We will never be the same

Yet again I just feel the urge to sit down and remind everybody that China isn’t going away.   Sorry to be the bearer of ill tidings for some.   Others can care less.   The emergence of China is exciting.  It’s nothing we’ve never experienced before. Yet to some it’s a story as foreboding as that of the rise  of Germany and Japan in the 30’s.   The rise and dimmed hope of Russia in the 20’s.
Because of it’s size.  Size when dealing with countries changes everything.  It changes the dynamic of the relationship. 

My daughter asked me about Cuba the other day. 

Having just returned from Florida, and Key West, she asked if we could go visit there.   I had to explain the silly situation that exists between both our countries.   How a minority in Florida holds our relationship with Cuba hostage.   Maybe if Cuba was off the coast of say….North Dakota, this would be a moot point.   

So what is the definition of Courage?  Someday maybe we’ll have a politician(such a dirty word.  If your daughter grows up one day and asks you if it’s best she be a pole dancer or run for office, suggest the former, it’s a cleaner business), go to South Florida and advocate the renewal of relations between our two countries. 

Alas, I’m having to explain to my daughter why we give the finger to Castro and look the other way with Chna.  ( I’m waiting for the inevitable look of surprise on my daughters face when she goes back to China next summer and realizes she can’t get on Facebook.   Think Instagram will be banned by than, too? )

 My point is the people of Cuba deserve better, and so do the people of China.   The West benefits as well.   You’ve heard the cliché “one of us has to be the grown up”…..that applies with us and China.
The lust for money drives everything.  It drives why we tolerate China.  Why we look the other way.   But we’ve gained a thing or two as well, haven’t we?   

You haven’t seen the Great Wall?  You haven’t lived.   You haven’t walked the Bund?  (oh my!)

So we need to keep interacting with China.   Never mind talking, we need to hang out together more.  We need to invite them to our parties more often, so to speak. Yes,  I could argue with a straight face that China isn’t better off than it was 20 years ago.

But we all know a country with opportunity, more so than a country so afraid of any one getting rich that it stands still,  is a country on the make.  A country on the move.  Prosperity breeds confidence.   Right now I have a neighbor that owes me $100 over a landscaping bill.  I could go to his doorstep and be a pain.  But I tend to forget about him when I’m doing well. 

The challenge is like my neighbor(a foreigner, though not Chinese), the Chinese have their own value system.   As we have Rousseau and Locke, they have Confucious.   My generation didn’t grow up reading abt Confucious in Philosophy class, and I really doubt the Chinese read about “our guys” either.   So from an early age we learn about things from different viewpoints.   Thus we develop different value systems.   Does that justify China banning Twitter?  Of course not, but if you look a bit closely, you’ll realize China has never truly had a single democratic day in it’s life.   So banning a habit that infringes upon how the leadership views things really isn’t all that strange. 

Cixi would’ve banned Twitter, too.

Chiang Kai Shek, for all the charm his American bred wife brought to the table, was just as authoritarian as the CCP.   He had a secret police, too.  He executed people.   He tortured them.    He would’ve banned Youtube in an instant if it was available than.  (for all the sites I can’t easily access in China, I’m still amazed I’m able to access Wikipedia)

We should keep talking to China not because we save a quarter on a pair of socks at Wal-Mart.  We should keep talking to them because their decisions on how to live their life affect our own.   We need to do more than just glance at each other when we pass each other in the hallway.    

A major problem is China doesn’t feel either rushed or hurried to see things on our terms(see N Korea).   And to do so may actually open it to criticism from within.  This is because China’s media has done such a thorough job demonizing America(criticism of Apple, articles on ugly Americans, you owe us money), that the Chinese govt is now in effect hands tied.   Why is the media in China so hardcore?   The Chinese Media is more direct, more nationalistic, and just doesn’t give a damn.  That tells me we are not really dealing with a confident China right now.   A country on the rise doesn’t spend much time on giving foreign companies, let along countries, very negative press.   It would rather boast abt it’s own accomplishments. 

(That in itself shows a difference in thinking.  Esp Apple.   When a US company gets too big, the Justice Dept figures out a way to knock it down in size and sue it.  In China, they just demonize it in the papers. )

And that is all the more reason we need to pay attention to what China does, what is stands for, and figure out where it’s headed. Because we will never be the same, and they will never "be like us". 


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