Chas Freeman: The ChiComs Were "Overly Cautious" at Tiananmen Square

Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman has been tapped as the next chairman of the National Council of Intelligence (NIC), according to Foreign Policy. And while there is a fair amount of grumbling about his ties to the Saudi royal family (having been paid $1 million to lobby on their behalf) and his views on Israel, this 2006 Freeman mail to a listserv called CWF, uncovered by the Weekly Standard, is pretty stunning:

From: CWFHome@cs.com [mailto:CWFHome@cs.com]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 9:29 PM

I will leave it to others to address the main thrust of your reflection on Eric's remarks. But I want to take issue with what I assume, perhaps incorrectly, to be yoiur citation of the conventional wisdom about the 6/4 [or Tiananmen] incident. I find the dominant view in China about this very plausible, i.e. that the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than -- as would have been both wise and efficacious -- to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo's response to the mob scene at "Tian'anmen" stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.

For myself, I side on this -- if not on numerous other issues -- with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans' "Bonus Army" or a "student uprising" on behalf of "the goddess of democracy" should expect to be displaced with despatch from the ground they occupy. I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined. while shutting down much of the Chinese government's normal operations. I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang's dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China.

I await the brickbats of those who insist on a politically correct -- i.e. non Burkean conservative -- view.

Chas

You got that? The" truly unforgivable mistake" the Chinese authorities made at Tiananmen was not the brutal massacre of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators, but rather "the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud." The Chinese communists were not "rash," but rather "overly cautious."

According to the Chinese Red Cross, 2,600 hundred people died during the crackdown, but "quickly retracted that figure under intense pressure from the government. The official Chinese government figure is 241 dead, including soldiers, and 7,000 wounded."

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  • Naga Sadow||

    I believe the thrust of his argument was "Don't question those in power!". Could be wrong though.

  • Drew||

    This is what happens when you view an event through a narrow ideological lens. He fails to realize that these Chinese students had no other recourse to petition their government other than to disrupt their proceedings.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?! This has to be a fucking joke of some kind.

    You know, all this fucking bullshit lately has been comedic but this, this is infuriating beyond words.

    I... you know what? Fuck it. No one on this planet is worth saving.

  • ||

    I think someone needs to intervene with Chas on a timely basis.

  • Abdul||

    I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined.

    Did this guy ever read about the Million Man March, or any other other national protests that occur in Washington DC on what seems like a weekly basis?

  • ||

    So the tragedy of Kent state was that not enough student protesters were murdered to halt all peace protests in their tracks.

    Just when I think no rethuglican can sink my opinion of that fetid lot lower, someone like this subhuman piece of filth shows up and succeeds in doing just that.

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  • Kyle Jordan||

    The problem is that no one (his mother and or a doctor) intervened in a timely manner (before the first trimester) with him. Overly Cautious on her part and now her mistake begins to truely show.

  • the innominate one||

    In case you couldn't tell by the fact of him going by the name "Chas", his words confirm the hypothesis that Freeman is a pluperfect asshole. His surname is a misnomer, though his first name is apropos.

  • ||

    The vietnam war rallies against Nixon went on for days. They parked buses around the Whitehouse to keep the mobs back. Make no mistake, they were mobs. The Vietnam rallies were full nasty, violent people who did a lot of crazy shit. The Tienamen Square protestors in contrast seemed to be entirely peaceful.

    "I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang's dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China."

    That is where "realist" foreign policy takes you. All this clown cares about is stability and the ability of people to make money in China. If that means the oppression of a billion Chinese and the murder of thousans or even millions of innocent people, that is not this guy's concern.

  • ||

    I await the brickbats of those who insist on a politically correct -- i.e. non Burkean conservative -- view.

    Looks like he had to wait a while. Does the NIC director require Senate confirmation? Cause I seriously hope this will cause him not to get it.

