The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Everyone’s Noticed the Oncoming US/China Cold War

Chinese and American flags flying together

Horowitz calls it a tech cold war, but it is unlikely to stay that way.

Cutting Huawei off from all non-open source Google services, including the Play Store, and not allowing it to buy US components is a huge blow to Huawei.

Huawei is ahead in 5G, and American allies have been reluctant to ban it, but the US can do great damage to China’s tech industry, because in many other ways it is still far behind America’s. (Horwitz is good on this.)

China has ways of retaliating. The most potent is to embargo rare earths. China did this once before and the WTO declared it illegal, but that won’t necessarily stop the Chinese from doing it again. The WTO, which is also under attack by the Trump administration, may not have the teeth necessary to stop the Chinese, especially as the US is scarcely innocent in the tariff escalation.

I’ve been on the Huawei situation for months, because I believed it was the first step in a dangerous escalation between the current hegemonic power and the challenging power.

The best book on the subject is Thucydides Trap, by Graham Allison. Allison also wrote a foreign affairs article on Thucydides Trap. The summary is that in the past 500 years there have been 16 similar challenges. Twelve of them led to war.

America was a particularly aggressive rising power: seizing huge amounts of Mexico, grabbing the Alaskan panhandle under threat of war with Great Britain (who couldn’t afford to move their forces away from the Germans, and so let Teddy Roosevelt, an aggressive asshole in foreign affairs, take it.)

And of course, America terrorized South and Central America, as it still does, while claiming foreign naval forces had no right to be in the Americas (an echo to China’s expansion in the South China Sea most Americans refuse to acknowledge.)

Now that America is the hegemonic power they want to stay the hegemonic power.

The current international order was mostly created when China was weak, recovering from arguably the worst position it had been in for 2,500 years.

The Chinese do not accept the current international order; created by America, with European help, after WWII as legitimate, because it was created almost entirely without their input when they were weak. Indeed, a clear-eyed realpolitik view is that America enforced the order because they were massively strong, then further enforced it after the collapse of the USSR.

Put aside all the bullshit, the Pax Americana, like all Pax’s comes out American force: the barrel of a lot of guns, and the boom of a lot of nukes.

So China is moving to retake what it regards as its rightful place in the world: The greatest nation in the world. America is doing what all hegemonic powers do when an upstart rises: Resisting.

This is not a temporary thing and it is not just a result of Trump. There are real differences, and the pivot to China as the big enemy began under Obama, not Trump. Ironically, the Trans Pacific Partnership (which Trump refused to ratify) was an effort to contain China.

Trump’s addition is a preference for unilateralism. Under mulitalternalism the Americans had found it harder and harder to get their way, as the failure of the Doha round of WTO negotiations showed.

One-on-one America is always greater than anyone else. It always has the advantage. Trump is not wrong about that. So he is using that might to “re-negotiate” with other nations, including China.

Meanwhile the Chinese have been forming their Belt and Road system, which is an alliance and trade organization substitute, meant to form deals 1:1 with other countries, and to create trade links, especially a land-route across Asian to Europe,  which will allow China to bypass America’s stranglehold on naval power, and especially on the Straits of Malacca.

And so on.

Let’s cut to the chase. There will be many tactical and strategic moves, but China is about as economically powerful now as the US. They are currently, overall, a middle income country, but many cities are high income.

Because China has three times the population of the US, if they can move their population to high income, they will have an economy about three times the size of the US.

They will win.

The US should think about that carefully, because if they oppose the Chinese at every point, when China becomes the hegemonic power, the US may find themselves treated badly. The Chinese won’t feel badly about it, at all, given how they feel about how China was treated when it was weak by Europeans and Americans.

The Chinese, meanwhile, should remember that their rise to hegemonic power isn’t certain, and that if it requires great power war in a world with nuclear weapons, that may go very badly for everyone involved.

Neither side, as an aside, are good guys. The Chinese are, domestically, creating a rather nasty authoritarian surveillance state. America domestically is a shit show for many, and it has been far more likely to go to war with other countries than the Chinese have.

