hindsight on china

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hindsight on china

Postby Okeefenokee » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:50 am

What are the odds that in a century people will say about china in 2011 what we now say about germany in the 1930s. Will it really come to pass that anxiety about their rise to power is misplaced or will we look back in hindsight and ask ourselves, "how did we not see their violent aggression coming and why didn't we take action to stop them like we should have taken action to stop hitler before it got too bad."

What are the odds that this gets added to the list of lessons that weren't learned from history? Or is it more likey that it will simply get added to the much more shameful list of xenophobic fear mongering to keep the masses clinging to their protectors' apron strings.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Fangz » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:29 am

If you want to throw around Nazi germany comparisons (which are seriously silly anyway), the closest comparison would be probably the US, actually.

1. Military tradition, disproportionate spending and political deference to military goals? Check

2. Unstable government with substantial xenophobic/racist wing? Check

3. Long term projected resource shortfall requiring acquisition from somewhere? Check

4. Interventionist foreign policy with battle experience from a contained Spanish civil war-style conflict under one's belt? Check

5. Strategic picture showing current advantages but risk of being eclipsed by other powers in the long term? Check

6. Vastly inflated sense of global importance? ...

Etc

Well if President Bachmann proposes an Anschluss with Canada, I'd be pretty concerned. In the historical picture pre-WWII, China would seem closest to the Soviet Union or the US.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby AgentX » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:25 pm

Fangz wrote:If you want to throw around Nazi germany comparisons (which are seriously silly anyway), the closest comparison would be probably the US, actually.

1. Military tradition, disproportionate spending and political deference to military goals? Check

2. Unstable government with substantial xenophobic/racist wing? Check

3. Long term projected resource shortfall requiring acquisition from somewhere? Check

4. Interventionist foreign policy with battle experience from a contained Spanish civil war-style conflict under one's belt? Check

5. Strategic picture showing current advantages but risk of being eclipsed by other powers in the long term? Check

6. Vastly inflated sense of global importance? ...

Etc

Well if President Bachmann proposes an Anschluss with Canada, I'd be pretty concerned. In the historical picture pre-WWII, China would seem closest to the Soviet Union or the US.


Sounds like Imperial Japan would be a better fit, how about President Bachmann proposes the Greater American Co-prosperity Sphere, North America for North Americans!!
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Gregg » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:42 pm

Okeefenokee wrote:What are the odds that in a century people will say about china in 2011 what we now say about germany in the 1930s. Will it really come to pass that anxiety about their rise to power is misplaced or will we look back in hindsight and ask ourselves, "how did we not see their violent aggression coming and why didn't we take action to stop them like we should have taken action to stop hitler before it got too bad."

What are the odds that this gets added to the list of lessons that weren't learned from history? Or is it more likey that it will simply get added to the much more shameful list of xenophobic fear mongering to keep the masses clinging to their protectors' apron strings.


I think that it is more likely that 10 years from now we will say about China what we currently say about Japan.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby skengman » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:06 am

unlikely. china will be an economic superpower; unlike the united states it doesnt really have any ideological dogmas to spread around the world, it doesnt insist on open markets or a government that pays lip service to any particular creed, it has engaged in very few offensive wars - it's only fought a couple of border skirmishes with russia, india and vietnam. china is not expansionist because it is enormous already and aside from emigrants there are few chinese living outside its borders. unlike nazi germany there is no chinese irredentism, except maybe with regard to taiwan. if anything, the future will remember the united states as the evil empire, not china
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby exposno1 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:21 am

Gregg wrote:I think that it is more likely that 10 years from now we will say about China what we currently say about Japan.

Who can know, but I expect that this will be the case.

Wealth and prosperity come from people finding new ways to get more done with less. Individuals alone or working in voluntary cooperation from the bottom-up make this happen, while top-down schemes rarely satisfy, waste more and create more problems than they solve--because they succumb to political one-size-fits-all thinking and ignore the supply-demand-price information. After 1979, China released market forces doing the former, while they've been going back to more of the latter of late.

If they continue to rely on the state to manage the problems they've created by the remaining top-down activities, they will indeed fall backwards. How hard and for how long depends on how much top-down they employ--just as in Japan's case.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Lie Seeking Missle » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:32 am

China is about the same size as US, but it has 4 times the US population.
It is importing most of its food - A LOT of it coming from US.
China is trying to grow the size of its livestock, but it is the grains and greens that it has a real problem with.

"The nation has one of the lowest ratios of arable land relative to population, and the situation has been exacerbated as industries consume scarce water resources necessary for farming.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-ministry-warns-of-decade-long-food-shorage-2010-8

China also faces a serious pollution problem:

http://www.chinahush.com/2009/10/21/amazing-pictures-pollution-in-china/

When your population is hungry and has problems breathing, things like world dominance are usually moved onto the back burner.

Throughout its history, China has rattled its sword rather infrequently for a nation of its size as if only not to seem completely docile to the outside world. They preferred to build a huge defensive wall rather than conquer the neighboring nations. I suspect, they might be still more peacefully-oriented than some would make us believe, but that is hard to prove.
That's not to say its oppressive techniques to deal with any opposition movements may be ignored, but as far as expansion outwards, in my view it will not happen until the issues above are solved or they get so bad that they have no choice but to acquire some resources or at least some arid land from neighboring nations. (btw, Japan may be reaching this point even sooner).

