There are still “communist sympathizers” who believe China is their Eden…it is hard to believe, I know

I was reading posts regarding Communist China, and came across a post entitled “Is the People’s Republic of China a Force for Good?” https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/9954326/posts/12507, a post addressing an article discussing the People’s Republic of China’s influence in Australia.

The post is basically more than an apology for the People’s Republic of China, but actually a celebration of its communist roots and a system of government far “superior” to Western “bourgeois democracies”.  As soon as people start using “bourgeois”, I start getting nervous. I wrote a comment on the post, and you can read the original post yourself to see the depths to which an apologist for totalitarianism will go to justify it (even as against those evil human rights proponents such as Liu Xiaobo calling for democracy, because they are committing “treason”). As soon as people start saying it is treasonous to call for human rights, due process and democracy, you have reached that Twilight Zone called Communist China.

Here is my comment on the post in full. I am not sure it will be published there:

“I suppose it is ironic this was posted on June 4th, the day on which the rest of the world remembers Tienanmen Square’s massacre, another dark day in the totalitarian history of murder and oppression in The People’s Republic of China, which is basically the most horrendous “communist” dictatorship, in this case run by the Chinese Communist Party. The only tie remotely between communism and the People’s Republic of China is that it is both a totalitarian nightmare, like every communist regime in history, and the state owns and controls everything, including speech, thought and actions. To pretend, like some book group discussing the writings of Marx, that the PRC is some benign and beneficial nation of peace and harmony requires checking one’s brain and entire nervous center before waking. China is not “cooperating” with the West, it is co-opting the West with its basic capital, which is blackmail, propaganda and prevarication, undertaken under the guise of trade and economic development, using such projects as the One Belt One Road (One Noose One Way), which is a web of influence which will allow China to affect the thinking and policies of all the nations involved and affected. China has corrupted the United Nations into becoming a Communist China mouthpiece and automaton. If people with the principles discussed here reject Liu Xiaobo in favor of Xi Jinping, I really don’t know what to say, except trying having a discussion about Liu in a coffee shop in Beijing and see how long before you end up in jail. And that is free speech with Chinese characteristics. By the way, this website is not available in the PRC, and “Communist Heaven” is actually a room without light in a special corner of Hell.”

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – Taiwan’s Democracy, the U.S. Pledge, and the Chinese Communist Party’s Constant Nightmare – “Freedom”

Regarding the editorial in the Sunday Taipei Times (“The Liberty Times Editorial: Opportunities and independence”, Jul 16, 2017 – Page 6), and speaking of the U.S. position on Taiwan’s independence, the paper notes “Therefore, arms sales to Taiwan, but failure to support its independence is a curious mix-and-match of action and rhetoric.”

Actually, if one thinks about it, this is not so curious. Failing to support independence out loud is not opposing it, even if those words come out of some official’s mouth at some point, because at its root, opposition to independence is not the policy of the U.S., it is merely a tool aimed at defusing a flash point with an arch enemy with nuclear weapons.

However….there is a time to every purpose, and war between the U.S. and China is the potential result of a declaration of independence by Taiwan unless it is the right time, so it is a matter of great importance that the time be right.

What does that mean? It is not so easy to define the right time, or pinpoint. It does depend on the steady progress of Taiwan towards being de facto recognized around the world out loud as a democratic nation on its own, and it could also depend on the resolve of the people of Taiwan. Few believe Taiwanese are willing to take up arms and fight Chinese soldiers in the streets of Taiwan. They say, this is 2017, who does such things, or would want to?

In history, including recent history, there have been very few declarations of independence not accompanied by bloodshed – no country’s overseer will so easily give up its captive.

The U.S. fought a long and very bloody Revolutionary War 241 years ago propelling the U.S. into history and George Washington into the Presidency. In the course of the 8 years of war against England, over 30,000 civilians lost their lives, and there were over 200,000 military casualties. The result was “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The bloodshed and resulting democracy has served as a beacon of freedom for billions in the centuries following. Are Taiwanese willing to shed their blood for this?

I think in civil society today, we do everything we can to avoid such conflict, though evil revels in blood and gore, as Tiananmen Square, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap and so many other horrific events in Communist China have shown. It also revels in intimidation.

