Wednesday, January 09, 2019

China's weaknesses

J.R. Dunn writes in American Thinker,
Whatever strengths China may possess, it has three enormous weaknesses, all of them crippling, all self-inflicted to one degree or another, all apparent to anyone who cares to look. All have been misrepresented or go unmentioned in the current debate.

Blue China – That's the term China uses to describe the South China Sea, which, it claims, in defiance of international law, to be Chinese territory on the grounds that Chinese ships passed through centuries ago. (Using this logic, the Antarctic Ocean is part of Connecticut, since U.S. whalers scoured the region throughout the 19th century.)

...China could have approached neighboring nations as a friendly power interested in helping them exploit the region's resources, much the way the U.S. behaves in the Western Hemisphere. It could have set itself up as a second pole in competition with the U.S. in the Western Pacific, building up goodwill and establishing cooperative ventures. Instead, the countries of the region are outraged and frightened (Vietnam in particular – China murdered several hundred Vietnamese in seizing the area). It's a lost chance, one that will not return. China has unilaterally created one of the major flashpoints of the early 21st century. Its maritime "empire" is built on sand.

...Population imbalance – China's "single-child policy" is a world-class example of unintended consequences....The result was a wholesale massacre of females by both abortion and infanticide measuring in the millions. Today China has a surplus of males, officially acknowledged as being around 4% but probably much higher. This means that millions of Chinese men will never marry and, in many cases, will never have a girlfriend. This will inevitably lead to frustration, anger, and acting out. The Chinese version of Fight Club will be no joking matter.

...Another effect is legions of older people with not enough of a younger population to support them, a social security problem that dwarfs any such in the West.

The Chinese solution is likely to be simplicity itself: shoot the punks and let the geezers starve. Either way, it means social upheaval.

The most recent Chinese communist brainstorm involves the "Social Credit" (shehui xinyong) system, which has no connection whatsoever to the utopian early 20th-century economic proposal of that name. Under the Chinese system, citizens are issued 1,000 "credits" and then monitored cybernetically, electronically, and socially. Any "anti-social" or anti-party activity results in credits being taken away. It's impossible to add points. After points drop to a certain level (It's unclear exactly what this actually is. It's also unclear how many points each offense costs, along with other details.), penalties kick in. These range from being banned from airline travel and expelled from high-ranking schools to cutting down internet access and taking your dog away.

...Like it or not, progress of any sort – social, scientific, artistic – is propelled by the mavericks. Beethoven, Tesla, Einstein, Patton, Kubrick, Trump...all individualists – cantankerous, arrogant, belligerent – who pushed against social inertia, no matter what the consequences. Their story, from Socrates on, is the story of the West. With the "Social Credit" program, China is returning to its immemorial preference for stasis, which has led to disaster time and again. The end result will be a society that is stratified, ossified, and petrified. There is evidence that this is occurring right now.

To these failings we can add an entrenched system of intellectual theft on a worldwide scale that curtails any tradition of serious research and scholarship. Pollution on an order as yet unwitnessed elsewhere, ravaging public health to a degree unknown but doubtlessly horrendous. Central Asian provinces constantly on the verge of revolt. Open hostility from virtually all of China's neighbors, including such touch-me-not states as Japan, India, and Vietnam.

...Soviet weaknesses were obvious in retrospect, yet few saw them, and the consensus was fooled completely. Many are shared by China, along with novel failings we unimaginative Westerners would never have come up with. Whatever we do, we should not repeat the mistake of the Cold War.
Read more here.

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