China? Have Grandmaster, will travel

Off the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

THE ROVING EYE

chinese chess

 

Originally published in Asia Times on June 12, 2015

Visit the New Diner News Page for Daily Updates from around the Collapse Blogosphere


As intellectual acumen and cross-cultural expertise go, it would be hopeless to expect self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration foreign policy advisers — as well as Pentagon functionaries/hacks — to understand the complexities of China.

For instance, they would be incapable of evaluating all the myriad ramifications included in Professor Alfred McCoy’s masterful deconstruction of US-China geopolitics.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha is currently visiting Singapore, where he is discussing with his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong the intricacies of ASEAN-China concerning the formidably complex South China Sea disputes.

Thailand fully supports Singapore — ASEAN’s number one investor — to succeed Bangkok in the rotating role of ASEAN-China coordinator. Contrary to alarmist/paranoid scenarios paraded in the Beltway, the South China Sea disputes will be resolved diplomatically, within the ASEAN-China framework.

Lee Hsien Loong happens to be the elder son of late Singapore founding father, Prime Minister and Minister Mentor, the larger-than-life Lee Kuan Yew. He learned everything there is to know about Asia — and China — from Dad, first-hand.

When I moved to live in Asia in 1994, out of Paris, my first port of call was Singapore. That was at the height of the Asian miracle. Full immersion meant learning everything that revolved around Lee — and from Lee himself. Ideology, and political gaps aside — for instance, he was not exactly his usual razor-sharp about Iran or Russia or Latin America – Lee arguably knew more about China than any outside observer/analyst.

After all, it was Lee who dazzled the Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping in person, in the late 1970s, prompting Deng to launch a modern China conceived as a sort of “a thousand Singapores”; sterling economic success under tight political control. President Xi Jinping, crucially, admires Lee as “our senior who has our respect.”

As Lee tells it, when he was asked by Chinese think tanks about “peaceful rise” as the new Chinese mantra, he responded with “peaceful renaissance, or evolution, or development. A recovery of ancient glory, an updating of a once great civilization.” Not accidentally, “peaceful development” was adopted by the previous Beijing leadership.

Now that the non-stop hysterical meme across the West is the “China threat,” or, extrapolating from the South China Sea disputes, “China aggression,” it’s quite enlightening to come back to the Grandmaster for some sobering China-related hard facts. Call it the Grandmaster’s concise China, and concise China-US, most of it compiled at Lee Kuan Yew (MIT Press, 2013). No meaningful analysis of China is possible without it.

Make no mistake; in geopolitics, Lee was pure status quo. He believed “no alternative balance can be as comfortable as the present one, with the US as a major player …The geopolitical balance without the U.S. as a principal force will be very different from that which it now is or can be if the U.S. remains a central player.”

Well, things are not so “comfortable” anymore.

The Grandmaster speaks

On China as number 1: “Theirs is a culture 4,000 years old with 1.3 billion people, many of great talent — a huge and very talented pool to draw from. How could they not aspire to be number 1 in Asia, and in time the world?”

On what the Chinese people want: “Every Chinese wants a strong and rich China, a nation as prosperous, advanced, and technologically competent as America, Europe, and Japan. The reawakened sense of destiny is an overpowering force.”

On the master scenario: “The Chinese have calculated that they need 30 to 40, maybe 50, years of peace and quiet to catch up, build up their system, change it from the communist system to the market system. They must avoid the mistakes made by Germany and Japan … I believe the Chinese leadership has learnt that if you compete with America in armaments, you will lose. You will bankrupt yourself. So, avoid it, keep your head down, and smile, for 40 or 50 years.” (Not anymore; Xi is turning Deng’s “keep a low profile” upside down.)

