Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mark Steyn and China

Mark Steyn writes today that this century shall not be "The Chinese Century." I can only hope that he is correct.

Steyn cites numerous examples of backwardness and oppression in the Chinese government. He correctly points out that no people with such a government can enjoy true prosperity for long:
China is (to borrow the formulation they used when they swallowed Hong Kong) "One Country, Two Systems". On the one hand, there's the China the world gushes over - the economic powerhouse that makes just about everything in your house. On the other, there's the largely unreconstructed official China - a regime that, while no longer as zealously ideological as it once was, nevertheless clings to the old techniques beloved of paranoid totalitarianism: lie and bluster in public, arrest and torture in private. China is the Security Council member most actively promoting inaction on Darfur, where (in the most significant long-range military deployment in five centuries), it has 4,000 troops protecting its oil interests. Kim Jong-Il of North Korea is an international threat only because Beijing licenses him as a provocateur with which to torment Washington and Tokyo, in the way that a mob boss will send round a mentally unstable heavy. This is not the behaviour of a psychologically healthy state.

What scares me is the prospect that China's oppressiveness, instead of simply holding China back, will (combined with Western decay) lead to Chinese expansionism and war. We have already provided China with the means to initiate such war.

What also scares me is that China has 4,000 troops in Darfur. Combined with the Chinese military presence in Haiti and the Panama Canal, we see the beginnings of true imperialism, the likes of which the left routinely accuses President Bush.

Apparently, leftist affinity for U.S. enemies is not limited to terrorists:
I said a while back that China was a better bet for the future than Russia or the European Union. Which is damning with faint praise: trapped in a demographic death spiral, Russia and Europe have no future at all. But that doesn't mean China will bestride the scene as a geopolitical colossus. When European analysts coo about a "Chinese century", all they mean is "Oh, God, please, anything other than a second American century". But wishing won't make it so.

Leftists don't seem to realize (or care) that a "Chinese century" instead of a "second American century" would entail a series of disasters, upheaval and displacement on a scale that we have not yet imagined. Nations do not decline peacefully. Sould America suffer in the way that leftists hope, the consequences would be far reaching, permanent and would effect leftists also.

Steyn presents an alternative scenario:
China won't advance to the First World with its present borders intact. In a billion-strong state with an 80 per cent rural population cut off from the coastal boom and prevented from participating in it, "One country, two systems" will lead to two or three countries, three or four systems.

We may yet avoid disaster at the hands of the Chinese Communists, but it will take greater awareness and effort than we have shown so far. At the very least, we need to show the determination that we displayed (toward the Soviets) at the start of Ronald Reagan's first term.

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