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Thursday, April 25, 2024

How many expensive wars has China been engaged in since Mao wrested political control from Chiang Kai Shek, more than half a century ago?

 Secretary of State Blinken is off to China again and President Biden is apparently working the phone with Chinese President Xi, but there is little evidence that Chinese/American relations are improving.  The Chinese are claiming that America is trying to stifle their growth, while Americans are worried about China’s efforts to improve their standing in the world at our expense.  I believe that both sides see the current state of our relationship correctly.  I also believe that the contest is not only between Chinese and American, but also between democracy and dictatorship in a world increasingly dependent on technology.

I consider myself to be very nationalistic and patriotic.  The very first war that I volunteered to participate in was Korea where our principal antagonist was China.  Much of my professional career was devoted to problem sets that involved Chinese aggression.  I am not any smarter than the next guy, but I have thought about China all of my adult life, and I have spent much of it dealing with Chinese aggression.  The Chinese approach to aggression is softer than many others.  It is also more tenacious and far, far more effective.  During my time as Consul General in Udorn, Thailand, our principal interest in the region was the several airbases that we were using to bomb North Viet Nam.  Chinese activity in the region was minimal and we had several large military bases located there.  Today, we are no longer present, and the Chinese operate a facility there that repairs Chinese military vehicles from all over Southeast Asia.

When I was in high school, China was subject to periodic famine and America was the most powerful nation in the entire world.  Today, China is the second largest economy in the world and we, in this country, are tearing ourselves apart with our inane bickering about minutia.  It is relatively easy to point out various tactical errors in dealing with China on the part of our various political leaders, but I contend that the fundamental problem lies with you and me refusing to think about the various factors that are contributing to China’s successes and our failures.  China has knocked us back on our heels and we are trying, ineffectively, to counter-punch.  The proper course of action would be to compete, but we find that course of action to be unattractive.  Because we are a democracy, we reflect the will of the American people and the American people are very used to being in a dominant position in the world - politically and economically.  The vast majority of Americans alive today were born into wealth and have virtually no experience with life in the rest of the world.

China is literally eating our lunch all over the world and our response is to resist inadequately, rather than compete effectively.  Competition would risk lower wages, less profit margin, more work, and better ideas than the other guy - in this case 1.4 billion Chinese that are willing to work hard, think of new ways to do things, steal any and all technology that already exists, and relentlessly support a given policy for decades.  Compare Flip Flop America to the Chinese Communist Party in any of these areas and they win.  In China disobedience in thought or action is immediately punished.  In America diversity in everything is championed.  Think about life as a football game.  One team is unified behind its quarterback.  The other team is bent on finding new ways to create diversity of thought and action.  Very unfortunately, we are increasingly effective in creating the conditions that are destroying us and amazingly we are adamant in our conviction that because some of us vote every couple of years we will prevail.

PS:  how many expensive wars has China been engaged in since Mao wrested political control from Chiang Kai Shek, more than half a century ago, other than the one in which they fought us to a stalemate in Korea?  How many ineffective, very expensive wars have we been engaged in during that same period of time?  How many countries has China abandoned while we fled countries involved in conflict all over the globe during that exact same period of time?  We take great pride in the fact that we still possess better technology.  Or do we?  China nailed their first effort to land on the moon.  The only country to accomplish that feat.  We invented the iPhone and China gave us Tik Tok.  Hubris is alive and well here in America and we are needlessly engaging in the self-destruction of what was the most promising social experiment in human history.  You and I are idiots, pure and simple.  Well meaning, cowardly, well-educated, miserly, delusional, idiots.

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