China has declared its intention to battle the US for world hegemony. Will the US surrender without a fight?
As usual, our American media has missed the biggest news of the year, in both its simple and its underlying and much more important forms. Earlier this week, the Chinese Emperor Xi visited the place where his dynasty had been born, the starting point of the so-called Long March, Jiangxi province in Southeastern China. In his remarks at this historic place, Xi informed the Chinese people that it was now time for a new Long March and that China and its people had to “start from the beginning” and do it all over again.
To the clueless American media, obsessed as they are with spreading fake news and promoting fake scientific theories to please their corporate paymasters, this may not have meant much of anything. To the much better informed Chinese people, it meant everything. There are a few pertinent points that every American should know about the Long March. First, it was a retreat, in fact, it was a rout. In the mid 1930’s when this retreat took place, the victory of the nationalist forces under the leadership of General Chiang Kai-shek was not in doubt. Mao Zedong’s communists were on the run and on the verge of annihilation. They survived only by outlasting and, crucially, OUTSUFFERING the nationalist, or in their lingo capitalist enemy. By making enormous sacrifices in human lives, by accepting without complaint tremendous hardship, they managed to evade the nationalists and regroup in the far north of China where they were beyond the reach of their enemies. The soon to come Japanese occupation of Manchuria and the atrocities that it had brought with it destroyed Chiang Kai-shek’s aura of military prowess and stripped him of his nationalist crown, letting it fall into Mao’s eager hands.
The mythology of the current ruling Chinese dynasty is founded upon this victory against all odds, a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat by enormous sacrifice and dedication. Chinese post WWII independence from Japan, but also from the US and Russia was won during that bitterly cold winter of 1934-35. It was birthed by the frost bitten limbs of the communist soldiers and the iron will of their commanders. China would not be what it is today, a superpower quickly ascending to take on its rightful place as the first and most powerful nation in the world and the most powerful in human history, had it not been for that escape, against all odds 85 years ago.
Yet Xi’s message was not a celebratory one. He did not congratulate his people on a hard won victory. Quite on the contrary, he informed them that all this victory had bought them was only the admittance ticket to the main event, the great struggle for world supremacy against the current holder of the title, the United States of America. It is clear that in Xi’s mind the enormous sacrifices that the Chinese people had made to overcome the historic humiliation they had suffered at the hands of White Europeans, be they English, American, or French during the 19th and early 20th centuries are only worth it if China defeats the West and emerges as the unquestioned, unassailable winner of the new world order.
The wading pool depth analysis proferred by the American media on the subject of Xi’s remarks tied them to the ongoing tariff wars between China and the US. Nothing could be more wrong or more ludicrous. These tariffs, amounting as they do to about $50 billion annually on both sides, are barely scratching the 0.1% mark of the US or the Chinese annual GDP. When Xi talks about making sacrifices that are akin to the Long March, this is light years away from his true meaning. What is clear is that Xi has made the decision that it would fall upon his shoulders, that it would be his historic responsibility to unseat the US as the world hegemon and install China in its place.
His decision to blow up the trade talks is not tactical; it is the most strategic decision that a world leader has made since Churchill’s decision to defend Britain against Germany at all costs, or FDR’s decision to retaliate for Pear Harbor with an all out war against Japan, or Hitler’s decision to attack the USSR before consolidating his victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. Xi has considered, carefully, the benefits of bending the knee before Trump, swallowing his pride once again, in order to further consolidate China’s gains in crucial technologies and complete the build up of its naval and air forces to match those of the US. His comments in Jiangxi were a clear statement that he had decided against this tactic and had now officially kicked off the open preparations for a showdown with the US for global supremacy.
It is quite likely that Xi views the US, and quite rightly so, as nearly completely rotten from the inside and Trump’s presidency as an outlier, that last shiver, the last deep breath that a dying beast takes before its eyes glaze over one last time. For Xi, Obama with his stated goal of supervising America’s slide into obsolescence and oblivion, is much more inline with what America is about today than Trump’s throwback rhetoric of American greatness. Trump’s opponents in the 2020 election, who compete with each other on who will bring America to her knees more quickly and many of whom have long since been on Xi’s payroll, give him great hope, near certainty, in fact, that his battle has already been won and that the looting of the corpulent corpse will soon continue and even accelerate without as much as a shot fired.
The Chinese mandarins, all graduates of the best schools, many in America, have doubtlessly war-gamed every scenario. Every scenario that is, except the one that will actually take place. History rarely if ever unfolds as predicted and peaceful transfers of power on a global scale, especially when unprecedented riches are at stake as they are now have never taken place. There is simply too much at stake for it to be given up without a fight. To quote the famous Russian playwright Anton Chekhov: “a gun that makes an appearance in Act I, had better fire in Act II.” The warships, planes, and missiles that are so assiduously stockpiled by the US, China, and Russia will not end their days rusting peacefully in some desert compound. The mettle of these machines will be tested as will the mettle of the men and in some cases women who operate them and even more crucially, the mettle of those who stay behind on the home front. Xi may be wrong about many things, but he is right about this one: wars are not won on the front lines, they are won and lost at home, around the kitchen tables and in the factories, and in the places of worship.
Xi knows better than anyone how superior the American military is to his own, but he also knows how rotten America is back home. Unlike the fool sellouts in the mold of the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas that have been running America with the sole purpose of lining their own pockets, Xi is a true Chinese patriot and more than anything, a realist. He knows that there is nothing that can make a nation weaker more quickly than diversity. He knows that ethnic, national, and religious unity and even homogeneity is the only glue that holds when the chips are down and real pressure is brought to bear. FDR knew this too, which is why he, quite rightly, quarantined American citizens of Japanese descent during WWII.
Today, America is less united than it has ever been and it is not even close. Near majority if not majority of Americans harbor hatred in their hearts toward America’s founders and its founding documents and ideals. They yearn for a socialist dictatorship just like China and they have long since sold out their God-given rights for the siren song of “social safety nets” and government jobs. Is this generation of Americans ready to make the sacrifices necessary to win a world war? Xi has placed his chips squarely on the negative. Had he had the slightest doubt, he would have bent the knee to Trump, since he well knows that America’s military might coupled with a determined populace is unbeatable. His bet seems solid. Time will tell.
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