The result? The “One-China policy” that acknowledges that this is what Communist China says, and that the U.S. has its own idea about that. And the purpose of the ambiguity is to allow the U.S. to stand behind Taiwan, firmly, and between Taiwan and Communist China, firmly, and protect Taiwan with the full power and beauty of the U.S. Constitution and the principles of freedom and democracy now inherent in Taiwan’s system of government, and wait for the right time to help bring Taiwan into the family of recognized democratic nations, which it truly already de facto is.

All of the machinations dealing with Taiwan’s de facto independence are designed to avoid a war between two nuclear powers, especially with a North Korean powder-keg sitting just a few clicks away. We have seen how Communist China deals with resistance historically, by its brutality in Tibet and Hong Kong. The U.S. did not stand behind Tibet and wag its finger, having just completed the Korean War a few years earlier. Genocide through eugenics has ensued in Tibet. The U.K. does not have the muscle to stand behind Hong Kong even though Communist China recently stated that the 50-year agreement between the UK and Communist China no longer applies – in other words, England has no power to enforce it, so too bad, Hong Kong’s One Country-Two Systems system is now One Country-One System.

But the U.S., recognizing the tremendously important role that Taiwan plays in ensuring Asia’s democratic existence, and the beauty and grace in having its democracy flourish, and having the same freedoms as exist in the U.S. in Taiwan for its 23 million people, does stand behind Taiwan and wag its finger at Beijing and say “don’t even think of it, buddy”. It has not yet become “Make my day, punk,” but it is implicit in the military presence in China’s neighborhood, and projection of the U.S. military might around the world.

Despite the bellicosity of PLA (People’s Liberation Army) generals, China’s military is no match for the battle-hardened U.S. military might, and for all those nay-sayers in the U.S. who complain about its defense budget, it is like the defense budget for the entire free world (because as we know well, Europe is not going to mount a military that can fulfill that role) and that gives the U.S. power to keep democracy vital and dominant, protecting the freedoms of the people of the U.S., and its friends, despite the efforts of the world’s worst totalitarian regimes, from Communist China to Russia, to Iran to North Korea to Venezuela to Cuba to  those in the Middle East.

Were the U.S. to back off Taiwan, I don’t want to think of the consequences. Our law provides support for Taiwan, laws which always pass with overwhelming support in Congress. Presidents follow diplomatic niceties, but the U.S. Congress does not have to follow suit. Few in the U.S. speak glowingly of a unified Communist China and Taiwan. An overwhelming majority acknowledge that Taiwan is already a democratic nation whose own Constitution provides in Article One it is a nation with a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

That is the basic foundation of Taiwan today. And it is the basic foundation of Charter 08, offered in 2008 by Liu Xiaobo and his co-writers as the foundation for a future China. Imagine that. Taiwan is the example of what the people of Communist China can look forward to. No wonder the Chinese Communist Party is so damn afraid of tiny Taiwan. And no wonder the Chinese Communist Party is so damn afraid of India, a great U.S. ally and a democratic nation of more than one billion people – demonstrating that the Chinese Communist Party’s argument that China is too big for democracy is nonsense.

To answer the question inherent in the editorial, the democracy and independence dance is not only a dance between Communist China and Taiwan, truly of necessity for Taiwan’s benefit and survival. If it were, it would be a very short and painful dance. It is a very complicated dance and the dance floor is quite crowded, and Communist China is by far not the dancer with the biggest footprint and most destructive kick, and while the U.S. is dancing far from home, Communist China knows that doesn’t mean a thing after over 100 years of projecting power for good across the oceans and seas to stand behind freedom against oppression whenever and wherever it is found.

Also, while the dance is going, and it is going, Taiwan is evolving, and as the pro-Communist China KMT is in steep decline, Taiwan is edging closer and closer to fully realizing the power of those words above…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Assimilate that, Chairman Xi and your Chinese Communist Party, anachronisms of despair from the 20th Century, and hollow wraiths in the shadow of Taiwan’s massively free and beautiful society.

Project Syndicate still pushing for a Communist China led world.

