Friday, December 18, 2020

Combating the woke poison

"The Zürich Interviews - Darren J. Beattie: If Only You Knew How Bad Things Really Are":

"If we don't confront China immediately they're going to attack Pearl Harbour, invade the West Coast, and stop us from importing 9 million Indian coders who depress salaries for American programmers. Why do you hate America?

We seem to share some concerns with the way the American right has come to frame the China problem. It used to be that emphasizing the threat of China was a great way to deflect from the Russia hysteria and, to a certain extent, the obsession with Iran and the Middle East. In that sense the China issue had a sort of second-order, proxy value. Now that just about everyone including the most die-hard neocons like Nikki Haley have jumped onto the China Hawk bandwagon, the position has lost much if not all of its second-order signalling power.

I fear that now much of the Cold War style China Hawk rhetoric actually detracts from the much more pressing threat to the American people which is the incompetent, corrupt, dysfunctional and perhaps even illegitimate ruling class.

Of course, one can combine China-hawkishness with a critique of the American ruling class by saying that the American ruling class cooperates with the CCP. But even here the emphasis must be squarely on the American ruling class and in practice this often gets drowned out in the performative saber-rattling you hear from a lot of conservative China Hawks.

I'll put it this way: It is not as though the American ruling class is intelligent, competent, and patriotic on most important matters and happens to have a glaring blind spot when it comes to appreciating the threat of China. If this were the case, it would make sense to emphasize the threat of China above all else.

But this is not the case. The American ruling class has failed on pretty much every issue of significance for the past several decades. If China were to disappear, they would simply be selling out the country to India, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, or some other country (in fact they are doing this just to a lesser extent). Our ruling class has failed us on China because they have failed us on everything. For this reason I believe that there will be no serious, sound policy on China that benefits Americans until there is a legitimate ruling class in the United States. For this reason pointing fingers at the wickedness and danger of China is less useful than emphasizing the failure of the American ruling class. The bottom line is the true enemies of the American people are no foreign nation or adversary---the true enemy of the American people are the people who control America.

This way of thinking points to a dilemma for the American ruling class. Contrary to a lot of the rhetoric you hear, much of the American ruling class, including the "deep state" is actually quite anti-China. To fully account for this would take longer than I have here. But the nutshell intuitive explanation is that the ruling class, particularly Wall Street, was happy for the past several decades to enrich both themselves and China by destroying the American working class with policies such as "free-trade" and outsourcing. But in many ways the milk from that teat is no more, and now you have an American ruling class much more concerned about protecting their loot from a serious geopolitical competitor (China) than squeezing out the last few drops of milk from the "free trade."

Of course, different factions of the American elite still have different attitudes toward China---with Wall Street still being the most favourable and the military industrial complex being the most hostile. The point though is that the American power structure gets that conflict with China over resources, 5G, AI, etc. is baked into the cake. The problem is that America has become such a dysfunctional joke in so many ways that it is hard to imagine it competing with an ascendant and serious China. And this brings us to the dilemma I alluded to earlier: the American ruling class wants to confront China to preserve its loot, but the ability to confront China in a serious way would itself require such dramatic domestic reform within America that this would threaten the very power structure whose loot is supposed to be preserved!

This bizarre dilemma I think is at the heart of our ambiguous and half-assed approach to China---we'd rather whine about Uighurs and call the Chinese racists, which simply reinforces the fundamental unseriousness that makes the prospect of beating out China in the long term seem rather bleak."
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