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article imageOp-Ed: 2049 — China rules the world and dominates the global stage

By Paul Wallis     Feb 27, 2021 in World
Sydney - A new study by the Australian National University has come up with a particularly bleak view of a world run by a dominant China. It’s worth a look, but there’s a lot more in this scenario.
The ANU study is understandably somewhat Australia-centric. Australia is depicted as alone and isolated, with the big Chinese dragon calling the shots globally. This rather limited perspective, however, does profile the nature of the emerging monstrosity of a cliché-addled China in a position of global power.
The setting is the centenary of Chinese communism in 2049. China’s economy is triple its current size. Its military is huge and modern. The politics-addled, presumably still mindlessly polarized United States has receded babbling into the sunset.
Trade is dictated by China in this scenario. The techno-tyranny of the Chinese surveillance state is enhanced. It’s a pretty ugly picture. “Xi thought”, like, “Mao thought” before it dominates.
The study mentions some of the current relentless browbeating by Chinese media of other nations as a basic non-diplomatic mechanism. The manipulation of organizations like the World Health Organization and other arrangements with various nations is also mentioned.
The ability of China to spin various situations is also indicative. The coup in Myanmar is being called a reshuffle, not a coup, in Beijing, for example. China’s longtime relationship with the Myanmar military isn’t mentioned, but it’s another working component in Chinese regional relationships and international issues.
The ANU mentions that this grandiose vision is a matter of survival for China’s communist party. That’s a somewhat simple explanation of the endless factionalism in all areas of Chinese trade, politics and business.
The current news involving China is a mishmash of local, international, and regional issues of varying levels of sanity and competence. Many issues are acrimonious and in some cases just plain stupid non-issues given an importance they don’t deserve.
Communist China, a mixed perspective or several
Communist China is much like Imperial China in many ways. From regional issues to national issues, there are usually many forces in play, regulated by the communist party. Xi himself is a virtuoso of the communist party system, rising through the ranks at incredible speed – And support. You need support to succeed in any hierarchy.
Xi knows better than anyone the nature of the horse he’s riding. If the horse is now well tamed and easy to ride, it’s still the same horse. It often has its own ideas about where it’s going, conscious or otherwise. To be strictly fair, previous Chinese leaders and government authorities were having no luck getting compliance with Beijing’s policies for regional issues and things like pollution, shadow banking, etc. The result was a true shambles. He’s apparently sending the message he’s fixed that.
…But has he? He’s a much better publicist than his predecessors. The “end of poverty” initiative was certainly no minor achievement. Unlike the past, just about every issue now has a Chinese angle attached. That’s just good “diplomacy by other means”, angled to positive news in many cases. Exactly how well this works in the long term is debatable.
China the invulnerable? Not really.
China, however, has many vulnerabilities and seems to be well aware of most of them, if not all. Trade is one. If global trade takes a hit, China takes a hit. The 5 year plan to build internal demand in China is one of the responses to that risk, but even China can’t support the vast levels of expenditure involved in China’s external initiatives all on its own.
Dissent isn’t necessarily a problem, although the heavy-handed regime tends to create problems for itself. The Chinese people don’t seem to mind being comparatively prosperous. After 4000 years of a truly murderous and incredibly complex history, it’s a nice change.
Nor is democracy a problem. China has never had an actual, functional democracy in the Western sense. Sun Yat Sen never got a chance to develop a Chinese democracy, and Chiang was a fascist. Mao put an end to both. Arguably, to work at all, any democracy has to evolve and take on the character of the nation it runs. A Chinese democracy would therefore have to be one that makes sense to the Chinese, not necessarily a clone of some other country’s version of democracy. So democracy isn’t necessarily even an issue in China.
The vulnerabilities of communist China are almost identical to the old imperial dynasties. The machine breaks itself on its own terms. Things don’t work, and/or become disproportionate and out of perspective with functional needs. The monolith can fall under its own weight and inertia. The more pressure from the top on the bottom, the more stress on the foundations.
The CCP is famous for “cadre think”. In a famous incident, Mao’s deputy Lin Biao rose after Mao made a speech and repeated every single point Mao made, saying it was right... and he spoke for about two hours. This is where China can lead itself into trouble. No other views is very like wearing a blindfold while riding a horse. It’s highly unlikely that any mistakes will be mentioned, let alone acted upon.
All great nations have a cycle. They rise, are prosperous and successful, and then proceed to dismantle the things that made them prosperous and successful in the name of ideology or some other vacuous thing. The US, UK, and other nations have followed that path. Look where it got them. 2049 isn’t far away, but like riding a horse, until you get there, you’re not there.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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