The New Big Swinging Dick

So now I’m reading China has nearly $4 trillion in foreign reserves.  Not bad.  Does that makes China the futures next Big Swinging Dick (BSD)?   As I alluded to earlier that makes China scary.  There’s nothing scarier than coming across a person or entity that doesn’t want to be a “team player” and has the wherewithal to do things “his way”. 

Why is that?

The West is all about “The System”.  It’s The System that maintains peace.  Keeps order.  Allows harmonious relations between mature countries to continue.   Avoids bloodletting amongst major countries.

I’m not talking about the Middle East.  Has anyone noticed that there really hasn’t been “peace” in the ME since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire?   Time and again we smile at ourselves, as a Western Civilization, when we bring “Peace and Order”(also known as Democracy) to countries that are strangers to this concept.   Like a Missionary giving a bible to an illiterate peasant, we feel we’ve done a good days’ work.  Than we watch before our eyes as this newly “enlightened” country implodes and begins to turn on each other…..(Libya, Egypt, Iraq…..). 

(And the peasant uses the bible’s pages for toilet paper.)

No, we are talking about relations between nations that have tanks, and missiles and navies and lots and lots of money to throw around, to buy even faster missiles, and maybe even a carrier or two.(who would that be!?)

I guess that’s where the whole concept of “international policeman” comes from. 世界宪兵

Well, China is now looking to “challenge” that System.   And I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure I can blame China for that.

What does China want?

China twenty years from now

There is no question in my mind that China will be exponentially more powerful and influential twenty years from now.  (If it can stay together, and that’s another post for another day)  How can a country with that much money in the bank not see its power and influence increase?    I’m not asking how China will “effect” everyone.   What I am asking is how will China “Change” everyone?   

We are quickly leaving behind the phase of welcoming China to the rest of the planet.   Our Curiosity about the Mystic of China has long since left our consciousness.   Many of us now have China Fatigue.  This hangover a lot of us are now having with China coincides with the rise of the wealth of China.   China becoming wealthy and strong is a good thing.  (their still willing to make my socks).  
And a bad thing.   With wealth, breeds confidence, and with confidence the charade fades.  And modesty leaves the scene.    We are now beginning to see a China that doesn’t give a shit.   I think it’s the real China we are now seeing.  No more Pretend China.

When you got plenty of money in the bank, do you really give a fuck what people think of you?  


And the same goes for Nations, and the same goes for China.

Not that China ever went out of its way to “be liked”.

We are now about to enter Phase 2.  How will China “Change Us”?  And which methods will it use? 
Because countries are like People.   (or children?)   They are difficult to self regulate.   Insensitive to the footprint they leave on the planet.   Sometimes impervious to how their actions change others.
However, China is more like a spoiled athlete.   It has grown up hearing only about how great it is.  (Because it doesn’t allow dissent, or negativity to rise to the surface, it believes itself to be infallible)  

As such, it feels it can get away with more.   It’s hard, very hard, for the leadership of an Autocratic Country to have self awareness.   By default these places are “tone deaf”.   If it cannot be responsive to the needs of its own People, how will it be responsive to the needs of other countries? 

Is China still a poor country?

How can a country with $4 trillion in the bank be poor?

I wrote a few years ago(My China 1990 post), that I was shocked upon arrival to China to hear so many Chinese readily admit how poor their country was.    The word “backward” was quite prevalent.   China knew it was not even a 2nd rate power at the time.  There was never any posturing over a “piss ant rock” in the middle of nowhere with Japan.

I used to believe the above words.   As every “China Enthusiast” knows, China’s infrastructure, it’s standard of living, is still in the greater scheme of things still behind that of the West.   That’s after twenty years of Post Tiananmen miracle growth.  Yet, as I like to hear myself preach, can a country that does not even have drinkable tap water really be called “Rich”? 

My answer is unreservedly, YES, IT CAN.

It’s not that China cannot put into place such infrastructure, but rather that China does not see this as a priority.   How can the Chinese People place a health value on something they have never had before?  More disheartening, the Chinese do not have the POWER to ask for such a thing.  The Masses are left out of decision making in China.   An Elite of unaccountable officials make all the decisions about what is Necessary for the Chinese Condition to Thrive.   And sorry….but drinkable tap water is not one of them.  