Project Syndicate, the brainchild of George Soros has continued its love-in with China, promoting Communist China over and again as the new alternative to the United States as world leader. It is sickening, but Soros has shown his strong dislike for the United States, and his preference for totalitarian Communist China. So much for the preferences of billionaires.

In the Project Syndicate article “Multipolarity and the global order” (written by Javier Solana and published in the Taipei Times on June 28, 2017, page 8), Solana actually writes these words: “Rising powers such as China are equipped to act as responsible stakeholders.” What? In what possible world is that sentence true? Unless by “responsible” Solana means “brutal, totalitarian, ruthless, uncompromising, murderous, unfree, anti-human rights, bereft of due process, completely censored, and allies with the worst enemies of humanity on earth”.

Solana also said this: “The Belt and Road Initiative — which Xi has described as “the project of the century” — is a true reflection of China’s strategic choice to strengthen commercial links with the rest of Eurasia and Africa, taking advantage of the opportunity to accumulate “soft power.” What?!! Has Solana been drinking Beijing Koolaid? Taking advantage to accumulate soft power? Either Solana naively does not know that One Belt One Road is Communist China’s long-term strategy to infect Europe and Asia with Kommunist Kash and Kommunist Trade, Beijing’s Kommunist Party political philosophy and requirements (One China and other “core” issues) and its plan for a world of “democracy with Chinese characteristics”, which of course means “no democracy” under any circumstances, or he is so eager for Spain to benefit from Communist China’s “politiks 4 Kash” that he ignores it.

When he served as EU high representative for foreign and security policy, and as NATO secretary-general, Solana always impressed me as highly anti-American. His thesis in his article that the US has withdrawn from its traditional role as the only international superpower, appears to be based on the first 150 days of Donald Trump’s presidency. This thesis is faulty because if anything, Trump has done more in the first 150 days to assert the US footprint than Obama did in 8 years. All of the things Solana refers to as indicia of America’s withdrawal occurred on Obama’s watch, and that includes emasculating the US, singing Kumbaya with America’s worst enemies, and deferring to everyone else and his brother, including tragically Russia and Communist China.

There is no chance the EU will emerge as a prime actor on the international stage, except as a brake on getting things done. The EU members cannot agree among themselves what to call a bagel, much less decide on the burning issues of the day. And in fact, Solana, while mentioning the US in passing, really means that China can fill that role.

Does Solana not understand the UN has been paralyzed for decades because Russia and China have veto power? And that they always use that veto power to protect the evil flavor of the month?

There is an insidious propagada at play by those in countries where Kommunist Kash is most welcome to blithely promote China’s rise, and America’s demise. This should be troubling to any person supporting democracy, justice, and human rights.

A second Project Syndicate article “Looking for a candidate to fill the US’ shoes” by Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations published in the Taipei Times (June 28, 2017, Page 9) also discusses the alleged withdrawal of the U.S. from international leadership. Less ebullient about China, the article nevertheless assumes the US will not lead in the foreseeable future: “As a result, the US will no longer play the leading international role that has defined its foreign policy for three quarters of a century, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike.” Mr. Haass pulls no punches and makes this statement sound like a matter of fact. This is quite presumptuous, and betrays a disconnect caused by doubt in President Trump’s leadership, but actually missing historical rhythms which have been in place for decades.

Mr. Haass discusses how the US has abandoned its leadership with Trump’s America First policy, but truthfully the situations discussed are more the result of 8 years of President Obama’s international incompetence than Mr. Trump’s first 150 days.

And as Tony Giamporcaro correctly points out in his post at the Taipei Times regarding the article by Mr. Haass, pundits who keep promoting the notion the US is no longer the primary international force in the world, blaming it on President Trump, purportedly because of his non-traditional relations with allies and enemies, completely ignore the fact the US has been unable since World War II to really rely on its allies to actually pull their weight in facing real conflicts in the world, the EU and other allies more likely to act according their selfish or political economic interests than human rights or doing what is right. NATO is basically little without the participation of the United States.

And there is another point. Those same pundits seem also to ignore President Obama’s compete abandonement of all diplomatic precedent, booting allies and embracing enemies, his Kumbaya diplomacy and utter failure, leaving behind a world in flames and chaos.