In fact, while Chinese actions in the South China Sea are nasty, they are mild by rising hegemonic power standards, and certainly, so far, less nasty than how the US acted when it was the rising power.

A new cold war, with the world dividing into two blocs, would be shitty. A hot war would be worse.

But I’m not at all sure “cooler heads” will prevail. The simple fact is that Americans think they are the indispensable nation, and good people, and therefore have the right to rule the world. Meanwhile the Chinese nurse their own powerful sense of superiority, added to a massive feeling of grievance and ill-use. Nor can the Chinese Communist Party allow economic growth to falter without danger to their own power and legitimacy. If it does, be sure they will focus the anger at foreign enemies.

I’m not sure there’s much point being worked up by all this, mind you. Rising and falling hegemonic powers act like this, that’s just how it is. Most of us don’t have enough power to affect these events. Just be aware of them, and if you have some power, perhaps put your finger on the scale that at least avoids hot war.

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“It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: The Collected Essays of Ian Welsh”


The Imperial Presidency and Eterna-War


  1. Chiron

    I used to read a blog (unfortunately now deleted) of a woman who worked for Washington’s political think tanks, in 2016 she said that Trump candidacy represented the most unhinged parts of the American establishment, interests who didn’t want the Iran deal.

    Trump being free to talk about illegal immigration and even bash Bush as a way to bring White Middle America into the American Empire train again after the Bush years and it worked, after one year of Trump administration we get crazy Neocons back in power, Bolton and Pompeo must be thinking in how to start a shooting war before 2020 election. Trump IS the American Deep State new Actor-In-Chief, the second coming of Ronnie Raygun.

    Maybe this is “anti-semitic” but for all intents and purposes the American Empire is the Zionist Empire, Zionist jews are the people who most benifitted from American exceptionalism and Trump comes from the same NYC establishment as most of them, Sheldon Adelson is Trump main financial backer (who curiously has a casino in Macau), Israelis might have sold American technology to the Chinese but they definitely understand that US is irreplaceable for them.

  2. KT Chong

    Just posted awhile ago on 5/22/2019:

    Wikipedia: CGTN “is owned and operated by China Central Television (CCTV), a nationally owned media in China.”

    i.e., she speaks for the official position of the Chinese government. This is, thus far, the most hostile response I’ve seen coming from China on the trade war. Seems to me that China is no longer in the mood for talk.

  3. KT Chong

    During the trade negotiation, Trump made many demands that China found objectionable, among them are these three that are absolutely unacceptable:

    1. The US require that China changes its promulgated law to reflect the “trade agreement”. It should be pointed out that the last time China did that was during the Era of Humiliation by western powers and Japan before WW2, when China had been defeated in a series of wars. That US’ requirement is obviously non-starter.

    2. The US require that should China be found in “violation” of an agreement, the US can reimpose tariff, and China cannot retaliate. Even Kevin Rudd, Australia’s ex PM, said that he would have rejected such request if it were presented to him as PM.

    3. The US require China to commit to purchase farm and other merchandise from the US at a fixed amount that cannot be changed even when China’s domestic demands and situations change.

  4. bob mcmanus

    For the perspective I prefer, just 1st random link from “china young men materialism”

    Of course, cause of one-child policy of the past and sex selection (also India), the sex ratio is dangerous

    “The average Chinese person is more than twice as well off now as they were twelve years ago. ”

    “IPSOS poll in 2013 showed that 71% of Mainland Chinese thought that success is gauged by the things that one owns, while the global average lies at a meagre 34%. ”

    I see the geopolitics, trade wars, even internal repression and surveillance society as sideshows.

    The weapons the BRICS are developing are the at least 2 billion young men reaching their prime and post maximum prosumption years (now 20-30ish. What will they be like as 50ish executives?). They are greedy, smart, mobile , educated, and empowered. They will devour us, and sell us our nooses. All our Marvel and mobiles will belong to them.

  5. bob mcmanus

    Good article, there are always multiple levels.

