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China is as big as the United States and has 4x as many people. Soon its economic output will approach that of the US as well. So far they have kept a low profile regionally and have not attempted to throw their weight around. Their economy depends on exports and they don't want to end up as a pariah like N. Korea or Iran. But China was the dominant cultural and economic power in the region for the last 5,000 years. Anyone who thinks that they will not someday start behaving in accordance with its historic status is dreaming.K
K China gets more by intimidation than by outright hostility, they think they are the heirs of the Middle Kingdom and that few are noticing the parallels. Believe me among Asians, few are deluded as to the nature of Chinese intentions. They make the Monroe doctrine look tame by comparison. To take but one example there are simmering water disputes with all the countries in the littoral, these include India, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. Mr Putin is saving the remnants of the Soviet strategic forces in order to keep his Far East from the grasp of the Chinese. I wouldn't be too worshipful of Chinese industrial prowess either, these things can turn on a dime. Brazil, India, SE Asia and the Eastern European countries can take up any slack if the Chinese start acting too uppity. For as long as I can remember, the thugs of the world had no greater friend than Communist China, but they are careful not to leave their calling cards. These days they have an easier time with their toady friends such as as Sudan running interference for them. The so called free world is keeping a low profile for now, since the White House Communist has sown confusion in the ranks, this has come as a godsend to the Chinese, notwithstanding the constant whining from the Bank of China.
It depends what you think "throwing their weight around" will actually entail.I think they will "deal" with Taiwan first, then I think they will sort out N Korea (perhaps turn it into a client state, economically, with the N Koreans "liberated" to become much more productive), and then settle a couple of old scores with Japan. Japan is a subject on which they truly feel, and express, real hostility and emotion. In the mean time, the critical sign will be whether they will agree to let the value of their currency appreciate so as to give the US a break; this will predict how they will deal with a weakened US in the medium term. The US will, in any event, suffer extortion over Taiwan. But right now, it is not in China's interests to cause a currency rout of the US $. The geopolitics is, I suspect, too complex for the present White House to fully grapple with.As for the Dalai Lama, he should, at the very least, have a well developed and rehearsed 'Plan B'. And Malaysia will come under "scrutiny", with respect to how its Chinese minority is treated.India might feel a bit threatened, on its border, and the Uighars might suddenly become very patriotic.And will this just be the warm-up, or will they settle into a mature role of stabilizing the world economy, and really bringing prosperity to their own people? Can real prosperity co-exist with the one-party state?Anon.
Can real prosperity co-exist with the one-party state?Ask Singapore.K
As Shimon Peres said, China has not attacked a foreign country in a thousand years. It is a tame giant. But giant it is.
"China has not attacked a foreign country in a thousand years."That's not true: 1) Sino–Vietnamese War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War)2) Sino-Soviet Border Clashes (http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/sierra/sinosoviet1969.htm)3)...and Tibet.
Add Kublai Khan's failed invasion of Japan and Mao's colonial enterprises in both North Korea and Tibet. The point is that while they were not as successful as the other empire builders, it does not follow that they didn't try. Mr Peres is president of a small country, he has to kowtow to the Middle Kingdom. Had he stated the truth, that the Chinese are the most devious of arms proliferators; a few hundred Silkworm missiles will be on their way to Iran and Hizballah, gratis, courtesy of the PLA or the out of nowhere the Iranians will record an inexplicable advance in their nuclear programme. In this regard I recall that in the 70s when Argentina and Brazil under the generals had a spat, the Chinese very helpfully offered nuclear weapons to the belligerents. They are quite cocky masters at the art of plausible deniability, but even they have too many cannon balls in the air, some of which will likely blow their hands off.