But Mr. Haass does rightly conclude that the world’s wishful thinking that the US has withdrawn leaves a vaccum that cannot be filled by any other country in the world, nor by the EU collectively (“However, it is clear that there is no alternative great power willing and able to step in and assume what had been the US role.”) This has always been the case, and always will be the case. But Mr. Haass goes off on a tangent and imagines a combine of countries that together can fill the shoes of the US. but he concludes the world is more likely to regret the US is not back in that role.

I believe the US has gone it alone before and likely will continue to have to go it alone again to face sticky issues that no one else in the world has the wherewithal or courage to face. Responding to Syria’s chemical weapons attack is an example. And the irony is that whereas the red line was drawn by Obama, he was paralyzed to actually enforce it. Trump decisively enforced it within the first 100 days, and that sends a strong message to any country entertaining heinous actions.

I was somewhat heartened by Mr. Haass’s approach, though he arrived at his conclusion the world would miss an absent US in a somewhat fanciful and circuitous route.

We still need to be aware every time we read a Project Syndicate article just what Soros is selling us. There is a serious disconnect with the good the US does, and the outright evil inherent in strategies employed by Russia and China.

 

 

New York Times Seems to Prefer China’s One Belt One Road One Noose One Way to the US ~ Has the Old Gray Lady Gone Mad?

The NY Times published an article out of Beijing by Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher (also carried in the Taipei Times on May 18, 2017, p. 9 “Xi positions China at center of a new economic order”) which seems to speak of China President Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road as an alternative to the “inward-looking” United States under President Trump. As I discuss below, when I read the opening I felt so much disappointment with the Old Grey Lady, which in its recent articles offering somewhat glowing reviews of Xi’s plan symbolizes the hypocrisy of leaning so far left that the extreme right seems only seconds away and fascism looks promising. How can the Times not recognize Xi’s true nature? Is it because he smiles as he threads the hook? Because he speaks lovingly of the poor and the disadvantaged as he weaves a web of deceit and oppression and has his security troops beat those poor and disadvantaged who complain at home into the ground?

Prattling on about the details of Xi’s plan, the article nowhere discusses the true nature of the plan, and does not mention the doublespeak and innuendos in the plan (see my earlier post One Belt One Road One Noose One Way). I understand writing from Beijing one is limited in what one can say negatively about China. For this reason, the Times should stop publishing puff pieces and innocuous analysis from Beijing of a plan which has as its central tenet garnering world influence, destroying democracy, and effecting China’s dream of changing the world so that its dictatorship is the norm, not the exception.

I feel betrayed by the New York Times, but that is nothing new apparently. The article contains so many holes, it is difficult to address them all. Suffice it to say that the article hardly addresses the insidious strategy of China’s so called One Belt One Road program (which in reality is China’s One Belt One Road One Noose One Way) to construct Trojan horses which can be inserted into any number of the participants in its ‘new economic order’ (a ridiculous way of describing Xi’s plan to corrupt as much of the world as possible) to bring about a situation where China holds all the cards, and countries participating must kneel to China or else risk ruin.

The “economic” plan is not economic at all except to the extent the Kommunist Kash involved while masked as generous loans for infrastructure, is used for blackmail and extracting political concessions to Beijing’s One China rule, its hegemony and its intention to impose its Socialism with Chinese Characteristics (which means “follow Beijing or else”) throughout the new One Road, which is basically merely One Noose.

I have written several times about this and about Project Syndicate’s articles promoting China as an alternative to the US recently in posts here and at the Taipei Times. If international news organizations keep leaving out the animus behind China’s proposal, we will have to keep calling them out on these incomplete analyses and provide our own more direct and clear analysis. China is not saving the world. It is planning to pound the world into China’s own shape.

I heard a song recently called “I’m Not Clay” by a young American singer (Grace VanderWaal). I thought of this song recently because it is a ballad to staying true to yourself.

There are countries along the proposed new silk road where China intends to implant its tentacles, squeezing until eventually they must all obey China’s “core interests”, allow China to continue to spread the influence of its tyranny, and to obligingly intone its mantras, fearful to say anything untoward about the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship, until they are remade into fawning followers of Beijing.

