Geopolitics now? Personally I think ‘The West’ including Japan, ANZAC, Singapore etc seems weak and divided whereas Russia, China, Carbon exporters and Theocracies seem strong: strong men rulers, state controls, one message, appeal to patriotism, strong conventional armed forces. The rest of the world is generally poor or can’t cope with population growth or is corrupt. Ukraine threats and Hong Kong sum it up. Nonetheless, despite Trump and Johnson chumpery and nonsense, just ask who wants to emigrate where? Which culture dominates the world? Who is envious and jealous of which way of life? Are we, for example, playing Chinese or Russian music on balalaikas or Guzheng? Does the world prefer Cyrillic or Chinese characters? I’m not predicting any ‘end of history’ but in the West we underestimate our own scientific and cultural achievements. We made the modern world. Reparations? We should be charging the rest of the world for intellectual property and stop absurd cultural cringing. It feels like we’re in a mess but it’s partly the price we pay for debate and dissent. Time to defend ourselves with confidence, end dependence on carbon fuels and cheap consumerist manufacturing, end mass immigration and tell Putin and Xi’s successors to do one.
We made the modern world. Reparations? We should be charging the rest of the world for intellectual property and stop absurd cultural cringing. It feels like we’re in a mess but it’s partly the price we pay for debate and dissent. Time to defend ourselves with confidence, end dependence on carbon fuels and cheap consumerist manufacturing, end mass immigration and tell Putin and Xi’s successors to do one.
Excellent comment! I want this on a tee-shirt (preferably not one made in China)
I’m so thankful I was born in the ‘West’.
How I wish we could send the naysayers about our western culture on long ‘holidays’ to those countries they so admire.
Hard Times Create Strong Men,
Strong Men Create Good Times,
Good Times Create Weak Men,
Weak Men Create Hard Times…
The country that needs a man on a horse to sort things out is a terrible place to be.
Wasn’t it a camel not a horse?
“It feels like we’re in a mess but it’s partly the price we pay for debate and dissent.”
A very excellent comment. And despite what some people want to believe, none of this ‘division’ is anything new. The first constitution had to be scrapped because the divisions in the states were so great the experiment looked to fall apart; states were even engaging in trade wars with each other. The notion of a country that thinks and behaves the same all across its length and breadth is more of a post-WWII notion than a tradition. Yet here we still are. And for that matter, presidents criticizing the media is not exactly something new. It was first made famous by none other than Jefferson, who was actually more acerbic about it than Trump.
All these negative trends are both symptoms of a free society, and yet as long as the societies remain free they can usually weather these. The worry is when people feel they are being clamped down on and the usual release valves are stopped. So a country that censors its people but presents a united image is in a far more dangerous position than one that lets them vent but shows all of its differences and disagreements to the world. And that is why the behavior of Big Tech and now even their government enablers is worrying…but at least I do think more and more people are ceasing to trust them, which I suspect will be the forerunner to change.
I remember the end of the 1970s, when orthodox opinion was that the weak democracies and mixed economies of the West were no match for state controlled socialism. Within a decade this view proved to be entirely wrong.
China is interesting. A completely materialistic political entity, it’s trying to disprove the age old wisdom that you cannot control for everything. But you really can’t. No society, not even the Soviet Union, ever drank from the milk of pure Marxist communism the way Xi is making China do. It’s going to poison them the way Marxism poisons everything, but a lot quicker
I believe this is true. But I wonder how many Marxist-leaning intellectuals will buy into the CCP narrative, and how much damage they will do by adopting this flawed philosophy?
I would call China authoritarian, even totalitarian. But it certainly isn’t Communist. It’s state capitalism, based as much on Confucius as Marx. Moreover, with its inevitable decline in population, it may not be the threat we see today in ten years.
A Chinese friend over there confided to me that they all know change will happen (inside China) but fear how it will do so…
I read somewhere that 70% of Chinese businesses are state owned. Another place said 80%. Isn’t that almost a definition of communism where the state owns the means of production?
I wonder how strong Xi’s support actually is. Some leaders in China must be getting nervous as the West starts to wake up to their naked aggression. They would lose a war with the west. If I read tomorrow that there had been a coup it wouldn’t surprise me.
I believe it is true. But I do worry that modern technology, which once seemed like it would be such a force for good, is instead giving them remarkable tools that Stalin or Mao could never have imagined in their wildest dreams.
As Europe is now discovering, no country on the continent, including Germany, has the wherewithal, mentally or physically, to stand up to Putin’s Ukraine gambit — much less Xi’s more menacing attempts to repress Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Seems a bit ungenerous to Britain who has sent arms to Ukraine, led sanctions against Putin after Salisbury, honoured the rights of BNOs in HK to seek refuge in Britain, joined AUKUS and are joining the US semi-boycott of the Olympics.
“On the continent”.