    The reason socialism is becoming popular in the west is comparable to the last Gilded age, or early 1920s, or late 1940s.

    Rage and Desperation after losing the war (or labour battles before the 30s)

  6. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Hopefully, something will happen to disable China. I do NOT want a world run by those shameless authoritarians.

    Maybe the upcoming generation of “little emperors” will prove stupid and spoiled and incompetent, like Trump, when the current generation of Chinese leaders dies off.

    Or–China, IIRC, shows a reassuring tendency to fall into anarchy every so often. Maybe the rest of the world will be lucky, and it will do that again.

  7. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Or–maybe find some way to infect them with anti-authoritarian ideas? Copy Russia’s trolling strategy for manipulating foreign opinion, if our tech experts can find some way around Chinese Web controls?

  8. Herman


    Trump is more in bed with the “deep state” than his followers would like to admit. Things like The Wall are basically political theatre and red meat for his base. Otherwise, Trump’s administration is full of the same movement conservatives and neocons as his Republican predecessors.

    Unfortunately, too many people on the Left get hung up on Trump’s racist dog whistles and think he is some kind of white nationalist. I think that is a big mistake. It completely misinterprets what Trump is all about which is pretty much just standard Republican policy with a few bones thrown to his populist base on issues like immigration. Even Steve Bannon’s brand of nationalism is more about maintaining American hegemony rather than trying to recreate some kind of white herrenvolk democracy in modern America.

    As far as great power competition is concerned, I see it as a very negative development. I am glad that Ian mentioned some of the negatives of the Chinese government because I see too many people on the Left cheering for any foreign government that opposes the United States under the cover of anti-imperialism. Opposing imperialism and foolish wars doesn’t mean that we have to become apologists for unsavory foreign governments.

    I don’t care how good the Chinese are at building infrastructure, I don’t want to live under a China-style authoritarian government. I would rather live under a corrupt, incompetent neoliberal government that gives me some freedom and wiggle room than under a disciplined, dedicated authoritarian state.

    In any event, great power competition will make dealing with upcoming environmental problems even more difficult since great power competition demands unrestrained, intemperate economic growth and technological progress to avoid falling behind your peers. Heightened great power competition is another reason why I am such a pessimist these days. It almost makes we want to give up on humanity entirely.

  9. John

    Of course, the biggest hegemon with final say is Mother Nature and her backup group called the Chain of Causation. She is experiencing her era of humiliation at the hands of the arrogant simian everywhere. With CO2 at 415ppm, the Chain of Causation is singing a low sweet song…but somewhere over 500 or 600 ppm, they be singing a wall of sound that will tear down the house and make the babies cry.

  10. StewartM


    Maybe the upcoming generation of “little emperors” will prove stupid and spoiled and incompetent, like Trump, when the current generation of Chinese leaders dies off.

    That could be already happening.

    “In the last 40 years, China has racked up a long list of remarkable accomplishments. Between 1978 and 2013, the Chinese economy grew by an average rate of 10 percent a year, producing a tenfold increase in average adult income. All that growth helped some 800 million people lift themselves out of poverty; along the way, China also reduced its infant mortality rate by 85 percent and raised life expectancy by 11 years.

    What made these achievements all the more striking is that the Chinese government accomplished them while remaining politically repressive—something that historical precedent and political theory suggest is very, very difficult. No wonder, then, that the China scholar Orville Schell describes this record as “one of the most startling miracles of economic development in world history.”

    The miraculous quality of China’s achievements makes what is happening in the country today especially tragic—and alarming. Under the guise of fighting corruption, President Xi Jinping is methodically dismantling virtually every one of the reforms that made China’s spectacular growth possible over the last four decades. In the place of a flawed but highly successful system, he is erecting a colossal cult of personality focused on him alone, concentrating more power in his hands than has any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

    In the short term, Xi’s efforts may make China seem less corrupt and more stable. But by destroying many of the mechanisms that made the Chinese miracle possible, Xi risks reversing those gains and turning China into just another police state (think a gigantic, more open version of North Korea): inefficient, ineffective, brittle, and bellicose. And that should worry not just China’s 1.4 billion citizens but the rest of us as well.

