China's endgame?

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China's endgame?
« on: December 01, 2020, 02:42:41 PM »
There seems like a thing with political and international China: it says right out in the open what it wants and hegemonical wyipipo around the world say what's going on, why are Chinese so secretive? I haven't studied international relations at all but is China inscrutable or does it just clearly state its goals in terms so foreign they don't have acceptable cultural correlates in English?

Take for example the current "breakdown" in relations between China and Australia. Raises the question: were there ever "relations" in the first place? Hosting diplomats, exporting resources and fleecing foreign students - what relationship is that? (Well, "trade", I guess.)

But what does China want right now? Does it genuinely want to do something as obvious as kill the chicken to scare the monkeys? Those fourteen demands, stick a knife in Australia so that the other wyipipo back down? And it's a goal they're so closely committed to they'll break off trade? Seems like yes.

So we're making mistakes if we view these events in a context of trade only. The world trade system isn't one China has ever genuinely subscribed to. They'll grow on the back of globalisation, but that hasn't ever meant they'll global partners. In fact, whatever butterfly is hatching from the cocoon larval China wove these last twenty years of expansion is something quite different from a global partner.

Right?

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2020, 02:45:43 PM »
What is China's endgame? That's the question Australia has no answer to

Diplomacy is the art of reading signals, and there was a tell on Monday about how serious this escalating diplomatic crisis is between Canberra and Beijing.

The tell wasn’t Scott Morrison’s demand for an apology and a retraction after an unprofessional and gratuitously offensive provocation from China’s foreign ministry.

The tell was the Australian prime minister’s very direct plea for dialogue....

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2020, 04:07:27 PM »
Let's hope a direct plea for dialogue leads to some dialogue.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2020, 06:18:46 PM »
It won't. If this really is a kill the chicken scenario then it's the reaction of monkeys that matters most. Chicken can recite East is Red in squawks and flaps until the cows come home to watch it bleed. It doesn't matter what the chicken says or does.

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 12:52:32 PM »
Occurred to me as a general point, in a lot of ways China is a gigantic "eggs in one basket" experiment. I was thinking specifically about communication apps and bemoaning for myself how all sorts of avenues are shut. Like, want to livestream, so Twitch? Nope. Want to voice chat, so Discord? Nope. Want to video meet, so Zoom? Sure, that one still works. Tencent Meeting isn't ready to take over all of the Chinese market...

But isn't the technology ecology inside China really diverse? You can't Twitch but you can Douyutv. You can't Discord or Slack, but you can... is there a Chinese app that allows drop in voice chat?


Yadda yadda, I'm trying to ask: if the Chinese endgame is a rich and diverse internal marketplace with the smallest number necessary of external touchpoints, then what's with the bizarre attempts at communication: the trolling, the aggressive national stance, the "Chinese people's feelings"..

Have all the eggs in one basket but be serviced by the outside as well? That seems like it would explain the childish self righteousness. China's done very little to benefit the world off its own bat - no unique technology gifts, no Pax Sinica, no actually attractive soft power products - unless viewed from the third world rather than the wyipipo pov.


Jeez, China is a teenager

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 04:57:59 PM »
On the flipside, how would Australia or the US react if the online comments for every achievement or goal met was a barrage of "You can do anything, if you lie." or "It's break down in 2 days."?  Every time China launches a rocket into orbit or beyond, Facebook groups about space overflow with things like "it failed" (even though the reports often mention NASA sources talking about the success) or, worse, "I hope it blows up."

I've also seen editorials which pretty much say the US shouldn't allow China to do things in space.  Imagine if Pravda had run articles about keeping the dangerous Americans from ever gaining a foothold in space since that could affect Soviet interests just after launching Sputnik.

How about if most headlines about those countries in the foreign press were designed to cast doubt and insult the country?  China successfully eliminated the lowest tier of extreme poverty, which is an amazing accomplishment, but gets headlines like "China claims to have eliminated extreme poverty, but some people still feel poor."  How would the US react to "US cures cancer, doesn't do anything about other causes of death"?

China's finally figured out that sitting quietly doesn't stop this sort of thing.  The government decided to go from ignoring this sort of thing to hitting back with an impressive level of sarcasm over the bias.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 09:53:46 PM »
On the flipside, how would Australia or the US react if the online comments for every achievement or goal met was a barrage of "You can do anything, if you lie." or "It's break down in 2 days."?  Every time China launches a rocket into orbit or beyond, Facebook groups about space overflow with things like "it failed" (even though the reports often mention NASA sources talking about the success) or, worse, "I hope it blows up."

