Although liberals and the Red Chinese won’t admit it, America remains the land of the free. As we have seen over and over, those fighting for their own liberty around the world have no doubt about whom they want to emulate–us. Thus, after President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, demonstrators in Hong Kong paraded with American flags and, in a touching moment, sang the Star-Spangled Banner and chanted “USA! USA!”:
They also carried posters of President Trump from his “Rocky” tweet:
Do they understand that it was a joke? Sure. But they also know it wasn’t only a joke.
Still, one worries about whether freedom-loving Hong Kong residents are counting too much on us. The Human Rights Act did expand the president’s sanctions powers somewhat, but it is largely symbolic. And it seems unlikely that Trump would want to up the ante in his ongoing trade negotiations with China by doing anything tangible for Hong Kong, even if there were anything practical that we could do. Which, if Beijing decides to crack down, there likely isn’t.
So in all probability, our role will be limited to what it has been for more than 200 years–an inspiration to people around the world who long to be free.