China's endgame?

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2020, 11:27:29 PM »
Saying perhaps China needed better PR was kind of a joke. For one thing, propaganda departments have existed since the beginning and the science of shaping opinion via controlled presentation of information hasn't ever been out of favour. For another, it's not truly likely that China is misrepresenting itself. Lots and lots of fact has gone missing, but I sincerely doubt China has been being inscrutable and rigidly upright because they don't know any better. The relations they have established with the public are the relations they do want.

I also don't think the national humiliation is the same as the sound people make when they're talking about people who are not Chinese making money out of China. My own experience with that kind of sound started back in the days of "Oh you foreigners salaries are so high". There's some weird toxic thing in there about who can and who can't gain in relationships. Straightforward trade relationships, for instance, appear to be some kind of affront to the relationship requirements of Chinese. Straightforward trade is too shallow a partnership to be respected. Something like that. You're supposed to enter into a long term relationship that doesn't change and doesn't have an accounting - it just goes back and forth forever with requirements changing as circumstances change, and people neither winning nor losing but always cooperating. It's some cultural thing that locates value in this kind of long term bondage rather than in discrete, honourably executed deals.

But there you go with the "side" rhetoric. It's one of those bits of terminology that Chinese diplomacy and business negotiation has granted some kind of elevated role. It shoehorns into discussion a particular collection of claims that are far more normative than they are empirical. For instance, that there are sides. I know far too little about international relations or real life business deals to know why it is really there. I just assume it exists as a framing device and - like so many Chinese framing devices - seeks to establish separations. It wants it to be normal that we are separate peoples with incompatible requirements.


It's just weird to ignore how long the party has conceived of "the west" as an ideological enemy. Far, far longer than the west has conceived of China as an ideological enemy.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2020, 06:05:57 PM »
Internally, China is good at getting messages across.  External PR, especially via active official social media presences is still rather new for China. More so if you look at pointing out how many countries have and are doing terrible things while pretending to be the finest possible examples that all should emulate without question.

There are different styles and degrees of humiliation, both personal and as a nation.  If you were teaching in an Australian school and found out visiting foreigners with lighter duties were making a lot more than you, that might be personally humiliating and lead to toxic relationships between you and those foreigners.  Having been forced into trade "agreements" at gunpoint is a lot more humiliating and toxic.

I think western politicians and some (not all) in the press are trying to make the party their primary enemy instead of China as a whole is an attempt to appear politically correct and paper over some deep xenophobia.  The xenophobia is still there and the mask can slip away easily, as in the case of a republican cabinet member who is married to the republican Senate is automatically labelled as a probable spy by Trump fans the moment someone mentions that a Chinese woman is married to a Senator.  The "not like us" mentality held by many westerners applies equally to the party, the government, and to anyone of Chinese ancestry, even though the official rhetoric is now mostly directed at the party.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2020, 07:16:39 PM »
Internally, China is good at getting messages across.  External PR, especially via active official social media presences is still rather new for China. More so if you look at pointing out how many countries have and are doing terrible things while pretending to be the finest possible examples that all should emulate without question.

Eh. They're fine at getting their messages across to the audiences they want to get messages across to. Chinese "diplomatic" twitter isn't a communication tool between China and the people or countries named in the tweets.

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There are different styles and degrees of humiliation, both personal and as a nation.  If you were teaching in an Australian school and found out visiting foreigners with lighter duties were making a lot more than you, that might be personally humiliating and lead to toxic relationships between you and those foreigners.  Having been forced into trade "agreements" at gunpoint is a lot more humiliating and toxic.

"Facts", eh?

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I think western politicians and some (not all) in the press are trying to make the party their primary enemy instead of China as a whole is an attempt to appear politically correct and paper over some deep xenophobia.  The xenophobia is still there and the mask can slip away easily, as in the case of a republican cabinet member who is married to the republican Senate is automatically labelled as a probable spy by Trump fans the moment someone mentions that a Chinese woman is married to a Senator.  The "not like us" mentality held by many westerners applies equally to the party, the government, and to anyone of Chinese ancestry, even though the official rhetoric is now mostly directed at the party.

Global Times assures us that the Five eyes cooperation will not take place. Western countries are too venal. Individual nations will go behind the cooperatives back and make deals with China because they can't resist serving their own national interest.

Facts.


I think the only really illuminating way to look at China is in terms of the norms it seeks to create.