  • Inkstained Wretch||

    Quite so, Abdul. I read the same passage and thought, "Has this moron ever seen a protest in Washington DC?" I've seen tens of thousands swarm the National Mall including the White House. There have been arrests to be sure -- most done for the news cameras -- but nothing remotely like Tianamen Square. Where has this guy been?

  • ||

    Thanks for the insight, Chas. The protesters in Tiananmen were nothing more than little Eichmanns.

  • ||

    "I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be."

    Certainly any objections to the CHICOMS is just propeganda. What a piece of shit. Oh well, I hope this guy can find a spot in hell because it is going to be awefully crowded down there.

  • ||

    Damn, according to the Foreign Policy Mag story, this gig doesn't require confirmation. Then again, more material with which to embarrass the administration (or "reign", as MNG calls it) is always a good thing.

  • Mad Max||

    Look on the bright side - at least this guy won't be pushing a 'forward strategy of freedom,' or some other BS 'be free or we'll shoot you' neocon foreign policy.

    Nor does he seem a fan of the Special Relationship (TM), which is what really gets the Weekly Standard's panties in a wad.

    (Disclaimer: Chinese Commies are evil, and killing peaceful protesters is evil, as are the apologists of such killing. But you can't reject every evil person from govt service - or at least, it won't happen)

  • ||

    "Look on the bright side - at least this guy won't be pushing a 'forward strategy of freedom,' or some other BS 'be free or we'll shoot you' neocon foreign policy."

    No he will just be encouraging every scumbag dictator in the world to do whatever is necessary to stay in power. Wow I feel so much better now.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    Maybe it's reverse psychology? He wants all these power hungry cowards to be as brutal and forthright as possible to hasten the movements against them?

    (I'm at the point of having to think shit like this to stay somewhat sane.)

  • Warty||

    This is what happens when you name a child Chas. Take note.

  • Jordan||

    Is this the Hope part or the Change part? I can never keep them straight.

    Only a month in, and this administration is on track to make Dubya's look like a shining beacon of liberty and competence. What a piece of shit.

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck Chas Freeman.

    But you can't reject every evil person from govt service

    Yeah, if we did that, we wouldn't even HAVE a government.

  • ||

    the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud

    This is why the cops won't let you dance at the Jefferson Memorial. That way anarchy lies.

  • ||

    This is what happens when you name a child Chas. Take note.

    Just look at Chazz Palminteri.

  • RedHatRob||

    The logical conclusion of the "moral equivalence" premise.

    There is no moral distinction between the actions of the Fascists/Communists/Islamists/Third World tyrants and the US government.

    While the Chinese response is predictable (no government will tolerate disruption), that does not make it justifiable. It is justifiable ONLY if you pre-suppose that the Communist Chinese government is a legitimate government. It is not. It is the continuation of an oligarchy/tyranny which seized power in 1949.

  • ||

    (Disclaimer: Chinese Commies are evil, and killing peaceful protesters is evil, as are the apologists of such killing. But you can't reject every evil person from govt service - or at least, it won't happen)

    I see right through your disclaimer buddy. Don't think you're fooling anybody with that one. Right off the bat I see you have no problem with commies, just Chinese commies - racist. And then you claim to not believe in killing peaceful protesters. This is a classic device to hide your true beliefs - ie. you believe in maiming peaceful protesters, but not actually killing them as that would create bad PR.

    You have to get up pretty early in the afternoon to slip one by me...

  • ||

    I'm kind of a theme guy, meaning I look to these sorts of notes (missives? stories?) for a central theme, a message of essence, if you will, and here is what I find from Chas's little piece:

    Government needs to be protected, at all cost, and no matter what the people want and believe.

    Wow. Kudos for having the nuts to write and publish what you believe, however noxious it may be.

  • ¢||

    Is this the Hope part or the Change part?

    Bush's guys weren't stupid enough to say this kind of shit, however similar their real opinions may have been (Change!), and it shows what kind of government the people who run it now think we should have (Hope!).

