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

The Death Throes Of The World Europe Made

Most people don’t really get just how extensive European conquest of the world was.

The map’s a bit inaccurate over in Russia: most of Russia is “not Europe” and was conquered — most of it should be green, like North America. Likewise, Japan was conquered by the US, which is a European colony. Leaving aside their brutal war crimes, they were stupid to pick a fight with an industrialized continental power: there was never any chance of winning against the US, as Admiral Yamamoto told them.

But the point is fairly simple: Europeans made the modern world. Wiped out almost all the natives in North America; conqured all of Africa and South America, and almost all of Asia. We went around and imposed our form of capitalism. We destroyed local industry, as in India (which was at least as industrialized as England before the conquests) and forced the natives to trade with us on negative terms, the most famous example being the two Opium wars to make China allow the Opium trade, since England had almost nothing else the Chinese wanted to buy.

World War I and II were a competition between the European powers (which include the US, who had by then essentially completely wiped out the natives) and the US and USSR, the peripheral continental powers won the war, divided Europe between them, “de-colonized” and then ruled the world between them till the USSR collapsed, at which point the US got to tell almost everyone what to do and how to do it for a good twenty-plus years.

A few nations managed to sort of resist: Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea, but they were made to suffer vastly for their defiance.

The era ended, I would argue, when Russia sent troops to Syria. They defied the US directly, and fought, and the US backed down. One could argue for Georgia, but it was on Russia’s border. Syria was an assertion that the US could not overthrow any government it wanted and that it didn’t control the Middle East minus Iran.

But Russia, important as it is, is now a junior ally to China. They have the nukes, but they don’t have the economy to stand up to the West and NATO without China’s support, and they know it. The competition is not really between Russia and NATO or Russia and the Ukraine, but China and the US, even though neither side has anything more than observers on the ground.

The Russians have chosen their side: chosen not to be Europeans but to be Asians. They say this frequently, it’s a deliberate choice. If this century is to be the Asian one, Russia will be Asian. This change from looking to Europe and being essentially European is massive, and it’s what makes it possible for China to win. Losing Russia, with its vast resources and land ties to China makes it nearly impossible to use American sea-power to “choke out” China thru trade interdiction.

The coming cold war, and possible hot war (or a series of proxy wars) with China is about whether a non-European power will be allowed to remake the world Europe made. Everyone recognized that the US was Britain’s heir, ruling indirectly, but ruling nonetheless. It is about a different, non-EuroAmerican elite being powerful: people who don’t believe in exactly the same things as the trans-Atlantic rulers.

It is an existential threat to European rule, and it is being treated as such. The “yellow peril” has arrived.

In 30 years, will Mandarin be the the new English? The new lingua-Franca? The language everyone has to know and that you can, if clumsily, get by on almost everywhere?

Absent a major war, likely nuclear, or civilization collapse, I find it hard to see a scenario where China doesn’t become the most important global power. Oh, they have problems–but so does everyone.  Cries of how they can’t do it because of culture seem weak to me: China was the civilization leader for most of the last 2,000 years, the idea that Chinese culture can’t produce science, music, arts and all the other flowers of civilization is absurd and they’ve certainly been able to adopt our innovations, just as we previously adopted gunpowder and the printing press from them.

Everything ends. We Europeans had our day in the sun (though my Irish ancestors missed most of it) and now the sun sets, as it always does.



China’s Trade Surplus Grows, Including With the US


Open Thread & Fundraising Finale


  1. bruce wilder

    In a sharp turn toward increased autarky and national self-reliance, the U.S. has some geographical and resource advantages — not least a still modest population to land ratio — but on present trends in foreign policy, I don’t expect a graceful fallback. Reducing the vast American overcommitment to “war is a racket” and global empire bent to the interests of American multi-national corporations would be the smart move, but too many are paid way too much to betray their country on behalf of greed and stupidity. Almost the whole political class, rich and self-satisfied, are sucking on the teats of the mother sow of imperial overreach.