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2020, 11:38:42 PM »
You know, as far as international relations are concerned, I don't know that I'm obliged to either sympathize or empathize with China's stated historical grievances. As a person, I may listen to the stories and wonder wtf. But as a national champion the only thing I'm obliged to consider is whether or not I can accommodate whatever it is they want from this being part of national and international discourse. Can I put up with it? There's no independent court where the justice or otherwise of their claims can be adjudicated. There's just us.

It might help me know what to do if I could understand why the grievance still exists. Understanding might allow me, as national champion, to put up with what might otherwise be conceived of as intemperate demands.

But I don't know that in the end I'd have to agree to recognise the injustice as injustice. I'd just have to recognise that within *their* system, it is injustice. I'd just have to decide - somehow - that *their* system had adjudicated wisely and well, and that that judgment from their system can - somehow - have some standing within mine. That kind of decision doesn't have to be based on empathy. Maybe sympathy. But more likely just on a decision that we can stretch out our negotiations to accommodate it.

It'd be a relatively weak relationship. It'd fall apart eventually if whatever reparations they demand finally become more than we'd like to tolerate. Indeed, if we did not understand the injustice in the same way they did, it's basically guaranteed that eventually the reparations will become intolerable.

It's like with Black Lives Matter. If you don't empathize with the historical injustice, eventually you're going to say the black people are asking for too much.

The difference there being the historical injustice was human, not national.


Begs the question, I guess, shall we understand the century of humiliation to be a human injustice?

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2020, 03:29:02 PM »
"Begs the question, I guess, shall we understand the century of humiliation to be a human injustice?"

I think the Chinese people who fought 2 wars to try to prevent the UK from selling opium would say it was a human injustice.

I thing the families of those who ended up addicted would say it was a human injustice.


Look at WWII.  Germany and Japan did terrible things.  How they handled these things was very different.

Germany acknowledged their crimes and passed laws designed to make sure their crimes against humanity would not be repeated.  This includes making sure that all German children are taught about what happened.  Germany is now well trusted by its neighbors and has fairly good relationships with them.

Japan tries to deny many of the crimes it committed against its neighbors.  Some of their school curriculum even teaches that their attempts to conquer other countries were justified.  Even this many years after the war, China isn't the only country in east Asia that has serious issues with this.  It's hard to have trust and good relations when one side has done terrible things to the other and refuses to ever fully acknowledge what happened.


It's also hard to build trust when editorials run on news sites in the country with the biggest military in the world with the post-1945 record for most countries invaded babble on about how a war is inevitable.  Then,when China adds more equipment to its far more modest forces, those same pundits twist that as if China was building a massive fleet of landing craft with the capability of sneaking all the way across the Pacific and say the US should strike before it's too late.  These psychotic flashbacks to the US-Soviet cold war aren't helping anyone and make the entire world a more dangerous place for all of humanity.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2020, 08:48:45 PM »
"Begs the question, I guess, shall we understand the century of humiliation to be a human injustice?"

I think the Chinese people who fought 2 wars to try to prevent the UK from selling opium would say it was a human injustice.

I thing the families of those who ended up addicted would say it was a human injustice.

For the kind of commentary I was attempting to generate it doesn't matter if they do. For the justice they're attempting to acquire it matters if other people would. They aren't getting extra benefits from people who don't think they were hard done by. They're definitely not getting extra benefits from people who think not only are they're no longer hard done by but that their leaders are milking history worse than a football player milks a glancing tackle. Besides which, draw a good connection between conditions now and conditions then or go jump in a lake. The narrative is so tainted we're going to need an actually trustworthy commentator before anyone does anything about anything.

A statesman of some kind perhaps.

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Look at WWII.  Germany and Japan did terrible things.  How they handled these things was very different.

Germany acknowledged their crimes and passed laws designed to make sure their crimes against humanity would not be repeated.  This includes making sure that all German children are taught about what happened.  Germany is now well trusted by its neighbors and has fairly good relationships with them.

Japan tries to deny many of the crimes it committed against its neighbors.  Some of their school curriculum even teaches that their attempts to conquer other countries were justified.  Even this many years after the war, China isn't the only country in east Asia that has serious issues with this.  It's hard to have trust and good relations when one side has done terrible things to the other and refuses to ever fully acknowledge what happened.

