So now we have borne witness to the Big Parade and the Big Lie all in rolled up into one gigantic intimidating event -- the spectacle of China's September 3rd celebration in Tiananmen Square of the defeat of Japan in World War II.
What's wrong with this picture? For starters, the Chinese Communists and Mao hide out in the hills as a very purposeful strategy to let the Japanese bleed the Chinese nationalists dry at the front lines - and thereby make the Nationalists more easy pickings after Japan's defeat. How can the People's Republic of China celebrate that kind of "victory" with a straight face?
Then there is this: While Japan continues to be excoriated for its atrocities in China during the occupation -- the Rape of Nanjing was but the tip of the iceberg -- Mao and the Chinese Communist Party killed far more Chinese citizens by starvation, imprisonment, and execution than the barbarians of Nippon could ever dream of.
So what is really going on with this "celebration"? At its simplest, it is simply a tactic on par with the Beijing Olympics of 2008 to put on display the new and growing might of China -- also home to the world's most rapidly growing military machine.
And so we see the spectacle of more than 10,000 troops astride and beside a seemingly never ending Rose Bowl Parade of tanks, guns, and, most of all, missiles. Missiles like the thousands now aimed at Taiwan - always seven minutes away from destruction. Missiles like the new anti-ship ballistic and hypersonic cruise missiles that are tailor-made to sink American aircraft carriers. And missiles to fly off into space to bring down the American Internet - and thereby blind the US military in time of conflict.
The blasphemy here is that the parade will take place on the same blood-stained ground where democracy in China once and for all died in 1989 during the Tiananmen Square massacre. Oh tankman - where have you gone?
As for whom this parade is meant to impress, there are the growing cadres of ultra-nationalists President Xi Jinping is mobilizing to shore up his political support. There also are the military personnel and civilian leaders in countries like Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines that are already being bullied by a Chinese navy running amok in the East and South China Seas - and now must see the even greater might of the latest vintage of weapons. And of course, there is the American Pentagon that doesn't even have enough cash now to sharpen its pencils -- and has no clue how to handle a rising China.
Of course, the supreme irony here is that the one group that should be watching this parade intently because it paid for most of the weapons won't likely be watching at all. That's the American consumer writ large who, to this day, remains unable to connect the dots between cheap Made in China, low American wages, and lost American jobs.
Regrettably, none of the uglinesses of this ugly spectacle will stop President Barack Obama from rolling out the red Chinese carpet for President Xi when he visits the White House later this month. No wonder Donald Trump is gaining more and more traction.
Peter Navarro's forthcoming book Crouching Tiger examines what China's militarism means for the world.