    The War in Ukraine illustrates and exemplifies the political problem and the supreme obstacles to solving that problem in the interests of the People of the U.S. or indeed of humanity in general.

    I see little commentary that acknowledges the full horror of what has been done in our name or, indeed, in the name of Justice, falsely and cynically invoked for the umpteenth time in the long history of the U.S. trying to run the world in a never-ending fit of absent-mindedness.

    Americans seem to have no capacity to remember failure or punish genuine wrong-doing. Seeing the obvious in patterns of events is derided as “conspiracy theory”. And completely fabricated conspiracy theories never die. (e.g. Russiagate — I regularly see commentary premised on the idea all that nonsense was real!) We have had scandal after scandal in the behavior of the national security state and only the whistle-blowers go to jail.

    Those who scoff at idealism would do well to remember that the USA’s reputation as a benevolent Power rested on FDR’s genuine idealism and everyone since has traded on betrayal of those ideals.

    I can hardly believe that Germany or Britain or Italy won’t erupt as wave after wave of imminent impoverishment hits them. Does no one near political power or authority in those countries dare to acknowledge what is happening to them or why?

    I know few in the U.S. who would fully embrace the idea that the U.S. has been the decisive factor in the coup in Peru, storming the Congress and Presidential Palace in Brazil, while shaping unrest in Iran and who knows what murderous destruction in Africa. The U.S., under an obviously senile President, is also wildly out of control across the globe.

    I saw a French intellectual quoted to the effect that the U.S. foreign policy establishment does not regard the stakes in Ukraine as an existential threat to the U.S. but is wrong and will find out differently. Maybe Western Europe will figure things out and jump ship in a desperate moment of insight of what an Asian Century means for them, on the butt end of the Eurasian continent.

    I do think the combination of an obsolete suite of military hardware and the much abused authority of the international dollar system is vulnerable to a sudden collapse in a dual loss of confidence. Something to look forward to.

  2. VietnamVet

    I absolutely agree that the European rule of the world is over. The Vietnam War was the first absolute defeat, armed with AK-47s, of western (European) invaders. The Ukraine proxy world war is an existential conflict over the position of the much-depleted North America and Europe will have in the new multi-polar world.

    Or, in another words, will a sentient creature, discovers of nuclear energy, destroy oneself once again in this universe? Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

    The current global ruling ideology is founded on a horrid amoral greed that declares that society does not matter, only money. The Chinese Communist Party shows the power of aggression acquisition by letting coronavirus rip through its population to keep its economy growing.

    Globalization is even taking down statues of Confederate Generals (European descendants) built earlier to unify the North American European Empire – the USA.

    The basic dividing lines of the clash of civilizations is clear to see. It is where the colors on the map above meet. Except the green color has move west through Russia into Ukraine to the eastern bank of the Dnieper River and the borders of Finland and Poland. History is not dead.

    Globalization and amassing individual’s wealth has blinded the western elite to reality.

    Rules and regulation, taxes, government by and for the people, cooperation, justice for all, and resource sharing are necessary for civilization to work. It will have to become the new normal in order for human beings to survive on earth.

  3. GrimJim

    Having no insight into what’s going on in the CIA and Alphabet Soup of agencies, all he sudden revolutions and rebellions and resistances, often with completely diametrically opposed interests, seems more the work of KAOS or SPECTRE than a US agency…

    But maybe that’s all they have left, is the ability to create chaos and destruction, without even a simple goal such as cheaper bananas.

    Maybe for them, now, like the Deplorables, the hate and cruelty and chaos they generate is the means and the ends. It makes them feel powerful.

    And maybe, as a side benefit, it makes the others collapse that much faster, so that they can laugh at the destruction they wrought as the howling mobs drag them from their offices and hang them from lampposts as the light fade out.


  4. bruce wilder

    Chaos is a ladder.