Or... how would Japan? How long did it take them to go from pariah to "Made in Japan" means cheap to technologically sophisticated nation? Or how about South Korea? Both countries even manage to make a cultural disdain for foreigners into a kind of soft power. Both countries even have (or had) space programs.

Imma go out on a limb and say the difference between Japan, South Korea, and China is some nations in that group engaged adequately with modernity and one hasn't yet. In fact, one of them seems to be working really hard to avoid modernity as it gathers up the spoils. What a sore winner that country is.

The other difference within that group is its not clear that China has anything to offer. That massed economic might doesn't make anything good. Korea and Japan moved up the manufacturing ladder and changed their countries. China turned to robbery, and now also berates and maligns and overtly seeks economic damage.

China is godzilla.

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2020, 10:06:44 PM »
On the actual flipside, there aren't enough resources in the world to support a second USA the size of China. For all that economic might, China just never is going to be "developed" in the sense of a house, two cars and a family in the suburbs for all. They don't have a good life to look forward to unless somehow the country or the world has a Thanos moment.

Thus, "endgame", keep the wheels spinning until no one wants a revolution anymore.

That's probably the real difference between Japan, South Korea and China: the first two are sustainable. The third is a giant sinkhole into which resources disappear.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2020, 08:55:33 PM »
Can Australia cope with China's new world order?

Australian diplomacy must be recalibrated to cope with the world as it is, not how we would wish it.

How did it get like this? The Australia–China relationship is at its lowest point since diplomatic relations between the two countries began in 1972.

This is something the Australian government doesn’t wish to discuss. Its diplomats are paid to put a positive spin on things. Just when it seemed the situation could not get any worse, China took umbrage at Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s initial unilateral proposal for an international inquiry into the Chinese origins of, and responses to, the COVID-19 pandemic. China invoked trade measures against Australian exports of barley and beef without senior government-to-government contact occurring.

Chinese students and tourists have been warned by the Chinese government to avoid travelling to Australia because it is said to be unsafe – they may face racist attacks. The Australian government, meanwhile, warned companies and government organisations that they were under unprecedented cyber-attack, with China clearly the unnamed culprit. Some commentators now argue that Australia–China relations will never recover....



A long and interesting description of the new world order and where it came from.

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 01:46:56 PM »
At least some of the difficulty, and the hysteria, in dealing with China comes from the eternal compromise. If you have this or that value and you also have a "partner" that denies or distorts that value, there's some kind of exhausting dynamic that never goes away. You're obliged to suppress a value to maintain the "partnership" at the same time as the value itself urges its own promotion.

One gets tilted. Questions of "What is China up to?" become more pointed. And this would be especially so if one were not a professional diplomat or an adequate statesman.

Thus, as far as endgames are concerned, we're going to need really capable people managing this relationship.


We are, therefore, doomed.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2020, 07:42:52 PM »
On the actual flipside, there aren't enough resources in the world to support a second USA the size of China. For all that economic might, China just never is going to be "developed" in the sense of a house, two cars and a family in the suburbs for all. They don't have a good life to look forward to unless somehow the country or the world has a Thanos moment.

Thus, "endgame", keep the wheels spinning until no one wants a revolution anymore.

That's probably the real difference between Japan, South Korea and China: the first two are sustainable. The third is a giant sinkhole into which resources disappear.

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I think you've missed a few memos.  Thankfully, China (and India, which will be passing China in population at some point), don't seem to have bought into the ideal of white picket fences, half acre lots, and 2 car garages as the ultimate signs of middle class success.  India lacks the land, and China could make this fit, but only at considerable environmental and economic cost.  China is also not going to do anything that will wreck the plan for peak C02 emissions by 2030 and being carbon neutral by 2060.

Instead, mass transit and tall apartment buildings are where both are heading.  Once Didi gets driverless cars, I expect the demand for private cars not to decline, but to show some signs of slowing.

Or... how would Japan? How long did it take them to go from pariah to "Made in Japan" means cheap to technologically sophisticated nation? Or how about South Korea? Both countries even manage to make a cultural disdain for foreigners into a kind of soft power. Both countries even have (or had) space programs.

