With bemused weariness I look on.

After General Ulysses Grant ended his American Presidency in 1876, he toured the world.  It was at this time that he met perhaps Germany’s “greatest German”, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. 

They had a brief conversation, excerpts of which went like this:

Bismarck: What always seemed so sad to me about your last great war was that you were fighting your own people. That is always so terrible in wars so very hard."  

Grant:  "But it had to be done,

Then we were fighting an enemy with whom we could not make peace. We had to destroy him. No convention, no treaty was possible only destruction."

Bismarck: "It was a long war, and a great work well done and I suppose it means a long peace."

Grant: "I believe so.”

This week I’ve been reading through various social media, and China Nut I am, it goes without saying that the South China Sea Question is a hot topic.  

Many questions on this topic are written by Chinese of course, and perhaps many by students needing to write a paper, and soliciting for material.

But this one strain of thought is so very clear to me:  Many, many Chinese fully support their country’s claims to the South China Sea.  The strain of Nationalism run amuck is a sight to behold.    

The fact that some of these islands are so much nearer the Philippines than they are to China means nothing.  

What does mean something is you probably have 400 million frenzy eyed fanatics in China ready to jump in the water and swim to the islands if that is what it takes. 

When it comes to reclaiming China’s Destiny, and Honor and Prestige, no matter at whose expense, logic and reasoning go out the window.   So drowned in victimhood, so manipulated by foreign conspiracy are the people of China.  Whipped into crazed emotion from birth, such is the narrative of dishonor and shame as written by China’s leaders.

Today in China it is the Global Times, an uber nationalistic publication with no journalistic accountability for the consequences of what it writes.  A newspaper that specializes in whipping up the masses with the opium of nationalism.    A mouthpiece unburdened with the role of civic obligation.

But doesn’t it sound a lot like Pulitzer and Hearst in 1898?  Two American publication magnates clamoring for War, blood and American Honor? 

“You provide the pictures and I’ll provide the war”!

Sensationalism has many a watchdog…in the West.

Doesn’t China today sound one hell of a lot like Japan in 1931 and Nazi Germany in 1938?

We all wait for China to take a step back.  But alas, I fear it is too late for that.  So how does one turn off the nationalistic gene without repercussion? 

Alas, it is a bridge long since crossed.  To return to that spot, to turn its back on its pledge to the people to reclaim whatever on earth China thinks belongs to it would be a great loss of Face to the Chinese government.  It would seem to many like a lackey yet again to the Western Devil. 

As the Old Man in the crowd would say to the upcoming dictator, “we know how this will end, and you are no better than those who have come before you”,  we all know only too well, as Grant said to Bismarck, the only way to stop such a nationalistic and hot blooded population, whipped into a frenzy by their own version of Pulitzer and Hearst is to simply do to them, what the West did to Japan and Germany, ie kick the shit out of the Chinese so bad, they will never want to raise a violent finger again. 

Alas, this formula for solving the “China Problem” cannot work with a nation of 1.5 billion people.   Unlike with Grant and his vaunted Union Armies, there can be no total destruction, no total victory.   

 “China” and “unconditional” cannot belong in the same sentence.   A nation of this size can quite frankly say what it wishes to say, and get away with it.  That is, because of its size, it can sustain itself indefinitely as the local bully, with neither repercussion nor penance.

It would seem that Western belief of making China more “like us” with just a tad more patience….well folks, that was bullshit.  I believe everyone has woken from that dream now.

What strikes me with China that is different from the rest though is simple:  there is no “silent majority” within China that clamors for reason and common sense.   You see, silent majorities are not allowed to exist within authoritarian societies.   Did they exist in North Vietnam when B-52s carpet bombed the place?  You don’t think if an honest referendum was taken in 1968 the North Vietnamese People wouldn’t have willingly voted for an end to the madness?

The problem is China could have a public referendum, and it would easily vote approval of China’s current policy in the South China Sea.  That’s because unlike in most societies that all have their own crazy youth, in my view there is a sizable number of the middle aged that believe in “China’s Mission” as well.

There are only a few ways out of this looming mess.  

China comes to its senses….not likely (see above)

The West backs down and looks the other way.   Unlikely if Hillary becomes President.  She knows the China players and won’t be backing down to China’s leadership anytime soon. 

So that leaves us with….what?   

I read with bemusement the goal of China to intimidate the USN.  Does it really think the USN will just sail away?   It sinks a battle group and there are…..only ten more?

Soon my look of bemusement, from afar, grows a bit wearier, as should yours.    This isn’t an “only the crazies are on social media” issue.   This goes way back my friend.   I remember on a whim in 1991 in Hangzhou a classmate and I took a video camera and simply went around asking silly questions.  In no time our little video excursion took on a life of its own.   A crowd gathered.  Older ladies ranted about how “the West bullied us”.

The Chinese have felt this way long before there was a Facebook, or a Quora.   But China was poor.  And weak, and knew it.   Except now the Chinese perceive themselves to not be.    It is only now with these newfound channels of expression we can see here in the West just how many Chinese think about what is going on.   China needs to see how big and powerful it can become, and what it can get away with.     That day is not far off.


  1. Another good article from you. I disagree though that a nation as big as China cannot be stopped in its belligerence. Looking at Chinese history, there is a distinct trend of them either backing down or turning upon each other once the heat is turned up. Ralph Townsend's "Ways That Are Dark" went into this in some detail when describing how a small number of Japanese were able to conquer a large swath of China. When one's own livelihood is threatened, a large number of Chinese would be happy to shift allegiances if it meant not losing their hard-earned wealth. You can see this mentality in small ways just living in China. In a violent situation Chinese only fight when in groups and the fighting style tends to be of rushing in, throwing a kick or punch, then backing away. One to one fights just don't happen. Same happens in business. If you have troublesome staff, it is better to separate them and discipline them individually. Alone, within their laowai manager's office, they soon turn upon their colleagues if their own ricebowl is at stake.

  2. First of Meursault thx for the kudos. I have indeed heard of this book, but not yet read it. Maybe I should, eh? People tend to think that China will someday implode. I don't believe this will happen unless China does something as try and revert to Democracy. Wishful thinking thought it may be, this is a pipedream that my grandkids will most likely never see.

    Your point though is that the Chinese will listen to their pocketbook, right? Well of course you are right. However, methinks the noisy gongs and clangs of nationalism in China will overly excite all those with nothing to lose. Those too poor to give a damn perhaps. The Youth and the middle aged stuck with neither house nor car nor girlfriend. Those with a firm belief that life will simply not improve. That's a lot of people.......alot.

    I tend to think those with anything to lose have long since put their money overseas.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

KTV in China

The worst sex I've ever had with China Girl is with China Wife

Pros and Cons of a Chinese Wife