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The myth of Chinese supremacy Strategic incompetence has always plagued Beijing

They're really not that good (Naohiko Hatta - Pool/Getty Images)


February 19, 2022   9 mins

When I first arrived in China in 1976, four years had passed since Nixon and Kissinger had gone to Beijing to meet Mao, kicking off what Nixon would label “the week that changed the world”. But that interval was not long enough to dispel the thick fog of misrepresentations and outright lies spun during that visit by both the Americans and Chinese — though none of those tales concerned what really mattered: the geopolitical victory that came from that trip.

At the time, exactly 50 years ago, the US was deeply divided by the Vietnam war. Congress was refusing to fund both that increasingly unpopular war and also the broad build-up needed to match the Soviet Union’s huge military upsurge. It would ruin the Soviet economy a decade later, but in the meantime, the US was being outmatched — until, that is, Nixon went to China and secured a diplomatic revolution that would open up a “second front” for the USSR. Among other diversions of Soviet energies, by 1976 at least 45 Soviet tank and motor rifle divisions were deployed towards Beijing, thousands of miles from Nato’s front in Germany.

Whatever else may be said against Nixon or Kissinger, their decision to open up to communist China at its worst — in 1972, the murderous cultural revolution was still in full swing — was a clever idea that many might have thought of only to dismiss it out of hand. All President Nixon had to do was embrace the malodorous Mao (his doctor would reveal that he never brushed his teeth, or bathed, unless he was in merry company).

But for Nixon the politician, the sacrifice was much greater, although he did not know it until the Watergate scandal drove him from office on August 9, 1974, two years after he had triumphantly landed in Beijing. The connection was straightforward: the centre-Right core of the Republic Party coincided with the “Taiwan Lobby”, which in turn encompassed the anti-Communist bloc, and which formed the hard core of Nixon’s supporters from the start of his political career. When Nixon betrayed the cause by embracing the very worst communist on the planet — altogether more extreme than the Soviets when it came to abolishing private property — and when he turned his back on Taiwan, the Republican Right did the same to him as he pleaded for help to fight off the Watergate charges.

A strange man in many ways — who else would think of himself as an absolute underdog while sitting in the White House’s Oval Office? — Nixon was also a real patriot: in 1942, assigned to the safest of Navy billets in Iowa, he strove very hard to manoeuvre himself into a combat zone. But had he known that his Beijing foray would leave him unprotected before his enemies and cost him the White House, he might have stayed well away from Mao.

Neither the American nor the Chinese media misrepresented that momentous strategic encounter, but they did join hands in utterly concealing the reality of China itself. For example, none of the admiring descriptions of Beijing and its imperial monuments in the New York Times prepared me for the stomach-turning stench that pervaded the city, and reached indoors as one tried to eat in the Beijing Hotel dining room. Throughout the city, human waste was not flushed away but carefully collected as precious “night soil” fertiliser, and then ladled into handcarts that were slowly pulled through the city to the surrounding vegetable fields.

Nor did I read in 1972 about how the crowds in Beijing’s streets trudged from place to place in various states of clinical depression, understandably enough given the deep misery in which they were living — from their one-room-per-family, courtyard houses with no hot water to everyone’s shabby Mao suits and grey faces that evidenced border-line malnutrition. All this stood out even more because of the ubiquitous posters depicting ecstatically happy, rosy-cheeked enthusiasts applauding Mao.

Nor did anyone in 1972 care to mention that the officials they encountered — as I did four years later — were all suffering from intense sleep-deprivation: they had to reach their offices soon after dawn for lengthy pre-work “struggle sessions”, with the janitors and junior staff who run their ministry’s Revolutionary Committee playing Red Guards to upbraid them. The topsy-turvy rituals of the Cultural Revolution persisted until Mao died.

Instead of any criticism, the US press praised everything, including the health-giving virtues of riding a bicycle to and from work, even though Beijing’s summer air was full of faecal dust, with carbon monoxide added in the freezing winters of the coal-heated city.

A journalist of great fame at the time, James Reston, had already recounted his own marvellous experience of Beijing when he suddenly needed emergency surgery there in July 1971. His acute appendicitis could have killed him, but it turned out that the nearest hospital was fully equipped, and the surgery went well. It was only many years later, when Mao’s doctor defected and wrote his memoirs, that it emerged that Reston was taken to the hospital reserved for the top party leaders — the only one in Beijing fully equipped to treat him, or anybody who needed surgery.

The smell went away in later years as chemical fertilisers arrived, but many of the misrepresentations of that 1972 trip linger till this day — of which the most important by far is the legend of China’s strategic statecraft, superior by virtue of its very long-range perspective, then personified by Zhou Enlai. Because Kissinger negotiated primarily with Zhou, he elevated that servile toady — who never once tried to save life-long colleagues from Mao’s murderous intrigues — into a statesman of transcendental wisdom, fully endowed in the long-view department.

This was exemplified by Zhou’s answer to Kissinger’s fawning request for his retrospective view of the French Revolution. Indeed, Kissinger never tired of relaying the Great Man’s answer: “Too early to tell”. You see, you see, Kissinger would add, China’s greatest minds look ahead 200 years. Today, authors and publishers still use “playing the long game” in the subtitles of books about China.

They should not. Chas W. Freeman, the interpreter, immediately told Kissinger that Zhou was referring to the 1968 student uprising that overthrew De Gaulle, whose final outcome was indeed still unclear in 1972. But Kissinger refused to give up his two centuries for a mere four years, and continued to repeat the story when gracing the dinner tables of the extremely rich in subsequent decades. It was one of the simpler Kissinger mystifications: by turning Zhou into a great statesman, he qualified himself as one — unnecessarily, it would later transpire, because he had so little competition until Reagan arrived to deflate the balloon of Soviet power.

Kissinger’s lie about Zhou was only the tail of a much bigger rat: the historical falsification that ignores China’s stupendous record of strategic incompetence down the ages, in order to attribute profound strategic wisdom to the Han — a wisdom also embodied in China’s classic strategic manuals, with Sun Tzu’s the most famous.

To believe that legend, the most basic fact about Chinese history had to be ignored: again and again, after the downfall of the Tang — conventionally dated 618 to 907 — the Han were defeated, conquered and long-ruled by much less advanced invaders whom they hugely outnumbered. One can visualise how it went: a few steppe warriors in rags and furs would arrive, the Chinese generals in silks and shiny armour facing them would exchange oh-so-clever Sun Tzu citations, their army would be overrun, the country conquered, and then ruled for decades or centuries.

Over the thousand years down to the fall of the Jurchen-speaking Manchus in 1912, it was only during the Ming dynasty 1368–1644 that the Chinese were ruled by Chinese — very likely because the founder Zhu Yuanzhang started off as a monastery servant and could not have read Sun Tzu or any other of the delusional manuals that reduce warfare to clever tricks. Their uselessness was proved right into the 20th century, when the Japanese became the last of the badly outnumbered foreign conquerors to conquer Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Canton and as much of China’s territory as they wanted, with both Communist and Kuomintang forces equally incapable of fighting them successfully.