  5. Soredemos

    Most of the century will be Chinese dominated (or at least until climate change brings about a general collapse), but I seriously doubt Mandarin will become an international language.

    Because, simply, it sucks. Subjectively I find it to be about the ugliest set of sounds for communication humans have ever concocted, but more objectively it’s the worst, most cumbersome writing system ever developed. And its flaws have become only more glaringly obvious in the age of the internet and a heavily internationalized economy. Chinese is inherently poorly suited for either typing or transliteration of foreign words. Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese have both taken multiple stabs at keyboard systems for constructing hanzi characters out of strokes, and ultimately they’ve all sucked and at this point everyone just types out words in Latin script and selects the appropriate hanging from a drop-down menu. At least the Japanese can fall back on kana typing (though in practice no one does anymore and they’ve also switched to Latin transliteration).

    Every society that has ever used Chinese characters has ultimately either lessened their dependence on them or run screaming from them altogether. Chinese will continue to use them because they’re locked into that system (though even there there have been attempts at reforming the characters to suck less).

  6. Ché Pasa

    In some ways, I think the West has already ceded to China and Asia in general and the struggle now is over what position the West will have in relation to the (actual) New World Order.

    Europeans and their global descendants have long had a paranoid fear of being under some other rulership than their own, and much of the effort toward conquest and colonial settlement and exploitation was/is driven by that fear.

    What China has been trying to do since loosening the Maoist strictures and the adoption of a distinctly Chinese/Asian version of Capitalism is to demonstrate to the West/Europeans that they have nothing to fear from Chinese/Asian ascendance, that if they’d just settle back and think of England (h/t DC 😉 everything will be fine. Just fine.

    The rulership of the West seems split over whether to accept Chinese terms or no. So much of the money making so important to the Western oligarchy is derived from and dependent on Chinese industry and well-being. That the Chinese politburo has chosen to let the Covid virus run rampant is deeply worrying to a faction of the Western oligarchy because of the risk that poses to… money-making. But so far, it’s been benign from the oligarchs’ standpoint. The crisis is real but the consequences, so far, are confined to the untermenschen in both China and the West, and the Chinese economic engine is moving back into positive territory — even as Chinese population shrinks. What’s not to like from the oligarchs’ perspective. They can live — very comfortably — with this.

    The ongoing disaster in Ukraine is a side-show compared to the overall reconfiguration of global power. Ukraine is being slowly but surely destroyed and depopulated, and the ongoing struggle is turning Ukraine into an Empty Quarter on the periphery of Europe. The struggle is between Western interests — primarily oligarchic — for control of… what exactly? While the warfare in Ukraine could be seen as an opening salvo in WWIII, much as the Balkan Wars of the 1910-1914 era were unknowingly leading to the catastrophe of WWI, it doesn’t seem to going that way any more. Instead, it’s a grinding up of surplus (?) military equipment and the physical destruction of much of Ukraine’s civic infrastructure, driving out the population and dispersing them through Europe and European Russia.

    We hear stories of enormous combat losses on both sides. And yet, almost magically, more troops appear from out of nowhere to enter the fray. More equipment, more battles. This happens on both sides, US/Nato and Russia. Given the rate of loss, it would seem the entire Ukrainian armed forces were wiped out — several times over. And yet they fight on. Russia too has had unsustainably high losses, yet the battles continue. Something else than what we’re told is going on. But what?

    In this fight it’s European Russia against European Ukraine. It’s not Asia against The West. From all appearances, it’s also a colonial war of aggression initiated by Russia but sustained by the US/Nato. While China chuckles.


  7. Mary Bennett

    Americans are taught, in willful defiance of what is clearly visible on any globe or world map, that there seven continents–the sacred number!–and that “Europe” is one of them. I have had arguments with public school teachers about this point. “Oh, but I consulted a professional geographer and he told me…” Is not there a named logical fallacy about referring to a supposed authority figure?

