During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and China were economic and military superpowers. That’s the power of propaganda. There’s never been a Second World dual superpower. China didn’t need either to command respect. When Mao said he was OK with half the world dying in a nuclear war to end First World imperialism and speed up global socialism, no one questioned if he was bluffing. Just like, no one questions Kim Jong Il. But China doesn’t share North Korea’s meagre aspirations.
China’s hell-bent on reoccupying the seat at the top. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with a laser focus on military and economic superpowerdom and controlling 18% of the world’s population creates a formidable competitor.
So many despise the American superpower and welcome a changing of the guard. They may regret what they wish for. How does a superpower driven by Socialism with Chinese Characteristics behave?
Control. The CCP thrives on control. In 1964, China’s first atomic bomb exploded, and Mao remarked, “atom bomb goes off when it is told.” Xi Jinping expects the military to “win when it is called on.” Shortly after a German scientist’s February research report concluded a 99.9% chance that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab, Xi ordered the military to “prepare to respond” because “the situation was unstable and uncertain.” Why would this inspire Xi to anticipate retaliation and threaten war to maintain control? China’s many mouthpieces have been lecturing the west on why they lost 4,636 lives and the Western First World 1.3 million. Undisciplined democracies are no match for Chinese Socialism. Still, that’s a superiority that is unbelievable without China having the ability to control the virus.
Disregard for Human rights. Millions of so-called political opponents were killed during Mao’s implementations of Marxism. The need for control canceled human rights. Today, Uighurs and Tibetans are casualties of human rights, but according to the CCP, there is nothing to see. “All [Chinese] ethnic groups live in harmony.” Chinese citizens are regularly imprisoned, disappear and die for anything construed as disagreeing with the CCP. Pity the family members that object or seek justice.
A disregard for human life makes a formidable enemy in war. In the Korean War, China lost 360,000 soldiers to Americas 37,000, but Mao’s objective was to show America that China was a force. Throughout history, China has demonstrated a very high casualty tolerance. Still, most Americans assume China shares American values, even Dr. Fauci. On June 3, he said it was far-fetched that China would create a virus that could kill Chinese. He’s right. Anyone experimenting with biological weapons isn’t looking to kill their own. And thus far Covid has killed 800 times more non-Chinese, than Chinese.
Censorship and surveillance. Communications are tightly controlled in China. China operates the world’s greatest firewall. The wall prevents communications within and outside of China, and global media reports on select topics. It also promotes CCP propaganda.
China boasts some of the largest social media networks in the world. Wechat has 1.2 billion users and Weibo 500 million. The government closely surveils communications. Chinese netizens have been picked up and arrested within hours for trivial offenses like chatting-up support for Hong Kong protesters. Even more imposing are cameras connected to the world’s largest facial recognition system. The plan in 2021 is to have 560 million cameras catching serious criminals, and also those engaging in crimes like jaywalking and not scooping poop. Trivial crimes result in demerits that can lead to a loss of privileges, like taking a trip by air or high-speed rail. The CCP sees this technology as useful for perfecting their rule.
Propaganda. China has half a dozen daily papers/ezines spewing propaganda for English-speaking audiences. Articles ensure readers that China is a benevolent power victimized by America. This is so, even when, for example, China broadcasted on May 27 that the world’s largest military force needs to prepare its nuclear arsenal for war due to unprovoked aggressions in the form of US sanctions, which they describe as mosquito bites.
Communalism, uniform thinking and cheating. The Chinese have a communal culture. Everyone knows their place — a cog in the community. Uniform thinking keeps cogs in place. Critical thinking is out, and rote learning is in. Cheating is in, honesty is out. Cheating is so widespread it supports a cheating-device industry that targets students and parents. A culture of cheating counters the limitations of uniform thinking by normalizing intellectual property theft. Is it any wonder that China has 5 Nobel prizes for physics, medicine, chemistry or economics and the United States has 376? Still, in China, it’s results that count — not means, and right now China is staking out leading positions in artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
Sinicization. In the 20th century China underwent a complete Sinicization program to unify culture, beliefs, and values, and it will stay unified. Immigration policies ensure racial/ethnic homogeneity. Internally, there are other vehicles. Sensing a loss of control after permitting “religious freedom,” Xi ordered them Sinicized to demonstrate loyalty to the CCP and Chinese socialism. One nation under Xi.
Repression. China has no protected freedoms. Every freedom is revocable. Ask the Hong Kongers or Jack Ma, the now former richest man in China. Freedom is anathema to control, which is why China ranks as the 9th least free nation in the world. It scores 9 freedom points on a scale of 100. China’s press freedom rankings are even worse.
Autocratic alliances. After the Cold War, First-World democracies made progress trading financial support for democratic reforms in autocratic countries. Then came newly rich China. To build a network of autocratic allies, it offers money with no strings attached. China, like its allies, care about control and naught about ending repression. China says they are respecting a sovereign’s right to do as it pleases, and it warns others that it expects the same — or else. Australia daring to question the origins of Covid knows firsthand what or else means.
Corruption. China ranks 78th out of 180 nations on the perceptions of corruption index. It’s score of 42/100, indicates it is seriously corrupt. It’s worse than this because the index relies on input from the CCP. China boasts that it vigorously stamps out corruption – or something. Legal experts see China locking away entrepreneurs and others perceived to have too much wealth outside the party. The CCP “is trying to root out the people who aren’t faithfully implementing the direction of the party.”
Long-term. China chuckles on the sidelines while Americans focus on quarterly earnings and the next election cycle, and China focuses on building giant companies and government institutions to dominate the world.
Total control, cheating, relentless obfuscation, long-term orientation, 1.4 billion people focused on CCP goals, militarization, and gaining economic power in a crippling pandemic has put China in the catbird seat. An American nation committed to bolstering the foundation that made it a superpower: democracy, capitalism, and the unifying American Creed; globally competitive students, and unparalleled military strength focused on protecting the nation and its vital interests, would create a stronger, durable foundation of power. But America is losing its way.
America’s new bottoms up democracy and top-down socialism — Socialism with American Characteristics — is a Frankenstein. It does not protect freedom of speech, press, and association. It devalues self-reliance and makes a mockery of rule of law. It facilitates unfair playing fields, bastardizes education, exacerbates crime, has military leaders focused on racial sensitivity, and stokes divisions by experimenting with gain-of-function wokism. These are the characteristics of a has-been global power that has lost its way. On Friday, Vladimir Putin said America is so full of itself, it is creating unnecessary problems that it’s political, economic and military can’t handle. What does a man know that watched the Soviet Union fall from its superpower perch? Well, he surely doesn’t know what American leaders know. There is nothing a Chinese superpower can do that will be worse than January 6.