At present no steppe warriors threaten Beijing, but the strategic incompetence of its rulers persists. Exactly at a time when the deeply divided United States needs allies to contain China, Beijing’s erratic aggressions since 2009 have overcome the neutralist preference of India (attacked in Ladakh and provoked over Arunachal state), the neutralist temptations of Japan (during the three-year ascendancy of the Democratic Party of Japan now extinct), the neutralist ambitions of Indonesia, and the pro-China tendency in the Philippines (just when many in the Philippines were inclined to slide into Beijing’s sphere, the Chinese responded by stealing islets and shoals).

Collectively, America’s new allies add enough mass to Vietnam and Australia — the first country to understand the China malady, in 2009 — to outnumber the Chinese, outweigh their economic achievements, and wholly overtake their less-than-stellar technological attainments. (Pentagon hyping of hypersonic FOBS missiles is shameless budget-pumping: they have no discernible purpose in the absence of ballistic-missile defences to underfly.)

As for quantum computing and artificial intelligence, only the severely ill-informed think that the Chinese are ahead. As late as 2020, Huawei’s boasts about its supposedly superior Kirin 980 microprocessors were widely believed; they even deceived poor Xi Jinping. Yes, they were indeed quite good but the technology was not Huawei’s — it belonged to the UK and US, which meant that Trump’s National Security Council could and did shut down Kirin production and much of Huawei’s as a whole with a couple of phone calls.

But Kissinger, who is still going strong, rated Chinese statecraft very highly when he published his China book in 2012. He believed, correctly, that the Chinese would continue to work hard, expand their economy and overtake slow US growth. He also thought, incorrectly, that Chinese leaders would transcend their zero-sum mentality, thereby allowing Washington and Beijing to arrange the affairs of a “G-2” world, in which — as he wrote — countries like India and Japan would have to find their places.

Always improbable, G-2 became impossible when Xi Jinping arrived. For him only G-1 is good enough. Not because he is a megalomaniac but the opposite: he thinks, accurately, that unless the Party establishes an unchallenged global hegemony, with its rule is deemed superior to democratic governance, Communist China will collapse just as Soviet rule did. He is right.

On September 9, 1976, while visiting a military unit near Beijing — I was the number-two in the delegation of J.R. Schlesinger, the just-fired Secretary of Defence — everything suddenly ground to a halt. Mao had just died. What followed was a series of bizarre events that would transform China forever.

First, there was the lying-in-state, in the shabby immensity of the Great Hall of the People in front of the imperial palace compound. The diplomats already in Beijing formed a long queue going up the steps — not in order of precedence, as is the custom, but in order of preference: Romania was then Number One because the Chinese had quarrelled with Albania while the “revisionist” Soviet Union was way in the back.

When we entered the hall where a very green Mao was lying dead, we saw that we were alone with China’s absolute rulers, “The Gang of Four”, were standing there: Jiang Qing Mao’s half-mad, super extremist, last wife; (he had long preferred sex with his very young “nurses”), Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan (two shabby Party bureaucrats), and Wang Hongwen (Shanghai’s tall, good-looking absolute boss, who had even transferred tanks from the border to strengthen his own huge workers’ militia).

He was the only one who greeted us with a nod while the others seemed… terrorised. They knew, as we did not, that they would be locked up very soon. Next, after I had made quite sure that Mao was dead, we were ushered into another room to mourn with the selected “best friends” of China: the North Vietnamese and North Korean ambassadors, with whom we could not speak given the absence of diplomatic relations, two Khmer Rouge envoys who looked like  murderous dwarfs, and the Romanian ambassador who walked around saying what a really, really sad day it was, frantically trying to generate a minimum of civility between people determined to ignore each other.

Nor was I of any help: born in Romania’s Arad, I answered nu sunt sigur (“I am not sure”) to his “sad day” incantation. Utterly startled to hear me speak in his language, and totally embarrassed by my remark, he went to Schlesinger to be reassured that we were not all Romanians sent to catch him out.

I had left Beijing when the Gang of Four were arrested, but was back again when Deng Xiaoping announced that it was all over: the Cultural Revolution, the closure of China, Maoism. After that, it all went smoothly until the 2009 financial crisis when the Party bosses thought it was all over for democratic capitalism. Their reaction was perfectly predictable: since 2010, the PRC has behaved as if it were a cheap wind-up toy car, rolling straight ahead to collide with its neighbours, provoking increasingly adversarial reactions, and persisting regardless.

One example is enough for all: just when the Japanese government was sliding into neutralism, the PRC leadership turned a banal, drunken fishing-boat skipper episode just off the Senkakus (absurdly claimed by China) into an all-out attack on all things Japanese, from embassies and consulates that were besieged by hostile mobs to attacks against Japanese corporate offices, car dealerships, and even against individual Japanese — all provoked by incessant calls for revenge from hysterical officials. The final outcome was the election of Abe Shinzo’s LDP, which squarely took on China as an adversary.

Meanwhile, the US elite, both with Nixon at the start and then after Deng Xiaoping’s opening of China’s economy, was more than content to preside over the de-industrialisation of the United States, uncaring of the ultimate political consequences of replacing many millions of $30 per hour factory jobs with $10 an hour “service economy” jobs, with the incoming flood of cheap consumer goods supposedly alleviating the impoverishment.

Now, of course, China presses against all its neighbours, endowing the United States with new alliances, some overt and official, others overt but without any formal treaty, and others emerging — a process destined to continue until Xi Jinping, who, with his talk of “war readiness”, is now in his Mussolini phase, triggers an armed affray serious enough to stop the arrival of tankers and bulk carriers into Chinese ports.

When that happens, malnutrition will not be far behind, because of China’s critical dependence on imported animal feed. In 1976, rice, sorghum, cabbage and rare slivers of chicken were enough. Not today. If Xi Jinping falls, pork prices could be the cause.


Professor Edward Luttwak is a strategist and historian known for his works on grand strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations.

ELuttwak

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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago

I would be less worried about the lack of competence on the part of Chinese leaders if Western leaders had not proven themselves to be incompetent as well. Plus, it is just the most embarrassing way to level the playing field I can think of. Interestingly, the rot in both China and the West seems to come from the same place, a bureaucratic class with little real world experience, narcissistic delusions of grandeur, less smarts than they think they have, and viewing the world through a small self-reaffirming bubble. My biggest concern about the Chinese, is they have no problem taking the long view. Western leaders seem to have the nation state version of ADHD these past few decades.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I think that the point of the article is that Beijing’s politicians are infected with the Chinese version of ADHD.
I was once approached at a motorway service station by two elderly ladies who wanted to know, “how to get off the motorway?” They had set off from the Midlands to travel to Lancashire, but hadn’t known how to choose which exit to take. So, they had kept going. They were now north of the Scottish border. Perhaps an equivalent “long view”, of driving.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Ha Ha! Sounds like Britain who have lost their way and don’t know how to get off. Most likely they will continue to believe the global warming deception etc. and probably don’t want to get off the Motorway as they are deceived by the narrative of “At least we are moving and going somewhere” but the destination is likely to end in a car wreck.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Mike Mclaughlin
Mike Mclaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

What?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

The global warming deception is already costing the country. Living expenses are rising fast to pay for it. The science is very suspect and is all done with computers which is a system that depends on what you feed into it. Unless they back peddle one can see things declining fast. The early Roman period was a global warming period and a period in the middle ages was a cooling period. Global warming also happened on Mars at the same time. Many true scientists will tell you it is caused by sun spots but they are in danger of losing their grants for research so they cannot say too much. The motive of the global warming narrative is likely linked to the globalist socialists who want to bring in a global order by force.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Yes, once the Covid-19 farce runs out of steam, expect the even bigger farce of CAGW (these days known as the more anodyne ‘climate change’) will be re-wheeled out as a prop for the One World Government globalist objectives. Of course: “don’t you realise our planet is faced with such a vast and catastrophic problem that only a centralised control by a group of qualified experts can avert the danger; trust us, we know what we’re doing!”