Imma go out on a limb and say the difference between Japan, South Korea, and China is some nations in that group engaged adequately with modernity and one hasn't yet. In fact, one of them seems to be working really hard to avoid modernity as it gathers up the spoils. What a sore winner that country is.

The other difference within that group is its not clear that China has anything to offer. That massed economic might doesn't make anything good. Korea and Japan moved up the manufacturing ladder and changed their countries. China turned to robbery, and now also berates and maligns and overtly seeks economic damage.

China is godzilla.

When Japan was the land of cheap transistor radios and unreliable cars, a certain amount of complaints were justified.  Still, if Japan met some economic growth goal, that wasn't considered an invitation for venom and mockery in the US.  I'm also sure that not all Japanese products are of the same quality customers from around the world have come to associate with their biggest and most famous brands.

China also has moved beyond just making low price/low quality items.  The biggest names in many industries use China as their factory floor, and low quality won't cut it for those.  Now, more and more Chinese brands are being embraced by Chinese consumers, because they realize that a locally produced and branded item can be just as good as a much higher priced name brand.  These are the same consumers who used to snap up any foreign brand because it "had to be better" than the Chinese brand.  I consider this similar to my personal taste in watches.  I'd rather have a reliable, functional, and affordable Timex or Casio than the shiniest genuine Rolex.  I get more functionality and I don't have to worry about taking it off if I go swimming.  Yes,there are still Chinese consumers who snap up the designer labels, but the stores selling those in China are losing market share to the higher end Chinese brands.

Yet, certain westerners want to claim that everything made in China is defective, want to claim that every Chinese success is faked, and fall back to spraying bile when the evidence of  success can't be denied by saying "I hope it blows up."  Imagine if the UK had maintained its attitude of "a bunch of convicts who deserve to rot" against all Australians or "a bunch of ungrateful colonists" against the US long after those situations had changed.

It does look like Scott Morrison finally figured out that some of his troops deliberately planning and carrying out murders against innocent civilians in another country was actually a far worse crime than a Chinese diplomat sharing a computer generate image highlighting the fact that some of his troops were murderers.  Now he wants to discuss happy coexistence.

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/australasia/article/3112455/australia-pm-seeks-happy-coexistence-china-after-war-crimes

On Thursday, Morrison took a much different approach, telling reporters in Canberra that his aim was for the two countries to have a “happy coexistence”.

“My position and my government’s position is to seek constructive engagement,” he said.

“The relationship with China is a mutually beneficial one. It supports both our countries, it is good for both of our countries.” China is Australia’s largest trading partner.


Hopefully now both sides can sit down and have discussions about economic and other cooperation.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2020, 12:16:03 AM »
I think you've missed a few memos.  Thankfully, China (and India, which will be passing China in population at some point), don't seem to have bought into the ideal of white picket fences, half acre lots, and 2 car garages as the ultimate signs of middle class success.  India lacks the land, and China could make this fit, but only at considerable environmental and economic cost.  China is also not going to do anything that will wreck the plan for peak C02 emissions by 2030 and being carbon neutral by 2060.

Instead, mass transit and tall apartment buildings are where both are heading.  Once Didi gets driverless cars, I expect the demand for private cars not to decline, but to show some signs of slowing.

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China also has moved beyond just making low price/low quality items.  The biggest names in many industries use China as their factory floor, and low quality won't cut it for those.  Now, more and more Chinese brands are being embraced by Chinese consumers, because they realize that a locally produced and branded item can be just as good as a much higher priced name brand.

Those two quotes don't quite go together. A sustainable yet consumer-driven economy?

As an aside, "moderately well off" doesn't mean consumer driven. It can't. It has to mean limited availability of goods and services.

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Yet, certain westerners want to claim that everything made in China is defective, want to claim that every Chinese success is faked, and fall back to spraying bile when the evidence of  success can't be denied by saying "I hope it blows up."  Imagine if the UK had maintained its attitude of "a bunch of convicts who deserve to rot" against all Australians or "a bunch of ungrateful colonists" against the US long after those situations had changed.

They gave up that attitude?


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It does look like Scott Morrison finally figured out that some of his troops deliberately planning and carrying out murders against innocent civilians in another country was actually a far worse crime than a Chinese diplomat sharing a computer generate image highlighting the fact that some of his troops were murderers.  Now he wants to discuss happy coexistence.

