The End of America: China Rising
What Joseph Nye of Harvard called “soft power” is just Street Cred writ large. As on the streets, when your credibility declines, you’re in trouble — which is clearly the case with the US of A. By contrast, China is rising.
If you are one of those people who reflexively read Google News, you may not get that impression: the Western Mainstream Media is Nero’s fiddle and while Rome burns, the music plays on.
Read carefully. You will see that Google preselects articles to give the impression of a consensus so close that everything seems to have been written by the same three people — at least everything pertaining to America’s issues and its “enemies” — Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and, of course, China.
It’s not just Google.
Turn on the TV. Same story. Even Wikipedia gets into the act! And all those “fact checkers”. Basic trope: China is Evil –them commies are jealous of “our freedoms”. Those sneaky, duplicitous Orientals are out to get “us”. Yes, it is the Yellow Peril Redux.
Simply put: Sinophobia is a new politically correct version of antisemitism, the stigmatization of the “other”.
COVID19 was the perfect vehicle for the American vehicle in developing and expanding this trope, with unforeseen consequences.
The Western Media operate on the assumption that for most Americans are in one way or another True Believers for whom reality is a nasty, unpleasant things that itches at the mind. They are right, of course.
The Chinese on the other hand are pragmatists — they face facts , In the case of COVID19 thy reacted fast and took control of the contagion in just two months and are back on line. Now, the rest of the world flounders with the inadequacy of the Western neoliberal model clear to everyone.
The Western Media, the mouthpiece for the tiny oligarchy that runs the neoliberal circus whose ringmasters include the Kochs, Bill Gates, Bezos, Zuckerbergs and others less well known, have done their best to downplay, if not actually dismiss Chinese success. Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Slate, the Guardian talk of China’s “failure” to contain the virus and suggest that the Chinese government is under attack by enraged local citizens for their “authoritarian” ways.
The Chinese are “covering up” we are told: they were, are and will continue to hide the real facts, which, if they were known, would prove that their efforts are no better than ours and carried out at the cost of human freedom. How do we know that? Why Falung Gong, a crazy Chinese religious cult that tells us meditating and giving all your money to them will cure all diseases, including coronavirus. Yet clearly the Chinese dealt with the contagion in just three months. And Hubei Province is back on line. China is in business. While the West sinks, Russia and China rise.
OK, the American media, including NYT, CNN, and WaPo have been caught in a lot of misinformation, disinformation, if not outright lies, ever since the Gulf of Tonkin debacle, if not before, and have proven themselves pretty much wrong about everything from Russiagate to previous viral epidemics and now the coronavirus.
They tell you you are free. That’s because the US of A has a constitution written to guarantee the freedom of Christian white males who owned property, slaves and other chattel such as wives and daughters and children. In our society, real freedom comes with a trust fund, say $100 million as a high school graduation present from Daddy.
I know that the American Q’ran….er…Constitution… has Amendments. We did rid of Slavery! Capital “S” slavery was replaced it with a nationwide system of indentured labor, which was a lot better for rich people since wage slaves were less trouble than the other kind. For one thing they could be any skin color and you didn’t have to look after them.
The Constitution now protects Christian and Jewish males who own property and their enslaved employees, exalting females who like Hillary and Nancy Pelosi who have the balls to prove themselves Honorary Males. Muslims are not covered — unless they are Saudi princes. Indians? A little biowarfare genocide goes a long way and the few that have survived are “free “to live in poverty so long as they don’t get in the way of mining interests and pipeline projects.
The Chinese are “different”. “Other”. Yellow Jews. Very convenient in an age when antisemitism is socially incorrect.
Thousands of Communist party people volunteered to help in Wuhan, the rapid and immediate response of the government to the crisis, doctors and local people innovated and responded creatively. A lot of mistakes were made but the government took immediate responsibility. The Chinese response was result-oriented. It’s the People’s Republic after all.
By contrast, the US is the One Percent’s Republic by an odd meme handled down from generation to generation from the Puritans, that only a Few are preselected by God to be “saved” and get to go to Heaven. We must save companies so their owners can vacation on their yachts while ordinary people –us sinners — die.
In the US and the UK, the slaves — the “public” — mostly accept their lot, convinced of their own powerlessness. They believe what the mainstream media say since it soothes their sense of vulnerability. They content themselves with bread and circuses or burgers and TV.
Chinese people, however, are not passive in this sense since they do not believe public pronouncements. And their TV programming is lousy.
The government in China cannot really control the flow of information. The country is too big, too diverse and the Party has too many people. As a result, the social media in China is vibrant. The government must accommodate public opinion to govern. That has always been China’s problem: the central government has never really had control, no matter how nominally “authoritarian”. The Red Guards and Cultural Revolution was not that long ago.
In the end, the Common Good wins out in China. Their goal is to eliminate all poverty in just a few years.
In the US, Greed is Good. The goal seems to be the creation of poverty.
Yes, China is a One Party State, but that is not necessarily a bad thing depending on how you do it.
In fact the US is also a one-party state — although it pretends otherwise on the basis of the highly nuanced difference between the Democrats and the Republicans and Trump. The “duopoly” genuflects before a single alter of wealth. There is one god — money. One Bible: in Excel. . After that a few different interpretations. And two sets of commandments. One for the Rich and one for the Poor (you!)
American plutocracy is a financial Vatican of about 500 people who inherited more money than brains.
The Chinese plutocracy is the hundred-million-member Communist Party, mostly technocrats and the educated. You get in on merit. It took Xi Jinping nine unsuccessful attempts after he had (rather amazingly) turned a shit farm into profit-making cooperative when banished to the country during the Cultural Revolution.
Most American politicians of course make money from shit, too. Bullshit.
The US has killed some 20 million people since 1945. It offers the world war — bombs and sanctions.
The Chinese and the Cubans by contrast offer the world free, no-strings attached help — medical personnel, medicines, equipment.
So, no matter how the Western Media contort and distort the truth, China increasingly has street cred outside of the US. As do the Russians. The Cubans. The Venezuelan. And other progressive nations.
The Pandemic makes people afraid. Some will double down and support the status quo. Others will look for real answers.
If they do look for these answers, they will realize that the US is sick — not just with COVID19, but morally and socially. The Chinese have demonstrated they have some workable solutions. Not necessarily the best, but pragmatic ones at best, with a higher ethical standard. The US has nothing to offer.the world. Just war. And then sitcoms. The biggest one being the White House and Congress.
As a result, China’s street cred goes up. America’s declines, along with the nation itself.
*If you like this article — or hate it — contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome disagreement. I can learn from that.