• Newt Gringrich: U.S. Needs to Stand with Hong Kongers in Fight for Liberty

    Surge Summary: Newt Gingrich doesn’t call for armed intervention in the current Hong Kong conflict – but neither does he say the U.S. should remain a passive observer.

    In a lately released piece, former Republican Congressman and leader Newt Gingrich muses:

    Over the past two months, the world has seen the people of Hong Kong bravely stand up to the growing threat of totalitarianism. What began as a protest against a bill that would allow prisoners to be extradited to mainland China has evolved into a movement to demand that the Hong Kong government (largely now controlled by China’s Communist Party) adheres to the promises of freedom and autonomy it made upon its return to China in 1997.

    A segment of Hong Kongers are holding accountable the Big Bad Chinese regime. Something to which the Reds are not accustomed.

    Gingrich notes the protestors have been flooding the streets since June – threat of arrest, tear gas, rubber bullets and attack by masked thugs with batons hasn’t shut them down. Chinese tanks have lined the Hong Kong/mainland China border. Some doughty demonstrators have waved the American flag and sung the American national anthem. They’re showing little signs of wavering, although the protests’ outcome is anything but certain.

    But one thing is for sure – the United States of America and the free world is watching. Chinese Communist Party leaders must know there will be consequences if the freedoms that were promised to the people of Hong Kong are eradicated by a communist totalitarian dictatorship. This is more than a protest about a proposed new law; it is about protecting the people of Hong Kong from tyranny and despotism – and keeping a growing totalitarian power at bay.

    Importantly, this effort by the Chinese Communist Party to meddle in Hong Kong’s affairs is just one part of the totalitarian regime’s plans to expand its power. As I discuss in my upcoming book, Trump vs. China, the Chinese Communist Party is taking actions across the globe that are threatening American interests, security, and values. To successfully counter this threat, a unified American response is critical.

    I am glad to see our leaders are currently in agreement.

    He references Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “[A]ny violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable. … The world is watching.”

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: “America stands for freedom. America stands with Hong Kong.”

    This is intriguing: the erstwhile Republican Speaker of the House cites current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (!) who tweeted that the Congress stands “united with the people of Hong Kong in demanding their right to a hopeful, free and democratic future.”

    Gingrich then mentions Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “America stands with the people of Hong Kong in their protest against this abuse of power by the government of Beijing.”

    The American people are also starting to recognize the challenge that a totalitarian communist-ruled China poses to the United States. A recent Pew poll found that Americans are increasingly skeptical of the Chinese Communist Party’s actions, with 60 percent of respondents reporting unfavorable views of China. This is the highest percentage in the 14 years that Pew has posed this question.

    That translates into the heartening revelation that, on this topic, at least, sixty-percent of Americans have their eyes open.

    As American opposition to the Chinese Communist Party’s tactics grows, it is up to government and industry leaders to begin asking and answering the tough questions. Can businesses continue to turn a blind eye to Chinese-led hacking that results in an estimated loss of $360 billion per year in intellectual property for the sake of their stock prices? Can institutes of higher education keep ignoring the distribution of Chinese Communist Party propaganda through Confucius Institutes on American campuses for the sake of financial gain? Can the defense bureaucracy retire old institutional technology and weaponry for the sake of more efficient strategies and tactics? Can government and private sector leaders put aside short-sighted partisan politics and personal interests to address this threat?

    Gingrich gives a pat on the back to the Trump administration for taking a hardline stance against the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive tactics, but cautions: “[T]his challenge is far from over. In fact, it is just beginning.”

    I don’t believe this has to evolve into any sort of US military conflict. But President Trump’s tariffs on China are just one of many ways we can make the nation’s leaders regret bad behavior.

    The United States now has an opportunity to send a strong message to Beijing and preserve the freedom and rights of the people in Hong Kong. We can start by passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This bill was introduced by Congressman Christopher Smith in the House and Senator Marco Rubio in the Senate and will hold officials in Hong Kong and China accountable for the suppression of freedom and human rights in Hong Kong.

    The United States must stand with the people of Hong Kong and the legacy of freedom that they are trying to protect. If America cannot effectively respond as a nation against the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to stamp out freedom in Hong Kong, we will be hard pressed to successfully counter their aggression in the United States and around the world.

    As the seventy-six-year-old Republican wrote, “the United States of America and the free world is watching.” But the free world is also watching the United States; watching how the “beacon of liberty” answers this challenging and disturbing situation.

    Does America – should America – be the “globe’s policeman”? Certainly not. But the U.S. can – and should – speak up, speak out, bring public pressure to bear on the increasingly oppressive Middle Kingdom: Leave Hong Kong be! Uphold the terms of your 1997 agreement to allow them to operate separately from the Mainland; the vaunted “one country, two systems” pact. 

    Contrary to what many probably assume, global opinion really does matter on some level to most nations – even if it’s a godless, Commie tyranny.

    Freedom underscored in Hong Kong is good for that district; it’s good for a bystander world; good for American long-term interests, too.

    The renowned dictum John Quincy Adams exclaimed back in 1821 comes to mind:

    Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

    Admittedly, applying that nuanced principle can be a geo-political high-wire act. But it surely doesn’t include saying nothing, remaining silent in the face of Chinese predations.

    The “home of the free” has a responsibility to visibly stand alongside those pressing for liberty in Hong Kong.

    Good for Newt Gingrich for acknowledging as much.

    Related Columns:

    ‘Beacon of Liberty’: The U.S. Must Exercise Caution, but Can’t Do Nothing in Hong Kong

    The Flag, a Fireman, Hong Kong Protestors … and Spoiled Sports Celebs

    Image: VOA Cantonese – https://www.voacantonese.com/a/hkwitnesses-the-most-violent-protests-against-extradition-law/5030733.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81083565

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