It's going to be even harder and never stop being so the longer international institutions for dealing with history continue not existing. Conventions on war and war crimes. International courts. International accords of substance and with teeth. At least some of the horseshit that's spoken about international relations and the consequences of history arrives exactly because individual nations appear to be avoiding the creation of genuine international authority. What's China's position on that? They've been busy white-anting the WHO and the UN. What are they wishing for in their place? They are definitely wishing for something.


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It's also hard to build trust when editorials run on news sites in the country with the biggest military in the world with the post-1945 record for most countries invaded babble on about how a war is inevitable.  Then,when China adds more equipment to its far more modest forces, those same pundits twist that as if China was building a massive fleet of landing craft with the capability of sneaking all the way across the Pacific and say the US should strike before it's too late.  These psychotic flashbacks to the US-Soviet cold war aren't helping anyone and make the entire world a more dangerous place for all of humanity.

Eh, maybe China can grow up. If they're relying on newspaper articles, they're no smarter than some pair of dudes on an internet forum.

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2020, 11:33:31 PM »
Come tot think of it, it also begs the question in what terms does China want the century of humiliation recognised? As is known to all, there are no universal human rights, so what was the injustice?

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #37 on: December 21, 2020, 05:01:12 PM »
Come tot think of it, it also begs the question in what terms does China want the century of humiliation recognised? As is known to all, there are no universal human rights, so what was the injustice?

The lack of a universally agreed upon set of rules isn't as big of an obstacle as one might think.

How would the UK react if any other country used troops to force its government to accept that country selling drugs inside the UK that the UK declared to be illegal?  It wouldn't matter if 100 other countries thought this was a fine negotiating tactic and awarded the aggressor a Nobel Prize in economics.  The UK would consider it to be a breach of national sovereignty and a rather bad thing to do.  Even if this had been over 100 years ago, the UK would at least expect the other country to acknowledge that this was wrong and promise nothing like it would ever happen again.

This is where Japan failed miserably.  It's tried to whitewash or ignore a lengthy list of items it would never have tolerated from any outside power.  It doesn't matter whether some other country considers these to be a rights/legal violation or not.  What matters is that Japan would consider all of those actions to be criminal if the same actions were taken against its land and people.

Perhaps someday, the world will finally hammer out some form of fully enforceable international laws.  In the meantime, I'd love to see the rulings from the highest court in the UK and Japan over whether those 2 countries would tolerate similar abuse followed by indifference or even historical rewrites to justify the crimes.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #38 on: December 21, 2020, 10:43:33 PM »
Come tot think of it, it also begs the question in what terms does China want the century of humiliation recognised? As is known to all, there are no universal human rights, so what was the injustice?

The lack of a universally agreed upon set of rules isn't as big of an obstacle as one might think.

How would the UK react if any other country used troops to force its government to accept that country selling drugs inside the UK that the UK declared to be illegal?  It wouldn't matter if 100 other countries thought this was a fine negotiating tactic and awarded the aggressor a Nobel Prize in economics.  The UK would consider it to be a breach of national sovereignty and a rather bad thing to do.  Even if this had been over 100 years ago, the UK would at least expect the other country to acknowledge that this was wrong and promise nothing like it would ever happen again.

Yeah, I thought it was probably gong to be sovereignty.

Betcha that ends up being race-based. Which country has the longest continuous civilization? And presumably also not the longest continuous governing body?

Still, I suppose one can see why sovereignty is the flex China hopes to pull on the world. They're better at humanity and culture because they've been doing it longer. And it's another one of the cool separations China seems to love so much.

It's strange though. Why would one nation hold another nation's sovereignty to be inviolable? "You're not us. We govern ourselves. Hand over your shit." If one nation's sovereign right to decide what it alone shall do is NOT subordinate to some larger governing principle, since when does that nation decide not to invade? "You can't invade us, we're the only ones who can govern us!"

It's horseshit.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2020, 04:03:48 PM »
There are only two ways to work out an international dispute.  One is based on international law, which you've already said won't work, since there is no universal agreement.

The other way that an actual agreement can be reached is via agreement between the laws of the two countries.  If the UK can claim military action against them to force them to allow import and sale of drugs they consider to be illegal is an inherently illegal action under UK law, then they should be capable of acknowledging what they did during the Opium Wars was equally wrong, promise never to do it again, and make sure their own people are educated about it as part of the effort to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

The Germans managed to do this.  Yes, they had to, but they didn't just mutter a quick apology from a script and then try to pretend nothing happened.  Instead, they firmly embraced their duty to do all they could to make sure the horrors their nation unleashed couldn't be repeated.  Their military effort to conquer Europe during WWII failed, but their way of acknowledging what happened granted them the trust to become the most powerful nation in the EU.