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Not a car wreck, just a car running out of energy in the middle of nowhere.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Well at least they were on the correct side of the road!

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
2 years ago

How’s Flavius Cerialis these days? Haven’t seen him for such a long time – must be a couple of thousand years at least.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I agree that our normal defence is floundering. China may be a mess but we are becoming one too. We are caught in the great global deception of global warming that will guarantee our poverty and uselessness not to mention that we murder our babies by the million and that we are not even sure on what our gender is supposed to be. We are likely a walkover for China as inefficient and mad as they are.

Mike Mclaughlin
Mike Mclaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Are you saying we are distracted by fringe topics like abortion that has been decreasing for the past thirty years. And by Over alarmist global warming? If so, agreed. But that has little to do with the CCP that can’t get out of its own way. The larger concern is that the politicians we elect are in China’s back pocket.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Mass abortion just shows our contempt for life and I would beg to differ as my reading shows it is increasing not diminishing. I agree it is a concern that many MP’s may be being bought as is happening in America. This is a real danger as China has shown alarming ambitions to usurp authority in the world. The government needs to deal with this fast to make sure that there are no MP’s in the pocket of China affecting how we run our nation. The further up you are in in government the more you are a target for bribes.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

My biggest concern about the Chinese, is they have no problem taking the long view

Could you explain why you think that, given the essay spends considerable intellectual effort on debunking this idea. Which apparently, originates in a self-aggrandizing lie told by Kissinger – quite remarkable, I never heard this story.
But it makes sense. Someone who responds to a question about the French revolution by saying “too early to tell” is an idiot who doesn’t want to answer, not a seer.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Making inroads into Africa, acquiring a monopoly on the world’s supply of rare earth metals, focusing on securing other strategic resources, setting up artificial islands in the South China Sea, running a massive corporate espionage system, rapidly expanding geopolitical influence on their immediate area, and using money to influence Western leaders and CEOs to their bidding are just a few right off the top of my head.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Very clear and timely essay thanks – I still, for the life of me, cannot understand the reasoning behind offshoring all the Wests jobs to China – unless it was just callous short term profit making , and if so, our species has not evolved at all from the selfish banal creature that it mostly is.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Callous short term profit making is a good default answer because it is usually the correct one.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Sustained by the flimsy rationale of Riccardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Could you expand on that slightly, please?

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

Ricardo taught that two countries trading together in two commodities should each concentrate on which of the commodities they were best at producing and exchange them to mutual benefit. The fly in the ointment is that there are other factors that governments should take into account than maximising profit when that is likely to come with other costs.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Thank you.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

From the Wikipedia entry on Comparative Advantage:-
“David Ricardo developed the classical theory of comparative advantage in 1817 to explain why countries engage in international trade even when one country’s workers are more efficient at producing every single good than workers in other countries. He demonstrated that if two countries capable of producing two commodities engage in the free market (albeit with the assumption that the capital and labour do not move internationally), then each country will increase its overall consumption by exporting the good for which it has a comparative advantage while importing the other good, provided that there exist differences in labor productivity between both countries.”
Thus the West increases its overall consumption while outsourcing labour to the Chinese.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Many thanks, in my slovenliness I had completely forgotten that!

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Flimsy? Ignore economic realities much?

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Another needlessly rude comment that contributed nothing to the conversation. Sorry about that Drahcir Nevarc.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Well said Sir; a rare resile.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Surely not when you are selling the whole flock of geese to your competition.

Last edited 2 years ago by Doug Pingel
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Got in in one – it was “callous short-term profit making”

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Righteousness doesn’t evolve. It takes a turnaround.

Nick M
Nick M
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

But that is exactly the thinking behind Milton Friedman’s economic theories. If it can be made cheaper else where then it should be. The problem being that China devalued it’s currency, cheating the system. Ultimately Friedman believed that in the long run that would be self-defeating. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick M

Adam Smith would have strangled Friedman.

Tom Scott
Tom Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Short term profit is the norm in the UK. Companies seem unable to plan for 5 yrs, let alone 50 yrs.
Finanial markets seem to revolve around this.

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

Short term politics, too. If elections are five years apart, the government of the day is an average of 30 months from an election. That doesn’t reward long-term planning, which mainly benefits successors.
I don’t know what the answer to that fault is.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

So you can commit to zero carbon by 2050 but not worry about the consequences or even how it might be achieved.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

What a great article, Unherd could not do better than to keep up a stream of such global, first hand, analyst.

“Kissinger’s lie about Zhou was only the tail of a much bigger rat: the historical falsification that ignores China’s stupendous record of strategic incompetence down the ages, in order to attribute profound strategic wisdom to the Han”

Fantastic.

My theory on China has always been the Confucius one – where He established the state of perfection in all things, and then this was established to be how all must run, the ‘Imperial Exams’ system where by memorizing the ancient official word on everything was the source of power positions.

Total blocking of all learning – no philosophy as that was already figured out, no thinking, no creating, but for that which was the traditional perfection. And so China was a fly stuck in amber for 2000 years. To be creative was to be punished.

Then Mao and his ‘4 Olds’ ( Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Customs. ) to be destroyed – but high Irony there as the Communist party was just Confucius all over again – but weirder… They are just not a creative people. Maybe as one of the biggest overseas spending after raw materials is foreign education this may change….. but I wonder if this fixation on the correct will ever be broken.

And the words: Evergrand and Fantasia – the insane ‘Infrastructure Stimulus Spending’ (naturally one Biden wishes to copy) and the peoples passion for hoarding ‘Hard Assets’ in Realestate – it may all come apart when we do, and China not ending up as top economy. (Unless Biden gets his way, then we are doomed)

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The Chinese bureaucratic system was implemented to make sure you had to be reasonably competent to get a job in government. It was to prevent someone from being in charge of something important just because of who their daddy was. Also it reduced the power of local nobility. In a supreme bit of irony, the bureaucratic class has become the new nobility with a common hereditary tradition, low standards for qualification, and high barrier to entry for outsiders.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

NO – it was to keep the Emperor and all his nobility and landowners forever in their traditional ways. Much like the Japanese Imperialism system which

OUTLAWED the wheel for a thousand years. They wanted the system to be the traditional system, and keeping mobility and wealth in the hands of the upper classes was paramount. They were a fly in Amber tor a thousand years just like China – till the West woke them up. They also are not a very creative people – excellent technocrats, intelegent and orderly – but not very artsy or philosophical.

The Westerners are the world’s most creative people, as all history shows.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“Then Mao and his ‘4 Olds’ ( Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Customs. ) to be destroyed – but high Irony there as the Communist party was just Confucius all over again – but weirder
”
Well said.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

When I lived in Hong Kong dead bodies were common in the Yangtze river who were people shot whilst swimming across the river to avoid Mao’s bloodbaths. In mild periods many did manage to get to Hong Kong until the army were ordered to round them up and take them back. One of our jobs in the army was to round them up. They obeyed mildly as they thought we would shoot them. They made a good fire for a couple of hundred of them, fed them well and then loaded them in lorries to take them back to China. I hate to think what happened when they arrived back.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Not your fault, but a terrible way to treat refugees from fascism.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

HK was the most overcrowded place on earth at the time. The hills were filled with cardboard shanty towns at the time.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

You know what happened to them: Rule .303.
Precisely what happened to all those Russians who we handed over to Uncle Jo in 1945.*

(* Mr Tolstoy is the current ‘expert’ on the subject.)