Now that is koolaid.

The Brereton Report was accepted in all its recommendations, 2 Squadron of the SASR no longer exists, dismissals and prosecutions are underway, and serving and ex-services suicides are up (10 in the last two months). Zhao Lijian was highlighting his own backside, it being pointed squarely at Australia as he watches Beijing. Much in the same way as Morrison was highlighting his own as he too was attempting to point the way to Beijing. Those two were being altogether irrelevant to how murder and mayhem are being actively  addressed within the Australia military and legal system - not secretly.

Both of those guys and their opinions are irrelevant. They don't affect the deliberate surgery the military is undergoing.

What those dudes do play to is the general public. It's the general public that's been surprised by this report. The report is the product of four years investigation. The military knew it was happening. Politicians knew. The general public are the ones who're can be played with right now.

I suppose really the key to any "relationship" right now lies in determining just how much disinterest Beijing has in the functioning of Australian society. That tweet bullshit for instance - it betrays zero interest in the institutions of law and the military as they exist in Australia - because it directly suggests that neither are doing well. The law isn't addressing the issue, it suggests. The military isn't either. The general public are wide open to shock because no institution is working for them, it suggests.
 
Of course, if that tweet were aimed at actual Australia, that's how it should be read. But it's a recent sport among outside Chinese functionaries, isn't it, the use of foreign social media to snipe at foreign institutions and politicians. They get points at home. If they're displaying any diplomatic position it's that international relations aren't more important than what the clique at home base thinks.

Quote
https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/australasia/article/3112455/australia-pm-seeks-happy-coexistence-china-after-war-crimes

On Thursday, Morrison took a much different approach, telling reporters in Canberra that his aim was for the two countries to have a “happy coexistence”.

“My position and my government’s position is to seek constructive engagement,” he said.

“The relationship with China is a mutually beneficial one. It supports both our countries, it is good for both of our countries.” China is Australia’s largest trading partner.


Hopefully now both sides can sit down and have discussions about economic and other cooperation.

And that is disingenuous.

Beijing is pissed because it thought we had a deal. It was the same deal it has made with the Chinese people. Take the money and shut your mouth. Australia right now is being made an example of. Beijing is telling everyone, shut your mouth or you'll lose the money.

Second largest economy. Is the money enough? Is this new global order in which Beijing's might drives success everywhere properly funded? Are the right people getting rich?

I guess, if that's the way to look at it, then in Australia, no. The right people weren't getting rich.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2020, 03:51:08 PM »
I think Beijing is annoyed for multiple reasons.  In addition to trade issues, there's the fact that not just western media, but western governments feel that they can criticize every move that China makes, but then don't seem happy at all when China points out things like war crimes in Afghanistan or police brutality in the US.  If Australia, the UK, the US, etc. really want a level playing field, they have to be ready to face criticism instead of using other countries as punching bags to score political points at home.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2020, 07:11:58 PM »
I think Beijing is annoyed for multiple reasons.  In addition to trade issues, there's the fact that not just western media, but western governments feel that they can criticize every move that China makes, but then don't seem happy at all when China points out things like war crimes in Afghanistan or police brutality in the US.

Did China discover any of those things by itself? Was there some generally trustworthy process that they invoked to clarify the issues? Since no, "point out" seems a stretch. "Grab on to the coat tails of western institutions with a view to spoiling perceptions," seems more like what happened.

If China really wants a level playing field, it'll need somehow to arrive at relevant institutional competence. It'll need somehow to become admirable in its functioning, and not just for its size. Then when it "points out" the failings of other nations, we'll know it has produced a judgment worthy of note.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2020, 03:03:32 PM »
So what's the bar of accomplishments to be able to point out war crimes and police brutality by other nations and have those facts be noteworthy?

Does successfully becoming the world's second largest economy while only assisting in 2 wars and declaring one small quick one count?  How many wars has the US engaged in since 1949?  How many wars have the US and it's allies assisted in?

Does turning a poor agrarian society into the world's second largest economy score any points?

Does successfully eliminating the lowest level of poverty while crushing a pandemic help?

Can a country only point out something it discovered using its own intelligence services?  I've seen plenty of hate tweets from US government officials based on nothing more than articles in the press.  I've seen a number of "coat tails" tweets from uninvolved governments supporting Australia in that recent twitter exchange with China.  Are you going to say those countries have no right to join the discussion?
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