(First written August 10, 1999. Still true.)
I’ve read countless articles on China, and scanned countless more. Over the past few months my concern over China’s somewhat aggressive and unforgiving behavior has reached a point where I’m becoming quite attentive. Very recently I’ve pointedly researched news articles and studies world wide in order to either confirm or refute my growing belief that China has actually declared war on us or is in the process of doing so. I’ve found nothing to refute this possibility, rather much to confirm it.
Perhaps the question is: Is China simply, at long last, stepping into the vacuum created by the Soviet Union’s default at playing the world’s opposing super-power, or does the ruling elite of China have a more ambitious agenda?
Without doubt there’s a massive hole where the USSR used to stand and we do understand that for China’s current leadership to remain in power there must be a national agenda, one easily defined and clearly political.
If you take a good look at where China stands today – militarily, economically and geopolitically – in context of, and in contrast to, her status (and how she was perceived) only a generation ago – you too might conclude that her leadership has zip to lose and everything to gain by boldly taking us on.
It appears that they’ve done so and are by the day moving to advantage their position.
Finally, though, exactly why? Do China’s leaders simply want for China her due as the world’s leading population center and hottest and most promising economy, or are they looking for real estate?
I believe they are looking for their due. They’ve never made a serious move to export the communist ideology – that was Russia’s thing. They are picking up real estate (Hong Kong, Taiwan) methodically, acquiring real assets rather than mere land.
I believe the Chinese leadership wants China to be recognized as one of the world’s great powers and respected as the one nation who’s maintained that status for most of the past 5,000 years. I believe this leadership wants us to butt out of it’s unique internal political structure which, for the most part, has also worked for 5,000 years.
I believe that their agenda is to get themselves into a position where they don’t have to take any shit from anybody. The stuff that goes on internally is their affair. There’ve been some political turnovers in the past and might well be some in the future. Compared to the stuff which has rocked the rest of the world over the last couple thousand years theirs is self-contained and spare. No one has reached out from China to ask anyone at any time to make their internal deals.
I believe the Chinese have major respect coming to them. Not only for the past, but for what they’re doing right now. Perhaps this is all they want.
I’d certainly like to think so.