    As for the Confederate statues (sigh), while one might wish that the same or similar passion and activism might be devoted to the kinds of policies, such as price and rent controls, which might actually better the lives of the poorest among us, it is past time the South accepts that it lost the Civil War. I am personally far less offended by statues of forgotten generals than I am by the flood of religious emotionalism and trashy popular culture which southerners have unleashed on the rest of us for decades now.

  8. Eric Anderson

    Sometimes I think that a nuclear was is truly the least impactful, and most expedient, means of ending the slow grinding geopolitical eco-horror show produced by western hegemony. I say this given Medvedev’s most recent remarks.

    It seems the only thing sudden enough to break our brains from the cognitive dissonance virtually 99% of the world is locked in. Ian has done posts before on the inadequacy of our old tribal brains to deal with problems that roll out over too long a time span. Humans aren’t wired for it. The way to defeat the cognitive dissonance trap is through action. Not thought. We don’t change our actions by thinking about them. We change our thoughts by acting. Our actions, today, presage a slowly unfolding eco/genocidal catastrophe the likes the world has never seen.

    It’s coming. We are doing it. There is no argument to escape this fact. Viewed in this light, grim as it may be, I don’t think I’m necessarily wrong.

    And, btw, I deactivated my account on that fascist billionaires social media website. It’s the fediverse or bust from here on out. It seems the only defensible ethical position.

  9. Willy

    I’m curious if the western ‘plutocratic power dynamic’ which we bitch about so much around here, will take hold in China. And then disgruntled Chinese thinkers will be bitching about how entitled-stupid-incompetent-dysfunctional their own plutocrats have become. China does after all, have a history of bizzarro stuff like dead emperors forcing their servants to be buried alongside them.

  10. Willy

    As for why Europe got that way, I had a sociologist prof once tell me that it was the land which inspired the drive towards conquest, at least in the early days of human development, and that conquest warfare inspired technology. Think of all those great swaths of geography where people lived out their lives without much in the way of conquest or technology: the Brazilian rainforest, American plains, African savannah, Australian outback, the tundra north… And then think of those much smaller zones like Mesoamerica, Fertile crescent, the Balkans, Yellow River… where tribal groups were constantly trying to conquer each other. Then compare European geography with the rest of the world.

    Today nobody gathers scouting parties to walk for days and days to see what’s over the horizon, to try and discover better ways to live, which the sociopaths amongst them can then dream of conquering. Today everybody just goes online or flies to Davos. This might be changing things.

  11. anon y'mouse

    “And, btw, I deactivated my account on that fascist billionaires social media website. It’s the fediverse or bust from here on out. It seems the only defensible ethical position.”

    which one?

    btw, the whole internet is owned and run by Them. they are also spooks (and so is Melon Husk).

  12. different clue

    @ bruce wilder,

    That French intellectual who said . . . ” I saw a French intellectual quoted to the effect that the U.S. foreign policy establishment does not regard the stakes in Ukraine as an existential threat to the U.S. but is wrong and will find out differently.” . . . .

    Did he mean that America will find out that Ukraine is important enough that America will go to war with Russia directly about it? Does this French intellectual merely think that? Or does he hope for it? Does he hope that America and Russia will destroy eachother so that Europe can then rule the world?

  13. Jorge

    China is somewhat like the old Holy Roman Empire: it has an organization with a lot of power that is devoted to the betterment of the citizens, in some way. The CCP is the old Catholic Church in this comparison, when the Church had real power. The “Enlightenment” booted the Church out of its position of power of everyday life.

    A beautiful example: in the end of July 2021, the Chinese govt. killed an industry: cram schools. Cram schools are a fundamental force for societal stratification: you, the affluent parent, pay to push your child ahead of the masses stuck with public school. Some major players in the Chinese cram schools were listed on the NYSE: TAL, GOTU, EDU (!!). They still have stock listings, but the charts show they got kneecapped in the end of July 2021 and have been crawling since then.

