Saturday, September 14, 2019

Xi Who Must Be Obeyed

Xi Who Must Be Obeyed

The media was in an uproar about the influence of Russia on the 2016 Presidential election.  They have, however, almost completely ignored the massive influence that China will have on the upcoming 2020 election.

President Xi Jinping, now 66 years old, is China's undisputed paramount leader.  In 2017 The Economist magazine declared Xi the most powerful person in the world.  Forbes agreed in 2018.  Xi's power, unlike that of Trump or any American president, is unconstrained constitutional limitations.

China is a colossus bestriding the world today.  She has around nearly 1.6 billion people -- the most populous nation on earth.  The Chinese economy has been growing steadily and at a rapid rate (always over 6%) since the late 1970s.  Since 2010 the Chinese economy as measured by GDP is the second largest in the world.

Is Xi a Communist?  Well, in some sense he is.  Xi is the General Secretary of the Communist Party.  But he is hardly a doctrinaire Maoist.  He and his family were personally victimized by the Cultural Revolution.  Mao was the kidney stone that China eventually passed after great pain and suffering; over 40 million are estimated to have been killed as a result of Mao's policies making him a greater executioner than Hitler or Stalin

Nor is Xi an ideological Marxist.  He is the steward of China's economic growth.  The Chinese have enormous pride in their ancient civilization.  China traded with ancient Rome.  China was a sophisticate civilization when Europe was in a prolonged Dark age that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire.

China is an explosive capitalist engine with a thin veneer of Communism.  For China Communism simply means that neither Xi nor any future Chinese leader can create a feudal family run dynasty as in days of old.  Each Supreme Chinese leader must select a successor based upon merit much as Julius Caesar selected Augustus.  It was executive ability and merit that earned Xi his current position rather than mere party loyalty.

China lights up the world

A central truth about China is that it is a combustible society.  This is the nation that gave us gunpowder.  This is the nation that has perfected fireworks that entertain crowds around the world.

China's greatest fear is the possibility of anarchy and Civil War.  One and a half billion people cannot be expected to always agree.  Take food for example.  Those in Hunan like their chicken spicu and hot while those in Canton prefer it sweet and sour.
Ghengis Khan
China built a wall to keep the Mongols out

We all know that Civil Wars can be costly.  The English Civil War of the 17th Century claimed over 50,000 lives.  We Americans know that the US Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American history taking around 3/4 of a million lives in the 19th Century.  But China takes the cake for frequent and horrendously bloody civil wars. 

China has fought at lest four civil wars that claimed well over a million lives.  The Mongol Conquests of the 13th and 14th  centuries cost over 30 million lives.  The Transition from ming to Qing in the 17th century is estimated to have cost over 25 million lives.  The Taiping Rebellion which lasted from 1850 to 1864 cost at least 20 million lives (some sources estimate 100 million) which is more than all the lives lost in World War I by all sides.  World War II became a Civil War and featured not only the Nationalists and the Communists, but also a substantial block of collaborationists that supported the Japanese occupier (See .  The most recent Chinese Civil war which raged from 1927 to 1949 between Nationalists and Communists claimed 8 to 12 million lives.

Taiping Rebellion
1850 - 1864
20 - 100 Million lives
China insists endlessly that there is only one China denying the diversity of
central government that can fundamentally alter course every fours years or so as in America is anathema to a society that seeks to plot its progress in terms of centuries.  The Chinese are horrified by the ideological pendulum swings that occur in western democracies.   China had disastrous 19th and 20th centuries.  She wants to climb back up to the top of the pyramid sometime in the 21st century.  And Xi Jinping wants, above all to steer her on that course.  Xi wants to keep China's economic engine running and to put it at the forefront of all nations eventually overtaking the USA in terms of the economy, military and even cultural.  No one in China doubts that Xi's mission is to Make China Great Again!

It is the combustibility of China and its long history of Civil wars that were the cause of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square thirty years ago.  It is this continued fear of anarchy that lies behind Xi's thinking now with regard to the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

Xi enjoys the power of life and death over his Chinese citizens.  Moreover, he has the power of a Kingmaker in regard to American politics.  It will be up to him to decide whether or not to do a trade deal with President Trump.  If Xi prefers to deal with the devil he knows, then there will be a trade deal with China well before the November election.  If Xi prefers to take his chances with a new American president, then Trump's chances in 2020 decline dramatically.

All of Xi's deliberations depend upon his calculation of what will benefit China and her economy in the long term.

My speculation is that Xi will very likely do a trade deal with the USA knowing he will materially help re-elect Trump rather than face the uncertain gamble of a new American president.  Furthermore, I speculate that Xi will NOT launch a violent crackdown on the Hong Kong mainly because he knows that the West (his trading partners) are watching.

This week Trump announced a delay in the imposition of new tariffs on China ( in 2020 And no wonder.  Trump cannot win without the support of farmers who have been hard hit by Chinese trade policies.  Trump needs a Chinese trade deal to win in 2020.

Xi, who must be obeyed, now enjoys power and influence that Putin can only dream of.

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