    To understand what makes Xi’s personal empire-building campaign so dangerous, it helps to first understand what made China exceptional for so long. Throughout modern history, most tyrannies and one-party states have shared a few basic traits. Power is held by a very small number of individuals. To maintain their power, those individuals repress dissent and rule by intimidation. Because bureaucrats and citizens live in fear, they compete to flatter their bosses. Nobody tells the truth, especially when it could make them or their leaders look bad. As a result, cloistered tyrants—their egos bloated by constant, obsequious praise—find themselves increasingly cut off from reality and the rest of the world (think Kim Jong Un, Bashar al-Assad, or Robert Mugabe) and end up ruling by whim and instinct with little sense of what’s actually happening in their own countries. The impact of this ignorance on domestic and foreign policy is disastrous.

    For 35 years or so—from the time Mao died and Deng Xiaoping launched his reforms in the late 1970s until Xi assumed power in 2012—China avoided many of these pitfalls and defied the law of political averages by building what scholars have called an “adaptive authoritarian” regime. While remaining nominally communist, the country embraced many forms of market capitalism and a number of other liberalizing reforms. Of course, the old system remained highly repressive (remember Tiananmen Square) and was far from perfect in many other ways. It did, however, allow the Chinese government to function in an unusually effective fashion and avoid many of the pathologies suffered by other authoritarian regimes. Censorship never disappeared, for example, but party members could disagree and debate ideas, and internal reports could be surprisingly blunt.

    No longer. Today, Xi is systematically undermining virtually every feature that made China so distinct and helped it work so well in the past. His efforts may boost his own power and prestige in the short term and reduce some forms of corruption. On balance, however, Xi’s campaign will have disastrous long-term consequences for his country and the world.”



    I don’t care how good the Chinese are at building infrastructure, I don’t want to live under a China-style authoritarian government. I would rather live under a corrupt, incompetent neoliberal government that gives me some freedom and wiggle room than under a disciplined, dedicated authoritarian state.

    But have you not noticed how under our capitalist-y neoliberal economic order, we’ve been sliding towards China’s surveillance state? Hell, the software that runs China’s Great Firewall was developed by Sun Microsystems, and now is utilized against nearly every American employee on their job. Give us time, our neoliberal order will be as dystopian and China’s; unless the Republicans continue to starve the government so much that we can’t afford universal surveillance and suppression, just a selectively brutal form.

    We can always hope for reform, but I’d bet like with Rome, I fear collapse may be the only out.

  11. bruce wilder

    “the first step”

    You lost me there. We are so far down this yellow brick road that talk of the 1000th step would not be far off and China started on this journey quite deliberately and thoughtfully two generations ago.

    That China set up its rise on the back of the financialization of the American economy was a deliberate strategy with profound effects on the political sociology of American elite governance.

    A good outcome almost requires overthrow of the American political classes as they now exist. And I mean Hillary and her ilk more than the idiot Trump.

  12. Dan Lynch

    To Ian’s excellent take on the situation, I would only add: China, even more than the U.S., is on a collision course with climate change. The U.S. produces a surplus of food, so we can suffer major crop failures and still have enough to eat, but not so China.

    In a sane world nations would be focused on creating the most sustainable economy, instead of creating the biggest and most powerful economy.

  13. nihil obstet

    A large part of the American economy now consists of so-called intellectual property and financial services. China can very easily quit enforcing American patents and copyrights in their manufacturing. That would hurt the U.S. economy badly. I’m not sure that it would hurt the real economy that deals with the production of physical goods so much, but our leaders don’t care about that. However, China may be interested in maintaining draconian intangible property laws as they see a rising ability to develop and patent technology themselves.

    There’s an issue with how much we depend on Chinese manufacturing for our procurement of all the military goods necessary to fight a war. Currently, I suspect that we don’t have the manufacturing capability to wage a big war on our own or with the support of willing allies.