    This was part of a broader set of regs to control industries that the CCP decided are bad for society: money-lending, cram schools, a few other things Internet-based disruptors like ride-sharing which destroy an industry in favor of one company and a few billionaires. This is the profile of a society where control is not centralized in the very rich. Europe ditched this concept in the Enlightenment, and switched to a system where the very rich are completely in control (called liberalism, where every man is an island but some islands are continents).

  14. Eric Anderson

    @anon y’mouse
    Nailed it.
    I refer to the one that is also in the space imperialism race & builds cars that don’t drive themselves as claimed.
    And I jumped ship to Mastodon. I’m at:
    I’d love to know who else is there that hangs with Ian.
    And again, ahem cough cough. I’d love to see your presence Ian. I link you over there all the time and would love to point people directly to you. Costrike beat me there by a couple days.

  15. Willy

    Soredemos is probably correct about Mandarin. Today a non-english speaking Turk visiting Tokyo, who wants to get to Shibuya, can approach a non-english speaking Swede and be pointed towards a sign that says “Shibuya →”. It’s still a Japanese word but with the useful Latin transliteration which most outsiders can understand. I’ve seen lots of street walk videos from China but rarely see this useful system used in such a practical way, Chinese-whatever to Latin. Instead, I see a lot of straight English words and names and phrases on signs to describe some shop or restaurant, as if English speakers are just too lazy to learn a few native words describing important things like “gas station” or “bathroom”.

    So yeah, I don’t see either Latin letters nor English words being replaced anytime soon.
    Our Dear Leaders have been practical enough to promote whatever’s useful to get us to keep donating our efforts to them. So however we predict the future, we probably need to be keeping this in mind. What would a drug dealer do?

    I also deal with mostly Chinese built products. While most function as intended, they’re either an installers nightmare or modern-consumerist gadgetry made not-to-last. The Japanese may yet have their day, again.

    But then Ikea still does well selling its Chinese robot made crap for folks without the time or space to build their own, and the latter keeps on coming online.

  16. Mark Level

    All very true, and great commentary as usual. I’ll agree with Soredemos that Chinese is far too byzantine to likely ever become a world language lingua franca, although I suppose if they achieve some kind of stable worldwide presence for half as many decades as “the West” has, it could happen, since certainly children can learn any language via immersion up to age 12 or so, if there were adequate political-economic incentive to. But count me skeptical. (Having learned Spanish in 3-4 months living abroad, it is easy to see why that language spread and had its period of power. It’s almost entirely logical and follows the grammatical rules with very few exceptions, unlike the synthetic blend of languages that is modern English with weird little patterns like hoof-hooves, dive- dove, etc. or having there, their, they’re; also we can raise a barn or we can raze a city (as Bush Jr’s forces did to Fallujah) & pronunciation is identical) . . . as to Willy’s concern, I think that if we believe in “human nature” (a slippery concept, generally poorly defined but sometimes useful), we can expect a timeline of competence leading to cluelessness and utter lack of awareness of reality such as our own ruling class currently shows . . . So if the US, as the violent, racist, land- & resource-grabbing Settler-Colonialist experiment that it was (as Ian notes) had some high level of competence in the RC to maneuver (alongside Russia) to become one of 2 dominant global powers when the UK, German Reich and Japanese regional Asian bully burned out in 1945, there may be competent management for some decades. Speaking as (regretfully, by birth) a ‘Murican, I’d say thru FDR’s time and for maybe 2 decades after, the rulers knew that the subjects had to at least perceive some chance at a decent life, dignity (maybe) and a vibrant culture to stay invested. I guess all that went to hell mainly because of the rise of the Alphabet Agencies of Chaos a couple folks reference earlier in the thread, starting with the Dulles brothers (murderous swine) ascent in the 50s, then the lovely invention of NeoLiberal orthodoxy (enrich the richest & f–k the majority) by Ayn Rand cultists “Austrian” “economics” (etc.) & the Powell memo, once taken up by Jimmy Carter after the Powell memo, then juiced up even more by Reagan, the Clintons et al. spelled the death knell for the Western way as leaders de-industrialized to drive wages down, the masses sunk deeper and deeper into Celebrity Circuses, despair and self-medication to numb the pain . . . Anyhoo, like pretty much everyone else here, I am very happy to welcome in “the Asian Century” though it may run for 3 decades (as the environment worsens) or longer if their leadership is better in the short to medium run . . . not hopeful, but glad to see “the Death of the West”, which can be entirely blamed on the arrogant, piggish elites, and has nothing to do with “the gheys,” people no longer worshiping the Confederate heroes or Action Jackson Jaybuss etc., as the “traditionalist” morons would have it.