As such, we will continue to buy bottled water, or just boil our own(thank you very much).

True, the notion of Chinese Wealth is a farce.  Much of its wealth is locked up in bonds, and forever beyond practical reach.   Crack the shiny crystal ball, and sewage will seep out.  I get it.
But China does not want to focus on the wealth of its own citizens.  It wants to focus on the wealth of China as a Nation.  

I’ve just written a post on Australia.  By chance I read an article regarding the new FTA with China.   It was a very good article, in an Aussie paper.   It was fair.  But it did not mention the one metric that I felt was most important, ie that Australian-Sino trade is a disproportional amount of Australia’s GDP.   (Over 10%)   It will probably be more than double that within a few decades.    And Australia will surely benefit.  A good example of how others can benefit as China becomes more prosperous.
Still….how much of a countries’ annual wealth can be tied to one country?  Before undue influence sets in?

What about the other nations in the Pacific region?  Thailand?  Malaysia? 

I think within the next few decades…within our lifetime, we will see China before our own eyes economically dominate every country in the Pacific region, except for a few.   Those it cannot economically dominate it will intimidate.    In short, we are on the edge of a still nuanced, but massive change in geopolitics.    And just like that it becomes likelier China will rule the South China Sea.  Without having fired a shot.    Every country within “shouting distance” of China will fall under it’s economic domination, or face ruin.   Those countries’ foreign policies will also change. 

It is no longer about the World getting China” involved”, but the opposite.  It is about how we can as individual nations survive within the web China’s growing economic clout is weaving.   Nations are now trying to figure out what “angle” they need to take to gain a bit of this wealth while still maintaining some semblance of “independence”.

Far cry from 1990, eh?

Because China has made the decision to use its growing wealth not so much to make it’s people healthier and more prosperous, but instead to raise it’s global profile and prestige.
If China simply shared the same values system as everyone else, we could all sit down and drink tea.  

This new Big Swinging Dick plays by its own rules, however.

Influence is a zero sum game.  You gain it at the expense of someone else.  Or lose it.  And as the PRC gains it, the WEST will lose it.

The only countries that may not come under the immediate Economic Sway of the Heavenly Kingdom are possibly Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.    By coincidence,  these all happen to be the most industrious, hard working, yet also most protective, insular countries in the World, never mind Asia. 

Speaking of both Japan and South Korea, these two countries  have both grown rich, almost entirely thanks to the largesse of the American government, ie open markets.   That is, allowing these two countries to sell their products to American consumers has made them the countries they are.   (They certainly didn’t become wealthy selling to, for example, the Philippines.)

(In a twist of irony, the Korean War actually kickstarted the Japanese economy.  The American 

Military’s buying of supplies during this conflict gave Japan a very much needed economic boost, and helped expedite the end of the American Occupation.) 

If the USA had been as pigheaded, immature, protectionist and obstinate as these two countries have been, and somewhat still continue to be, global prosperity would’ve taken a big hit.  These two economies built their prosperity on the willingness of the USA to “subsidize” their growth.    All while having American troops in their countries.  (what a great deal!....Does anyone think North Korea would not have again invaded South Korea if troops were not there?)

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s this “we sell to you, but won’t buy” attitude that may have saved these countries from Chinese economic dominance. 

I see an Asia being divided into two zones.  The China dominated “zone” and the USA dominated “zone”.    But I’ll be honest with you South Korea, due to it’s small size and proximity to China is probably inevitably also going to fall under China’s sway, albeit it may take 3 to 4 decades, rather than two.   Korea you see hasn’t just been bullied by Japan in the past, but by China as well.  Korea deep into the Qing was still paying tribute to China.

The Great Race

The next few generations of people on this Earth will have to bear the “burden” of how to deal with China on it’s terms, and not the other way around.    I’m not talking about the Chinese People.  I’m talking about the Chinese government.

And herein lies my biggest disappointment.