Are the Brits and Japanese somehow incapable of doing the same, not just for China, but for the other nations they terribly abused?  If so, they have no right to expect those nations to offer trust in any negotiations.

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2020, 05:03:48 PM »
"Duty"?

It's not going to work.  It's one of the oldest successful rebuttals there is: if all truth is relative then "all truth is relative" is relative too, which is to say, there are times and places where "all truth is relative" is not true, which is to say, some truths are absolute. Friggen Plato. Or maybe Socrates. I forget. Point being, all systems of relative value always fail to maintain their case.

Universal human rights gets going by asserting that one determinant in the direction of any given self is the determination produced from inside that self itself. Any attempt to interfere with that determination is unsuitable. Presumably "sovereignty" as a right gets going by observing that one determinant in the direction of any given nation is whatever that nation determines for itself, and any attempt to curtail that determination is unsuitable.

But that truly works only if people are subordinate to nation. People tend to end up subordinate to nation states, but that's practice, not proof of principle. Even worse for "sovereignty" as a principle is what would sovereignty be if people were not capable of self determination? If people genuinely need not be respected for their own determinations, the nation states they produce need not either. Which is to say, the relative value of this or that nation's sovereignty relies on the absolute value of people as self determiners. Nations have a principled existence in the same way bread does: it's made by people.

So "duty" to this or that nation is a product of acknowledging the existence and nature of the humans that arranged it. From there you can go on to say such things as, wow, that nation is friggen weird in the way they do things but I guess I can get behind it now that I understand what those people want.

China's going to need a proof of how "China" as an entity transcends its existence as the product of humans. And the Yellow Friggen Emperor isn't going to cut it.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 05:09:10 PM by Calach Pfeffer »

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2020, 07:02:32 PM »
Before the League of Nations and the UN, there wasn't a whole lot of world-wide agreement on anything, but any two nations with similar or even completely different forms of government were capable of entering trade deals and even could issue apologies for things that would clearly violate the laws of both countries.

Now you are arguing that in Calech-world, lack of universally agreed upon laws and rights effectively allows any nation to do anything it likes to a "less than Calech standard" nation and not take the slightest action to prevent further abuses of it's own laws and the laws of the target nation.

So your opinion appears to be that Germany would have had zero responsibility to apologize and amend its ways if it had unleashed its horrors on China instead of on Europe and its own people unless China makes some poorly defined transcendence of its existence?

So, without 100% of nations agreeing on universal laws and rights, any nation that doesn't meet your standards is fair game for invasion, attempted conquest, biologic warfare experiments on civilian populations, genocide of whatever groups the invaders see fit, or any other form of assault and bears zero duty to acknowledge it's actions and take steps to prevent future atrocities.

Based on that twisted world view, it's no wonder the US and Australia still abuse the survivors of their indigenous populations while accusing other nations of not adhering to international rights standards that they ignore whenever it's convenient.  No wonder the US refuses to even allow the possibility of any of its soldiers being put in trial in an international court.

Imagine for one moment Australia being abused in the way Asia was abused by Japan and explain how your "superior" form of government and society would entitle Australia a real apology and an honest recounting of events in the history taught to Japanese schoolchildren that China, South Korea, and many other nations are still waiting for.  Also, please tell me which countries in 1945 Europe failed to meet your standards so that Germany can have your blessings to whitewash actions against them in its history classes.

Or, are both your Eurocentrism and dislike of China so severe that you'd happily require proper treatment of all European countries and throw most of east Asia under the bus just to make certain that China is kept in some special "neither the people or government deserve anything but abuse" category you seem to want to lock China into?

If this is how the Australian government thinks, all of east Asia (except the Japanese who have your personal permission to do anything they like because they got forced into a Western style constitution after the fact) should seriously think about boycotting Australia until a rational government comes into power.

Personally, I hope the Australia government is saner than this.
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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2020, 11:28:06 PM »
lol, yeah.

In practice, to all of that, before there were big enough wars that the practices changed, yes. Pretty much any nation was free to do whatever.

Naturally, of course, in principle, even before big enough wars, no to all of that. In principle, no nation was allowed to do whatever.


But what are these "horrors"? Genocide is horrific because it violates the sovereignty of the host nation? The nation in the form of its government is shocked at the loss of what it governs? Or is it the feeling in the hearts of the remaining populace? What's so horrific about a nation changing size unexpectedly? It went against the will of the people?