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Leo would not have know. He died in 1910.

David Zetland
David Zetland
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

The Yangtze River is nowhere near Hong Kong.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  David Zetland

It shows you what a long walk they had although I might have got the name of the river wrong to be honest. It must have been a little way north of the new territories but there was a river over which many were shot at if they tried to swim.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

The genius of Deng Xiaoping was to rescue China from Maoism by:

  • adopting capitalism
  • reverting to traditional Confucianism

– both well known by the Chinese. The other genius point was to still call it ‘communism’!
Liberated from Maoism (and feudal Emperor), in the last 40 yrs Chinese people have worked their way out of poverty and are now making many of the things we use to such a high standard that we cannot compete.
Do not underestimate China.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

They used to refer to us a filthy capitalists. Now look at them.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

I basically agree, but we of the West must never forget the character (ideogram) for “China”! The Chinese see themselves at the center of the world, and non-Han people, however culturally competent and compliant, will never be more than Untermenschen. Their long history is to be respected, the material progress of their population is a matter for rejoicing — but any incursions from their sphere is to be strenuously resisted. They will always see themselves as the host, never the guest. There is not a spoon long enough to sup with them. The way they are currently using their BRI in needy African countries may make even the Belgians look good, as the facts come out.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yup, agree on their cultural limitations within China. But Chinese immigrants to the west really do flower away from that national culture, more so than any other ethnic groups, including white people.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

That is true. Also Indians too.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

What a pity we didn’t make a greater effort to evacuate as many as possible when we capitulated over Hong Kong.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Nevertheless there are thousands coming to the UK. In my town there are mainly Afghans in the hotels. The HK people are housed but the Afghans have a lot of adjustment problems not least our language.

Bruce Luffman
Bruce Luffman
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Enjoyed this well written article immensely and it has changed some of my previous thinking.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

I really enjoyed this essay, which gave me a considerably different perspective. Nevertheless I retain some doubts.

I thought the “struggle sessions” with janitors very reminiscent of some of the DIE training we hear about and the drivellings of celebrities confessing their privilege.

Where does that come from? Universities. Who wields immense financial influence over Western Universities?

If replacing $30 jobs with $10 jobs is likely to lead to polarisation, who facilitated the export of those jobs (ably assisted by the greed of the Western elite)?

If social media is driving us collectively insane, and murderously angry, who operates the bots and the farms that feed in the tsunamis of misinformation?

If being no1 is your strategic goal, then a 40 year plan to undermine the financial, political and moral foundations of the existing No 1 seems a good start.

It doesn’t feel like that’s going so badly.

Harry Bo
Harry Bo
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I’ve had DIE training, anti-racism training, as well as unconscious bias training. So yes, the mention of struggle sessions made think the same as you.

Russ W
Russ W
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It is a big and complex world. Human disasters arise when a large number of things all go wrong at once. The current state of affairs is caused by more than China or even a set of malicious global actors.

The authoritarian triad of Iran, Russia, and China have been attacking the west by leveraging its freedoms against it to do so. But after doing more to advance the human race faster than any other previous culture, the west seems bent on destroying itself in an elitist orgy of self righteous arrogance and self hatred.

In a recent speech Putin noted that the west is falling into an ideological trap similar to the one Marx set. I think he’s scared of what can happen if the west continues to self destruct.

I just don’t get it or what to do about it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Russ W
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Russ W

I agree, we are significantly the author of our own misfortune. That said, our enemies are acutely aware of weakness and are observing it and accelerating it relentlessly.

I share your confusion and despair about what to do about it.

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I think it’s wrong to believe our “enemies” aren’t suffering from the same issues, or at least similar ones. Nobody escapes the rot.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

That is untrue in Russia. LGBT is frowned upon along with atheism it appears. They tried to ban the family over there but the LGBT are appearing to have made big inroads in banning the family over here. Russia are trying hard to build up the family now as they can see how the demise of the family can greatly weaken the country.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Russ W

Iran is NOT part of any Russia and China Triad!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Russ W

The first thing is to get it and then fight it if you can. The last election was won on Brexit but the next against woke I hope.

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I don’t buy all the theories of intentional destabilization from outside. The truth is, Facebook is just a great business model, as it plays on people’s vanity and desire to feel special. Having a university degree goes that very same route, and is even moreso desirable if you don’t have to actually work for it. We effed ourselves up with the market, big time. If there’s a financial incentive to reward people with attention (dopamine) they don’t deserve, then you can bet that in the Western world, there will be many who will do exactly that. It’s just natural progression, a result of too much affluence. Similar to what happens when you eat too many calories over too many years. That’s not China’s fault, and certainly not Russia’s.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Maybe not their fault, but all political movements require funding and logistical support to succeed

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Very true Michael but China is also interfering with our freedoms as our democracy embarrasses them.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I think our democracy’s politicians embarrass us (or should, if one contemplated them a little less superficially). China just takes advantage of all those frailties that seem to live in our leadership class, whether they be elected or not. I agree that China is probably wary of adopting the Western classical liberal model because that is the antithesis of their authoritarian / totalitarian system.
The alarming thing is that we appear to becoming more like the Chinese, rather than the Chinese becoming like us.That conceit, a foundation stone for bring China into the WTO and giving them assistance, should be well and truly buried now; it’s a battle for supremacy, and one which the West is certainly not assured of winning.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Where’s the evidence that China has anything to do with that? I’m getting a bit tired of the Americans and anglosphere blaming other countries for ideologies that clearly originate in the Anglosphere . In fact Xi has compared the present day US to the cultural Revolution, and Putin to the original Bolsheviks.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2021/07/how-chinese-government-buying-its-way-uk-universities

https://unherd.com/2021/02/the-communist-party-on-campus/

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/aug/11/academic-freedom-is-precious-so-why-have-uk-universities-sold-out-to-china

https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/europe/954649/battle-keep-china-out-european-universities

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-china-bought-cambridge

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-senators-want-review-chinese-donations-us-universities-2021-05-26/

https://www.inquirer.com/education/china-funding-us-colleges-universities-trade-tensions-20200207.html

https://www.heritage.org/asia/commentary/chinas-damaging-influence-and-exploitation-us-colleges-and-universities

https://demtech.oii.ox.ac.uk/press-twitter-facebook-refuse-to-remove-army-of-chinese-propaganda-bots-oxford-researchers-reveal/

https://www.economist.com/china/2020/12/10/how-chinas-communist-party-trains-foreign-politicians

and so on and on and on.

Maybe we can’t blame them for the woke but they come from that tradition. The British left intelligentsia has been influenced by communist regimes since the 1930’s.

Wokeism is fundamentally a Marxist ideology. Yes a European invention but only seriously road tested in the East. As you point out, they understand where it leads much better than we do, which is why they are gleefully encouraging it.

