'If the iconography and tone of Hong Kong protests and the support from US diplomats weren’t enough, Washington’s words of concern sure seem to suggest that the months-long demonstrations amount to a ‘color revolution.’
On Monday, the Trump administration urged “all sides to refrain from violence.” While carefully paying lip service to Hong Kong being an internal Chinese matter, the unnamed White House official who spoke to the press said the US supported those “looking for democracy.”
The president’s top legislative ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), was far more direct: “Any violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable... The world is watching.”
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr Aug 12th, 2019
One cannot help but recall that the same phrasing was used for Ukraine, during the Maidan protests of 2013 that culminated in a violent coup in February 2014 – and plunged that country into secession of Crimea and civil war in the Donbass.
The impression is only reinforced by the images reminiscent of Kiev coming out of Hong Kong, showing helmeted protesters in black masks firing grenades and throwing firebombs at police – none of which has stopped the chorus of US media from calling the protesters “pro-democracy.”
There is even nationalism, albeit of a xeno variety: some protesters have brandished flags of Hong Kong’s former colonial master, the UK. Others have embraced the US flag, telling reporters it stands for “freedom, human rights and democracy.”
Read more: ‘World is watching’: US reaction points to Hong Kong as a ‘color revolution’