Same old China

So how are they (the dissidents) hangin’, Xi?

In this context, China isn’t Cockney rhyming slang for ‘mate’. It’s a synonym for ‘enemy’, and the Americans sound as if they begin to realise this.

In fact, one detects a note of pique in their response to yet another spying scandal involving China.

President Trump has warned that the higher tariffs imposed on China are only the first step on the punitive path – especially since stealing technologies and spying in general aren’t the only, nor even the worst, crimes committed by China against the US.

According to Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security Secretary, “China absolutely is … exerting unprecedented effort to influence American opinion.”

It appears that hybrid war is something invented by Russia, but perfected by China. Then again, China has more money to spend on undermining the West, and no less desire to do so.

China, says FBI Director Christopher Wray, presents “the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face.”

Vice President Pence thunders that China is running “an unparalleled surveillance state”, having abandoned “the pathway of more freedom”. It uses coercive loans and foreign aid programmes to exert control over vulnerable countries in Asia, Africa and South America.

All things considered, the Trump administration is overturning the Nixon policy of mollycoddling China – and more power to it. This turnaround is long overdue, and one can only hope it hasn’t come too late to stop the Chinese juggernaut.

What I find amusing is the note of bitter disappointment sounded by American officials, the sense they convey of being let down. They trusted China, but China didn’t live up to the trust.

It’s as if they’re saying:

“Look, we’ve given you so much, opened up world markets for you, transferred every conceivable technology, given you all sorts of credits, loans and charitable aid – all in the hope that you’ll become like us.

“Not only as rich as us, but also as free, benevolent and, well, civilised. And is this what we get in return? There we were, extending our hand in friendship, and here you are, alternately biting our hand and spitting on it.”

Now the real problem isn’t that all those Western emoluments have failed to erase the spots from the Chinese leopard. It’s that there was a hope that they would.

This emphasises two fundamental problems with the contemporary Western, and particularly American, mentality.

The smaller problem is the lamentable inability to grasp the nature of the effect communism has on a nation – especially one with no traditions of Western civility.

Communism is misanthropic hatred of our civilisation, expressed as history’s most evil ideology. If practised for a few decades it tends to kill not only millions of bodies but also tens, or in China’s case hundreds, of millions of souls.

It befouls the collective soul of a nation, destroying whatever is good and fostering everything that’s evil. And if there wasn’t enough evil there in the first place, communism makes sure the level is built up to the desired standard.

It’s a cancer, metastasising over a nation’s entire body. Just like an oncological patient, the nation may survive. But it’ll never be the same: its moral fibre will never grow back to cover all the gaping holes.

That’s why abandoning communism fully is impossible: the residual disease will still be there for many generations, gnawing surreptitiously on every organ.

This will be the case even if a country makes a genuine effort to treat itself, thereby attempting to join the civilised world. However, neither Russia nor China has made such an effort.

All those perestroikas, democracies, free markets and other good things in life are used there not to excise evil, but to camouflage it.

And, just as it’s possible to paralyse an army’s HQ  simply by jamming its communications, so it’s possible to deal the West a deadly blow without necessarily attacking it militarily. As long as the will is there, a way will be found.

Inundating the West’s gullible and undereducated population with hundreds of millions of subversive messages may do the trick. And what will happen to the global financial system, if the Chinese and the Russians dump all the trillions they hold in dollar assets? (The Russians are already beginning to do so.)

For biographic reasons, I know – and write – more about Russia than about China. But I know that they are much more like each other than either is like the West.

Since the early nineties, I’ve been banging my head against the wall of post-perestroika demob happiness in Britain, writing (in small conservative journals) that what was going on in Russia wasn’t a transition to democracy. It was a transfer of power from the Party to the KGB.

The country thereby shifted to more subtle and perfidious methods of undermining the West. In parallel, the new elite, made up by a fusion of the secret police and organised crime, could also look after Number One much better than under the crude Politburo.

Russia became not less of an enemy, I was saying, only a less overt one. I wasn’t believed then, and, by and large, I’m not going to be believed now.

The immediate reason for this incredulity is the small problem I’ve outlined: ignorance of communism and its demoralising long-term effects.

Yet there exists another reason, a deeper and bigger one. The West – especially its transatlantic leader – is in the grips of a philistine certainty that everyone is, or yearns to be, just like us.

Countries that are Western only geographically, like Russia, or not Western at all, like China, are supposed to limit their aspirations to achieving the philistine heaven of two cars in every garage and two chickens in every pot.

Cultures that have precious little in common with America are supposed to have produced populations eager to start seeing life as a gradual accumulation of assets, culminating in some suburban bliss.

A philistine man is certain of universal sameness, and so are philistine nations. And when other nations behave in ways that belie that belief, that only means they haven’t had the opportunity to express themselves in Western ways.

Provide that opportunity, open up the paths, give them a helping hand and within a few years they’ll chuck aside thousands of years of their history, their national mentality, their faith (secular or otherwise), their notions of morality – their whole ethos, all incompatible with ours.

Dangle the straw of being like us before them, and they’ll grasp it with both hands. Such has been America’s geopolitical naivety throughout history, but especially since it found itself face to face with crystallised political evil.

A country where only 40 per cent of the population have passports, and where close to 100 per cent have little idea of international history, geography and politics, is ill-equipped to develop a deep and nuanced understanding of lands dramatically different from itself.

The penny usually doesn’t drop until the first bombs do. So it’s to the credit of the Trump administration that it seems to be getting around to realising that non-military weapons can be just as devastating – provided they’re deployed to devastate.

So far Trump and his people have shown a clearer vision of China than  Russia, partly I’m sure for racial reasons. (Until the Mueller investigation has been completed, I’m willing to push more sinister explanations aside.)

It’s easier for Americans to see the Chinese as aliens because they look, well, alien. The Russians, on the other hand, look almost Western, especially now they’ve made some sartorial and hygienic advances.

They look like ducks, walk like ducks, quack like ducks – but they aren’t ducks. One hopes that the Americans will realise this before too long. Meanwhile, let’s congratulate them, hopefully, on the hardening of their stance towards another evil regime.

2 thoughts on “Same old China”

  1. How can one properly understand China? The “Celestial Empire”. the “Middle Kingdom”. Half-way between heaven and earth. And as populated by “Celestials”. Persons as having a nature much different from your average-everyday mundane American or Englishman.

    Xi too seems to be abandoning the practice of Chinese communist dictators moving on from time to time into retirement without murmur? The man now has now aspirations to be the modern-day Emperor?

  2. China has been the dominant player in real estate in Australia, the UK and China are the largest owners of foreign-held land in Australia, owning 27 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. And its not just land, China has bought ports and a wide variety things to meet the heavy demand from China’s booming middle class for Australian-produced fruits, meats, wine, dairy and minerals.
    The press call it salami slicing; little by little they are expanding across the whole region.
    Their treatment of Muslims in one province includes an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours each day. There are media reports of inmates being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol. The government has classified them as “mentally disturbed”.

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