Tuesday’s State of the Union address is best understood in light of China and North Korea. On Monday, Rush correctly identified the general purpose of nearly every State of the Union address: to make it look like the president is not wearing horns. According to a CBS/YouGov poll, Trump succeeded in winning the American people. He attempted the same on his visit to China with the Chinese people. That brings us to China and North Korea.
The purpose of government restrictions on the press is not to make the people love the government; it is to allow just enough of a truth vacuum for propaganda to make the people hate another country more than their own government. We see this with the anti-Americanism saturating North Korean culture. But, it is not unique to any one country. Preventing communication from the outside is necessary for the inside to hate the outside.
China’s increased restrictions on media—whether the professional press or social media—smells with the word “timing”. A swell of action to raise the “great firewall of China” comes just as North Korea crumbles. It almost seems that North Korea was a kind of socio-political experiment. Now that the experiment is finished, it’s time to implement the findings and discard the lab rats. So, China no longer rushes to the defense of North Korea, but instead becomes a mega hermit kingdom of its own.
The purpose of walls—and firewalls—says more about their builders than whatever they defend against. The US is looking to build a wall to keep people out while the Berlin Wall was erected to keep people inside. The US is a place people want to go to. Apparently, China is a place where the truth wants to go—not because the truth cares where it goes, but because the truth would find millions upon millions of places where it would be welcomed. That is a clear threat to someone.
So, what of it? Let China be. They may have a social uprising or they may not. It is not for the US to interfere with China’s affairs. Bring home America’s ideas and its money along with them.
But remember, one of the greatest risks to any firewall is expanding it. Minimalism is the best cybersecurity policy. If the US wanted to conquer China it should allow China to take over all the territories it seeks.