The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically. Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party. I call its approach of economic espionage “rob, replicate and replace.” China robs U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology, and then replaces the U.S. firms in the global marketplace.
John Ratcliffe, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, “China is National Security Threat No. 1,” The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2020
In the [hermeneutic] circle is hidden a positive possibility of the most primordial kind of knowing. To be sure, we genuinely take hold of this possibility only when, in our interpretation, we have understood that our first, last, and constant task is never to allow our fore-having, fore-sight, and fore-conception to be presented to us by fancies and popular conceptions, but rather to make the scientific theme secure by working out these fore-structures in terms of the things themselves.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (Sein und Zeit, 1927)
In Fall of 1981, I was a newly arrived young undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin. The former White House National Security Advisor to U.S. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson was a professor at the Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the Rex Baker Professor of Political Economy. His name was W.W. “Walt” Rostow. I had heard of him through my readings in economic history, and thought I would see if he would let me into his graduate seminar in economics that he had otherwise made famous while at M.I.T. He not only let me in with enthusiasm, but proceeded to load me up with a stack of his books to read in preparation. One was titled The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto.
This book became famous, eagerly embraced among the Washington, D.C. establishment as a political manifesto, and in the corridors of the Pentagon as a call to arms, as it was a clarion call for the defense of U.S. interests and its methods of free markets. It was also perfectly timed to coincide with a post-war obsession against communism, especially the Soviet kind, and the threats emanating from Cuba, and later, Southeast Asia. Much has been written about the men who championed the Vietnam War, the so-called “brain trust” or, as author David Halberstam called them in his best-selling book, The Best and the Brightest. Rostow was among a group of middle-aged intellectuals and academics, most also World War II veterans and, as in Rostow’s case, who had also served in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA). From that experience, and the ideology it reinforced, the advisors surrounding America’s post-war presidents were Hawks; even what today would be called “Neo-cons” and far-right advocates for U.S military intervention (or pre-emption). But as the Vietnam war dragged on, their reputations were dragged through the mud. In Rostow’s case—one of the last holdouts for U.S. victory—he constantly pushed LBJ (president Johnson) to commit more troops, more planes, more bombs, and more money. To most in opposition however, it was only more blood. And so it ended, with hundreds of thousands of casualties, billions spent in taxpayer money, and at best an exit finally under Nixon and Kissinger (not without still highly critical accusations of political opportunism) that had the appearance of a negotiated truce.
Rostow was vilified by the northeastern establishment, and effectively black-listed among the university ivy-league for his role in that war and in US foreign policy generally—until Johnson built his new graduate school on the Austin, Texas campus, and gave Rostow a permanent position, effectively its titular head, from its founding in 1970, until his passing in 2003. In 2002, British historian David Milne came to Austin and chronicled Rostow’s tenure as a wartime advisor, and consistent with his general reputation even today, characterized Rostow (and named his book) America’s Rasputin. In a more normal, “globalized” international order, Rostow does seem an anachronism; an outdated older generation of “communist hunters” that saw Red everywhere, and overstated its danger. Indeed, much of communism’s threatening posture seemed to fade under a triumphant Reagan foreign policy that saw “glasnost” and “perestroika” (openness and rebuilding) under former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, collapse into utter ruin with the Soviet Union broken up, and America, seemly triumphant. China was still a distant, if unsophisticated developing country beginning to be known more for making all the consumer goods that the U.S. had divested in favor of “high-tech” and Wall Street.
But the international order is no longer normal (indeed, some have called for the CCP to be officially declared a transnational criminal organization).
Rostow believed early on that communist China, if it continued to advance through the “stages of growth” into a high-tech, modern mass society, would be a profound regional, and if consolidated, a global competitive threat to nearly everything America stood for. Rostow advanced the thesis that the United States had actually “won” the Vietnam war; he believed the war had “bought time” for the rest of South-east Asia to economically advance and escape Chinese Communism. Today, China’s growing economic, financial, technical and political influence isn’t through those regional proxies, and mere regional hegemony, but directly through China itself, and its increasing global reach, including in the new space race. It is even seen by many as a model for a socially flat, “fair,” controlled, regulated society.
Today, China’s growing economic, financial, technical, and political influence isn’t through regional proxies, but by China itself: A giant high-tech, authoritarian machine with a population over 1.5 billion and growing; a military to rival the U.S. and Russia; aggressive ambitions in space travel, and abundant natural resources, infrastructure, and businesses with global reach. Indeed, Rostow’s belief that Chinese influence could spread to Vietnam and act with a domino effect across greater South Asia (even Austral-Asia) may have understated the effect, and the danger, because the country most at risk now isn’t Vietnam or Cambodia; Thailand, Korea or Taiwan even, but the United States itself. That is, China is no longer an ideological opponent for geopolitical control or regional hegemony within the context of competitive ‘empires” seeking regional dominion, but instead a direct, frontal threat to the integrity of the United States itself, as a sovereign nation. The CCP is the new “USSR”).