  14. bob mcmanus

    Wikrent may link him in the aggregations but I’ll link again, because I read a lot of his pieces multiple times. Pablo Escobar of the Asia Times is terrific.

  15. Chiron

    LOL at people here calling Trump a idiot or wishing for “little emperors” to destroy or fragment China, a lot of wishful thinking with no basis on reality.

    The American establishment (hardcore Zionists) is getting everything they wanted from Trump, they’re definitely winning and China isn’t going anywhere, is here to stay. The next decade will be quite interesting, will be a fight between the Zionist elite and the far-right shabbo goyim agaisnt the Moderate-Center and anti-Imperialists.

  16. bruce wilder

    China from way back in the 1980s was always aiming at creating its own set of globally dominant multinationals with all the economic rent collection that implies. Huawei is just the latest manifestation of that strategy and it is the most dramatic because there is no longer any American or European player capable of building a supply chain for this emerging industry. This generation of cellular/wifi tech is completely under Chinese domination.

    The alarm is coming from the American deep state, which has witnessed Chinese espionage as well as breathtakingly ambitious foreign policy outreach. China bought the Greek port of Piraeus and now the Italian port of Fiume, both with the potential to draw in the middle income states of Eastern Europe into a Chinese global trade net.

    I think a hot war between the U.S. and Russia and China (it would be both — the Chinese are clever that way) will be blessedly short as long as nukes are not used. The U.S. cannot sail its ships in peacetime without colliding with things; in war, they are obsolete.

    The thing for those of us in the West to be most alarmed about is how divorced from reality and responsibility the political classes in the West are.

    I already see some focusing on the craziness of Trump, but we got Trump because Hillary thought Goldman-Sachs and globalization were great stuff and the flyover people were deplorable losers.

    The right-wing populists are filling in where liberals refuse to take responsibility. And, in denial, liberals are perhaps making themselves even more stupid and irresponsible — if that is possible — than Trump.

    Think about the strange preoccupations of mass polities in conflict with political elites before WWI: Dreyfus, Zabern, Curragh come to my mind. Do any compare with Brexit or Russia,Russia,Russia ?

  17. Herman


    Good points. What makes the neoliberal version of surveillance so insidious is that much of it is voluntary. Facebook and other social media platforms are like gifts to the government and employers when it comes to monitoring citizens and employees. Then you also have the high tech neo-Taylorism of the modern workplace that Ian has discussed before on his blog. I still appreciate the few civil liberties that I have, though, even if they are being diminished daily.

    I agree that we will likely have to see some kind of collapse scenario play out before we get out of this problem. I normally don’t agree with “the worse, the better” because a lot of people will get hurt along the way and they will mostly be the poor and weak, people who are victims of our current system and not the ones responsible. Also, there is no telling what we will get on the other side. A major crisis might bring in an even nastier regime than what we have now.

    But if we just keep kicking the can we will end up in some kind of dystopia and with the new technology coming down the line it might be a permanent dystopia with no hope of escape. Perhaps a major crisis will wake people up and we will work to resolve our issues before it is too late.

  18. venkat

    \”I would rather live under a corrupt, incompetent neoliberal government that gives me some freedom and wiggle room than under a disciplined, dedicated authoritarian state\”

    Brilliant. You have obviously missed the last 500 years of neocolonial rule, slavery, torture and murder of millions, in order to maintain the corrupt, incompetent neoliberal government that provides you with the necessary illusions of freedom and standard of living you have stolen from RoW.

  19. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    I am one of the “flyover people”, and I look at the majority of my peers and, indeed, I see deplorable losers.

    As for me, I feel like a Marvel Comics mutant who has decided that Professor Xavier is naive, and Magneto is correct to despise the normals.

  20. S Brennan

    Something does not compute:

    “The Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council established in October 24, 1945: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States”


    “Chinese do not accept the current international order after WWII as legitimate, because it was created almost entirely without their input when they were weak”

    Gotta disagree here Ian, China was politically over represented for 50-55 years which allowed it to gain it’s current position…I would add, at the expense of Russia.

