is that they have never really had deep experience with other cultures and countries, and this lack of experience shows. Also they think in terms of a “worldwide democracy movement” without realizing that conditions in China might be very different from conditions in Kenya or the Ukarine.

Actually I think that being stupid is more dangerous than being conspiratorial. The analogy I make is who is more dangerous with a machine gun. A four year old or a Mafia hitman? If power hungry people in CIA was behind all of the anti-China noise, then you can go to the CIA and make a deal.

In some ways it’s like the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor. The one admiral that knew anything about the United States knew that this was insane, but no one else knew much about the United States.

Xniteman: I was so confused why Hu Jia, seemingly a nice guy otherwise, would retain such a “dirty” tie with Dalai Lama, and write that outrageous letter to Merkel, by which he lost the sympathy from Chinese people. Now maybe this is part of the reason, as he is funded by NED.

Think of it from Hu Jia’s point of view. He really is this ordinary person writing these letters, when all of a sudden he gets all this world attention. The New York Times is talking about him. World leaders are talking about him. Everyone says that he is a hero. Unless he is extraordinarily political adept, he will let this go to his head and say whatever he thinks will keep people’s attention.

The trouble with this is that is *kills* the democracy movement. I saw this in the 1990’s with the overseas Chinese democracy movement, which Nancy Pelosi help kill. One problem was that they passed an immigration law that allowed PRC nationals in the US to get green cards, but reduced the necessary green cards for later students. What happened was that this created a gap between old students and new students.

The problem is that NGO’s tend to be underfunded. So when suddenly you get to talk with President’s and the Department of State it goes to your head, and you get into really nasty internecine fights over access to the government officials. Since the officers of the NGO’s get power and money, people suddenly fight over parking tickets. Meanwhile everyone leaves the movement.

Worse in return for this support, the overseas Chinese student movement worked with Pelosi and the AFL-CIO to try to kill China getting into the WTO. This was a *highly* unpopular position and basically killed the what remained of the post-TAM student movement.

What really does help democracy in China is to grant large numbers of student visa. Don’t preach, don’t even tell people what to do. Just let Chinese students into the US, have them look for themselves at how the US economic and political systems work and decide for themselves what will work or not work in China.

Two weeks ago I was at a seminar at Columbia Law School and this evening I was at a talk given by the Chinese Financial Association in Midtown Manhattan on the subprime meltdown. What I was thinking to myself was that in those rooms were the future of China’s government and China’s economy, and having Chinese people on Wall Street, at thinktank meetings, in courtrooms, in chip design factories, as lawyers, bankers, engineers insures that when the fate of the world is being decided, there will be Chinese at the table.



  1. Indeed, people usually have good conscience, but are politically unwise (sometimes I want to say stupid). One of my colleague, who is a Phd canditate on political philosophy asked me why a boycott of Bejing game is not pleasible, as I told her that I think it’s a stupid idea. My response is that, even if you have a good heart to help Chinese people by pressing Chinese government to change, you have to take into account of possible consequences; that is, instead of taking a softer position, the government would inevitably tighten its control; and what’s more, the boycott would most probably ignite a widespread nationalism in China. Then what good could you according to your kind-heart-which a pretty much doubt on the government level-anyway? There is an arguement that the protest could send a message to Chinese people that the world is behind them in subverting the Chinese regime. But that’s higly political naive, simply because you actually cannot distinguish absolutely clearly between the government and the people. In other words, you cannot opposing the government without hurting the people. There is always a risk that ordinary people would see the message sent by ‘the world’ as ‘they hate us’, rather than ‘they are with us’. This is even not necessarily that people are basically irrational or -as always protrayed by western media- Chinese people has been brainwashed by their government; the fact is that it is the ordinary people-and unfortunately only them- who are to be really hurt by massive boycott against China, be it in case of WTO or Olymplic. I am not saying there should be no protest. But a massive boycott is anothere thing. I am just saying that before you support this kind of policy, you should think about what would really happen by these policies, just for logic’s sake. The most bizarre thing I see with the western media is actually not their biased reports about China, but its deliberate ignorance of the voice of those thousands of overseas Chinese -mostly students- present at the torch relay to stand for a positive image of the torch and their own country. Actually, as twofish said, they are the future of China. They are going to be at the table of futrual international forum. And if there is anyone who is going to change China’s political regime, it is still them. How could those medias not see that? Sadly, the medias are just interested in collecting the voice of protests to fill in their papers. I think they are pretty disappointed to see that so many Chinese at the spot were not to protest but to support. Here is what a CNN reporter Jack Jeffery said upon the Chiese supporters:”I think our relationship with China has certainly changed, but I think they are basically the same bunch of goons and thugs like they are for the past 50 years.” ( I don’t give a damn to racism, which is far too common in this world. Again as twofish said, it is the ignorance and self-blind that really brings danger. America went to war with Irap not upon racism, bu exactly upon self-deceivingly ignorance.

    Comment by Demin — April 11, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  2. Well guys, I’m glad we didn’t depend on you, when we overthrowed communists in Czech republic.

    Comment by Eso — April 11, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

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