Until very recently I’d always believed that dealing with China was simple:  just wait out the current leadership.  Wait out those leaders that are the offspring of China’s Revolutionary Elite.  Uncle Xi is an example of this elite.    I do not think the 3rd generation of the CRE will rule China.   They are too busy with their vineyards in France, and their penthouses in NYC.  

I had thought it simple enough:  within 20 years, the older, crustier folks will have faded away, usurped naturally by Leaders who Speak English, or have lived abroad in a capitalistic society, having graduated from Harvard or somewhere else not located in Russia.  They would have expensive, modern tastes. 

Then I read excerpts of (still looking for a full translation) “9 Knockout Blows”, an Anti-American spiel written by a young 30 something blogger who has never before been to America, and to my knowledge doesn’t even speak English.    After having read the impact this fellow had on Uncle Xi, my heart sank a bit. 

Until than I had simply believed that it was only a matter of time before China’s leadership could “escape” the 60’s.   No one with a memory of having grown up in China from the 50’s through the 70’s could be counted on to behave or govern in sophisticated, modern terms.   What China needs is a leader with no memory of that time period, someone without the “crutch” of a time when China was weak, and isolated.   Surely a leader without this baggage would be more confident and willing to deal with the West.    (Right?)

And just in time, as well.   The quicker this sort of leader rose through the ranks, the less likely China would endure the crisis of any sort of conflict the current type of leader seems to inevitably relish.
Then I read more about this fellow:

Based off this one blogger, I’m now wondering if China’s future leaders will indeed be the modern thinkers one was hoping for?  Coming to the scene just in time to “Save China”, and become the toast of the town.   That was my hope.   Bringing China back from the brink,  pulling  China away from the perpetual conflict it seems to always find itself in nowadays.   (Feared but not Respected.)   Putting everyone at ease.  

Or will they be people like the above?  For if they are, the World will not be Better Off.  It will be Worse Off.   The cloud of perpetual intimidation, fear and conflict never going away.  If China, a country with too much money in its pockets is led in the future by such leaders , no good can come of it.


  1. No offense. Just a fair, personal opinion below.

    I wonder how this could be that people from the US always know what's best for others? Is it because of the we-are-the-best-in-the-world mentality? The US is an idea, the US is a way to make some money for the others(people, countries, commercial entities etc), the US is being used/manipulated by other counties/people/corporations. So it is not the US power, but rather other countries/entities wanting something like a US, thus entrusting it with power. Being deceived into conducting some specific actions (e.g. bomb somewhere, sanction someone, kill or put in jail) by such treatment, e.g. "you, the US, is so great", is a way to utter failure. The US will fall one day, when it is not "required" any more... Mind my word. The other countries are "scared" and they need "protection". Never mind the "scary" situations/conditions/circumstances are produced by the "protector" itself. Remove such fear and there is no need for a US, a protector. Scared by the commies, by a China, by a Japan, by some rogue state, by the AXIS of EVEL or what else. A laughing matter if you ask me, yet this is what influences the politicians, the likes of the banana man, the stupid and conceited, and the plebes. Yet, I believe there are some quite smart people in the US that make this game spin, and these are not the US politicians. Yet, the above scary situations might be beneficial for the global peace. For example, if you let the stupid europeans act as they please (let loose), then they will wage a war agains Russia, as they always do, have done so for the past 600 years or more? Wage war in one way or another, be it political, historical, cultural, economical or a hot war, they will wage it. Barbaric people. In this regards, I understand the efforts the US makes to check the EU and the likes in their place. Looking forwards for the Russians to beat the 3-rd EU again, as in the 3-rd Reich (not counting the Roman Empire as they are not strictly European). The first and second be Napoleon and Hitler. Not to mention the Norway, Poland and the others individually. The 3-rd EU does not stand a chance agains Russia in an all-out war. He-he. Japan on the other hand will start waging war agains China in the event of it being let loose. They have already doubled their defense spending. Then it be the problem for the US, when Japan decides they are strong enough to confront the master, pardon my French, the partner in a military way. They do remember the humiliating events. (to be continued)


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