Updated: Mar 15
Originally published in the American Thinker on July 29, 2020.
During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe (RFE) broadcast anti-communist messaging to countries behind the Iron Curtain. In addition to providing hope to victims of leftism and countering the official Soviet narrative, RFE shored up hope for change. The efficacy and threat of this western-backed and -operated “free flow of information” was recognized by the Soviet Union, such that in 1981, RFE’s Munich headquarters were bombed by Carlos the Jackal under the orders of the Stasi.
Seventy-one-years after RFE’s inception and twenty-nine-years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the West continues to “provide accurate and timely news and information to… countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press,” only now it is targeting a new audience: the Chinese people, along with North Koreans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Burmese listeners. Radio Free Asia began broadcasting in 1996, but the CCP has managed, in large part due to its great firewall, to jam the signal.
Behind the Chinese firewall are over 1.3 billion people. Only 90.6 million are members of the Chinese Communist Party, and of that number, fewer than 5,000 wield real power. The value and importance of connecting a western, anti-totalitarian message with the hundreds of millions of Chinese persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, brainwashed, and cowed by Xi Jinping’s murderous regime -- to provide some semblance of hope and international camaraderie -- cannot be underestimated. After all, as The Hill reported in 2017, China spends over $10Bn a year expanding its soft power in the form of CCP propaganda for which there must be a counter. Such a crucial humanitarian and political mission cannot be left to a single organization or broadcaster, especially when RFA’s budget remains under $50M. Thankfully, there is another messenger addressing Old Hundred Names (i.e. 老百姓), and discussing change, hope, and action. In the matter of a couple of months, that messenger has done enough damage to the CCP’s credibility to draw its ire as the RFE drew that of the Soviets.
Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former Chief Strategist, rejects Graham Allison’s conclusions in Destined for War concerning Thucydides’ trap -- that China is the ascendant power, America the established power, and that the former will unseat and replace the latter. Condemning this defeatism amongst the Kissinger-types in Washington and calling out collaboration between American corporatists and the CCP, Bannon argues that now is the time for bold action, to support dissidents in China, to knock down Xi Jinping’s “running dogs” and those collaborators in the West arguing in favor of America exiting the world stage and getting out of the way of an atheistic, collectivistic, and genocidal China. Even prior to the onset of the CCP Virus, Bannon was convinced that Sino-American relations were on the verge of a major change; that we were nearing the height of what William Strauss and Neil Howe call in their generational theory a “fourth turning.” (In simplest terms, where America is concerned, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men have created the times we presently find ourselves in, which could be characterized as a time of upheaval or a fourth turning) This Chinese-facilitated global crisis, exacerbated domestically by weak individuals, presents an opportunity for great change and a fundamental reorientation of national priorities and global powers. If this opportunity is ignored or passed up, America will forsake the free world and guarantee its own eventual demise.
In the fall of 2019, at the height of the Russian Collusion delusion with partisan gaslighting threatening to undermine Trump’s presidency, Bannon once again declared war. In the basement of his Capitol Hill townhouse -- formerly known as the Breitbart embassy -- Bannon kicked off a counterinsurgency podcast and radio show entitled War Room [Impeachment]. On his team, amplifying the signal and ignoring the noise: former Jamestown Associates VP and Trump 2016 campaign spokesman Jason Miller former Breitbart London editor-in-chief and Nigel Farage advisor Raheem Kassam; Virginia’s “political kingmaker” John Fredericks; veteran operative and celebrated patriot Jack Maxey; and Vish Burra, the head of the Yorkville Group, among others. With Voice of America behind them, Bannon’s War Room was ready for action.
At the start of the New Year, with impeachment frenzy petering out, Bannon changed gears. He began discussing the CCP Virus and the Chinese regime’s culpability for what has since become a global pandemic, one that has reportedly claimed the lives of over 140,000 Americans and nearly 700,000 others internationally, as well as sending the world into a global financial meltdown. By February, Bannon and his team were devoting the majority of their airtime to analysis of the grossly overlooked mayhem taking place in China’s Hubei province. They took note as millions of Chinese were being welded into their apartments or dragged into the streets; while dozens of industrial incinerators -- for China’s flu-decimated pigs or its citizens, it’s still not clear -- ran nonstop in Wuhan. The mainstream media, desperate not to offend benefactors and political allies, downplayed the ghastly reports out of Wuhan as conspiracy theories and smeared whistleblowers. Those politicos, experts, dissidents, and whistleblowers denied a platform on CNN, MSNBC, and on other hack outlets, flocked to War Room -- to Bannon’s Radio Free China.
