Rochester, New York
VETERANS FOR PEACE, Chapter 23, MINUTES of meeting 4/21/2021
Present: Rev. James Swarts, Jeremiah Knowles, Marybeth Knowles, Adrienne Kine, Bruce Pease, Mick Cole, Vic Vinkey, Jack Spula, Lilita Lassen-Ward, Michael Wong, Kiji (K.J.) Noh, Roger Griswold, Bob Ames, Lew Montemaggi
Veterans for Peace Chapter 23 was joined by Professor Kiji (KJ) Noh and Michael Wong for a special presentation on US and China relations.
Professor Kiji (K.J.) Noh:
K.J. Noh, is a scholar, educator and journalist focusing on the political economy and geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific. He writes for Dissident Voice, Black Agenda Report, Counterpunch, Popular Resistance, Asia Times, MR Online, and is senior correspondent for KPFA Flashpoints. He also does frequent commentary and analysis on the news programs The Critical Hour, By Any Means Necessary, Fault Lines, Political Misfits, Loud & Clear. K.J. was born in South Korea, where he survived three military dictatorships. During the Chun dictatorship, he served in a combat infantry division near the DMZ. He believes a healthy, equitable, just society requires good information; to that end, he strives to combat disinformation, especially its extreme weaponization in the current cold war climate.
Professor Noh’s gave a presentation titled “The US is escalating to war. Why and What has been done?” The presentation is attached to the minutes for a more in depth look at the information. In summary, Professor Noh showed how the US is already in the midst of a cold war with China and dangerously close to a kinetic war. Issues of racism and xenophobia against China have been a historical truth for Europe and the US, not just a symptom of the current pandemic or rhetoric by former President Trump.
The US response to China has been to encircle China with US bases and increased economic pressure. Historically, China has not been interested in expansion but on trade and good relations. As China expands economically, the US ruling class has seen China as a threat. In order to increase hostility towards China and information war must precede any kinetic war. We see this now in examples of increased crimes and harassment of Chinese and people of Asian descent. As the negative rhetoric about China increases it becomes more important to check sources, and question the information being present. Be aware of inflammatory dialog and word choices that are meant to create an emotional response.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” Voltair
Michael Wong, Co-chair of the VFP China Working Group
Michael Kramer, other co-chair.
Michael Wong provided a quick summary of the origins of the China Working group through VFP and their continued actions.
The working group started because of the concern over the growing cold war with China. As well as the concern of the possibility of war with China. The working group was started in order to increase dialog about these hostilities with China. The group has produced a couple of webinars with additional information about.
Coalition building with Pivot to Peace, Code Pink, and other peace and China focused groups.
There is a need for a Russia working group because of the increased hostilities with Russia.
After the presentations, a short discussion took place. Here are some of the major points made during the discussion.
The United States may no longer be a democracy but more of an oligarchy. The US ruling class is a threat to itself.
Mick: Brought up the idea of Covid being both a distraction and a means of control over the population.
Professor Noh provided some context to this:
40% of US people have 0 savings. 70% of US people have less than $1,000 in savings. 12% are food insecure and 11% are in extreme poverty. Points to third world conditions while the ruling elite has so much money they do not know what to do with.
China’s position and historical position has always been more of a defensive posture. Enough to defend itself but not to overextend itself. China would like to focus on trade and creating business deals with other nations. China is dealing much more fairly with other nations than the US is. Due to the uptic and pressure from the US on China. China has started talking tougher and retaliated with their own sanctions. China is unlikely to over exert itself but will start taking positions to defend itself.
Internationally, the US is not having as much influence over the perceptions of other countries that they used to. China has of course good relationships with many of the countries that the US sanctions, which is almost ⅓ of the planet. The UN has rejected some of the US propaganda against China, such as the accusations for genocide in China.
Mick: Indicated the ramp up of the RC-135 Fleet operations in the south China sea is an indication of increasing hostilities against China.
There is increasing belief in the military that the US may be able to win an unmanned war with China; using drone warfare and other unmanned assault.
Suggested books and additional information:
Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China & the US. Edited by Sara Founders and Lee Siu Hin.
Waging Peace in Vietnam: A book about the GI resistance to the Vietnam draft and the war. Michael Wong was a part of this movement and had fled to Canada before returning and being court martialed. https://wagingpeaceinvietnam.com/
The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump: A book depicting the dangers of nuclear weapons and the lack of necessary checks and balances in the US to prevent their use. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-button-william-j-perry/1132662637
America vs. China: “A Clash of Civilizations”: A short article by Michael Wong about US and China relations. https://peacepivot.org/the-china-fear-factor/
Iron and Salt: A 2000 year old Chinese text outlining many of the historical principals prioritize trade, peace with other cultures, and a non interventionist strategy. http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/saxon/servlet/SaxonServlet?source=xwomen/texts/yantie.xml&style=xwomen/xsl/dynaxml.xsl&chunk.id=tpage&doc.view=tocc&doc.lang=bilingual
Organizations that support peace with China that VFP is working with.
A webinar occurring Friday April 23rd at 3:00pm titled: The Historic Vietnam Veterans Protest in Washington: Lessons for Today https://notredame.zoom.us/webinar/register/4816172188982/WN_j7WKIPDbSG2Yqd6TvwEtRw
Please consider signing the No jail time for Daniel Hale petition - https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/stop-the-prosecution-of-drone-whistleblower-daniel-hale
Chapter 23’s speaker for next month - Susan Gordon – on the Save Our VA - https://suzannecgordon.com, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Gordon,
You can find more information about the Save Our VA National Project - https://www.veteransforpeace.org/take-action/stop-privatization-veterans-health-administration
Adrienne Kinne, VFP National President, provided a quick update about two new full time staff positions. Jules is the new Membership Coordinator, and Chris who is the new Digital Organizer.
The Leave No One Behind Mural project, in support of the return of deported veterans, recently put up their mural in Washington DC. You can find more information about the mural project at https://leavenoonebehindmuralproject.org/.