I agree we need to accept the blame for allowing it, but to think there aren’t other actors involved is, in my view, naive.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Bollis
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

That’s no evidence on Wokeness at all. You would need evidence that those Chinese monies were spent on creating the woke culture but critical theory is very much a European (and then American) thing.

It starts with Gramsici on Europe and transfers to the US with the Frankfurt school where it merges with American ideas of “white privilege” and is amplified back to Europe, particularly the Anglosphere.

Last edited 2 years ago by Franz Von Peppercorn
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Maybe you need to read a bit more on it Franz.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I have Tony.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It is EXACTLY like how the National Trust, in its mad drive to ‘De-colonize’ had poor, inner-city, youth bused out to the Historic Mansions Trust ran to ‘Educate’ the staff on Racism is modern day Struggle Sessions of the low functioning youth ‘Educating’ the highly educated adults!

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Frightening!

I’ve just posted a response to Franz with 10 links to credible sources discussing Chinese influence in Universities and social media. In moderation
 obviously!

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Bollis
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The NT is getting a bit woke. They were wearing LGBT badges a year ago but so many threatened to cancel their membership that they recanted.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Outstanding essay.
Mr. Luttwak cites to one of his own essays (incredibly from 1994) in which he proposes that fascism is a likely reaction to the destruction of secure, middle-class jobs in the west by globalization. I would love to read an essay by him on the polarized politics of modern America. Where are we headed? Is there a way out?

Last edited 2 years ago by J Bryant
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

This sounds about right. The Woke phenomenon is fundamentally totalitarian, even if it doesn’t quite meet the definition of fascism.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

It is fascism masquerading as a civil rights movement – a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You’re not wrong.

Thomas Bartlett
Thomas Bartlett
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Who gave it the name “Woke”?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

I’m afraid I don’t know.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

It is a label derived from African-American slang assigned to those who have ‘woken’ up to their racial oppression.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

It took a while for Hitler to take his mask off.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

So far…

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Who knows. Get Trump back?

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago

If you look for incompetence you will find it everywhere so I am not sure I see the point of the article. If you look for achievements you will also find then everywhere. My observation is that you find achievements more often in the efforts of individuals or small groups of people. The greater the number of people involved the greater the tendency for the result to represent the lowest common denominator rather than the sum of the skills.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Moreover, China’s demographics will soon fall off a cliff. By the end of the century, there will be fewer Chinese than Nigerians.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

“Heaven be praised!”

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

If that’s the case then there will be more Nigerians than Europeans. China’s demographics aren’t really too different from the west anyway.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago

The median age is similar, but their per-capita GDP is around a third of the West’s. It’s going to be a fun century.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Their per capita GDP is increasing faster than the West. That’s the problem. It was about 1/10 of the West at the time of 9/11. Also their median age is 10 years younger than France and Germany, more than ten years younger than Italy, a few years younger than the U.K. and about the same as the US.

Demographics are largely only mentioned with regards to China, remarkably, since it’s probably the major issue of the last part of the 21st C.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
2 years ago

Demographics are hugely important. The whole western world is locked in a downward spiral, with replacement rates all significantly below the population sustaining rate of 2.1. But so importantly are the Chinese, and possibly even more so. According to World Bank statistics, China’s birth rate is 1.7. However, China’s situation is most likely far worse than this high-level data suggests. There is some reason to believe that China’s birth rate figures are overstated for political reasons, and the actual birth rate is close to 1.1, or lower. That will produce a shocking rate of decline.
China’s one-child policy from 1980 to 2019 led to between 30 million and 60 million cases of sex-selective abortions or female infanticide — baby girls were drowned in a bucket of water kept next to the delivery bed. The normal sexual skew is 105 boys to 100 girls. China has been producing 120 boys to 100 girls by killing girls. This means future reproductive potential is even lower than the low birth rate implies because of ‘excess’ males who cannot have babies (regardless of our current gender fluid idiocies).
Researchers Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson (their book Empty Planet) summarise the Chinese case as follows:
‘The Chinese population will fall to around 754 million by 2100, a quarter billion people below the UN’s medium estimate, and an astonishing 630 million fewer people than are alive in China today. China’s population could decline by almost half in this century
..’
It’s going to be an interesting few decades.Bill Gates will be happy.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Yeh I keep hearing the “real rate is 1.1” but it’s all the same sources, all quoting that one book. No real evidence. And then extrapolating from those sources and assuming that the Chinese communists can’t do anything about it we get the long term doom. This is cope. The official data show China recovering from 1.6 to 1.7.

Meanwhile Europe is in genuine exponential decline and the only potential fix is a genuine great replacement from largely hostile immigrants. America is slightly better off but has exhausted most high skilled immigration by now.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Good job we’ve got the Atomic Bomb and they haven’t.
( the Africans that is.)

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago

Can you suggest any scenario in which the ‘Atomic Bomb’ could be used to deter mass migration?
Where would you drop it? Lagos? Calais?
It’s useless for that purpose.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

No, not to deter mass migration. For that something like COVID- 29 maybe the answer.

The Atomic Bomb has only one purpose, total destruction don’t you think?

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago

Are you advocating total destruction of Africans now?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

No, I think the Chinese will get there first.

D Glover
D Glover
2 years ago

So how does that fit with your remark that it’s a good thing we’ve got the bomb and they haven’t?
If the Chinese take over the mineral and agricultural resources of Africa, what can we do about it? And what’s the bomb got to do with it?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Neutron Bomb, QED?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Washington DC and Brussels?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

And the Russians will hit a demographic wall in the next 30 years too. Putin is clutching at a last flicker of the Russian flame before they decline like the Ottomans.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

They should decline after what the USSR did to the world, but then we are declining too as abortions since the 67 act are now at 9M coupled with the demise of marriage (which will thrill the LGBT) the balance being made up by mass immigration.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

The UK’s population has actually increased by 8-9 million in the last two decades, entirely because of mass immigration as you say.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Encouraged by staggeringly generous ‘Child Benefits’ which encourages ‘bonking’* on an Industrial scale.

(* Copulating for US readers.)

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

I think mass immigration is probably encouraged by benefits in general rather than just child benefits.
In this connection, several years ago I had a fellow PhD student from Estonia as a lodger. She had a friend also from Estonia, who came and lived with us for a couple of months. One evening, she announced that she would like to claim benefits, and would I mind telling the authorities that I was charging her such-&-such rent, which I wasn’t. I told her to get a job which, somewhat more to her credit, she fairly promptly did.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Perhaps but the State should not be funding procreation, we don’t need it, there too many of us already.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago

I generally like the cut of your jib , but I must politely disagree with you there. There are almost no down sides to additional human beings in a reasonably well-governed society.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Ridiculously expensive housing, overwhelmed public services, and squeezed C2DE wages.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

None of that has anything to do with overpopulation. With population at an all time high, I’m pretty sure housing and food expense as a percentage of income are lower now than at any time in human history, no?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

No. Things are rising very fast because of the efforts to cut carbon which comes from the Global Warming deception.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

The fields and woods are disappearing where I live because of massive estate building.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Surely a massive reduction in the world’s population would have enormous benefits as far as all that Global warming- Carbon emissions stuff goes?*

I gather even the ‘sainted one’ has said as much, before being put back in his box.

I forgot to say I like you use of the expression ”cut of your jib”, one doesn’t hear it very often these days.