Recognizing War Room Pandemic’s reach and the clarity of its message, the CCP’s media arm attempted to throttle Bannon or at the very least smack some fear into him. In May, CGTN called Bannon “A Modern Day Demagogue” and lashed out again the next day to note that he “can’t be trusted.” Bannon laughed it off. In fact, he was emboldened by the regime's smears and the attacks by its 50 Cent Army (i.e. 五毛党). After all, they wanted to shut him up because he was saying something of value. For starters, he compared the CCP to the Nazis.
The Chinese regime would prefer the West forget or ignore the hundreds of millions of coerced abortions and sterilizations carried out under the CCP’s eugenicist One Child Policy; the persecution of house Christians, the underground Catholic Church, and the Falun Gong; the internment of millions of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps; the clamp-down on dissent under the CCP’s new dehumanizing social credit surveillance program; its torturous indoctrination camps; the CCP’s aggression against Taiwan, Tibet, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and its other neighbors on the East Sea as well as its creation of illegal maritime fortresses; the CCP’s predacious One Belt One Road program, which it uses to bankrupt developing nations and secure regions with geostrategic value for future plunder and military advantage; China’s cyberespionage and ongoing theft of western IPs; the CCP’s currency manipulation; and the 46 million Chinese the CCP murdered in its so-called Great Leap Forward. Bannon and his team together have a great memory and they’re highlighting all that the CCP wants hidden. Furthermore, they've emphasized the distinction between the Chinese people and the CCP.
Channeling Fulton Sheen -- who pointed out in 1955 that only 3% of the population of Russia belonged to the Communist Party -- Bannon pointed out early on in his War Room coverage that the Chinese people are not the enemy. In fact, they are the first victims of America’s enemy, the Chinese Communist Party. Before China was putting Americans out of work, it was snuffing Chinese baby girls out of existence. Around the time Xi Jinping denied his father and broke rocks for Mao, tens of millions of Chinese were run over, shot, and starved by the same threat that now seeks to reign over Asia, to bring India to heel, and to punish Korea and Japan for crimes long-forgotten with crimes unforgettable. It is for this reason that there are two targets for Bannon’s Radio Free China: first, the American people whose elite have sold them and their children out to the communist Chinese who, through deception, information warfare, and trade warfare, have put them out of work, murdered their loved ones, and destroyed their economy; and second, the Chinese people who have never been free.
On the matter of the first, it was War Room Pandemic that gave Senator Tom Cotton a platform when everywhere else he was derided for pointing out that: the recombinant CCP virus did not originate in a wet market but rather in a level-four lab; that the CCP lied about human-to-human transmission (in part via the World Health Organization), arrested whistleblowers, silenced scientists sounding the alarm, destroyed key medical documents, and allowed international travel out of Wuhan while all domestic travel to and from Wuhan was prohibited. In addition to Cotton, Bannon has hosted dozens of experts from around the world while amplifying the message of patriots keen on action, such as Congressman Matt Gaetz, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, and former Navy Intel Office and China-expert Jack Posobiec. Where their American audience is concerned, War Room is championing the America-First populist cause (what Sohrab Ahmari might call common good conservatism) -- to make citizenship mean something again, to find common cause in common values, and all that both require.
On the matter of the War Room’s second target, Bannon and his team seek to channel their pro-democracy populist discourse over to the Chinese people via Nexus.org and VPNs, and it is for this reason that the show is translated into Mandarin. To anyone who might accuse the War Room team of xenophobia: what kind of –phobe seeks to improve the life, well-being, and agency of the Other? To urge her to persevere and to continue her fight against evil and oppression? Bannon’s hope is that while China’s thousand-year dam is presently pushed to its breaking point, perhaps it will be a Chinese populist revolt that surges.
Radio Free Asia is not alone in the information war focused on liberating the Chinese people and unburdening the world from the totalitarian, murderous CCP. It has fighting alongside it War Room (unofficially Radio Free China), helmed by Stephen Bannon who routinely vows: “Yes, we are coming for you -- the Chinese Communist Party -- and yes, we will overcome and defeat you like we defeated the fascists and the Nazis and the commissars in the Soviet Union.” It’s not the war to end all wars, but it’s a just war and it’s damned good thing Bannon is on our side.