  17. Trinity

    To everything, there is a season … And a time to every purpose under Heaven. (Quoting The Byrds here). 🎶

    As the saying goes, the moment something is born, death eventually follows. Each follows the other in due course. The only differences are the length of time between birth and death.

    These days, I’m not so hopeful I will see any end to this cycle, mostly because they seem so entrenched. I never know whether to hope or laugh (sadly) when I see headlines like (paraphrasing) “some Congress people want to end Citizens United”.

  18. VietnamVet

    These are interesting times. Al Gore is Cassandra yelling at the Philistines. The tragedy of the COVID pandemic is that lies were used to sell gene therapies to get rich and to avoid spending tax money on public health. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea all successfully stayed basically COVID free the first year and China for three years. But, in the end, for those on the top of the heap, keeping their economies growing is more important that the lives of the others. The excess deaths are real. The Elites just don’t want to know the exact causes because it really comes down to them and how they are accumulating their wealth.

    Being an outlier is a dangerous. It is an invitation for jail or homelessness.
    Money is needed to live.

    The human hierarchy is family, gangs, cartels, militias, nations, and empires. The top preying on those below. Right now, the world is composed of cartel-nations. Communist leaders by letting pestilence roam freely in China no longer have the mandate of heaven. The Chinese will be looking for a new Emperor to keep the 3000-year-old civilization going. The US/UK Western Empire is splintering apart just like the Soviet Union. Hopefully this time again without a nuclear war despite the Ukraine proxy world war. Most likely the West will devolve into ethnic city states grouped around nuclear armed military bases in midst of the second 45-year Cold War with Russia and China.

    Perhaps, as a result, to keep western civilization alive, democratic republics governed by and for the people will be restored.

  19. Astrid

    I agree with the others that Chinese makes no sense as a global lingua franca. It’s very hard to pick up speaking proficiency if you don’t start very young. I’m told that even old China hands, westerners who lived there for decades and married native speakers, never sounds right compared to locals who, to my ear, speaks very heavily accented Mandarin. Perhaps it’s the self consciousness in the act.

    Having said that, Pinyin is really a very straightforward pronunciation system. If you see a character written out in Pinyin, you know exactly how it should sound with no exceptions. And not sure where some people here get their information, but Pinyin is everywhere in Mainland Chinese signage, especially road signs. All Mainland Chinese proper names in English are identical to Pinyin, without the tonality accent mark. Taiwanese and overseas Chinese proper names use Wade-Giles or adhoc transliterations. However, there are dozens of characters for each sound in common usage and whose use in spoken language is contextually determined, so Pinyin is only a pronunciation aid and doesn’t work as an alternative to the character based language.

    Incidentally, some of the “most standard” Mandarin speakers live in the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas. Partly it’s because their comparative wealth allows for higher education standards but at least partly because their regional dialects are so different from Mandarin that the locals had to properly learn the latter as a language, rather than being “good enough” in Sichuan or Hunan.

