Today China released its much vaunted plan for peace in Ukraine. You can read it here.
The extraordinary impotence of the text is striking. It’s a well-intentioned, bland word soup that could have been produced by ChatBot GPT. There’s nothing bad in it other than it should be shameful for anybody over the age of 14 publicly to release such a string of banalities. “War is bad. Peace is good. Sovereignty is important. Respect human rights!”
The plan is said to be based on the doctrine of “4 necessities, 4 commonalities and 3 observations.” Anybody who has had to sit through an administrative meeting knows that this is the language of Western bureaucrats. There’s a lady in our Office of Instructional Innovation and Design who speaks like this because there’s nothing else she knows how to do.
The most striking thing, though, is that the 14-year-old who wrote the text is clearly Western. This is Western mentality, the Western conceptual apparatus, carefully and eagerly regurgitated in a manner of a conscientious but dull student. Over a billion people, one of the highest-IQ group of the planet, and all they can produce is this major snooze.
People keep saying that China is the next global hegemon. But they confuse size with the capacity to lead. Look at Great Britain or Spain. They are tiny. Yet they created enormous empires and made their languages and cultures globally crucial.
When a small handful of Spaniards defeated the Aztec Empire, that happened because the Aztecs were in a civilizational dead-end of which they themselves were quite aware. Spaniards made themselves more attractive to the multitudinous tribes that went to fight the Aztecs on their side and guaranteed their win because they were a civilization on the rise. Aztecs were on the decline. They had no new ideas, no mental agility. Not on the individual level, of course, but as a group. They tried to inscribe the arrival of the Spaniards into an outdated system of old myths. That wasn’t working, so they got stuck pondering this tedious conundrum and lost valuable time. When you contrast the absolute certainty of Hernán Cortés and the impotent wavering of Moctezuma, it becomes clear who was bound to win the contest.
The same but even more egregious process took place when Pizarro conquered the Incas. And now Mexico and Peru speak Spanish and struggle with very Hispanic problems in a very Hispanic way. (OT: is anybody following what’s happening in Mexico? It’s major and really bad. I can post about it if people are interested).
Leadership comes from a complete certainty that you have something really cool going on and you need to share it with the world. It works this way both in our individual lives and small groups or globally. “I’m big so follow me” makes no sense. “Follow me because I know a wonderful place you’ll love” does. Today China made it abundantly clear that it has no map that could take us to a great place and, moreover, doesn’t even suspect that maps can be drawn and new places can be explored.
As a famous Soviet writer said, “the scariest enemy is the one you invented yourself.” Let’s stop fearing imaginary foes and concentrate on our own leadership.
14 thoughts on “Why China Doesn’t Lead”
You screwed up. This is so meaningless because it was I vented and designed for the west.
The Chinese media in Chinese, and Chinese discourse will kot be saying anything like this.
It’s propaganda to trick the gullible west I to believing “China thinks like us”. Same as their global warming garbage they say publicly to be eagerly swallowed by western commentators and press while back home and in Chinese they are building coal fired power plants everywhere.
Appologies for typos everywhere there…
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Typos are unimportant. Leaders don’t expend energy on fretting about how their discourse will be received. That’s what matters. Once you started to worry what people will think of you, you have put yourself in a servile position to them.
Once you start speaking the language of your opponent, your opponent has already won. Leaders don’t care what anybody thinks about them. They simply lead. Having to say one thing publicly and another at home is a sign of great weakness.
“the scariest enemy is the one you invented yourself.”
Also the most dsngerous adversary is the one you believed at face value and underestimated.
“keep saying that China is the next global hegemon”
I don’t think that’s what China wants….. to be clear, I’m not sure what China wants but I’m pretty sure it’s not about being openly regarded as a leader.
I’m sure that Xi wants/intends to be Emperor for life and that takes up all his efforts.
In China, maybe more even than rusia the Guy at the Top really determines a lot of how the country functions. I remember an American youtuber who’d lived there for years and knew Chinese talking about how within a few years of Xi taking power the country went from feeling like the cutting edge of modern life to a dystopia he had to escape from.
“Leadership comes from a complete certainty that you have something really cool going on and you need to share it with the world”
sounds like putain tbh (is that why he managed to intellectually capture so much of the American right?)
That’s exactly it. China is mired in its own dysfunction and has nothing to offer to the world.
Russia hasn’t offered anything either. It’s whole narrative is about being anti-West. Which means that the West is their entire frame of reference. They’ve been at it since Peter “the Great” and still haven’t gotten anywhere. Useless buggers.
“”ussia hasn’t offered anything either…. ”
You and I know that but US conservatives tend to pay a lot of attention to appearances… putain talking about how bad wokism is resonates with them and they project a whole bunch of stuff onto that and him and are ready to not be bothered by the deaths of Ukrainian civilians in order to vanquish woke (which they don’t understand and have no better alteranative for….).
Два стиха о войне –
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Please comment on Mexico.
A major reason China is popular around here is because people don’t want a hegemon.
When leadership is a trap, why not rule via a list of rules from the safety of a New Rules-Based Order?
cliff: “I remember an American youtuber who’d lived there for years and knew Chinese talking about how within a few years of Xi taking power the country went from feeling like the cutting edge of modern life to a dystopia he had to escape from.”
That would be “laowhy86” on YouTube.
Want to see how the PRC regime gangstalks Westerners?
Check that guy out, especially his story about how he slipped across the border while being hunted by government thugs.
But if it isn’t about leadership, what is it really about?
Watch what’s happening with sci-fi, which in the PRC languished for decades only to be “bear hugged” by the ruling powers who have naturally published yet another list of rules regarding sci-fi for their New Rules-Based Order.
They want to maintain power and to rule with the power of lists that people have to take seriously.
It’s a soft hegemony in which all of the lists sound reasonable … at first.
George Orwell’s 1946 essay titled “The Prevention of Literature” was not meant to be a DIY pamphlet for the West.
Dare to be non-controversial, dare to follow all of the guidelines in the list … dare to be nothing at all!
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I feel like this comment should have gone to the Bear Hug discussion.
… there are three rules:
1) don’t rustle the jimmies of the wumao hasbarartists
2) don’t make clever winnie the pooh jokes about youknowwho
3) don’t dare to cleverly invoke other bears as substitutes
“but all she wanted was a big bear hug”
there are now four rules