Monday 7 September 2020

Yes, "Chairman Xi" Has Blown It

A month ago we mused on the idea of (as one BTL commenter put it) Peak China having come and gone.  Here's a good piece on the same theme by Simon Tisdall in the Graun.

‘Chairman Xi’ seeks only to purge and subjugate.  That is his weakness ... Chinese history is full of examples of omnipotent rulers whose unchecked behaviour led to disaster ... Xi seems to think he can do no wrong.  As a result, not much is going right.   Xi’s authoritarian, expansionist policies, pursued with increasing vehemence since he became communist party chief and president in 2012-13, have enveloped China in a ring of fire.  Its borderlands are ablaze with conflict and confrontation from Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet and the Himalayas in the north and west to Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Taiwan to the east.  More than at any time since Mao’s 1949 revolution, China is also at odds with the wider world ... perhaps Xi does what he does simply because he can – because he’s lost sight of the national interest and ideas of justice and equality, and covets a personal legacy as the great unifier of the new China.  There’s nobody to stop him, nobody to say “no”.  It’s the blindness and hubris that comes with absolute power.  It usually ends in tears.

Of course, as Tisdall says, there are many angry words from the rest of the world whenever Xi throws down the guantlet, but nobody ever picks it up.  Still, they may not be so quick pick up invitations to the Belt & Road party, either. 

So for now, maybe it'll just be words.  And mockery ...  he loves being mocked.



dearieme said...


Don Cox said...

The sure sign of trouble is a head of government extending his term of office beyond the term limit. Usually this requires a change to the constitution.

It is the key symptom of florid megalomania.

Don Cox

BlokeInBrum said...

Perhaps the sign of a mature and fair society is that many of the levers of power are pretty well distributed throughout that societies institutions and controlled by a substantial middle class with lots to lose by rocking the boat.
In such a case, the nominal head of the government, (prime minister / el presidente ) is nothing more than a bureaucrat with fairly insubstantial powers.
So they can't muck things up too much by their incompetence,stupidity and greed.

E-K said...

He's done a pretty darn good job of destroying the capitalist West while he's been 'blowing it'.

The conduct of the CCP throughout the CV19 crisis has been appalling.

Anonymous said...

Has he blown it?

Perhaps for being Chairman Xi, but from where I'm sat China is still a big, fat spider sat in the centre of the global economic web.

From a military point-of-view, there is no appetite in the West to challenge them as they play Risk in the Pacific region, and little local taste beyond pushing them back from own borders. Pot shots with India could eventually change that, but China has become adept at knowing what they can get away with - Russia has shown them how hollow threats from the West are.

There's no counter to their belt-and-road, of which whilst there are those in the West less inclined to join it, the third world has no end of suitors more interested in their bank balances than their nations.

Until enough nations band together, deny China access to their economies, buy out other nations debt to China to protect their assets and plants a substantial enough military force in China's backyard to make a point, we're still in the Chinese Century.

And I'm not seeing anyone do any of those, the West is exhausted from its various plays in the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. No one is going to be clamouring to spend money to bail out third world nations from being in China's hock, even though that simply means China gets ever more untouchable.

And all the nations most able to counter China as a group are too engaged in a bout of selfish, navel gazing, teenagery emo bullshit to get their collective shit together.

There's a bitter irony that only world "leader" battling them is Trump, who prefers division to unity.

Thud said...

Anon, getting Vietnam,Japan, India etc united against China doesn't seem much of a smart move by Xi.

Anonymous said...

"getting Vietnam, Japan, India etc united against China doesn't seem much of a smart move by Xi"

These three countries have been "against China" for a long time, it's not Xi's doing. But how concrete is that "against"? I presume Japan are still selling producer goods to China, what are Vietnam and India capable of, either ecomomically or militarily? Not a lot that I can see.

The WuFlu has decimated+ Western economies, and none of the lessons seem to have been learned - our masks still mostly Chinese, our pharma Indian from Chinese feedstock. The huge UK GDP dip showed just how much of our economic activity consisted of selling coffee and houses to each other.

Meanwhile the glories of diversity and multiculturalism mean that WuFlu is still very much with us, whether in Bradford/Manchester or in meat plants staffed by Eastern Europe, and as autumn approaches our doctors and dentists STILL aren't seeing patients. Perfect winter storm brewing.

I think I'd rather be in Xi's rope-soled footwear than Boris's Loakes.

PS - I was chatting to a doctor t'other day, admittedly a SJW anti-Brexit type, and he said he thought Boris was very below par since his WuFlu episode, and wondered about long term damage which can occur. Anyone else noticed or is it just the Guardian worldview talking? I gave up TV news a couple of years ago.

Thud said...

The Japanese Govt has for a year now been funding any company wishing to relocate out of China and a navy and military expanding rapidly in size and capability, as for Vietnam and India, not capable militarily? hmmm you have some strange views and buy into the chinese giant claptrap, feet of clay comes to mind. china can't even take Taiwan let alone fight a coalition backed by the west, Xi will be history soon enough.

Anonymous said...

@Thud - they're not united against China - they're against China, and generally have been for years as China has got pushy with borders, but they're not united. Which is the important bit.

As for feet of clay, don't confuse patience for weakness - China shares that with England, and is why both nations have persisted so long. Why go to war and all the risks associated with it, when you can slowly throttle something with a near certainty?

@anon 1:35 - Boris' encounter with covid has certainly changed him, I'm not sure it's the virus itself, more like a reevaluation that comes with a brush with death.

Few things skewer pomp like ones own mortality being made abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

Thud - are India doing any better in the border conflict than they did in 1962?

I do accept they have logistical problems not shared by the Chinese, who literally occupy the high ground in the Tibetan Plateau, whereas India have to get their people and hardware through the world's #1 mountain range.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Xi does seem very clumsy to me. Not good. He's like China's Trump or Johnson.

Nick Drew said...

yes, several big nations have had long-running issues with China, pre-dating Xi by decades

but a purposefully different demeanour on Xi's part (new broom can always do these things) could have led to a mutually beneficial all-round easing, at the very least - and without anyone imagining China was suddenly some sort of pussycat wimp (an equally easy thing to ensure)

look at Nixon / China; or - even more strikingly - USA / Vietnam!
or Israel / Egypt, etc etc etc

that's the thing about foreign policy: big changes can be wrought fairly quickly - the lines of logisitics are short

Xi is too personally ambitious for his place in history - before he departs - before he's "earned the right to go wide" as they say on the rugby field. Middle-aged man in a hurry. Maybe he's not expecting to be around as long as all that ...

Anonymous said...

"lost sight of the national interest and ideas of justice and equality"???

Does Tisdall really think he ever cared about "justice and equality"? Xi only cares about himself and his friends (the

Sebastian Weetabix said...

China’s last attempt to tame Vietnam back in 1979 didn’t end well for China.

Anonymous said...

Remember PLA Air Force general Qiao Liang, who I quoted before on manufacturing?

Outspending a rival power into economic exhaustion might have helped the U.S. win the Cold War, said Qiao Liang... But he said it won’t work against a wealthy manufacturing powerhouse like China.

“China is not the Soviet Union,” Qiao said in an interview with the South China Morning Post, a news partner of POLITICO. “If the United States thinks it can also drag China into an arms race and take down China as it did with the Soviets … in the end, probably it would not be China who is down on the ground.

Also it looks as if China may be about to become the feudal overlord/protector of Iran, if this link is kosher. That's what happens when the Tel Aviv tail is wagging the US Middle East policy dog.

Nick Drew said...

If that's gen, it's extraordinary. Subject of another post if so. Bit of collateral needed, I think.