(* It may come as a surprise, but I’m not a believer.)

(** Sir David Attenborough.)

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

There is such a thing as an educated idiot which seems to abound in our country just now. Have a read of Eco Fascism by James Delingpole or the Christian version The Global Warming Deception by Grant R Jeffrey.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

You obviously have never visited an overcrowded country. Why do you think China limited birth to one child?

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I’m no historian, but I’m pretty sure that never in known human history has a reduction in a society’s general population ever brought with it a lessening of poverty. Even the Black Death in Europe only served to give leverage to workers, rather than provide an abundance of food or other goods. Starvation was still a problem in the immediate aftermath. The mass exodus of people fleeing famine fail to alleviate starvation in those who stay behind because those who leave take with them their labor and ingenuity. The issue is that human beings, if allowed to work for their own good, are net creators of resources, not net consumers. Poverty is always an economic/social/political problem.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

You seem idealistic, besides apparently assuming that government comes from above, administered by some who are above most. “Additional human beings” can be unfortunate in many locations. Issues of environmental carrying capacity primarily, and then the well known rat experiments showing degree of crowding degrades behavior.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Walsh

Issues of environmental carrying capacity? That hasn’t been important since the industrial revolution. Or do you suppose London’s population is ”carried” by the local environment? Don’t you think it’s a bit damning that the only place you can think to find evidence of population-induced behavioral degradation are in studies of rats? Wake me up when the citizens of Tokyo start biting off each other’s tails.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

And free housing and all the other free stuff.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago

US readers are not unfamiliar with the slang, viz. to wit. the fairly recent Mary Roach book…!

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Nine million abortions and nine million immigrants? MMmmm ….. food for thought.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Perhaps it’s judgment on us?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I wouldn’t be surprised. Russia experienced something of a demographic collapse during the end of the Soviet era, mainly because of vodka. Their population is now considerably lower than e.g. Bangladesh’s.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Not just Vodka. The USSR tried to destroy the family. Now Russia is trying to build it up again.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

It’s still over a billion at the last count. The nearest is India just now.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

True, although I seem to recall reading somewhere that India is very close to overtaking China.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I read that as well. Must be some truth in it.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I read somewhere recently, that in China the sale of Depends (or whatever the Chinese brand of elder nappies) is close to outstripping the sale of infant nappies…

James Hankins
James Hankins
2 years ago

To claim that you are ‘taking the long view’ is a great way to excuse failure in the short run.

Nick M
Nick M
2 years ago
Reply to  James Hankins

Like Trump supporters believing he was playing 4D chess?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick M

huh? Seems like you never ‘got it’.

Last edited 2 years ago by Cathy Carron
Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Is he playing 5D chess?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  James Hankins

Of course.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

An excellent essay from a figure of deserved respect. Reading about the Chinese warlord period from 1916 onwards immediately disabused me of the notion that the Chinese leadership are capable of doing anything competently, let alone dominating the foreign stage. The CCP are nothing more than jumped up petty warlords themselves

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

Indeed, and currently holding the ‘gold medal for the greatest mass slaughter of the innocents in human history’.
Far exceeding such incompetent amateurs as Stalin (Silver) and Adolph (Bronze).

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

A strange contest indeed.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

With China probaby winning the gold.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Stalin murdered from 50 to 70 million. Have modern China exceeded that?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Yes, quite considerably, 1945-50, and the ludicrously named: ”The Great Leap Forward”, 1959- 62..

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

A guided tour of their prison camps for people who have a different view would convince most people of their absolute corruption. No winter olympics can wipe that out.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  R Wright

They don’t do anything about their fellow communists in N Korea.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
2 years ago

Tremendous piece!
I found the book “Invisible China” by Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell (2020) fascinating.
It argues that 70% of Chinese children are being raised in rural villages and their education is appalling. This, say the authors, “threatens China’s rise”.
It’s not poor schoolrooms etc, but lack of spectacles to correct for poor vision, and even inadequate nutrition. Basic stuff.
The lead author (Rozelle) loves China and admires the governments efforts, so it’s no hatchet job. In fact a bit fawning, at times, but the message is devastating nonetheless.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
2 years ago

A very cool-headed examination of China–and our fascination with China.
Sadly, the Chinese fear of foreign take-over probably informs much of their Uyghur hysteria. It’s easy to overestimate one’s opponent/Other, particularly if one’s nation has been overwhelmed by them again and again.
Which supports Luttwak’s basic point. It’s also easy for us to overestimate the Chinese, whose society is closing itself off more and more from outside influences. Their misguided Zero-Covid policy will inevitably cause more harm in the long run.
That’s all very Chinese.
But it also explains why the “barbarians” will inevitably overtake them again.
Remember Japan in the 80s?

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Logan
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

I was disappointed that you made no mention of the truly staggering amount of dogs* the Chinese eat every year, not to mention ‘live’ frogs,etc.

We used to have an expression “ They eat horses don’t they”? to castigate a certain ‘tribe’, who shall remain nameless. Perhaps we should now adapt this rhetorical question whenever we speak of China or the Chinese?

((* Rumoured to be over 10 million per annum.)

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago

Pathetic comment. best you close your laptop for the day and do something else.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

Oh dear! A sense of humour bypass perhaps?
You rise to easily to the bait to offer any real sport.

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago

silly bot go fishing elsewhere

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago

They’d have to eat frogs for hundreds of years from now to even just catch up to the French.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

I meant ‘live’, still wriggling! I don’t think even the French go that far.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Don’t they cook them?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

No.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

The French eat frogs as well and are often referred to as Frogs instead of French, but the dog thing is distasteful.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

To be fair it not just the Chinese who eat dogs, The practice is fairly common throughout South East Asia.

My ‘spies’ in fact tell me that the best dog is served in Vietnam, although others maintain that Korea is even better.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 years ago

Dictatorial systems will always be less competent than distributed systems.

One of the reasons America has prospered is our highly distributed governmental and social system. For most of our history, we were a huge country of smaller, self-governing, enclaves (called states). Each served as a separate laboratory. The unobstructed passage between them provided cross pollination of ideas, but the slow speed of travel and information prevented a monoculture.

Chinese decision making is centered in Beijing. Centralization of information takes resources away from developing solutions. Dictatorships are far more efficient at making decisions, but those decisions are far more likely to be the wrong ones.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago

Actually this isn’t how China works at all. In fact post Mao they decentralised the regions to the extent that the federal government was only 10-15% of GDP. Xi has reversed some of that. The US is basically a centralised State right now.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

So not the example of freedom that they used to be?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

A good bit of wisdom there.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

The next generation, as those before the fall of Soviet Russia, will bring democracy , on the back of freedom and wealth created by capitalism… And the Communist Party will be consigned to History… just in time for Britain and the US to turn into woke communist states…!!!

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

Incredibly well written and interesting article. I am not quite persuaded of the central thesis, but I have certainly taken many new ideas on board.

Thomas Bartlett
Thomas Bartlett
2 years ago

A comment on this article posted to Facebook.
“A year ago this guy wrote about “stopping China’s long march”; I guess that didn’t age so well, so he’s now comforting himself with the notion that since every Chinese dynasty has eventually collapsed, then the 72-year-old CCP dynasty will too someday.
Just as Western politicians are all becoming like Trump when it comes to blaming China for their own domestic incompetence, Western commentary on China is all trending towards Gordon Chang: assuring readers that China’s really about to collapse – if only we just heed his warning that it’s already such an Apocalyptic threat beyond comparison, that the slightest Western resolve will destroy it in an instant.”