Still not seeing how violating the rights of a people to govern themselves, or to be citizens in a nation that has somehow elected to govern itself, counts as significant if it does not also violate individual identity.

I suppose if a given people were so given over to group identity that they did genuinely identify more with the nation as determiner of their future than with themselves as individual agents, then hurting the nation would hurt them. And thus, to avoid causing suffering, one should avoid harming the ability of that nation to guide those people.

That Supreme Leader tho. By what principle do we know he is doing right?

Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2020, 12:59:08 PM »
The World China Wants

How Power Will—and Won’t—Reshape Chinese Ambitions

Does China want to transform the global order to advance its own interests and to reflect its own image? That may be the most important question in geopolitics today, yet the answers it elicits tend to reveal more about modern biases than they do about what a future Chinese superpower would look like. Those who want to project forward to a malevolent, expansionist China point to evidence of aggression in Beijing’s posture today. Those with a less apocalyptic view highlight more accommodating features in Chinese policy or note that China will face plenty of challenges that will keep it from reshaping the world even if it wants to. Many Western observers see a burgeoning new Cold War, with China serving as a twenty-first-century version of the Soviet Union. ...

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Re: China's endgame?
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2020, 05:19:56 PM »
I would think that any sane nation would realize that genocide is wrong and genocidal activities should be acknowledged and active steps taken to prevent recurrence without having to waste time figuring out how to ask if people's will was violated by attempting to exterminate them.  One using that sick logic, you could exterminate the Amish and say it's ok and there were no real victims of a crime since none of them raised a hand to resist.  Similarly, trying to define of the government of the victims of genocide is worthy to get an acknowledgement or apology is also a warped request.  Germany didn't ask the countries it abused to submit "Like Us vs. Not Like Us" questionnaires to see whether the dead people lived under rulership that qualified their deliberately inflicted deaths to be considered criminal or not.

Do you really think that using people in a conquered area for biological warfare experiments would be acknowledged and active steps taken to prevent recurrence by any sane nation without having to waste time figuring out how to ask questions about whether their government was worthy of getting an acknowledgement or apology?

Your arguments are nothing come down to nothing more than "If I don't like your government, then any other government can feel free to invade your country, slaughter your people, force your women into prostitution, use civilians in biological warfare experiments, and do anything else they feel like with complete impunity and can teach their schoolchildren lies to make them feel their country was justified for launching a war of aggression, thus laying the groundwork for future wars.  I'll even let them get away with this against countries with governments I do like just to make sure they don't have to ever acknowledge what they did to you."

These "not like us means they are fair game for anyone" attitude has been acted on before.  Australia and the US nearly wiped out their native populations, with the US even resorting to deliberately spreading smallpox as part of the program.  The UK and many other European nations decided that those who lacked their "enlightened" governments needed to be colonized and "civilized" under the boot heels of their military forces.


So, which of these enlightened governments still thinks it is so superior to China, Korea, the Philippines, etc. that it feels Japan not doing what Germany did is the right choice?  Or is it that only white majority countries are entitled to apologies?


As for the article, I think the people desperately trying to make a new Cold War with China replacing the USSR are wrong in their outlook.  First, they've missed the fact that Russia has been trying its best to bring its former Soviet Republics back into its control.  Second, and much more obvious to anyone who doesn't want to explain all things new as simple repeats of old things, despite some government similarities, China is not the Soviet Union any more than the USA is a reincarnation of ancient Athens.  China is trying to expand its influence via peaceful trade, not by exporting revolution.  China doesn't send its troops off to remote places to help "liberate" other countries (which the Soviets sometimes did and America still actively does).  China doesn't have a massive Navy designed to rule multiple oceans and has only a small number of the nuclear weapons (while both Russia and the USA each still have enough to single-handedly end civilization).  Sadly, some people are determine to ram China into a Soviet shaped hole in their minds instead of taking an unbiased look and realizing that China is quite different from the Soviets and from the USA.

Perhaps these people should consider that continuously spewing hate at China might actually be one of the main reasons why China has finally taken a more aggressive stance.  In school, sometimes the victim of a hateful bully needs to smack the aggressor firmly to finally end the abuse.  Approaching China with the same basic politeness afforded to 190+ other nations (many with very questionable governments and rights policies) would go a long way towards allowing improvements in relations.

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