    So we get both for the price of...both, plus tax.

  • ||

    "Nor does he seem a fan of the Special Relationship (TM), which is what really gets the Weekly Standard's panties in a wad."

    Maybe not, but he does appear to be a fan of our special relationship with "our friends" the Saudis. You know, those folks that murdered 3000 Americans.

    Give him this though, he appears to be consistent in his disdain for democratic countries and his affinity for dictatorship.

  • ||

    Great research Moynihan. This shouldn't be a surprise though.

    All the people who get paid millions by the House of Saud: Kissinger, Bush(via Carlysle group), Chas Freeman,Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, James Baker etc.

    All these folks help prop up Wahabist propaganda machines and roaming secret police to carry out theocratic despotism and terrorism. These people also happen to be in favor of machine gunning crowds of innocents ANYTIME, ANYWHERE if the innocents are a threat to the eite.

    They have consistent moral standards.

  • Sour Apples||

    On most days, I'd find this man's views abhorrent. But there's nothing like a morning of reading Hit & Run to make the idea of a few whiney dissidents getting a fist in the teeth sound downright appealing.

  • ||

    I guess that means we will continue the Bush policy of funding both sides of the Sudi- Israeli regional conflict. The house of Saud can shoot guided missiles at perverted adulterers trying to protest their rulers, without havng to worry about Obama saying anything.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/28/washington/28weapons.html

  • Obamatartian||

    McCain/Palin would have been worse.

  • ||

    I know we don't like FoxNews, but this quote in an article about his Israeli issues seemed relevant:

    "He is one of the most well-rounded, knowledgeable and fiercely independent people I've ever dealt with in or out of government," said Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan.

    Korb said "it's completely unfair" to question Freeman's objectivity. "He's going to tell it like it is and he doesn't have any bias. This is a man who interpreted for Richard Nixon in China. I can't think of a better background," he said.

  • Kolohe||

    It's hard as heck to defend Freeman's email out of context - and still pretty difficult in context.

    But, just to be contrarian-

    If Louis XVI's and Nicholas II's governments would have been able 'nip their opposition in the bud' it is arguable that the reform trajectories each had started would have continued and made everyone better off eventually. Instead the revolutions they induced lead to both short and medium term catastrophe for their respective nations and many of their neighbors, and in part the entire world.

    In the obverse case, what are the consequences if the Whiskey rebellion would have succeeded?

  • ||

    Chas was also worked as a interpreter for Nixon in China.

    Chas wrote this:

    "Had Mao been less insistent on grand and impractical visions, his ideas would not have convulsed his country as desperately as they did - nor would they have been as thoroughly discredited.


    Had Mao not driven his country mad with attempts at sudden, violent change, China would not, however, now be as devoted to domestic tranquility as it is. Nor would it have so easily accepted the international order it once rejected, but in which it now prospers
    "

    "After a delay in which he experimented unsuccessfully with means of accelerating China's economic development and used the Cultural Revolution to affirm the idiosyncratic nativism of his revolution, Mao sought to lean on a suddenly respectful United States to regain China's international balance. "

    http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=5796

    From Chas's writings in "The Globalist" it appears he has a hard on for Mao power and especially liked how he made world government mroe likely. I'm sure it's no big deal though.

  • ||

    How ironic that someone named "freeman" is a commie rat bastard.

    I hope that when the Red Dynasty comes to its long-overdue end, that the people of China ban him from their country for life.

    -jcr

  • ||

    I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined.

    I guess he wasn't around DC in 1968, when the Poor People's March came to town and camped out at Resurrection City (just south of the Reflecting Pool) for a couple of months.

    Oh, yeah, and when LBJ decided that enough was enough and that Resurrection City needed to be busted up, he managed to do so without sending in any tanks.

  • ||

    ...or he was around and applauded the assasination of MLK by the US government. It kinda fits his publicized thinking on how things should work right?

    Leutrell Osborne, Sr., former CIA Case Officer for over 26 years thinks so.


