Introducing a country called China – and UnHerd’s Trump-free week
Our “China (not Trump)” series is under way with a taster from Michael Burleigh’s extended essay on the case for China holding the leading claim to be the longest-standing “high civilisation” of world history…
…but before you travel with Michael to the past, please get into my time machine and I’ll take you to 2118…
We’re not underwater. Technological advances have kept the lights on – with minimal environmental impact.
The vegetarians have won. The people living a century hence can’t believe that, today, bacon-lovers are repulsed by the idea of eating Fido, the much loved family dog – but will eat our ‘Miss Piggy’ sausages in front of him as if she, Wilbur, Chewbacon, Albert Einswine (and so on) didn’t also deserve a dog’s life.
Nor will we all be sporting Hillary Clinton pantsuits. Despite science fiction films which invariably suggest populations of the future will all dress in a similar way. We won’t. Burberry, Levi’s and Gap can all relax. Although – having visited one of their stores last week – I’m not sure Gap should. That was a time-travelling experience and not forwards.
I’m not actually confident about all of those three predictions but I am sure about the key message of the video. Despite the news media’s orgy of Trump-Trump-Trumpety-Trump coverage, it won’t be The Donald that historians of 2118 will be focusing on as they remember our times (unless he does press that big red “and it works” nuclear button on his desk – which I pray and predict he won’t). It will be the rise of China.
So keep visiting us this week as we step back from today’s press obsessions, and survey the significance of what’s occurring in that still notionally communist country. We’ll be looking at Beijing’s command of technology, its military strategy, economic power – and much else, too.
And while UnHerd may not manage to be completely Trump-free over the next seven days… we’ll happily give him a still-legal-for-now pork burger and a very large bottle of diet Coke if he’ll read the series and, just possibly, begin to realise he needs to lift his own strategic game or America’s relative decline (that – over a quarter of a century – Clinton, Bush and Obama did nothing to arrest) will only accelerate.