  21. Hugh

    I think the US will be the world’s last hegemon because as others have noted, climate change, and I would add, overpopulation. My take on China is different. I see it as imperialistic but not hegemonic. Hegemony is about establishing a world order. This isn’t about just the projection of power. Hegemony is expensive, you need to take losses, run deficits, do a host of things that don’t directly benefit you. You can be highly critical of American hegemony, I am, but you can see the US doing these kinds of things. But with China if it doesn’t benefit Number One, Chung-kuo, the Middle Kingdom, then they’re out of there. This is a typically imperial stance. Imperialism is about picking and choosing among the bits of the world you want. Hegemony is about dealing with the whole enchilada, the bits you want, the bits you would rather pass on. Countries like China and Russia are drafting off of a world order that they seek to undermine, contribute next to nothing to, and continue to depend on. As for the US, our hegemony is failing even before climate change and overpopulation fully impact because we have lost our way. Our society is too unequal, and our political system too corrupt. A truth about power, not just that of hegemons, is that to keep it you need to stay ahead of the curve, and if you don’t, you get run over by it, and lose your power in the process. That’s where we in the US are now.

    On a slightly different subject, China’s supply chains are long and climate change and the political instability that will result from it will play havoc on these. I would note too that there is a major typhoon generator to the east of the Philippines and a slightly smaller one to the west of the Philippines. If climate change intensifies these storms, China’s industrial south and east are going to be hammered on a regular basis by superstorms. Again more disruption of its economic system.

  22. Hugh

    Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China held China’s Security Council seat from 1945 to 1971. After the Communist victory in 1949, the ROC became what it is today, Taiwan. In October 1971, and in the context of the Sino-Soviet split and Nixon’s opening to China, mainland China, the PRC, took over the China position in the UN, including the Security Council seat, as per General Assembly Resolution 2758.

  23. VietnamVet

    This is a comprehensive review. One word is missing. Corruption. The military capacity to fight a war has been hallowed out so the rich can get richer. There isn’t the manpower or material to invade and conquer Iran let alone Russia or China. Germany invaded Russia with four million men and failed. The paramount problem is the American Empire believes its own propaganda. It has no idea of China’s chauvinism or resentment. As the trade wars go bad and food riots spread due to flooding, drought and plagues, the chances exponentially increase of an angry decision to blockade Iran by seizing a tanker carrying Iranian oil to China. A war breaks out. In the beginning, the war would be strictly standoff missiles to save pilots lives due Russian anti-aircraft systems but by accident or by a swarm of Iranian missile boats, if an American aircraft carrier is sunk, the only escalation available is going nuclear. Civilization ends.

  24. S Brennan

    Yeah Hugh, I sure hope you’re not so deluded to think you were actually adding new information with your pedanticism…sheesh.

  25. Herman


    I am not denying the role that the United States and West in general played in colonialism and other atrocities. I am also not denying all of the terrible things done under neoliberalism. But I still like having some civil liberties. The Bill of Rights still means something to me. It is ridiculous to throw away all of the West’s achievements in the sphere of civil liberties and constitutional government because may of these same Western governments supported slavery, colonialism and other nasty things.

  26. Ché Pasa

    Challenging Iran, Russia and China among other (supposed) Rising Threats to US hegemony is baked in to the political and economic paradigms that were promulgated decades ago. What’s happening with the current set of warmongers in Washington has long been understood as inevitable based on the statements made and actions taken in service to the neoLibCon ruling principles essentially since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Project for the New American Century lays it out in remarkably prescient detail. But there are other planning documents and plenty of experience guiding the Project.

    The only surprise is that this phase is happening rather suddenly and simultaneously. And it is clearly being botched by any rational standard. But then we’re not dealing with rational things, are we?

    No, this is about US hegemony over the entire globe forever and ever, amen. It’s faith and belief held apparently universally among the highest of our mighty, they who would be the ones who would benefit from final victory — just as they have benefited from various defeats on this hegemonic path.

