The probable leak of the coronavirus from a Wuhan laboratory is China’s version of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl that led to the Soviet collapse, the Center’s J Michael Waller says on the “China Unscripted” podcast.
The 1986 radioactive accident and the Soviet Communist Party’s coverup widened fissures throughout the Soviet system, ultimately leading to the USSR’s collapse in 1991.
Dr. Waller, who is the Center’s Senior Fellow on Strategy, talks about Chernobyl’s parallels to the Wuhan Virus and encourages people to “keep pushing” to help break apart the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Waller worked to hasten the Soviet collapse and was in the Kremlin on the day Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine seceded from the USSR in December, 1991. He shared some of his experiences to apply to China today.
Waller did in-depth scholarly analysis of Soviet disinformation and propaganda at Boston University “during and after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Soviet-occupied Ukraine” when the totalitarian control systems started breaking apart. “All of a sudden the Party couldn’t deal with the fact that there was an international crisis that they couldn’t control coming out of a facility they ran,” Waller said. “And they tried to cover that up.”
“This was a trigger for the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party,” in Waller’s analysis. “And here is the parallel with China.”
Establishment businesses, scholars, and policymakers were content with the USSR
Certain large American companies at the time, Waller said, were content with the Soviet status quo and didn’t want to change it.
“A lot of people in the American and international political and diplomatic establishments,” Waller said, found the Soviet Union “a comforting, stable force in the world and they couldn’t imagine a world without a Soviet Union.”
Parallels with the Chinese situation today
“The exact same thing’s happening today. People in the State Department and many various think tanks, in the intelligence community and elsewhere cannot believe that there could ever be something beyond the People’s Republic of China or that the Chinese people could ever be ruled by anything but the Chinese Communist Party,” said Waller.
“Can you imaging the thinking? Our foreign policy establishment cannot think beyond the CCP, as if the CCP is the be all and end all of everything,” Waller said. “It doesn’t mean that they’re followers of Marx and Engels and Mao, it just means the CCP is a part of their comfort level and they can’t see anything beyond it, so it’s dangerous to blame the CCP.”
‘Keep pushing’ or the CCP wins
“Especially if we keep pushing. If we back off – we meaning free people outside the mainland – if we back off and do not hold the Chinese Communist Party responsible for the virus – morally responsible, legally responsible, financially responsible, then the CCP will win. That’s why the Party is so desperate to deflect blame to anyone else,” Waller said.
The Center strategy analyst warned that the Chinese regime is interfering in our own political system. The regime seeks to “manipulate our own political system to say, ‘hey, this is a really good political campaign issue. Let’s look at Trump’s opponents. They’re also blaming him. So let’s exploit this.'”
Waller agreed with his China Unscripted hosts that we don’t have a lot of time. “This is why we have to move quickly to demand accountability,” he said. “The more time it takes, the more foot dragging or caution there is, the more the CCP and its western allies will be able to regroup, and to not only reclaim the narrative, but to dominate the policy.”
“The game will be over for the CCP if the rest of us keep pushing and hold decision makers accountable.”