Trump is infuriating. Not only is he dishonest, crude, criminal, stupid and inarticulate – he’s unforgivably ignorant.
For example, he does not know that there is no “Chinese” language:
“They will own this country. China will own this country. North Korea will own this country,” Trump declared.
Trump doubled down on his assessment on Tuesday, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that if he doesn’t win, “You’re gonna have to learn to speak Chinese.”
In China, about 80% of the population speak Mandarin, which is a language with a deep and complex history (that I am far from qualified to touch on) – China was assembled out of large warring states by Qin Shi Huang (the guy who was buried with all the clay soldiers, and who was the emperor in the movie Hero) “Qin” is pronounced “Chin” and is the root of the name “China”. But that was long ago (200BC) and since then, Mandarin acquired words and elements from many other sources. Basically, Mandarin has always been “what they talk in the capital”; i.e.: the language of the Mandarins – the highest civil servants, AKA “the deep state.” Anyhow, I should not try to lecture on Chinese history, having only had one semester and that was back in 1983.
Trump is also, absurdly, implying that North Korea is going to “own” the US. I have trouble even finding words to express my contempt for the stupidity of that claim: North Korea is a long way away, vastly smaller, and its military budget is tiny compared to ours. Short of inventing the Q-bomb, North Korea is not taking over anyone, ever. If they got militarily adventurous, it would be round two of “US attempts genocide in North Korea”.
The dipshits who listen to and vote for Trump have absorbed and accepted propaganda like Red Dawn and this:
That is some brilliantly effective propaganda, but it’s basically wrong in more ways than we can count on the fingers of the entire population of Columbus, Ohio.
The most obvious question nobody is asking is, “who the fuck would want to rule the United States?” Its oligarchs are having trouble controlling it, never mind trying to conceive of the kind of crazy Patrick-Swayze-led insurgency that would result if anyone tried to take over this shithole and run it. The level of military committment necessary to take over the US is almost, literally, unimaginable because nobody has come close to trying such a thing, except for the Mongols, who failed and fell apart fairly quickly. It’s a stupid idea; none of it makes any sense, and here we have dipshit in chief talking about it as though it’s something serious. I am shocked and angry that the people of the US did not react to that with a great, howling, belly laugh.
The Duchy of Grand Fenwick is not going to save us, either. US strategy for decades has been to achieve nuclear first-strike capability against anyone. If anyone is going to go around taking over other places, it’s the US – and they have conclusively demonstrated that taking over other places, basically, fails. ‘The West’ has been conclusively demonstrating that since the Crusades; it’s why we get tragicomic historical incidents like England (tiny) conquering and dominating India (huge) until the Indians figured out that they were being scammed.
All of this makes me remember a book that came out in the 70s, which was strange and nihilistic: M.J. Engh’s Arslan. [wc] The premise of Arslan is that something unexplained has happened, that caused the entire world to politically submit to the generalissimo-in-chief of a small country in north Asia, who (for reasons we never understand) makes his battle-camp in a midwestern small town and begins treating the locals the way Americans historically have treated everyone else that they conquer. It’s a weird, and very dark book, with some really upsetting elements including horrible sexual assault, but when I read it I was captivated because I realized that the author was trying to work out some of what it probably felt like to be conquered by the Mongol empire, or the British empire: suddenly a small force of redcoats show up and everything changes, much for the worse. I saw it as a counter-point to The Mouse that Roared [wc] which is a cute satirical look at when a tiny medieval European country accidentally successfully invades and conquers the US.
I suppose I am thinking these things because I am so disgusted by the current state of the poorly-run US experiment in oligarchy, that I’m starting to hanker for “regime change” – any regime, just – please – change. That’s a dangerous attitude, I know, because change is usually not for the better when you’re talking revolution and conquest.
Can I hear a big “FUCK YOU!” for the media, and around half of the US population that take this imbecile seriously?
I am not recommending you read Arslan. It’s very disturbing and it has a lot of really horrifying content. Reading it felt like watching a slow-moving train-wreck. In other words, if felt like being a US citizen in 2020 feels every day. There’s no sense deliberately subjecting yourself to that. I am, in fact, shocked and disappointed that the times we live in remind me of that book.
A short story about Chinese history: my dad is/was a history professor and the chair of the department at Johns Hopkins for forever. One of his colleagues (Robert Forster) who taught US history once had a student from China who was specializing in US history. Forster asked him casually, why he was studying US history, and the fellow blushed and eventually said, “I’m lazy. There’s so little of it.”
One of the class texts for the semester of Chinese history that I did study was Ray Huang’s 1587, a Year of No Significance. [wc] That was a fascinating book, and a great introduction to how one can approach history as art. Huang starts off disengenously claiming that he is examining some events in 1587, which was a year (he claims) nothing important or big happened in China. Which is absurd on the face of it: there are always interesting and big important things happening in China. Huang writes about a failing emperor, a failing government, a failing general – a bunch of little things that he argues added up to the collapse of the imperial dynasty. It’s brilliant history. I’m not expecting you to run out and read it, but if you’re interested, sink your teeth into this review [medium].