    It’s a mistake to believe the Chinese, Russians, Iranians or most other targets of the hegemon don’t understand this thoroughly and don’t understand the kinds of demonic forces (as they should rightly be characterized) in power in the US. It’s possible that Russia, but not China or Iran, saw the elevation of Trump to the throne as a relief valve, but no. The power of the neoLibCon paradigm is the force animating the US global enterprise regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. Trump is as much a part of it and a more than willing participant as any reviled and hated Democrat.

    The hegemonic failures in the Middle East have created chaos and little else, chaos which has had the ironic effect of destabilizing much of Europe along with the utter destruction of so much of the various post colonial national creations left in the wake of the world wars of the 20th century. Only a handful remain standing, and they are barely hanging on — with the exception of Israel which looks to be locking down and bunkerizing. The US, at any rate, is no hegemon in the region. Chaos is.

    In other words, the US has demonstrated rather plainly and painfully that it is no good at this world-ruling game. It is perhaps the lousiest hegemon that’s ever puffed itself up to enforce its rule.

    Apart from its stockpile of nukes and implicit threats to use them, the US has plenty of other means to enforce its demands for submission which we’re seeing employed more and more harshly against rivals and supposed threats from Venezuela and Cuba to China and Russia and various other rebellious parts of the globe. Resistance never ends, and as the hegemon stumbles and flails, resistance gets simpler and easier, the old ‘spanner in the works’ is as effective as it ever was. More so now, perhaps, as complexity makes the hegemon more vulnerable.

    The effect is to send the chaos right back to its source.

    China may be the current target for the neos, but I suspect it won’t be for much longer. Accommodations will be made. China is truly the Modern Marvel, and as Xi seems to see it, it is the model for the Outer Barbarians to follow if they would just open their eyes and learn. China doesn’t have to be a hegemon beyond its domestic empire. But as a model, it is intrinsically influential and powerful without threats and saber rattling and puffery. China’s example is much more than its material progress.

    The US example on the other hand is less and less influential, indeed, it is more and more reviled. How soon before it’s laughed at?

  27. Bill Hicks

    Meanwhile, it appears as though climate change is entering an accelerated phase, which may well render it all moot, ESPECIALLY if the Chinese economy (and greenhouse emissions) were to triple in size.

  28. Ven


    The bill of rights only means something if you are white and middle class plus. Ask the native Americans if the bill of rights means anything. Ask the Vietnamese, the Nicaraguans, the Chileans, the Indonesians, the Iraqis whether the bill of rights means anything.

    Finally ask African-Americans today if the bills of rights means anything – especially given the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, in which African-Americans are over-represented.

    And even as a white person, be careful where you tread, vide Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange – for what? – printing the truth.

    Your belief in bill of rights and constitutional protections is a naive white, middle class bubble that exists because independent, challenging thought has been washed out of most people’s minds, and so they don’t pose a threat. Sure people on these blogs express dissident views – but only because the vast majority ignore or are not interested in these issues. If that ever changes (highly doubtful), see how long your rights will last then.

  29. different clue

    @Bruce Wilder,

    It is good to be reminded that it was the Mainstream Catfood Democrats and Free Trade Hillarrhoids who advanced the concept of American being the Indispensable Nation. Indeed, it was Establishment Democrat Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who used that very phrase , ” We are the Indispensable Nation” to sanctify international lawbreaking by the DC FedRegime. She also advised us to remember that the carefully engineered mass-famine/disease kindercide of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it” as the price of bringing Freedom and Democracy to Iraq. This view is more Hillarrhoidal than Trumpanzish.

    China’s recent huge industrialization-increase was engineered by the Republican-Clintonite conspiracy to institute Free Trade with China against America. Clinton’s MFN-for-China law created the one way playing field which the anti-workeritic anti-unionitic American bussiness community used to carefully dismantle the American industrial base in America, pack it into crates, ship it to China, and rebuild the American industrial base in China to use China as an export aggression platform to exterminate American production activity with.

    Trump is not smart enough to understand that Free Trade is the problem. But Free Trade is the problem. And militant belligerent protectionised Economic Seclusionism is the solution. But that might not be possible without first rounding up and exterminating several million American Free Trade Supporters and burying them in mass graves. And that in itself would be very hard to do.
    So Free Trade will continue until Global Autoclaving itself shuts Free Trade down.