Ha – thanks Jonathan – I misread it. Apologies to the author.
Hm. So, many Americans are willing to pay 20% more for goods produced at home.
I don’t see this at all. Firstly, 20% is a very optimistic figure. Secondly, this means serious inflation on top of the inflation coming anyway. Thirdly, saying and doing is different.
When I buy a t-shirt it costs about £10. If we made cotton goods in the UK we would pay much higher wages per hour. Working hours would be shorter. Sickness and holidays and maternity leave would add to the cost. Then the factories would have to be tightly controlled to control the effluent from cotton production and dyes used. Then we would have to pay effluent inspectors to visit these factories. We would insist that the employees had reguarly fire drills and that some were trained as fire stewards. I am not going to include culture training about women’s rights, quota systems for transes and ethnic minorities. We would have to import the raw cotton from hotter areas of the world.
I conclude that the same t-shirt made in the UK would cost £30 – a 300% rise in price. The US is different and employment costs might not include some of the things I have listed. They have their own cotton. But I would still guess at at a 50-60% increase in price.
I’ve often wondered why we don’t buy more things like tee-shirts from India instead of China. They are surely a more palatable low-cost location than communist China. Have you looked into it?
Obviously reshoring in the UK or US sense is really about critical, high-tech goods where having our IP ripped off by the Chinese is a security threat and supply chains need to be protected. Making tee-shirts in Britain is never going to fly.
I remember buying all sorts of clothes imported from India that were beautifully made and styled and were not that expensive. Why did so much of the import go to China instead?
Cost and expertise
I truley believe the west is in decline. Post modernism has killed the west, free speech is in decline, no matter what other people may suggest. Free speech has not always been prevalent in society, however it does correlate with ‘huge steps for mankind’. The future, as always is for the fearless. Cometh the Hour, cometh the man, or women. I do hope and pray for logic and reason to become the norm. However, I fear certain forces like the divide and conquer scenario.
I am not so pessimistic. I think people are waking up to the excesses of progressives. Mainstream media have destroyed their own credibility. Covid has shown people the arrogance and dishonesty of the clerisy. I think the Democrats are going to get slaughtered in the mid-terms. I think we are getting close to a tipping point – which will change politics around the world.
If you do not hold your Nation up with patriotic acts and total loyalty – then it will not hold you as being worthy of caring about either.
This is the situation now, as people call Nationalism and Patriotism a bad thing then they will get a bad country.
Your Nation is what gave you everything, and one should revere is as you do your family.
Basically, I am sick of being expected to cringe because I am, British (home of the Industrial Revolution), European, White, etc.
Time for the moral fight-back.
The West is hugely dependent on China, and vice-versa. This is not going to change. So how does the United States “defeat” China ? It doesn’t. Instead, through necessity and increasing familiarity, and by exercising common-sense, it learns to co-operate with a very different, non-democratic dictatorship with strong capitalist elements and a number of very large and successful private companies, which is as large or larger than it is and which is not going to collapse. That’s the inevitable future, whatever the China hawks, like this one, may think and propound. Any kind of thinking based on the American sole superpower of 1990-2010, like the above article, is pie-in-the-sky.
I agree. There will not be any “defeating” of anyone here. Both countries are too big to fail.
The Soviet Union was too big to fail as well.
That doesn’t prove China will, you can’t prove the future. But China has collapsed many times throughout its history. It has rebounded, but almost always under different rulers, occasionally foreign ones (including the last dynasty that only ended barely over a century ago). Yes, there will probably always be a nation known as China, and unlike previous collapses I doubt that if anything happens to the modern version it will mean a change in borders (and this version of China is the only one ever to have its borders where they are today), but the continued rule of the CCP is not guaranteed. Might happen, but while single-party systems can avoid the indecision of democracies, they bring their own set of weaknesses. And like autocratic monarchs, when the party controls everything, it means only they can be blamed for failures. It’s why the CCP is so sensitive about the mention of anything going wrong inside China and even flip out when news articles talk about natural disasters like floods.
The Soviet Union was not too big to fail, because it was economically bankrupt. China is not bankrupt. Big difference.
Soviet Union was only bankrupt near the end, and that was because of the policies it adopted early on. China is setting the stage to make itself bankrupt. Might not happen, depends on how other countries react. But far more than the Soviet Union, the CCP relies on other nations to support its rise to power and is more vulnerable to their active resistance. Whether that materializes in a manner significant enough to matter is the main issue. All things considered, the Soviet Union had a lot more going for it (natural resources, arable land, industrialization at the time the socialists took over, etc.). China has managed its rise largely by other nations not contesting it. It has worked so far, but the model is based on the idea that no one ever wakes up to what they are doing. That may in fact play out, but it’s a weak model.
Biden can defeat China only with a careful, well-executed policy: resign!
Let’s Go Brandon!