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
2 years ago

What a mean-spirited and depressing essay, Professor. It’s so easy to dwell only on the negative.
You seem to have abandoned the Empirical tradition and have adopted a variant of Post-Modernism where you start with your conclusion and then cherry-pick or invent evidence to prove your point.
I don’t think you said a single positive statement about anyone. Quite a feat.
You will, however, get lots of support for this because the West is ignorant of the real China and the current fashion is to ‘other’ the CCP to make us all feel good.
Very disappointing.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

Totally agree.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

Oh do stop being such a sanctimonious hypocrite, Luttwak’s provocative polemic has succeed admirably in opening up the debate on this important subject.

With 150+ comments UnHerd must be delighted.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Yeah. If it gets people talking and thinking it cannot be bad. Free speech can often annoy us if we don’t agree but it is better than the cancel culture.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

An interesting polemic that held my attention until I reached the following paragraph:-
“Over the thousand years down to the fall of the Jurchen-speaking Manchus in 1912, it was only during the Ming dynasty 1368–1644 that the Chinese were ruled by Chinese”

Really what about the Song Dynasty*, surely this was Chinese?
As to the Mongol and later Manchu conquests, did anything fundamentally change? No the ‘Mandarin’ civil service continued almost untouched. In fact conquering China was like punching a sponge. The blow was absorbed and life continued, even if a handful of savages were ensconced in Peking.

(* 960-1279 AD)

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

It’s not for nothing that we refer to senior British civil servants as Mandarins; they tend to carry on regardless of a newly elected government.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

They are a law unto themselves to the detriment of our country.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I’m afraid it is worth than that. Currently eight British former High Court Judges sit on the bench of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal*. Some of them are amongst our most illustrious former Judges, one decidedly not so.
Either way, and to lapse into the vernacular, ‘what the hell do they think they are doing’? Surely not aiding and abetting the loathsome CCP and its destruction of free Hong Kong?

(* On a rumoured salary of ÂŁ1 million pa.)

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago

I’m totally ignorant of Chinese history (then why comment? Because this is the internet and I’m an idiot) but after skimming some things on Wikipedia, that even during the peak of the Song dynasty there were large parts of modern China being ruled by outsiders. Then again, I can be pretty good at seeing what I want to see, and I like the article we’re arguing about and I want to believe it.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

If I may you must stop apologising for yourself, self depreciation is unhelpful.
You have plenty of erudite stuff to say, so as the good Duke said “publish and be damned!”

Incidentally you are correct that the Song did loose control of Northern China to Barbarian, horse mounted thugs, but they did manage to hold on the South until ultimately destroyed by yet another bunch of horse mounted Barbarians, the Mongols.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
2 years ago

A swell article. But if there are fools in China (and there are) and if there are fools in America (and there are), who will prove to be the bigger fool? In China they cling to “Communism”, in America they cling to “Wokeness” (or many do, anyhow). When two fools do battle, who will prevail?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Hard to say these days. Let’s hope they don’t try as we will all be losers.

Frederick B
Frederick B
2 years ago

“Murderous dwarfs”. Is he allowed to say that?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Frederick B

Can you think of a better expression?
I would have preferred homicidal pygmies, but no matter.

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Actually they are quite tall in the north for some reason. Maybe the cold?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

More meat in the diet perhaps, Dogs for example?

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
2 years ago

In 2012 (there is no more recent data), the average Chinese was 6cm shorter then the average English. Wikipedia
Do you call a person 6cm shorter a pygmy?
Honestly, the level of argument here – reminds of a school playground in a rough neighbourhood – coming from all the normally intelligent, logical and reasonable people surprises me.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

O come off it, UnHerd is just fun, it’s not pretending to be All Souls!

I’m too old to work in cm, but 2.36 inches just qualifies for pygmy status.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

He was talking about the North Koreans, no? In my mind, there are no off-limits pejoratives for North Korean officials.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Frederick B

Only if it true.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
2 years ago

I’m unsure what the purpose of this article is. Is it saying we shouldn’t worry about the Chinese because they are hopelessly incompetent? That doesn’t seem much of a strategy. Underestimating your opponent is a fatal flaw. We overestimated the strength of the Soviet Union but was that a bad mistake?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

How the Legions would rejoice to hear you speak in your native tongue.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

Slightly mad account which doesn’t seem to understand today’s China AT ALL. I taught at Peking University 2009-2015, and before that, I lived in Shanghai several times and was closely involved with China from 1988. Communist party officials today are highly competent and very well-trained. When I taught undergrad classes at PKU, I was shocked to discover how many of the graduates from China’s top university were gong to join the Government. Reason ? Very prestigious, well looked-after and a secure career path. I left China when all the CCTV cameras arrived around 2016. Still, I have a lot of respect for China’s savvy, and I think this essay is very wide of the mark. We shouldn’t be frightened of China, but she deserves our respect. I suppose that Luttwak is catering to the Lowest Common Denominator – the average American – with this effort.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

A secure career path can lead to them getting a “Blob” where “Boat Rocking” is not allowed and “The Peter Principle” can prevail, stiffling free thinking and allowing stagnation to set in. (A bit like the UK, perhaps.)

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

Exactly. It is easy to be honourable whilst feeding on the cream.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

You’ve actually described why they will continue to fail, when you state you were shocked to discover the top graduates getting steady government jobs.
The best graduates need to be getting jobs in business.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I think that in China, competent Government officials are more important. In China, many successful entrepreneurs left school early.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Government jobs are “in business” and business jobs are part of the government. There is no such thing as a private company of any significant size in China. GM or IBM or Facebook or Microsoft… these are simply not possible. Huawei is effectively a state owned enterprise. TikTok exists to harvest user data for the CCP. Ask Jack Ma what happens to those who step out of line.

In China, government = business.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

How about Alibaba, Tencent JD.com ? Anta, Li Ning, Geely etc. etc. Market Caps in the tens and hundreds of billions, and just as innovative as Google, Microsoft etc. You are very ignorant.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Is them being competent and well trained an assumption based on where they studied, or have you actually seen this competence first hand?

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Chinese officials speak excellent English. They are always briefed on the issue under discussion, in my experience. How any American Government officials speak another language, or know anything ?

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Respectfully, human beings tend to only learn the languages they must learn to achieve their goals. Very very few people are multi-lingual out of a love of learning. I know many people like to point to American ignorance of other languages as evidence of laziness/arrogance/stupidity, but how many people learn a language before they have reason to believe it will be useful?

p.s. I’m an American who learned Spanish as an adult. I’m not just fluent, but close to native. Well, not that my command of English is particularly impressive.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Well most nations need to learn English if they do business.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

That’s my point. People learn the languages they must learn to get along. How many people in, say, Germany, learn English out of a love of learning or intellectual dynamism? Americans don’t need to learn other languages so we don’t.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

If they are so honourable why do they imprison and even torture christians on mass? It just doesn’t add up I’m afraid. You need to draw aside the curtain of security and see what is going on.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Why did the Americans invade Iraq in 2003 (ignoring the French UN Security council veto on 2002, and lying about WMD) ?. Thousands of innocent people died as a consequence, including many women and children. What about Guantanamo Bay – a serious human rights abuse ? Isn’t that just as bad as anything the Chinese did or are doing ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Giles Chance
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Too true about Iraq, perhaps 500,OOO dead in that act of barbarism, but it pales into insignificance compared to Chinese “Great Leap Forward”, does it not?

