Protesters wave US flags as they march to the US consulate in Hong Kong on September 8, 2019. Photo: AFP/Vivek Prakash

When news broke last Friday that some protesters in Hong Kong were setting up a provisional government to declare their own independence, a majority of the protesters were quick to shoot back that this announcement had been engineered by troublemakers to create undue tension between them and the Chinese government. Their quick response showed great level-headedness.

These “level-headed” protesters may not be as reckless as what some foreign media had been seeking to suggest over these past weeks. It is obvious that there are some troublemakers among them whose agenda is solely to fan the protest into a frenzy to force China into the hands of foreign powers. It may be critical for China and Hong Kong that they start differentiating the rotten apples and their sinister agenda from the rest of the “level-headed” protesters.

Influence of foreign power

The capacity to stage such a massive protest over so many weeks is simply not within the reasonable scope of activists like Joshua Wong. While Taiwan is a clear beneficiary of the protest, it alone does not have the capability or audacity to engage China in such a direct confrontation. There may be individuals from Taiwan, as there are individuals from within Hong Kong, but these are easy for the Chinese to identify and manage.

The US and the British clearly have a role in the protest but their narrative of defending Hong Kong’s democracy and its people is looking less credible with each passing day. Britain, which was the former colonial master of Hong Kong, had 155 years of opportunities before 1997 to do so.

Atrocities committed by neo-imperialists

The destructive rise of neo-imperialists has been a major concern of many world leaders. Driven by the unrestrained pursuit of money and power, their only interest is to turn the world into their playground where they can lord it over everyone effortlessly.

The devastation of many economies in the Middle East as a result of “justified” military interventions by the US and its allies over the past 20 years shows the US is only interested in the petrodollar. The same is true in other regions where the US and its allies have sought to intervene in the name of democracy.

From Venezuela to Libya and the rest of Africa and South America, economies are falling like pins each time the neo-imperialists roll off their bowling balls. Their talks of humanitarianism or the need of rebalancing power against the rise of China or terrorism are just excuses that they use to blind everyone, including themselves.

This is the new evil, where democracy becomes subservient to the greed of capitalism. When the culmination of their devastations is so much greater than the combined devastations of both World Wars and terrorism, it is timely to be questioning the morale of their agenda.

These democracy champions themselves have been using violent responses to curb their own public protests and also failed to intervene where democracy and humanitarianism were severely breached just because there was no money to be made or because the perpetrators of these atrocities were their allies.

Confrontations against neo-imperialism

In this aspect, China has scored a major coup by its restraint with the Hong Kong protesters. Isn’t it ironic that democracy champions are actually less democratic and humane than a communist country?

Unlike Russia, Iran or North Korea, the China is in a formidable position to challenge and expose the ambiguities of the neo-imperialists within the US administration. Together with some European countries, they are aware that if neo-imperialism is to be allowed to propagate unabated, the future will definitely be very bleak for everyone. While the ideologies of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea may be contentious, their confrontations against the destructive ideology of the neo-imperialists are not.

The Philippines and South Korea are starting to be more vocal against the US military presence on their shores. Even Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is increasingly vocal against the naval presence of the Chinese and the US in the region. His concern over a possible military mishap in the region is not without merit.

These and others are calling out the US for exaggerating the need for its military presence in the region and are demanding that the US be more consistent with its defense of democracy, humanitarianism and regional security.

As such, the recent naval access extension granted to the US into the region by Singapore may become a thorny issue for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As a bloc, its members will have to decide if they want to be complicit to the rise of neo-imperialism in the region.

Other world leaders cannot just sit back and allow neo-imperialism to propagate unabated, as should the US end up derailing China economically or escalate its confrontation with Beijing into a military engagement, we will find ourselves degenerating back to the Dark Ages in no time.

America’s increasing vulnerabilities

The US has clearly lost some of its competitive edge to the Chinese and has no one to blame but itself. It must return to strategic economic restructuring instead of continuing on the self-destructive path of neo-imperialist ideology. With its many exposed vulnerabilities, the US needs serious restructuring of its own economy and must stop damaging the economies of others.

As the US critically needs to improve its economy in real terms instead of rhetoric, the Democrats will have an advantage against Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election. Compared with the push to impeach him for his alleged misuse of power, the protest in Hong Kong will mean very little to Trump at this stage. In fact, it is looking like Trump may just find himself in need of the support of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

For Hong Kong or any other economies that think that sleeping with Trump can buy them prosperity, they are gravely mistaken. If the European Union, the UK or Japan aspires to become a pivotal third power, free from the clutches of neo-imperialists within the US administration, they need to start emphasizing the need for a more desirable world order.

Time for Hongkongers to be realistic

In light of these insights, why would the Hong Kong protesters still aspire to seek the patronage of the neo-imperialists instead of China when it is clear that China is capable of delivering on its promises of shared prosperity? China has the success of Shenzhen to substantiate its competency to re-strategize Hong Kong forward.

Unless Hong Kong aspires to end up like one of those failed economies that fell prey to the neo-imperialists and their empty rhetoric, it is time that it accepts the hard fact that it will falter without the support of China and that none of those neo-imperialists will give a damn about its misfortune should all goodwill be lost.

At the end of the day, the talk of democracy and freedom means little if there is no socio-economic success to sustain such lofty aspirations.

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