    The written language can be challenging, though I always think the difficulty is exaggerated. Chinese characters are made up of components that give clue to their pronunciation and meaning, much as they do in romance languages (there are components for water, soil, metal, wood, animal, human, vegetable, etc.). It does require rewiring your brain differently because of how everything is organized, but it’s not necessarily much harder for naive speakers. The grammar rules are thankfully very straightforward and logical, due to rectification efforts that have been going on for centuries.

    (Classical Chinese is a totally different matter. Anything written in classical Chinese is about as incomprehensible to the modern Chinese as Latin is to modern westerners. And that’s probably understating the difficulties because it comes from a literary tradition that’s highly reliant on allusions to past works, so you won’t fully get what they’re saying until you’ve memorized the entire literary canon prior to the piece you’re reading. A single character can convey the meaning that would take a paragraph to write out, touching on prior uses of that character in similar contexts. Classical Chinese education starts from literary canon starting from the Spring Autumn period and move forward.)

    Not sure any of these difficulties really matters though. The currently available translation software is already pretty good and will likely get much better. So there’s probably no need for any two parties to poorly converse in a third language.

  20. Ché Pasa

    Well now hold on. The “masses” — whether in the USofA or Yurp (haven’t seen that locution used for a while) are quite invested in their national/imperial project. It’s not just learned Patriotism which is strong among them, it is the sense of Innate Superiority over the jibbering hordes no matter where they may be. It’s not gone away and it is not going away. Compare and contrast the British Commonwealth with the rise of the rightist populist movements and power globally. What’s the difference? Style mostly. British still think of themselves as Global Civilizers. As do the Western rightists in power and seeking power. And the jibbering natives are there to be exploited, controlled, and when necessary, disposed of.

    Nothing changes. Despite stylistic differences.

    The Western masses go along with it. As they’ve always done. As long as there is some Other to keep down and take from, they will keep on and keep with it.

    The problem is that the Chinese/Asian model doesn’t follow the Western one despite superficial resemblances. China may be domineering, but is not seeking an external empire. Their domestic one is actually more than sufficient given internal population declines. They seek and are establishing external alliances and “friendship” in an effort to counter Western external imperialist reconstitution and revival. They’ve seen this happening — and witnessed the destruction it’s caused — for decades, and historically experienced it themselves. They don’t want it again. Nor really does any of the rest of the world. Yet Yurp , the Anglosphere and the USofA especially are determined, aren’t they?

    Right now, I don’t think there will be a physical war against China and its allies — growing in number — like there is against Russia and its few allies, but a psychological war is underway as we speak. The “masses” in the West are all in. We who object and counsel otherwise are outliers. A fringe minority. The Western rulership does not listen to the fringes, does it? Does not listen to any but insiders.

    This period has an unknown outcome at this point, but Mandarin is no more difficult to learn, I’m told, than English. Interesting…

  21. Willy

    Pinyin street signs usually focus on English translations and words and not mandarin phonetics. A Turk or Swede is going to have to learn what “Rd.” or “Central” or “Seat Belts Required” mean in English and not Mandarin. I’ve never seen the reverse system used in English speaking places outside of designated ‘Chinatowns’. So again, I really don’t think that English is being replaced even inside of mainland China.

    I think the cultural significance is all about the coolness of consumerism over traditional values.

    I own one tee shirt with Asian script on it. I rarely ever see Asian script tee shirts on PNW streets, populated with many Asians. But anybody can take a video street walk in Guangzhou or Kunming and see many of the residents wearing tee shirts with English words and pop phrases and advertisements on them. I even saw one guy wearing a shirt with a picture of The Terminator saying “Fuck You Asshole” on it.

    My whole point wasn’t to dick around over of the use of Mandarin, but the idea that rampant consumerism is the World Europe Made, and whoever controls all that are our actual overlords regardless of cultural heritage.