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago

I don’t know how to delete a failed comment. I should shut up.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jacob Smith
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Sorry, but what are you talking about?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

A failed comment which he has managed to delete now.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago

I tried to comment on your figure of 500K dead due to American military action in the Iraq war with sarcastic emojis. Later I regretted my lazy sarcasm and couldn’t figure out how to just delete the comment, so rather than just be thought a fool, I decided to prove it. I’d say I should be banned from commenting due to lacking proper “toilet training”, but I’m pretty sure I won’t inflict myself on the comment section again in future. In spoken conversation I can often selectively forget my gaffs, but online is forever.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

Exactly.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Whataboutery. Boringly facile.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Of course, because it doesn’t fit into your anti-China diatribe. It’s true though.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Nothing compares to what the Chinese did and are doing. Guantanamo Bay was a reaction against the awful terrorism that went on and is still going on. I don’t agree with unfair treatment but compared to China no contest.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

“The best candidates” hahaha. You mean a factory of phony liars much like the Ivy League graduates selected based on their capacity to write an essay about being a “rounded person” at the age of 18. You should’ve stayed in China but I’m sure you found lucrative jobs promoting China ….

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

No I don’t mean a factory of phony liars. I mean girls and boys aged 18 who passed the toughest 3-day examination in the world to be offered a place at Peking University, which is much more difficult than gaining entry to the Ivy League. I’m pro-the West and I’m also pro-China.

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I am sorry Giles, but for someone who claims to be university lecturer you follow some strange logic.
You can not be both pro West and pro China.
China is hell bent on replacing West world order with Chinese one.
This is not in West interest.
It follows that China is West enemy.
Therefore China’s Western supporters are either useful idiots as per Lenin definition or traitors.
No different from Communism supporters over the last 100 plus years.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

“We shouldn’t be frightened of China, but she deserves our respect.”
We should be frightened of China, and it does not deserve any respect. Sorry, but you’re giving me the creeps.

Last edited 2 years ago by Drahcir Nevarc
Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I only give you the creeps because you are ignorant, and know nothing of China or the Chinese.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

My stepmother was jailed by Mao.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Respect in the sense of not underestimating the enemy is wise.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Thank you for that but don’t you think that you may have ‘gone a bit native’ as we used to say?

I have seen this before with those who served in China becoming ardent Sinophiles. This even included senior members of the Foreign Office, who should have know better.

As Drahcir Nevarc says below “ We should be frightened of China, and it does not deserve any respect”.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

I haven’t gone native. I live in a French chateau and have lived in Europe for most of my 70 years. I’m very attached to Western ideals, culture and history. But I am very opposed to people who talk and write about China and the Chinese without any knowledge, and there are a lot of them. You should open your mind, which is closed. Go to China, spend time there, read some Chinese books and talk to Chinese people.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Thank you for that patronising reply. I’m not sure why you tell us that you live in a French Chateaux, perhaps your are Jonathan Sumption?

I suggest you review China’s history since the year of your birth, 1952. It is perhaps the most appalling period of barbarism in Modern History. How you can deny it frankly astonishes me.

Incidentally I have been to China, worked in China, read Chinese books and spoken to Chinese people. Perhaps I have missed something, but I think not.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

I think that invading Iraq in 2003 was an act of barbarism, a worse one than anything the Chinese did because it was done against the advice of many, and in particular the veto of the French in the UN Security Council.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I think you will find I answered that point about 11 hours ago.

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Thank you, Giles, for being the only voice of reason today.
I am somewhat bewildered that even Unherd contributors (intellectuals, unorthodox who can see through general brainwashing very clearly etc) completely refuse to acknowledge many of the great things China achieved in the last 30 years. It is, in fact, probably the greatest achievement human species demonstrated so far.
30 years ago, a country with population of about 1.2 bln, largely illiterate, with GDP per capita of about $320, with most of its people living in extreme poverty decided to change its course.
In just 30 years, without any external help, they industrialised the country of 1.4bln people, reached GDP per capita of $10,500!
Today 1.4bln of Chinese people have the average (average!) I_Q of 104! (Compare with the UK’s average I-Q of 99, or US’ 97.4)
Now try to think, in contrast, about all the help the West with all its resources have been pouring into Africa in the last 60 years. Any results? Or think about the Middle East with all their oil money.
I might disagree with this and that about ways of China, or criticise this or that in some Chinese people that I know in person.
One thing I am sure though I am getting right about China – this is a great civilisation, because what it produced in the last 30 years is nothing short of a miracle. They must be doing something right.
(Full disclosure – I am not Chinese.).

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

Yes, they are doing something right. I regret the current period of dictatorship in China, but we have to let the Chinese fix that for themselves, and I think they will.

Last edited 2 years ago by Giles Chance
Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Wait, just the current period of dictatorship? The other ones were good? You think like a child, my man.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

My comment was snotty and useless, but I don’t delete it. How else will I learn to behave reasonably if can instantly hide my shame?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

I thought your comment was accurate.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Well said.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I wouldn’t trust to that.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

I think you will find that Ashkenazi Jews outperform the Chinese in the IQ arena.

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Irene Ve
Irene Ve
2 years ago

I think you missed the main point of my message – a feat of bringing 1.4bln people from the bottom of human species close to the top in 30 years is not a trifle. Nothing comparable has been achieved so far.
An Oxford physics professor – an Ashkenazi Jew – has recently commented that the future of science has a Chinese face. He said he did not mind. Just pause a bit, try to see that the Chinese are facing exactly the same barriers (more thorough selection/competition as a result) the Ashkenazi faced before.
Also, as the Chinese older than 40-50 years could not possibly have their IQs changed much, statistically, the young Chinese people today, significantly outperform their Western counterparts, including the Ashkenazi who became very lazy like the rest of the West in the last generation or so. This results in overall quality of human capital in China being potentially much higher than in the rest of the world today.

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

It may be true that they have performed impressively (personally I think they have), but of course there are certain limitations. First, most of their progress has come from stealing intellectual property; it’s questionable how capable they actually are in the creative sector. Second, their idea of individual freedom and value is terrible; catastrophes like floods or disease outbreaks are just suppressed, nobody is allowed to talk about them like they never happened. I have sympathy for the Chinese people, but as it stands there is a terrible mind virus that has befallen them, which is called CCP.

Last edited 2 years ago by Michael K
Irene Ve
Irene Ve
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Good thing you mentioned intellectual property – remember paper, printing, gunpowder, china, compass

I did mention I disagree with some things quite a bit, the way they do it in China. I just acknowledge that in the modern age, no other social/governmental system produced comparably great results overall.

Last edited 2 years ago by Irene Ve
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

Despite the advantage of inventing Gunpowder, the Printing Press, Paper and the Magnetic Compass, as you correctly say, the Chinese still failed to conquer the World.

Perhaps if those great Ming fleets that left China in the early fifteenth century had turned east rather west that might have pulled it off. As it is, they didn’t, and thus Europe conquered the World.

Many commentators here seem to think that the Chinese are a menace and want another chance, thus the omens are not good.