Nobody ever liked China. Even inside China. But why? They make our gadgets under conditions which would be criminal in the West. Thanks China. They make clothes that fall apart. They make toys with illegal, toxic chemicals. We buy the stuff faster than they can make it. We love China. Until we don’t.
I think the real reason we all hate China is that we just don’t understand it. The same reason we hate Russia. A complete inability to understand where they’re coming from. Russia thinks everyone is conspiring against them all the time, when we just want them to leave us alone. The notion that the West spends every second plotting the collapse of Russia is nonsense. But they won’t believe us. The same false narrative seems to have seeped deep into the Chinese state. Their essentially Communist world view is that non-Communists want to destroy them. Looking at history, that’s hard to deny. But it’s not true. We’re happy for there to be Communists in the world. But then, like organised religion, one of its tenets is that non-Communists have to be re-educated or wiped out. That’s the real issue, and it might be the only issue.
Is Capitalism the same? It’s hard to deny that it is. Capitalism requires year-on-year economic growth. When it runs unchecked, this thirst for growth knows no national boundaries. If we can’t make cheap, faulty shit here cheaply enough to sustain growth, we’ll find somewhere that can. This demand for progress is indeed zero sum. But Capitalists pretend it is not. We can only buy cheap Chinese shit if the local conditions are kept sub-human, which in turn means no Chinese will ever be able to buy an iPad. The second the Chinese can afford iPads is the day that production will move to the next rogue state, having been priced out of China.
China is big enough to have both worlds: cheap peasants who make iPads, and a middle class who can afford to buy them. America is big enough to contain the two groups too. But would the predominantly liberal media allow American farm kids from Idaho to make iPads 8 days a week with no sleep?
And so we have one of the Trump regimes only truths. China is, from our perspective, pure evil. The only reason they haven’t admitted creating the world’s best bio weapon is that they took out too many of their own. Blue on blue is what did for the USSR: think Chernobyl. You do not want dead Chinese in the news if you’re running China.
If COVID-19 is the new Chernobyl, then all of Trump’s predictions are about to come true. China will gradually see what it’s really like in its own eyes, and the wall will come down. One thing is for sure: the Cold War never left us, and Russia, though a shadow of its former self, sees itself with China and America at the front of the superpower queue. The funny thing is, and its only funny if you’re outside America, is that Trump is using their tactics in Portland. The funny thing is, that the only way America can maintain its position in the queue is to act like those it pretends to hate, but in fact just wilfully fails to understand. The only way a hollowed-out ghost can be a superpower is to stand on the necks of its people. Rule Britannia!