    Such naivity here. You guys really believe in magic bullets don't you. Jesus loves you and "Hope Won".

  • Paul||

    I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square



    Chas Freeman, meet Paul Schell.

  • BPC||

    I'm sure Huffington Post and Daily Kos will be all over this. Seriously though, imagine if Bush appointed this guy?

  • ||

    Fuck it. No one on this planet is worth saving.

    I disagree. The people who protested in Tienanmen Square in 1989 were worth saving, and so are most of the people on the planet.

    -jcr

  • ||

    You lost me at "Weekly Standard."

  • Probability Broach||

    "what are the consequences if the Whiskey rebellion would have succeeded?"


    you meen if A. Gallatin had shot Washington?
    ...probably talking apes and zeppelins involved...

  • ||

    Idiots never do their homework.

    There were peaceful, in decent faith, negotiations with the protesters for a very long time. Because of those negotiations the death toll was much lower than it could have been.

    The talks in the end broke down due to, among other things, an internal power struggle in the party. Don't recall the details off the top of my head (last read this around oh, Nov '01 - same prof I had on morning 9.11 that year).

    Doesn't change the facts of the incident, just further highlights the idiocy of the comments by Freeman. The communist party didn't only allow it for a while, the actively engaged in dialogue and heard grievances. In the end, of course, some impatient asshole(s) had enough and sent in the tanks. That behind the scenes power struggle however, in the end, led directly to the Chinese move towards 'free' market policies.

    I think 'do your homework' should be tattooed onto the forehead of anyone who wants to work in or for Washington. It's really sad.

  • jtuf||

    I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined. while shutting down much of the Chinese government's normal operations.



    April 2000, protestors tried to stop a meetings at the IMF and the World Bank a few blocks from the White House. They were so disruptive, they shut down the near by George Washington University. I don't recall the US government killing any of them. Check out the GW Hatchet for articles on it.

  • Mike T||

    I think Obama has finally found someone who can go toe-to-toe with John Yoo for the title of First Sociopath.

  • ||

    This guy sounds like a power hungry idiot. Politicians lately seem to think they're in charge of stopping people from opposing the actions of the government when in fact they are brought into office to SERVE THE PEOPLE.

    I think most of these people should be taught some measure of reason and civility by being dropped off somewhere middle-city for afew months without any wallet or ID.

    Talk about a top-heavy government with idiots like this floating around.

  • ||

    Americans, do you realise you are sitting on a time bomb? You now have military troops engaged in America to keep domestic peace, private military companies like Blackwater operating on your soil, dictator type powers installed in the President via The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, 180+ FEMA concentration camps on American soil to hold Americans and to be used for ANY purpose, National Service Bills for slavery of Americans (introduced today in the Senate) and a NIC chief who believes in using violence and murder against his own people to quash demonstrations. WAKE UP America before it is TOO LATE!!!

  • ||

    What he was saying in this, which is being vastly misinterpreted, was that by trying to be nice, and politically correct, the government actually ended up causing bigger problems for itself in the long run. He is saying the Tienanmen Square incident could have been avoided if the government had been more honest about it's intentions by using harsh methods of communication before it culminated in Tienanmen Square.

    The government is going to do what it has decided is its policy unless its power is threatened. Our government has overrun our ability to control it as a nation. What he is saying is correct- intentions should be communicated far before anything this harsh is carried out. Effectively he is saying any American uprising against American government policies would be quickly quelled. He is not agreeing or disagreeing with what China did, he is simply disagreeing with their method of communication, which was in this situation, horrible.

  • ||

    The killing of the students was wrong. The Chinese let the movement grow, without recognizing or acting upon it. They ignored it until their only option was to either give in, or use military force against the students. If they had negotiated or acted upon the situation earlier - perhaps people wouldn't have had to die.

  • ||

    He's saying is that China should have done something to move the students BEFORE resorting to violence. China was right to do something but Tiananeman was wrong because they waited.