Peres proves the old joke - "How do you know a politician is lying? When you see his lips move."China's current program is called "Peaceful Rise". The better name for it is the iron fist in the velvet glove. The idea is that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So Hong Kong is held out as the model to Taiwan - join us voluntarily and you'll do great. Take your time and when you are ready we will welcome you. But the implied threat is that "if you don't join us eventually, thing will be bad." This is the other side of the coin. I'm sure this double message will soon extend to a larger sphere of influence if not outright annexation.Keep in mind also that China, like the Soviet Union, is a "prison house of nations". There are 55 recognized minorities comprising 125 million people (that they admit to - probably the reality is more). And the Han Chinese are not afflicted with Western moral relativism. They see minorities as backward and the Han way of life, language, etc. as the path of progress.K
K, you are not wrong about political power in Singapore, but it does give its people a lot of personal freedom; they can come and go without hindrance, for example. This means it does not take their loyalty for granted. Anon.
While mainland Chinese do not have 100% free travel they are relatively free to travel as long as they stay out of political trouble. It is a totally different situation than the old Soviet Bloc where visas to the West were rarely granted and only to the most loyal. Millions of Chinese leave the country and return every year.While it is not safe to engage in politics in China, overall it has the feeling of a relatively free country. People in the Soviet Union were extremely guarded and cautious about what they said and who might be listening and were wary of talking to strange foreigners at all. The Chinese are relatively unconcerned about such matters. What controls exist are purposely done in a way that is subtle. For example, if you try to go to a web page that is censored, a big red "CENSORED" stamp does not appear. Rather, you just wait forever for the URL to come up - it appears as if the server is having problems and the connection times out. Likewise, I'm sure, if you have attracted the attention of the authorities and they don't want you to travel, your visa will get mysteriously "delayed" forever. China is a "face" culture and a "high content" and so they are not in the habit of coming right to the point or necessarily telling you the truth - people within the culture read between the lines (and it doesn't help their opinion of Westerners that most have less ability to read between the lines than a Chinese 8 year old would). So "the plane is leaving in 1 hour" actually means "it's broken and we have no idea how to fix it" and every Chinese understands that such statements are not to be taken literally.K
K, I go there frequently, and agree with your assessment.But it is still a question of interest, the extent to which the economic freedom necessary to create wealth, can be decoupled from political freedom. Most Chinese are very interested in wealth creation and are not at all interested in politics per se, so maybe in their culture wealth creation can be decoupled from the sort of political freedoms we enjoy (for now) in the West. That having been said, they are loyal to their country and families and are not narrowly selfish.In the West, however, I do not think we can be both prosperous and politically restrained in any way exceeding the modest restrictions of our traditional constitutions. Anon.
"In the West, however, I do not think we can be both prosperous and politically restrained in any way exceeding the modest restrictions of our traditional constitutions. "I my not sure we'll have to worry about the prosperity part for much longer. I thinking we are headed toward being like pre-reform India (not that poor, but tending downward) - a lot of democracy, a lot of economic regulation, nobody has any money.At this point, many Americans (especially in a jurisdiction like California) probably are less free from government interference in their day to day life than the average Chinese. If, for example, they are trying to run say a small manufacturing business, their every move in California will be subject to taxation and regulation and permits and all manner of bureaucracy and hiring experts and lawyers to navigate the system and deal with all sorts of lawsuits and hearings - discrimination complaints and product liability suits, and zoning hearings and OSHO code violations etc., etc. All to a much greater extent than his Chinese competitor. The only people who are truly "free" are "free" in the 1st Amendment sense that they are free to be loudmouths advocating for even more "green" regulations. Personally I'm not interested in being a busybody and I'd prefer to be left alone by my government. So I think it has reached the point where Western "freedom" is less than it appears from the outside and Chinese freedom is greater. I was in a shopping mall in Hangzhou and there was a big poster in English advertising for some Western luxury brand and it made a very explicit political statement (and apparently none of the authorities could read it or care). It said "Harmony is overrated" ("harmonious society" being the Chinese govt euphemism for its campaign of suppression of dissent).KK
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