The Guardian • Issue #1965

US meddling comes under many disguises

The imperialists, seeing Hong Kong as a pressure point, saw the opportunity to provoke conflict in an attempt to weaken China from the inside.

Despite all the catastrophising Western reporting on the passage of the Hong Kong national security law almost a year ago, there has been mostly silence since then as life in Hong Kong has continued as normal, contrary to the apocalyptic predictions that proliferated. There was never any mass crackdown and destruction of democratic rights. Instead, the threat of stronger legal defences against agents of foreign influence has been successful in restoring peace to the Chinese region.

China’s explanation of the violent disturbances experienced in Hong Kong is proving to match reality. The imperialists, seeing Hong Kong as a pressure point, saw the opportunity to provoke conflict in an attempt to weaken China from the inside. These attempts have been thwarted.

In Volume 3, No. 2 of the journal American Economic Review: Insights published by the American Economic Association in early June 2021, a paper appeared named “Persistent Political Engagement: Social Interactions and the Dynamics of Protest Movements.” Its abstract states: “To identify the persistent effect of protest participation, we randomly indirectly incentivise Hong Kong university students into participation in an antiauthoritarian protest. […] We find that incentives to attend one protest within a political movement increase subsequent protest attendance but only when a sufficient fraction of an individual’s social network is also incentivised to attend the initial protest.”

In short, these American “researchers” openly admit to paying (“incentivising”) Hong Kong youth in order to get them to attend protests under the guise of “research.” This particular “experiment” took place in 2017 and 2018, and we may have to wait another few years before finding out what “experiments” were taking place over the following years.

The National Bureau of Economic Research bankrolled the experiment, a US think tank that is in turn funded by the US government as well as private charities including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Do American academics simply have so little regard for the rest of the world that they feel comfortable meddling in the internal politics of other countries like specimens in a petri dish? That alone would be cause for disgust, but rank stupidity and arrogance do not suffice to explain this. Deliberate US interference for the sake of political-economic objectives is rampant in every corner of the globe.

In May, agents of the US “National Endowment for Democracy” (NED) were fooled into a call with a pair of Russian pranksters posing as Belarusian opposition figures, including US-handpicked leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

In the call, the NED representatives revealed unambiguously their role in encouraging and directing the neoliberal opposition in Belarus. This incident is reminiscent of an infamous 2014 call between US diplomats in Ukraine, intercepted and released online in unknown circumstances, in which the Americans deliberated over who should be part of the Ukrainian government.

The NED is funded by the US government and is basically an offshoot of the CIA’s regime-change operations, founded as a separate organisation after the CIA became too widely known as an organ of US interference in the affairs of other countries. As it too becomes a laughing stock, we can expect the US to increase the use of new or more diffuse means of influence, via its ever more opaque web of financing to think tanks and other organisations. In Australia, the growing influence of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has been a very effective means of spreading American propaganda, encouraging huge military spending and conflict with China.

If the US had truth behind it, it would have no need for the endless subterfuge and criminal intrigues that every US government commits without shame or conscience.

Last year, a report by Max Blumenthal revealed that a Twitter user who goes by the name of “Kong Tsung-gan,” widely cited by Western media as a Hong Kong activist taking part in the “pro-democracy protests,” is in fact a white American man, Brian Kern. The fact that the media so readily took up the views of such a person as consistent with their view of the situation is equal parts revealing and unsurprising.

Not all protests are created equal. Large sections of the left in imperialist countries allow themselves to be taken in by US narratives about their enemies and are fooled into supporting colour revolutions that are only in the interests of the imperialists. A class-conscious and anti-imperialist theoretical outlook is necessary to counter the idealist delusions of liberal concepts of democracy. True democracy is not measured by any portrayal of ideas or words, but by concrete outcomes relative to material conditions.

What is the democracy where the interests of the wealthy minority come before the masses of working people? What is the democracy where the interests of a foreign power come before the interests of our own people? It is the democracy of the ruling class, not us. With respect to us, it is nothing but a lie.

All the peoples of the world share a mutual interest in peace, prosperity, and independence. The predominant capitalist system tarnishes all it touches, and condemns the vast majority to subordination and poverty. Only the destruction of the exploiter class and the building of a future without exploitation, on a planned and rational basis, can deliver humanity into its maturity.

The ever-growing catalogue of American interference operations around the world inspires revulsion. Just as now we look back at the slave trade or European wars over religious doctrine as disgusting, cruel episodes from a backward time, so in 100 years will the whole world look back at this era of US hegemony.

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