It seems to me that the US government’s (and its politicians’) stance on China is contradictory. That should be no surprise, right?
Obviously, a rising new empire – really, more the phoenix-like rising of a very old empire – is going to be a matter of concern, but the leader of US fake democracy are very upset about how China is fake communist. I’m sure you’ve all seen the comments from various supporters of the US laissez-faire capitalism, to the effect that communism is bad, in all its forms, etc. Well, granted, the Russian attempt to implement communism did not work very well, and China’s (Mao’s, really) attempt was a disaster that killed millions – but what China has ended up with has as much to do with communism as a kitten has to being a dog: precious little. China is as communist as the US is democratic, in other words, though it’d be hard to quantify the degree to which political claims are bullshitful; let’s just acknowledge that both claims are bullshit and work from there.
The US and China’s rulers have both realized that imperial power does not need to be exerted in the 19th century manner, with armies, and putting the queen’s image on everyone’s money – they’ve realized that if you control a nation’s economy, you control their politicians, too, and therefore you control that country. The US’ “stealth empire” concept is about “projecting soft power” rather than just stomping around conquering places, which is a good thing, because we’re terrible at it. The Chinese have watched the US’ imperialism play out and are pursuing the long game – which mostly consists of sitting back and waiting for the US to face-punch itself stupid some day. As Napoleon didn’t say, “by the grace of god, let me have stupid enemies.”
But here’s what I don’t get: the oligarchs who run the US keep talking about how bad Chinese “communism” is and how destructive it is and yet somehow China has been a massive economic success, and a rising superpower and – more importantly to decent people: China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty. [xin] Naturally, Americans would want to quibble with that but it doesn’t make much difference if the number is only two times the size of the US population, or 3, or what “raising out of poverty” means when the US population is experiencing worse and worse economic outcomes and the Chinese “communists” appear to be doing much, much better. So, don’t we have a problem: either maybe communism is not so bad, or US politicians need to stop pointing at China and screaming “communism” because, actually, China is an oligarchy just like the US, only its leaders appear to be doing a better job because they understand that if you abuse a population of billions, you will wind up in the embrace of Madame Guillotine.
It just seems a bit dumb, to me, for the US to be saying “communism is bad” at the same time that “China’s economy is kicking ass.” I mean, I know that saying dumb things is political hacks’ stock in trade, but maybe they should be working on demonstrating how great capitalism is. Of course, they are – as everyone knows, the very richest of America’s very rich made gigantic sums of money, while the middle class (aka: educated white people) stagnated and the poor got poorer. That’s a hell of a way to showcase capitalism’s political and economic success, folks.
Also, and it almost doesn’t bear mentioning, the US is on shaky ground when it points the finger of condemnation at China for its genocide of the Uighur population – the US having these things called “reservations” to which we have banished the traumatized survivors of the establishment of US democracy. And, the American South, which is still struggling to revert to its slave-state apartheid roots, politically and economically. The US also loves to complain about China stealing intellectual property (they do) while ignoring the fact that the US industrial revolution was built on stolen English, Scottish, and French technology. The Jacquard looms on which Southern cotton was woven – that was a French invention for which US “inventors” paid nothing. The Chinese are sensible people, and appear to realize that this kind of complaining is just mouth-noises from losers, and ignore it. The US complains about Chinese hacking, while ignoring that its National Security Agency has repeatedly backdoor’d the global critical software infrastructure, weakening the internet security that they complain the Chinese are exploiting. It looks to me like a bunch of circus clowns pointing at another bunch of circus clowns and laughing at them for dressing funny.
But the number that really sticks in my head is the 800 million. The US can’t get its head out of its own ass enough to arrange some sensible spend on infrastructure, instead it’s got run-away spending on the military. I was saddened and fascinated to see that China is responding the US’ new build-out of nuclear first-strike weapons, by a measured increase in its deterrent. China is not the one building a nuclear arsenal designed to “win” a global armageddon; they’re building in order to make sure that if the US decides to start a global armageddon, it does not come away unscathed. Again, the US screeches that Russia was cheating on its nuclear treaties (which is true) while cheating on its nuclear treaties (which it did) and trying to browbeat a minor regional power, Iran, into not being able to build a credible deterrent against Israel. The layers of hypocrisy are so complicated that all I can think is “what a bunch of shitheads.”
And the biggest shitheads are the US electorate, who have somehow managed to swallow that whole big lie. The Big Lie is not that Trump is saying he lost 2020 – it’s that the US is a democracy in the first place. The electorate should be tearing down the walls in Washington, because its entire political system is deliberately and obviously built in order to preserve white supremacy, in the form of the oligarchs whose opinions and money matter, against the rest of the citizenry. But the electorate has become so thoroughly propagandized that they simply turn their brains off after someone in power accuses China of “communism” when, if we objectively measured some aspects of China, they are doing vastly better for their people than the US is doing for theirs. For one thing, the Chinese government has enough credibility with its population that they don’t argue when the government says “get vaccinated.” I’m not a fan of information control and propaganda but you’ve got to admit that China’s moderating Facebook and, basically, controlling media, looks increasing like a pretty good idea. Maybe they have looked at Americans and realized that the lumpenproletariat will gobble up the most ridiculous nonsense if it’s said in a tone of authority. That’s another thing the US is becoming bad at: keeping its population informed. Failure to have a good mechanism of disseminating facts and directives is a serious problem – it cost hundreds of thousands of lives because the US government’s credibility with its own citizens is that pathetic. Again, tell me how bad “communist” authoritarianism is compared to laissez-faire capitalist clusterfuck.
Last, but not (quite) least, the US is so stupidly divided against itself that one major party, the republicans, have arranged to be 95% of the current sufferers and diers from COVID-19. It beggars my imagination that they are suppressing votes over here with one hand, while literally slaughtering their voters over there, with the other. That’s “Great Leap Forward”-style stupid.
800 million. And the US is struggling to mandate a living wage for the people who keep things working. It ought to make you wonder.