On what China needs from the US: “China knows that it needs access to US markets, US technology, opportunities for Chinese students to study in the U.S. and bring back to China new ideas about new frontiers. It therefore sees no profit in confronting the U.S. in the next 20 to 30 years in a way that could jeopardize these benefits.” (And as Michael Hudson has noted, China’s new economic push is all about its thriving internal market; “China doesn’t need more dollars. Indeed, the more dollars it gets, the only thing it can safely do with them is lend them to the US Treasury, funding the military’s “Asia Pivot” to encircle China.”)

On Southeast Asia: “China’s strategy for Southeast Asia is fairly simple: China tells the region, ‘come grow with me.’ At the same time, China’s leaders want to convey the impression that China’s rise is inevitable and that countries will need to decide if they want to be China’s friend or foe when it ‘arrives.’ China is also willing to calibrate its engagement to get what it wants or express its displeasure.”

On why the U.S. “lost” Southeast Asia: “China is sucking the Southeast Asian countries into its economic system because of its vast market and growing purchasing power. Japan and South Korea will inevitably be sucked in as well. It just absorbs countries without having to use force. China’s neighbors want the U.S. to stay engaged in the Asia-Pacific so that they are not hostages to China. The US should have established a free-trade area with Southeast Asia 30 years ago, well before the Chinese magnet began to pull the region into its orbit. If it had done so, its purchasing power would now be so much greater than it is, and all of the Southeast Asian countries would have been linked to the U.S. economy rather than depending on China’s. Economics sets underlying trends.”

On Asian trade: “What are the Americans going to fight China over? Control over East Asia? The Chinese need not fight over East Asia. Slowly and gradually, they will expand their economic ties with East Asia and offer them their market of 1.3 billion consumers … Extrapolate that another 10, 20 years and they will be the top importer and exporter of all East Asian countries. How can the Americans compete in trade?” (that explains the Obama administration’s desperation to push for a China-excluding TPP.)

On China going asymmetrical: “Economically and militarily, they may not catch up for 100 years in technology, but asymmetrically, they can inflict enormous damage on the Americans.”

On the Party’s fear of chaos: “To achieve the modernization of China, her communist leaders are prepared to try all and every method, except for democracy with one person and one vote in a multi-party system. Their two main reasons are their belief that the Communist Party of China must have a monopoly on power to ensure stability; and their deep fear of instability in a multi-party free-for-all, which would lead to a loss of control by the center over the provinces, with horrendous consequences, like the warlord years of the 1920s and ‘30s.”

On why culture rules: “Can the Chinese break free from their own culture? It will require going against the grain of 5,000 years of Chinese history. When the center is strong, the country prospers. When the center is weak, the emperor is far away, the mountains are high, and there are many little emperors in the provinces and counties. This is their cultural heritage …Chinese traditions thus produce a more uniform mandarinate.”

On the inevitability of being back to number 1: “They operate on the basis of consensus and have a long view. While some may imagine that the 21st century will belong to China, others expect to share this century with the U.S. as they build up to China’s century to follow.”

On why it’s so hard for the US to accept it: “For America to be displaced, not in the world, but only in the Western Pacific, by an Asian people long despised and dismissed with contempt as decadent, feeble, corrupt, and inept is emotionally very difficult to accept. The sense of cultural supremacy of the Americans will make this adjustment most difficult. Americans believe their ideas are universal — the supremacy of the individual and free, unfettered expression. But they are not — never were. In fact, American society was so successful for so long not because of these ideas and principles, but because of a certain geopolitical good fortune, an abundance of resources and immigration energy, a generous flow of capital and technology from Europe, and two wide oceans that kept conflicts of the world away from American shores. Americans have to eventually share their preeminent position with China.”

Now live with it: “The US cannot stop China’s rise. It just has to live with a bigger China, which will be completely novel for the US, as no country has ever been big enough to challenge its position. China will be able to do so in 20 to 30 years.” (Lee said that at the FutureChina Global Forum in Singapore, in 2011. Under Xi, China is already challenging the U.S.’s position.)


Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

One Response to China? Have Grandmaster, will travel

  • daniel reich says:

    All this talk of growing markets. Tell me. Is China immune to resource depletion, catastrophic climate change and world wide economic collapse? What will all this matter in 20 years? Very little I think

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

I have an e-bike I built with a hub motor.  I was using lead acid and that was too heavy and it has been hanging in my garage waiting for batteries.  A few weeks ago I figured i’d get some li-on batts and mentioned it to a co-worker.He said that there...

Also, the revelations about Trump's apparent change in behavior from Omarosa's previous time of working with Trump and now lends credence the idea (which has been whispered about throughout the administration's tenure) that Trump has lost his previous ...

To Hell With US Jobs, Let's Get Iran!By Eric MargolisAugust 13, 2018 "Information Clearing House" -  President Trump keeps vowing to create m...

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

The Age of the ImbecileThe World is Turning Catast [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily August 14The Diner Daily is [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily August 13The Diner Daily is [...]

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

     FBI agent Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump [...]

Dear Readers, it is my current opinion that this c [...]

Quote from: Eddie on August 11, 2018, 10:10:24 AMA [...]

As Greg Hurwitz mentioned, the best lever for Demo [...]

 Have been doing a bit of soul searching about my [...]

The ten day forecast shows it letting up, but I [...]

More rain yesterday, more today  Since our one wee [...]

Quote from: RE on August 05, 2018, 06:11:44 AMSo I [...]

After over 20 years with ATT as my cell phone serv [...]

Whatever weather Mother Nature gives us, it'l [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Impotence and Denial: The Desperate Virtue Signaling Voices By Cognitive Dissonance     Regardless o [...]

A Near Death Experience: Back from the Brink By Cognitive Dissonance   In an odd sort of way I am fa [...]

Bob By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog has an ironclad rule honed and confirmed by decades of expe [...]

Some Thoughts from the Front Lines By Casey Stengel Editor - One of the ways we avoid catastrophe fa [...]

It Takes a Village… By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog and I live at the end of a dead end private [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-11http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-10http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-09http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-08http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-07http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

The blogging scene is admittedly atrocious. Is there really no option for a collapse blogger to turn [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

My Plastic Fantastic Love Affair"Composers and decomposers co-evolved in an endless dance."Her neon mouth with a bleeding [...]

Readying the mind"We are not going to reprogram a neocortex that took millions of years to program as if it were [...]

Addicts and Gangsters"The rial is now at an all-time low, with an inflation rate of 147 percent. Addicts are droppin [...]

You Can't Stop A Wave But You Can Surf-3"The struggle with any addict is to produce permanent change."Part ThreeJust when things s [...]

You Can't Stop A Wave But You Can Surf-2"A more prosperous way down would be to work at community scale"Part TwoAccording to both [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

I’m betting on 26%, which is effectively 0. [...]

Militarily, strategic interdiction of energy supplies is the key, especially in an era of declining [...]

I know we enjoy bashing old Musky Loins on OFW because he embodies the worst of our species' te [...]

Please get back to us when he dates Amber Rudd. [...]

Let's see what happens on 9 Sept. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_N9dPjMtiA [...]

Modern nation survive through debt. Credit issuers that issue credit backed by oil seem to do the be [...]

Why fetishize debt/GDP? Because it is a trend that never ends. It is chronic, not some temporary flu [...]

Charles Hugh Smith is saying that since 2008 the central banks of the world have been buying up zill [...]

Steve, have you read this author? http://michael-hudson.com/2007/08/why-the-miracle-of-compound-inte [...]

Absolutely true. I am waiting for someone to say that debt can increase faster than income forever. [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

International aid for climate change adaptation in West Africa is increasing exponentially, but our [...]

This study analyzes the temporal variation of different rainfall features in the central region of A [...]

Widespread poverty is the most serious threat and social problem that Bangladesh faces. Regional vul [...]

The main features of the instrumental global mean surface temperature (GMST) are reasonably well des [...]

It is still a challenge to provide spatially explicit predictions of climate parameters in African r [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/