Indeed, was the U.S. the ultimate prize that China has had its disciplined eye on, especially for the last 20 years? Was Rostow right? I believe he was, and more: he was not only right about the threat communism posed to Western freedoms and liberty, but about the dislocations and distortions in scientific and technological development: China’s culture is imitative and assimilative; it is the like the “Borg.” Resistance is futile. And therein is the ideological danger: China has become a role model of conformity, conditioning and control to the progressive Left that sees the U.S. as a mistake; a selfish White beast of capitalism that pollutes and ravages; consumes and oppresses; the “Anglosphere” that is pitted now against the “Sino-sphere,” the Indo-spere; the Afro-sphere, and the Zio-sphere.
Indeed, the entire far Left “woke” culture of identitarian-based (racial) coercive moralism, rests on an effective spiteful lust for vengeance that naturally sees China as a solution for a flat, “fair,” controlled, and highly regulated society, but especially, as a model of absolute power. The CCP is the new cult-hero of the radical Left globalist, who views the U.S. as a dying establishment society of privilege. Except the Left doesn’t actually despise privilege; it despises being denied privilege for itself—and now, it wants it all for itself, with an objective of a unitarian, consolidated American political monism that destroys its opposition and consolidates its hegemony over all aspects of society in ways completely foreign to American traditions of individual freedom — economic and religious liberty, with a government subordinated to the civil public, and the civil public in control of its military, its property, currency, and most of its natural resources. Communism upends all of that (but there is more: China has been waging an “irregular” war against the U.S. since at least 2000, and in the current environment, has been cited as responsible for the SARS-coV-2 virus, including recent accusations as the actual sponsor of what is called “Operation Warp Speed” and cited as a CCP assault proxy).
China — and emulation of China — threaten to dismantle most if not all American routines and traditions, and in an insidious way that slowly but consistently encroaches on every aspect of American culture and custom. China has laid down the economic, geopolitical and military gauntlet, and with a renewed confidence, reinforced by eager if naive encouragement by America’s Left progressives who are overwhelmingly non-White, and largely Jewish in its most senior leadership, financial and media roles.
China’s ancient philosopher of war, Sun Tzu, said that the victors of a war can win without even fighting, by subduing the enemy through his own self-defeat and surrender. Rostow’s Cold War hawkish stance of defiance was right: It is modern, strong, sober and confident, in the face of another U.S. political world view that is anarchic, compliant, hysterical and weak.
Endnote on U.S.-Israel Relations
It is important to appreciate a few things about Rostow that inform my full opinion of him. There is much to admire about his aggressive, fighting spirit, even though there is much that causes me some reservation. That fighting spirit, however, was not always, or strictly, in service to readily identifiable, domestic, institutional or otherwise transparent causes, interests or objectives. Rostow’s family were Jewish immigrants from Russia — a fairly traditional immigrant story of a family with modest means, working in traditional labor markets, and with the ambition to see their children attend college. Walt Rostow and his brother Eugene both went to college and graduate school at Yale, where Walt received his Ph.D. from Yale, and his brother his law degree from Yale Law. Both served in public administration and became deeply embedded in high-level state policy circles. Walt also served in the U.S. military, the OSS, and that pedigree formed much of his persona and modus operandi. However, many people, including myself, felt that he was inordinately ambitious and that this fueled a complex mix of motivations and professional and personal alignments. He became usually candid with me concerning the complexity of competing interests in the U.S. government during the 1960’s and how those led to the rise of LBJ, and the further deepening of American military activity in Vietnam and bordering countries, along with a radical escalation of the intelligence agencies and their conversion to “black” or irregular warfare outside the normal chains of civilian, even military control.
It is my view that Rostow was a central, principal actor in the elimination of the legacy of JFK and the supersession of LBJ who had a set of policies almost entirely written and controlled by Rostow. And while his hawk posture in Vietnam—possibly including preemptive tactical nuclear options—was indeed a bulwark, notionally, against China, he had an equal measure, along with his brother (the central author and advocate for the narrative deployed in the Warren report) of commitment to Israel, to Israel’s nuclear development, and to U.S. foreign aid becoming a normal feature of annual transfer payments to Israel. Moreover, his naïve idealism about U.S. domestic social programs—he authored the “Great Society” strategy—led some to even go so far as to label him a “bourgeois Marxist” for his championing of government involvement, or even control, of many key industries. His idealism also led to an aggressive platform of controlling wages and prices in order to “tame” inflation.