    Read it again with that in mind.

  • Lucas||

    There is a difference between protest and attempt to overthrown the government.

  • ||

    He's not saying they should have killed more students - he's saying they should have cracked down earlier as the events we're taking place. I believe he's saying the Chinese government shouldn't have let these areas be overtaken in the first place - which very well might have lead to less violence. But i don't think anyone so closely tied to the Saudis should have this much power in American government. Not because i think he is a spy but because Saudi Arabia is fucked up and any one coming from there has some serious issues.

  • ||

    Besides - All you really need to do to quell an uprising is give token, and small, pieces of what the protesters are asking for. Then they quiet down, ask the british about that before they started trying to tax our tea.

  • ||

    Yeah, the argument is that the government let the protests get out of control to a point where violence was unavoidable. He's not saying squash all protests are clamp down with more violence. He's saying that China just needed to keep it under control before it got crazy. And for those hell bent on slamming the Chinese, just think about what the American government would do if communist protesters took over the National Mall in D.C.

  • ||

    He can't conceive of an American Government acting like the Chinese Gov because he's not an American. He forgot one of the fundamentals to the American Constitution, Freedom of Speech.

    The really sad thing is I think a lot of people have forgotten this.

  • Dennis||

    So? Nothing he said was incorrect. He is correct about the American government not allowing people to halt the operation of a government and the normal daily progress of its citizens. There is a difference between airing an opinion and attempting to force it to be heard.
    Freedom of speech does not bestow a right to disrupt the lives of others.

  • ||

    @godhammer
    "China just needed to keep it under control before it got crazy." The point of the protest is to give voice to those who have none. They have to get out of hand in order to make their point. A government NEVER has the moral authority to kill it's own people when they are protesting in a nonviolent manner.

    @Kyle
    "I... you know what? Fuck it. No one on this planet is worth saving." Classic!

  • ||

    "A little rebellion now and then... is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."

    "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

    "Every generation needs a new revolution."

    Those are not my quotes, but rather the quotes of none other than Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps one day Americans will once again become patriots instead of a mass of whiners and finger pointers. It's not a democrat thing, or a republican thing. Here's another:

    "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine". (Thomas Jefferson)

    "A true patriot always demands better." Author unknown.

  • ||

    "How ironic that someone named "freeman" is a commie rat bastard"

    Not much, Freeman (and Freiman and other variations) are more correctly translated "Baron", i.e. they were free while their underlings were serfs, because they held the land under the fuedal system, and stole from any innovators on that land, did not allow private property except for their class, crushing enterpeneurship, etc.

    So it goes right in line with what his ancestors believed and did to others.

  • Pluto||

    What he's saying makes sense. As a government that wants to hold on to its power, they really were stupid to let the demonstration get to that point: namely where the city functions shut down in such a public fashion. Had they acted quickly and aggressively, there would likely have been less deaths (without a mob mentality people wouldn't have faced death so easily), and the world may not even have known that they acted.

    His comments make sense, just not from a happily democratic viewpoint.

  • kip||

    And they want THIS guy to be chairman of NIC?

  • Chewxy||

    2600 hundred people? C'mon!

  • ||

    "I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be." Yeah, I can see how protesting for what you believe in would make you a dissident...?? WTF??

    Does this guy belong to the communist party of PRC?? I know there is no WAY in hell he is American. If he is he must be a Democrat through and through...scumbag

  • ||

    ...just think about what the American government would do if communist protesters took over the National Mall in D.C.,

    One only has to think back to January 20th of this year.

  • ||

    "Nip in the bud" can only mean police state surveillance of all those suspected of supporting democracy or disagreeing with the state, the knock in the middle of the night, then prolonged detention, until the detainees are forcibly rehabilitated, that is, intimidated out of entertaining any thoughts the government deems "dangerous" to its power. Chas Freeman is a power fetishist. This is frightening.

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