China: The Elephant in that Room in Cornwall, by Amir Taheri

China is coming up fast on the outside track, but it is in essence pursuing the policies that made the US and European nations economic hit men—commercial imperialism backed up by military power. We’ll see if it turns out any better for the Chinese than it has for the US and Europe. From Amir Taheri at

  • While Obama looked the other way, China militarized a string of atolls in seas around it as part of a long-term plan to forge an aggressive profile against its neighbor and the United States.
  • The Chinese challenge can and must be met both in the global arena and inside the People’s Republic itself. Any move in that direction would require a realistic assessment of the People’s Republic in terms of hard and soft power.
  • China’s pursuit of global power and influence is modelled on the Western empire-buildings of the 19th century, which consisted of importing raw material, exporting manufactured goods, and weaving networks of trade with the help of a seemingly endless flow of settlers, gunboats and colonial outposts across the globe. China cannot fully adopt that model for a number of reasons. Its model is based on the assumption that capitalism can forever do without democracy, something that the experience of the Western imperial powers of the past proved to be fallacious.
China’s President Xi Jinping’s pretension for global leadership is more a sign of doubts about a model of capitalism without democracy. He hopes to replace the deadwood of Communism with the rotten timber of pseudo-nationalism. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

At the G7 summit in Cornwall last weekend, US President Joe Biden warned his fellow-summiteers that unless something was done “China would eat our lunch.” Did Biden overegg the pudding with his colorful language or is the world ignoring the invisible chopsticks at work?

In a sense China, as the biggest trading partner of almost all the G7 members, is already eating part of their lunch while it is clear that without Western investment, technology and, of course, markets, China might have remained hungry and stuck between the madness of Maoism and the inertia of Ah-Quism.

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