Rostow was a social engineer at heart, and in his inherent intellectual extremism, not unlike the radical Left today. His ultimate loyalties are uncertain, and he was indeed a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who could justify any degree of violence in order to realize his academic theories and Weltanshauung. This view has a particularly fascinating, if disturbing, similarity with a trend in academia among certain Jewish legal scholars in the immediate pre-war and post-war period. A poignant example involves Harvard Law’s notorious and historically revered Felix Frankfurter. Working in the Wilson administration in the then War Department (like Rostow in the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson offices), Frankfurter was assigned to Europe where he became actively, and officially involved in the Zionist cause, working with Dr. Chaim Weizman. After the War, Frankfurter attended the Paris Peace conference, supporting the Balfour Declaration that the British sponsored to establish a “permanent home for the Jews in Palestine.” As with Rostow, the co-mingling of American and British cultural influence, combined with Zionist interests, may have created a logic in Frankfurter’s mind that Anglo-Saxon culture, and the larger dynamic of the British Empire (and, later, the American Empire) could be integrated with the ambitions of Zionism. Like Frankfurter, Rostow (and his brother) may have held out a broad front of US defiance and patriotism against communism, and an aggressive militancy in combating it. But they also had a passionate obsession with Israel, and a personal conviction that Americanism and Zionism were an effective identity.
Indeed, one of Rostow’s obsessions was Russian (Soviet) communism, and I believe he saw Vietnam not only as a proxy war with China, Chinese communism and the larger communist bloc including the then-dominant Soviet Union, but also a “shield” over Israel, and a Israel-US cultural, economic, financial and military duplex. The extent of Johnson’s lobbying, commitment and favor on behalf of Israel was immediately apparent after he assumed office, and Rostow had a central role as a national security advisor in articulating, planning and directing these activities. LBJ and his Rostow-headed national security team, declared that Israel had “no better friend,” and Johnson was the first U.S. president to formally align U.S. policy with Israel. Thus Rostow may very well have been as asset — an agent or working in some agency capacity — on behalf of Israel.
The United States may now be considered caught in a vise, between a perpetual irregular war of Zionist contours that systematically infiltrates U.S. institutions, including government, media, and key commercial sectors (central and commercial banking), combined with a regular, direct force (not without its irregular components, especially within our top-level research universities) prepared for direct physical confrontation — a new “Sino-Bolshevism” that combines a systematic assault on America’s Western cultural foundations and emulation of a massive Sino empire that has stolen U.S. technology and military secrets (often with our own political cooperation) and been able to create a first-rate military, reinforced with a fighting population five times the size of America’s and with a reserve population that is equally outsized.
American technology transfer to China was also facilitated directly by Israeli actors. Israel has also appropriated U.S. technology through systematic, on-going industrial-military espionage, while reselling it, often to China, or Chinese surrogates. It is not surprising therefore that the current China-originated virus combined with Jewish media and Silicon Valley election engineering, speech suppression, and on-going public relations psy-ops, are together creating an effective constitutional “crucible.” Indeed, is China in some regards, the alter ego of Israel? Is a theocratic-ethnic, hegemonic, nuclear armed and technologically advanced social monism, the ambition of Israel as well? In both cases—China and Israel—the real battle is cultural, and culturally determined. This puts Western culture in an especially fascinating position of necessary assertion across all regular and irregular dimensions.
Moreover, not only the United States, but the “Five Eyes” of Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia are, along with the U.S. and Western Europe under cultural assault — a highly systematic, programmatic “invasion.” Indeed, these countries have surrendered in several dimensions; they are more easily captured politically, institutionally and economically because they have less of a tradition of individual liberty and because their multiethnic social infrastructure is significantly more porous and vulnerable. Because of its strong tradition of individual liberty, the United States required a much more complex invasion strategy in order to gain operative control of U.S. systems.
Is Israel finally “done” with the U.S. in a bi-lateral mode, and changing its posture to a new phase of an attempted complete acquisition? In historical terms, this makes actors such as Rostow (and his brother) into archetypes. They combine an American “immigrant” narrative with academic achievement, military service and senior national security roles—all reinforced with a lengthy university pedigree and authorship—that ultimately disguise their ethnic motivations that work against U.S. interests, and in fact actively damage its sovereignty. Some call this the profile of traitorous behavior, and in Rostow’s case there is a constellation of associations and actions that reinforce this view. His model of culturally and institutionally embedded special interests that are ultimately ethnically based has multiplied radically since the 1960s, and has become almost institutionalized itself in several key American institutions.