8 December 2019   Leave a comment

After the election on 24 November in which pro-democracy candidates for the city council won overwhelmingly, there was an expectation that support for the protests in Hong Kong would somewhat abate. That does not seem to be the case as about 800,000 people gathered in Hong Kong to demonstrate against the control of Beijing over political affairs. The protests were also surprising given that the Hong Kong economy seems to be suffering greatly from the protests. The government describes the downturn:

“‘The Hong Kong economy saw an abrupt deterioration in the third quarter of 2019, as the local social incidents dealt a very severe blow to an economy already weakened by a synchronized global economic slowdown and US-Mainland trade tensions,’ the government said in a statement. ‘As the impacts of the local social incidents have yet to show signs of abating, consumption and investment demand will likely remain in the doldrums for the rest of the year.’”

There was a sense that economic concerns would erode support for the protests, which are largely supported by young people in the city. Apparently, that has yet to be the case.

The turmoil in Hong Kong has elicited strong support from the US Congress which has passed several laws in defense of human rights in the city. These laws will make a trade deal with China much more difficult.

I try not to comment on the partisan comments about the impeachment proceedings, but the recent statements by Sen. Kennedy (R-LA) and Sen. Cruz (R-TX) asserting that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 US national election raises serious concerns about how effective Russian propaganda has become. The argument has been completely refuted by US intelligence agencies, but persists among the most ardent defenders of President Trump. Former National Security Council official Fiona Hill made this clear in her testimony to the House Committee on Intelligence:

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its Security Services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian Security Services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.”

That US Senators would be so willing to do the work of the Russian intelligence services defies belief. Even though there is no evidence that Vladimir Lenin ever used the phrase “useful idiots”, I have no hesitation whatsoever in labeling those who suggest that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 national election “useful idiots”.

Posted December 8, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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