Friday, April 10, 2020

Frankenstein Fever  Elizabeth Yore  Posted: Apr 10, 2020

We may have created a Frankenstein.”—Richard Nixon on China

Near the end of his life, Richard Nixon remarked to his friend and speechwriter, William Safire, that perhaps China, that poor and fledgling country, had mutated into a dangerous, omnipotent and unruly monster. Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972 was declared “a geopolitical earthquake” that ignited the eventual opening of world markets to China and ultimately unleashed China’s growth as an economic and military hegemony. Yet by the time of Nixon’s death in 1994, it was becoming apparent that the once nascent Middle Kingdom was morphing into the Sino monster—outpacing and terrorizing its American enabler.

In Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, “Frankenstein,” a scientist concocts a mysterious creature who menaces his master inventor at every turn. Rules, decorum and the moral code are ignored by Frankenstein’s fiendish manufactured lab being. Once unleashed, the monster kills with abandon and impunity. He roams the countryside, exploiting victims and the vulnerable, always cleverly avoiding any consequences.

Nixon, like the doctor in “Frankenstein,” seemed horrified at his menacing creation. Indeed, Nixon intuited a prescient assessment of China. He feared that this virulent Communist government would exploit its own people and the world by ruling without any semblance of equitable global governance. Perhaps Nixon also sensed the inherent danger in the communist Chinese apparatchiks, not unlike Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster who ominously warns, “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

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