Not even one of the richest, most pro-capitalist Democrats in the country is beyond apologizing for ChiCom tyranny, it appears.
Remember that Xi Jinping is unaccountable to the Chinese public *even by the standards of Chinese leaders.* He was effectively installed last year as president for life after term limits were revoked, sparing him from mandatory retirement in 2023. It’s a huge advantage for him in his trade-war staredown with Trump, too. As tariffs begin to bite in the U.S., Trump has to contend with pressure from affected businesses and risks a backlash at the polls that’ll toss him out of office. Xi can wage war as long as he wants without fear of threat to his own power (from the population, at least). If Chinese business owners decide they’ve had enough and take to the streets, they know what awaits.
Bloomberg’s making the banal point here that not even monarchs govern with complete freedom. The Chinese elite and the leadership of the PLA could conceivably threaten Xi if conditions inside the country deteriorated sufficiently, and there’s an abstract risk of revolution of the sort that’s been playing out in Hong Kong for the last few months. But these are remote threats being cited in response to a question about a problem of alleged dire urgency — climate change. How do you pressure a dictatorship in a massive developing nation to cut emissions, asks Margaret Hoover? All Bloomy can do is stammer about how Xi will be forced to reduce pollution so that Chinese citizens aren’t choking on coal exhaust or whatever.
Which may be true — *some* pollution management may be needed to keep Chinese cities habitable. But how much more pollution management would be needed to meaningfully reduce the carbon load in the atmosphere, and what levers are there to force Xi to take that more aggressive action? Bloomberg doesn’t even attempt to answer the question, preferring instead to retreat into some fantasy about Chinese citizens making him do it even though that would mean sacrificing some of their own economic growth. That’s the great irony of this clip: Xi is better positioned than western leaders are to reduce his country’s emissions dramatically since he rules by edict and at the point of a gun. Just as he can set trade policy without fear of domestic reprisals, he can set environmental policy. But he prioritizes Chinese economic development over mitigating climate change. And instead of calling him on it, here’s Mike Bloomberg, global-warming warrior, making excuses for him.
It’d be bad enough to have him making those excuses in a vacuum. But to do it at a moment when the world is learning that China has sent a gigantic population of Muslims to concentration camps, with testimony at the UN as recently as two days ago that the government is harvesting organs from prisoners, is moral bankruptcy.
Does … this explain Bloomberg’s weirdly sanguine view? My lede in this post really has it backwards: It’s the richest and most pro-capitalist Americans who might logically be most reluctant to offend the “communist” overseer of the planet’s biggest market.
.@MikeBloomberg tells @FiringLineShow that China's leader is addressing pollution to satisfy constituents & secure his political future.
"The Communist Party wants to stay in power in China and they listen to the public," he says. pic.twitter.com/B9SoAXJwrM
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) September 27, 2019