The NY Times article does not discuss the most important point about One Belt One Road One Noose One Way. China cannot remake democracy into dictatorship nor turn free people into supporters of its tyranny, no matter how widely Xi smiles and how hard China tries. Frankly, we are not clay.

China’s One Belt One Road One Noose One Way

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) weekend forum for his One Belt One Road [One Noose One Way] project just ended. As with anything orchestrated by Communist China, there are dangers and intrigue inherent in the plans and the strategy, because it is China’s ambition to purchase influence and fealty around the globe, a kind of immunization against any discussion of its totalitarian system of oppression, hegemony and its plan to remake the world with Chinese Characteristics. Xi, as always, spoke “sincerely” of “mutual respect of one another’s sovereignty, territory and “core interests.” This is one of the key dogmas in China’s initiative of One Belt One Road [One Noose One Way].

A thorough article for Reuters/Beijing (‘Silk Road’ plan stirs unease over China’s strategic goals, Taipei Times, Mar. 6, 2017, p. 9) sets out some of the practical concerns the international community may have about the plan. The article mentions that “Xi’s speech also drew implicit contrast between Chinese-style development objectives and those of the West, saying the initiative will not resort to ‘outdated geopolitical maneuvering’.”

Together, these two points mean that China’s strategy is to hide the evil inherent in the Chinese Communist Party’s one-party dictatorship rule over China in plain view by “suggesting” for the millionth time that countries must respect sovereignty, territory (in other words China will claim whatever territory it deems part of China, including Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, parts of the Moon and possibly Mars if it can get there first) and “core interests”, which means don’t even think of messing around with the CCP’s suppression of all freedoms in Communist China or trying to introduce democracy, human rights or justice there anytime soon, or fail to intone the One China Policy.

Xi’s project will throw tens of billions of dollars at needy or greedy countries willing to do business with the devil, kneel to the devil, and, unbeknownst to them, invite the devil to dinner and get on the Silk Road which is a one-way ticket to Hell. China’s currency has always been propaganda and blackmail. If you want Kommunist Kash, you have to pretend One China is true, even though the world knows Taiwan is not part of Communist China, and that China is not the world’s worst offender of human rights in the universe. For the right amount of Kash, or pretend effort to reign in North Korea, it seems to be no problem for Europe and even for Trump.

“The Chinese government has never wished to control any other country’s government,” according to Ou Xiaoli (歐曉理), a Chinese Cabinet official. Except controlling Taiwan. And Tibet. And Hong Kong. And the South China Sea. And all references to the one-party system in China. And talking about the Great Firewall of China. And Falun Gong. And the Chinese Catholic Church. And the Dalai Lama – and Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the kidnapped real Panchen Lama and the Chinese Communist Party replacement fake Panchen Lama. And North Korea. And Japan. And Democracy. And Human Rights, whatever those are. And Censorship. And Freedom of Speech. And freedom of religion. And due process, whatever that is. And speaking ill of the Chinese Communist Party revolution.

The article notes that “China often is the only entity willing to finance big projects in poor countries. That gives Beijing leverage to require use of Chinese builders and technology.” This is good old-fashioned Colonization with Chinese Characteristics. China will go into a poor country, give the corrupt leadership Kommunist Kash with no strings attached (other than those mentioned in the previous paragraph), but no requirements that the government of the new “colony” be democratic or practice human rights, whatever those are, or benefit the people of the country, rape the natural resources China needs to take, bring in multitudes of Chinese workers under CCP control to do the work, and add another “ally” to the list of who will vote blindly for anything China wishes. Perhaps ultimately we will see a United Chinese Union which will be comprised of all these “colonies” that China has acquired using Kommunist Kash, which will become a bloc of anti-western democratic principles and human rights, whatever those are, and pro-Chinese socialism with Chinese Characteristics, which means an alternate world of dictatorship and tyranny, a silent and impotent United Nations (sort of like today) controlled by China and its allies, the Diktator’s Klub.

One Belt One Road [One Noose One Way] is an insidious very long-term strategy to infect many nations around the globe with China’s own brand of governing and civil society from within, a creeping, silent and devastating darkness designed to cripple democracy and dissent, destroy justice and freedom, and strangle human rights. Xi simply wishes to create a world just like China in each and every country. We simply must not allow it.

