In UN speech, Trump overlooks achievements of Chinese socialism

By Caleb T. Maupin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 24, 2017
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U.S. President Donald Trump [Xinhua]

Remarks made at the U.N. reveal the American president’s profound ignorance of Chinese history and the tangible successes of socialist countries.

Many noticed that Trump's Sept. 19 address to the United Nations General Assembly took direct aim at Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. Yet, other than a vague reference to Ukraine and a passing mention of the "South China Sea," he avoided directly criticizing the two Eurasian superpowers, Russia and China.

While Trump did not lash out at Russia and China directly, he attempted to revise the past with a broad ideological and historical statement that denies the reality of both countries. Trump said:

"From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems."

As the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China approaches, the rapid industrialization and rising standard of living on China’s mainland stands in stark contradiction to Trump’s words.

"Socialism with Chinese characteristics” has transformed China from a deeply impoverished country into the second largest economy on earth. About 700 million people have been lifted from poverty. China had no steel mills in 1949, but today produces half of the steel in the entire world. It leads the world in cutting-edge technology such as artificial intelligence and supercomputers. To describe socialism as a failure in China, where the economy is directed by Five Year Plans and the nation is led by the Communist Party, is an almost laughable mischaracterization.

Perhaps Trump did not list China alongside other socialist countries because he does not consider it to have "true socialism." With no training in political science or economic theory, he is clearly not qualified to make such a determination. Trump is almost certainly ignorant of Marxist-Leninist ideology, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping Theory.

Anyone familiar with these theories will understand that the policies of Pol Pot, the Gang of Four, and similar figures are not consistent with genuine socialist politics. Material abundance and high living standards -- not redistributed poverty -- have been understood as the true goals of socialism and communism since the time of Karl Marx. China's centrally planned economy, utilizing market mechanisms, is a clear example of socialism as success.

Trump’s statements prove false even beyond China. The socialist economy of the Soviet Union raised Russia from an agrarian, peasant nation to the industrial powerhouse it is today. The USSR launched the world’s first spacecraft. Cuba’s healthcare system is widely praised by international bodies. Venezuela’s recent hardships are not representative of the entire history of Bolivarianism, which the country formally adopted in 1999.

Trump’s speech notably hailed the victory over fascism in the Second World War. Does he not recognize that the Soviet Union’s military victories against the Nazi invaders astounded the world? Does he not realize that the communist Eighth Route Army captured the imagination of people across the planet with its bravery in the face of Japanese aggression?

The Soviet Union’s political and economic system certainly proved to have serious problems which ultimately contributed to its downfall. But to assess the entire history of socialism and communism as merely "anguish and devastation and failure" is obviously false. It should be no surprise that Trump’s pause for expected applause was met with hesitation and confusion by the audience in the U.N. chamber. Such blatant oversimplifications, denying the history and achievements of the most populous country on earth, will not be universally admired.

Caleb Maupin is a journalist and political analyst who resides in New York City focusing on U.S. foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of

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