Knowing this, one can then understand why for example China will not let the arid Tibet out of its hand any time soon and would just love to reacquire the Taiwanese island with all its resources and wealth.

In meantime, the good fortunes of China and US are so intertwined, that it's maybe for the best that this status quo stays with us for a while longer.
Last edited by Lie Seeking Missle on Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Gregg » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:44 pm

China has many problems, and it will not become an economic or any other kind of superpower. China is one of the last remaining empires. And, it is repeating its history of liberalizing the economy, which leads to great wealth disparity between the coastal areas and the interior where 900 million very poor people live. The people on the coast will eventually want there freedom and, if it gets that far, will try to break away as separate states. But, it will never get that far because the Communist Party of China wants to stay in power and the revolution always comes from the largely poor interior population. So, as the export driven economy runs out of gas (just like Japan's did), the party will try to maintain social stability by making everyone equally poor, except for the privileged party officials.

The Japanese, South Koreans, Australians, Vietnamese, etc don't see the USA as an evil empire. Rather, they see both China and Russia as evil empires, which they, of course, are.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Witten » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:48 pm

china is not expansionist because it is enormous already


If China becomes a global superpower of US proportions it will be.

Eventually, China's existing resource problems will reach a point where desperate realpolitik kicks in. China is becoming hungrier, make no mistake. And there will be a time when it comes across a nation with a regime unwilling to give it the resources it needs. History will remember the US the same way it remembers any of the other empires of western civilization.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Fangz » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:54 am

I think we've grown out of the age of resource acquisition based expansion. It's generally not efficient, and frequently backfires.

What seems to work better is the construction of diplomatic and economic relationships, and China has done this very well. If there will be resources shortages in the future, China has positioned itself a lot better than say, India, and with its growing relationship with Europe, is well placed to survive the decline of the US. The difference with China and realpolitik is that China has embraced realpolitik from day one. That its foreign policy is so transparent and predictable, instead of the media/ideology driven strategy of the west, is refreshing to its partners.

China's real problems are internal, and I see little reason, or really little way they can solve them by invading countries XYZ.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Gregg » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:34 pm

Witten wrote:
china is not expansionist because it is enormous already


If China becomes a global superpower of US proportions it will be.

Eventually, China's existing resource problems will reach a point where desperate realpolitik kicks in. China is becoming hungrier, make no mistake. And there will be a time when it comes across a nation with a regime unwilling to give it the resources it needs. History will remember the US the same way it remembers any of the other empires of western civilization.


Actually, China's neighbors like Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines are already worried about a resource-hungry China with its expansion of its naval capabilities and its encroachment on their territories that are good oil and gas exploration areas.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Gregg » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:36 pm

Fangz wrote:I
China's real problems are internal . . ..


Yes, they are and, as the export-driven economy slows, the Communist Party of China worries about social unrest.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Witten » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:03 pm

I think we've grown out of the age of resource acquisition based expansion. It's generally not efficient, and frequently backfires.

What seems to work better is the construction of diplomatic and economic relationships, and China has done this very well. If there will be resources shortages in the future, China has positioned itself a lot better than say, India, and with its growing relationship with Europe, is well placed to survive the decline of the US. The difference with China and realpolitik is that China has embraced realpolitik from day one. That its foreign policy is so transparent and predictable, instead of the media/ideology driven strategy of the west, is refreshing to its partners.

China's real problems are internal, and I see little reason, or really little way they can solve them by invading countries XYZ.


Since when did expansion of power require a full on invasion? Chinese backed guerrillas toppling an anti-Chinese government to install a puppet regime ala Cold War is just as expansionist.

Predictable doesn't always translate to agreeable. for example, if the ASEAN countries don't want to bend over and hand over the rights to the resources in the south china sea, then no amount of smooth-talking or 'refreshing predictability' :puhleeze: is going to change their mind. especially not with American influence still existing in the region.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:05 pm

China will either collapse or attempt to do what Japan failed to do in the twentieth century. There really is no other outcome for them. Worse than the Empire of Japan, their greater threat is food, not oil and other resources. They face a starvation event that has no parallel in human history.

Their natural aversion to conquest may put them at a disadvantage. So too is the relative strength of Japan and South Korea. It may be the case that the future entails *us* trying to save as many people as possible. Or perhaps a combination of America and Russia, who together control most of the world's arable land. But if peak oil hits before then, or it is triggered by peak oil, I don't think we will be capable of doing much. We will face our own food shortages due to distribution costs and having to adapt to agriculture without fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides.
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Re: hindsight on china

Postby Gregg » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:26 pm

Dr. Strangelove wrote:China will either collapse or attempt to do what Japan failed to do in the twentieth century. There really is no other outcome for them. Worse than the Empire of Japan, their greater threat is food, not oil and other resources. They face a starvation event that has no parallel in human history.

Their natural aversion to conquest may put them at a disadvantage. So too is the relative strength of Japan and South Korea. It may be the case that the future entails *us* trying to save as many people as possible. Or perhaps a combination of America and Russia, who together control most of the world's arable land. But if peak oil hits before then, or it is triggered by peak oil, I don't think we will be capable of doing much. We will face our own food shortages due to distribution costs and having to adapt to agriculture without fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides.


Doc, I agree that China will collapse, but due to social unrest as opposed to starvation. I don't agree on your "peak oil" prediction either. As the price goes up, technological innovation will find more oil and other, less expensive, alternative energy sources.
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