Is China the New Indispensable Nation?
Usually when there are protests, however minor, happening in a nation that has run afoul of the United States the “International Community” and “Human Rights Activists” rally to push for regime change. However, now that there are mass protests exploding over the United States these types of voices are completely silent. American police are free to destroy CHAZ and other camps however they see fit. This is the power of America, however this time around there sure are a lot of red flags and Communist sentiments in the mouths of the protestors. If we were still in the Cold War the Soviet Union would have been instantly blamed as spark that lit BLM. But interestingly in today’s world the only powerful Communist nation on Earth left standing is getting 0% of the blame. This is the power of China.
If we remove relevant issues related to feelings and sexuality the real big story over the last five to ten years has been the rise of the Chinese economy with all sorts of “predictions” grounded in the biases of those making them. The more Fox News/Republican you are the more Chinese “Communism” seems gilded at best and for those on the other side of the line they see China taking the 21st century as its own due to the failures of “late stage Capitalism”. We’ve all lived through years of speculation about where China is going, but finally according to Max Keiser (who is far from perfect himself in predicting the future, but has better results than most mainstream economists) it looks like this is the year the Red Chinese will finally overtake the Rugged Individualists and become the largest economy in the world. To be clear he argues that this “achievement” will be due to weathering the global economic downturn that is coming in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic. For the tinfoil hat crowd, yes it does seem awfully convenient that the country that started the plague may wind up benefiting the most from it.
So is China in the near future going to become like a post-WWII United States – damaged from battle but in vastly better condition than any of its competitors ready to reach out across the globe to secure its Superpower status? Let’s take a look at some arguments for and against this and Mr. Keiser’s prediction.
- China has nowhere to expand to. There will be no “Red Marshall Plan” for the post Covid world and Chinese goods have already saturated international markets. This is what gave Beijing the chance to rise but does it really have anywhere new to go? Can China somehow explode further and become even more pervasive than it already is? Probably not. Perhaps this fact is why the Chinese economy (according to a variety of sources) is starting to slow down if not stagnate.
- China has economic successes over the competition, not cultural ones. Countries with pathetic geopolitical influence like Japan produce more media consumed abroad than China. America has been able to export some sort of universal attractive picture of itself as a Soft Power aphrodisiac for decades. One has to be “cool” to be a king of the world and China thus far only knows how to speak to its own people internally.
- It is unknown if the People’s Liberation Army is up to the impossible task of policing the planet. The United States spends $750 billion on it per year and seems to be barely hanging on. Could China really maintain some sort of global presence?
- The Financial Times lays out a laundry list of social problems that the Chinese have not resolved. From a massive gender imbalance to a surprisingly shrinking workforce that is aging rapidly. China’s biggest asset its population, like its economy is also stagnating.
- Add in some large debts and parts of the economy resting on the value “ghost towns” and we see there could be some rough waters ahead for the internal side of the Chinese economy.
- China generally steals ideas and makes them on the cheap, or produces them well for foreign creators. It is hard to imagine a dominant world power that has no ideas of its own producing plastic widgets for its vassals as a key source of income. China’s role as the world’s factory excludes it from becoming the global executive.
- China still has the ideal conditions for a 21st century economy. Over a billion people mostly packed together around the coast, willing to work for cheap with the ability to export everything for pennies by boat. (And, even if that fails or is sabotaged by America they New Silk Road is a fantastic Plan B). China has these advantages, and although others like India want to pretend that they do, in actually they are not even close. In this way China is an “exceptional” nation as it has the collective mentality and organized manpower to win.
- At the very least China plays an important role in every national economy on Earth. Even in countries a bit more trade dependent on America, they still have the Chinese coming at #2. The USA was about 50% of the world economy after WWII and today it has 23%. China is at 15% and rising, perhaps if it could hit 33% it would enter in to its own 1950s like utopia by 2050.
- Things like a “lack of free press” or “rule of law” have been very overblown in their importance in a powerful economy and China is proof of this. Any of these emotional “boo-hoo they aren’t like us” arguments are garbage that needs to be burned and should be ignored.
- There is nothing besides the United States stopping China from using mafia tactics to shut down competition. What are some manufacturing plants in Malaysia or South Korea going to do when the PLA threatens to break their legs? They will probably instantly back down and surrender. If Washington wants “controlled chaos” in the Middle-East – you’re done. If the Chinese want you to work less in a post American world then enjoy your permanent vacation time, or else.
As mentioned above people who write analysis pieces are very often blinded by their ideology, and when one is an advocate for a Multipolar World it is possible to see “Multipolarity” in everything, but it seems unlikely that our era will truly become “China’s Century”. Just because the world’s only Hyperpower is on the decline does not mean that a new one has to take its place. When Rome fell no other Mediterranean city automatically took its place as the lord of the West. China as nation will remain strong, it will not collapse, but it will not become a post-WWII United States. This simply does not seem to be in the cards.
By Tim Kirby
Source: Strategic Culture