China, the World’s Second Most Powerful Country, Operates in Secret

Doug Bandow wrote an excellent article regarding the need for transparency in China’s politics in Sunday’s newspaper (“China politics need transparency” P. 6, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2017/05/14/2003670538). One cannot agree more.

However, while we may hope for such transparency, there is much to fear from China’s rise, which despite Xi Jinping’s smiling assurances, is anything but peaceful, and promises to be a full on attempt to create anti-US sentiment, sell China as a “peaceful” replacement superpower, increase China’s propaganda and blackmail, draw trade to China without offering equal opportunities to foreign business in China, and create more and more Chinese cultural, political, financial, technological and diplomatic viruses, insidious, long-term, subtle tentacles designed to slowly infect the world with China’s totalitarian form of existence, its intolerant view of the separation between government and the daily life and thoughts of common people, and its “everything with Chinese characteristics”.

As I wrote recently, the One Belt One Road project is nothing more than a Chinese noose designed to ensnare all who come to play on the new Silk Road and weave China into the fabric of every single country participating, essentially making trade (and hence diplomacy) seamless between them and one of the world’s worst serial violators of human rights, justice, and freedom, and friend to evil regimes around the world. But you will not hear much from these governments about that, because of the enormous trade potential China dangles before them, and its “conditions”, otherwise known as strings, for being allowed to feed at China’s trough. Those strings require obedience to China’s “core interests”, which mean respecting its hegemony and totalitarianism, and suppression of all freedom in China and following its instructions regarding Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.

Mr. Bandow mentions the coming transfer of power in China and the re-election of Xi Jinping (習近平). However, it is the next transfer of power in 5 years that will be most telling. Xi is only 63 at present, which will make him 68 for the next transfer. One might ask, running the world’s second largest economy and military, why do we know the outcome of the election, even if secret? It would appear, following his consolidation of power, such that he now maintains the three most powerful positions in China, head of the Party, head of the government and head of the military, that Xi’s eye is on another 10 year term following the end of his first ten years. What happens in the next five years regarding Party high echelons will give a clue, not polls of voters or campaign speeches or promises. As Mr. Bandow notes, the process by which this would happen is completely hidden. It is the nature of Beijing’s survival all these years, squelching discussion of internal matters, and filtering discussion of external facts. Suppression is in the Chinese Communist Party’s DNA.

As Mr. Bandow observed regarding the opaqueness of this process, “It is a bad system for the PRC and the rest of the world.”

As for hoping for change, one need only look at the treatment by Beijing of Hong Kong and Taiwan to see the nature of the Chinese Communist Party’s dictatorial rule and utter refusal to allow even the slightest deviation from the CCP’s absolute power, though Taiwan, a completely independent democratic nation of 23 million requires continued support from the free world to keep out of reach of China’s claws.

China’s system of baiting foreign investors and companies to trade with China and do business there also involves unfairly treating them, targeting them, favoring local companies, watching over their theft of those foreign companies’ IP and assets, with the Party’s complete control of the outcome of any litigation, as the Courts are merely an extension of the Communist Party. The more trade with China, the more dangerous the outcome for any trade partner, as trade can be reduced as the Communist Party directs in order to squeeze any trading partner.  South Korea realized this when China cut tourism 40% when South Korea bought the THAAD system. Taiwan is also an example, where election of the opposition independence-minded DPP party resulted in China closing most avenues for benefit from doing business with China (e.g. tourism, trade, allowing Taiwan international space).

Clearly, as I have seen from watching China’s “rise”, it is willing only to imitate those foreign indicia of “freedom” without understanding them or meaning them, while quietly continuing its brutality, and making a show of liberalizing its economy and its government, while not effecting any real change at all, and having beguiled nations to try to make money from China’s trade, but forcing them to intone Beijing’s mantras, and look the other way as the price of getting their hands on Kommunist Kash. As China gets more and more international recognition as a major player in world affairs, it will become harder and harder to hold off its march against democracy and freedom.

Mr. Bandow has hit the nail on the head. China has great potential, but the lure of absolute power is very difficult to resist, and even more difficult to give up, especially for a government accustomed to simply getting and taking what it wants.