    Considering the health threat which Global Heat Stroking poses, the health threats posed by 5G seem derisory by comparison. But if we didn’t have Global Heat Stroking to worry about, I would say that America should ban 5G technology from existing within America’s borders. Let China roll out 5G technology and its 24/7 marination of its population in the 5G microwaves. Give it 50 years and see if China is pleased with the public health outcome. ( I suspect Global Heat Stroking will be a bigger problem in China than 5G cell-membrane calcium-channel-disruption, but that is another matter).

    The Mainstream Catfood Democrats and the MSM Fake News media colluded to get Trump nominated. They also colluded to prevent Sanders from getting nominated and instead coronated Hillary as the “nominee”. When they did that, they effectively threw the election to Trump. The amount of Black Milwaukee registered voters who Did Not Vote At All in the Trump v. Hillary election was bigger than the amount of the whisker-thin margin that Trump won Wisconsin by. The Hillarrhoids could reflect on that. But they won’t.

    So Trump won,and the rest is history, as they say. Well . . .nominations have consequences. What consequence will the Democrats achieve with their nomination this time around? Sigh . . .
    the Democrats come in two groups. The 4DDs ( the 4 Decent Democrats), and the CCCs ( the Catfood Clintonite Cluster). If the 4DDs can somehow swing the Mighty Tire Iron of Justice into the grinning teeth of the CCCs, then one of the 4DDs will be nominated over the Catfood Clintobamacrats’ dead bodies. If the 4DDs lose, then the Catfood Democrats will nominate one of their own.

    In a Trump versus Catfood election, Trump will win 40 or more states. Proving once again that nominations have consequences.


    Question: what is a shabbo goyim?

  30. different clue

    By the way, I just KNOW that Lefter Wingie intellectuals and other Noam Chomsky fan-club members think that the Rising Chinese Overlord will be a better ruler than the fading American Hegemon.

    To which I say: you could well be right. And aren’t you the lucky laddies and lassies? You will get to find out within your own lifetimes. Hopefully I will live long enough to see it. I will just laugh and laugh. Till the Global Heat Stroke kills me too.

  31. Herman


    I agree that there are deficiencies in the way liberal democracy operates in the United States and other Western countries but that doesn’t mean that we throw out the baby with the bathwater. I have complained about the crackdown on civil liberties and the rise of the surveillance state on this blog so I am not just some naïve American who thinks everything is fine in the USA. Ditto for our warmongering foreign policy.

    My point is that I don’t think the deficiencies of the American system means that we have to support a new hegemon (China) that is arguably even worse when it comes to civil liberties and human rights. Reflexive anti-Americanism and more broadly anti-Western bias is the leftism of fools. Too many people on the left are willing to look past the bad behavior of China and other regimes simply because they happen to be the great power rivals of the USA and the West more generally. You can be anti-imperialist without becoming an apologist for the Chinese government or other unsavory regimes.

  32. Ven


    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on which is the most unsavoury regime in the world. I think the record speaks for itself.

    I’m not an apologist for the Chinese govt, but their achievement to take a poor, illiterate, peasant society ruled by feudal or imperial overlords, to a country that has high literacy, health and income levels without fighting any major wars or stealing other people’s oil is unarguable.

  33. DMC

    Shabbos(or Shabbat) Goyim are gentiles hired by observant Jews to perform tasks that are prohibited to Jews during Shabbos. It is used here as a term of abuse for those gentiles who serve Zionist ends.

  34. different clue


    Thank you for the definition and its application in this case.

    The question arises: if considered in these terms, would the Rapturanian Armageddonite Christians be shabbos goyims for backing the Greater Likudistan version of Israel, or are the Greater Likudistanis serving as rapture jews for the the Rapturanian Armageddonite agenda of causing the War at Armageddon in the Middle East so that Jesus can come again and rule upon his Thousand Year Throne of Blood and Righteousness?

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