  22. anon y'mouse

    i think “the masses” are too busy trying to pay the mortgage/rent to have much time to feel superior to anyone.

    but if they do, it’s a sop the PMC hand them in place of living wages and any chance to die without debts.

    it’s internal as well as external: “well, at least we’re not as bad as X over there” where “there” is down the block, on the wrong side of the tracks or at the border.

    considering the culture, or lack thereof, and considering public education, what does one expect? magical self-emancipation? most menfolk are more obsessed with the spurts team ball throwing competition, and perhaps they are wise to be so out of touch considering they can have no genuine impact on any of it even if they were to pay attention.

  23. Eric Anderson

    “Right now, I don’t think there will be a physical war against China and its allies …”

    By extension then, you don’t believe China will move on Taiwan?
    Because if/when that happens … it’s on.

  24. multitude of poors

    First: regarding using software to translate: what happens when the electricity is out?????? When one has no computer/Android?/Iphone?????

    Second: very curious: how many suspect that Matt Mullenweg of WordPress; Auttomatic; Akismet: et al, is a spook behind the scenes, vaporizing comments? It’s a highly reasonable question. A day ago I posted something very crucial (not at this site), at a WordPress site, which was vaporized, despite a comment number being assigned, I used to think it was the website blocking such comments, now I’m not so sure.

  25. multitude of poors

    Adding to my last comment above, if it shows, I am already aware (have been for quite some time), that Google, Facebook, Twitter, Drupal likely, etcetera, have been infested with spooks from day one.

  26. Ché Pasa

    China doesn’t need to “move on Taiwan” in the sense of conquest and absorption any more than China moved on Hong Kong.

    Taiwan is a part of China, a renegade province as they say. Consequently, Taiwan and the Mainland are intimately tied to one another, culturally, ethnically and economically, and it makes no sense for China to invade or otherwise try to seize the island. On the other hand, the United States has been trying to fortify Taiwan against a Chinese invasion that hasn’t come and still isn’t likely to. This gets ridiculous after a while, and then relations return to normal, and the cycle repeats after a few years.

    Of course, I thought Russia wouldn’t invade Ukraine, so what do I know?! ;-0

  27. rkka

    “But Russia, important as it is, is now a junior ally to China. They have the nukes, but they don’t have the economy to stand up to the West and NATO without China’s support, and they know it. ”

    Russia tried hard 1985-2003 to be a US junior ally. Bismark said “in every alliance, there is the horse, and a rider” Russia was a willing Bismarkian horse, but we left her in a waterless corral up a box canyon & ignored her.

    In 2003, Putin earned US enmity when he jailed or exiled a bunch of oligarchs who refused to stop looting the Russian economy down to the bare walls & offshoring the proceeeds. WaPo columnist David Ignatius thundered about how Putin was to supposed to be a “sober Yeltsin” equally compliant, just more effective tactically.

    2003-2022, he tried hard to negotiate better terms for Russia’s continued integration, trying to improve his negotiating position by adding a mixture of coercion, into the West, but glimmerings of an Asian alternative started to rise. Post 2008, Russians noted East Asian economic dynamism compared to EU economic stagnation & started to think “Maybe we oughta hitch our wagon to that…”, but still Europe remained the main option, until January 2023.

    The final Russian ultimatum wasn’t “Comply or we invade Ukraine.”

    It was “Comply, or we turn our backs on you.”

    But turning their backs on the Ukrainian Armed Forces & Military-Industrial complex integrated into NATO would have been foolhardy, so as a preliminary, those would have to be burned to the ground. That’s the Russian objective in this war.

    Russia has left all EU institutions, and is slicing its bilateral relations with the US to the bare bone.

    And so a major page of world history, Russia’s 300+ year integration in the West, has turned, and is over.

    Having found the terms of being a Western junior partner literally unlivable, they’re going to be PRCs, and the PRC would have to work really hard to treat them worse.

  28. anon y'mouse

    if they can’t turn ya, they will burn ya.

    that’s my rule of thumb. anyone who is operating such a rich target is, if not a spook themselves then probably infiltrated heavily by them, and playing ignorant.

    see Aaron Schwartz.

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