One of the more concerning ramifications of China’s recent turn toward a more totalitarian stance at home is what it means for the geopolitical environment in the years ahead. Several people asked in the comment section of Part 1 why I care about what’s going on in China when we have so many serious problems in the U.S.
The reason is because a major shift in the polices of the second largest economy in the world, populated with over a billion people and run by leadership intent on establishing a far more dominant position on the world scale militarily and politically, will affect everyone.
Government propaganda is one of the most insidious and dangerous things that regularly occurs within human society, and it’s been pervasive in essentially all civilizations to-date. The media’s always a key ally in the dissemination of propaganda, something much of the American public has finally come to understand. The election of Donald Trump despite the U.S media’s unanimous support of Hillary Clinton was the real wakeup call, and has led to incessant calls for platform monopolies like Google and Facebook to censor speech that questions the dominant intelligence agency narratives. There’s nothing more terrifying to an entrenched power structure than a loss of the narrative, and the election of Trump proved to them that they lost it. The American establishment isn’t really afraid of Trump, it’s far more concerned that his election signified a loss of narrative control.
Narrative is particularly important to lunatics who run a global empire, and the U.S. media’s almost always happy to oblige. For example, the media’s enthusiasm to swallow government propaganda is what led to the Iraq war disaster, in addition to so many other societal tragedies I write about here on a daily basis. While the marriage between U.S. government propaganda and a complicit corporate media has been a demonstrable danger to the world, we shouldn’t for a moment think American propaganda is the only threat. Other powerful governments use it as well, and China is no exception.
With Russia obsession dominating almost every domestic media headline these days, Americans are woefully ignorant regarding the explicit intentions the Chinese government has for the world. Fortunately, you can get into the mindset of China’s leadership via their state-sponsored media channels. Global Times is one example, and I want to call attention to two recent opinion pieces published there.
First, from the piece: Constitutional Amendment Responds to New Era:
It can be argued that the current ruling team of China is progressive and ambitious with clear goals and willingness to take on responsibilities. They want to make contributions to this nation which can stand the test of time.
Interestingly, in the era of globalization and the internet, although China has stunning economic might, it has not yet become a leading power in terms of ideology and information.
The most influential value system in the world now is the Western value system established by the US and Europe. It has shaped and affected quite a few Chinese people’s mind-sets. But some key parts of the Western value system are collapsing. Democracy, which has been explored and practiced by Western societies for hundreds of years, is ulcerating.
As is clear, Chinese officialdom see their anti-democratic, one-party, command and control paradigm with no political freedom as a rival model for the world to accept. They believe the vacuum that will be left by a decadent and declining U.S. empire will provide a perfect opportunity to promote this vision globally. Ignore this all you want, but it’s explicit.
As interesting as that is, the extremely defensive and insecure way in which the paper subsequently lashed out at Western criticism over its decision to scrap presidential term limits is equally illuminating.
A perfect example can be seen in the excerpts from the following piece Global Times piece, Solidarity Cornerstone of China in New Era:
No sooner had the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee made public its proposal to amend the country’s Constitution than the Western media began bad-mouthing China in their usual and various ways. It is worth noting that for some time the Western media have been growing strident in their abuse of Beijing, almost using curse words.
The biggest reason for all this is that the rise of China has reached a critical point where some Westerners cannot psychologically bear it any longer. They wish to see misfortune befall the country. Even if it might hurt their own interests, they are willing to see China crumble first.
Such hysteria by some people in the West will subtly influence the way their countries interact with China. It will increase the risks Beijing faces while emerging, and complicate communication between Chinese society and the outside world.
The author talks about hysteria, but where do you see hysteria? From Westerners criticizing this creepy move toward forever rule, or in the above three paragraphs?
Here’s some more.
It is believed that cooperation between China and the West will continue. The normal pattern of Sino-US and Sino-European relations will remain fundamentally unchanged.
But in the days to come, tough stances against China will find more support in Western nations. Friction between China and the West will become more likely.
The solidarity of Chinese society will face tests. Pressure from the outside world may activate negative factors at home, which in turn, increase the costs of China maintaining stability.
Facing external impacts and hostility, the Chinese nation is a community of common destiny. All Chinese people, whether they work for State-owned institutions or not, whether they support the nation’s path or not, even dissidents, are enjoying development opportunities as well as the might of China, which did not come easily. If China collapses the way the outside world wishes, all Chinese people will lose.
Solidarity is a necessary precondition for China to successfully complete the second half of its modernization. It is the cornerstone of China in the new era. The CPC has made us Chinese all closely connected to each other. Over the years, the authority of the CPC Central Committee and the prosperity of our Chinese society have both risen. The authority of the Central Committee is the most outstanding part of China’s competitiveness. It is the source of the country’s efficiency and ability to mobilize people and make adjustments. It is the thing the outside world most envies about China and the target of Western anti-China rhetoric.
Chinese society must strengthen its resolve. We must be aware that the world is full of competition. Solidarity is for Chinese the nation’s most crucial political resource and firm support for the CPC Central Committee is the lifeline of China’s long-term unity.
This is some serious propaganda, with two principle objectives. First, there’s this notion (stated as fact) that the Chinese people would be incapable of progress without the authority of the “outstanding” Communist Party leadership. Second, the author prepares readers for tough times ahead, while also offering assurances that any problems faced within Chinese society are the fault of foreigners, especially Westerners, who apparently want China to collapse. It’s fostering increased nationalism ahead of difficult times, and then lays out who the Chinese should blame. This is very dangerous.
I know how dangerous this is precisely because I’ve seen my own country’s intelligence agencies and oligarchs do it time and time again. I saw them do it in the run up to the Iraq war, and I see them doing it right now with Russia; blaming Putin for every inconvenient political movement that threatens the neocon/neoliberal establishment.
Here’s where it gets scary. The press in the U.S. was able to sell the Iraq war despite a relatively robust first amendment and in the face of massive street protests. The war hawk propagandists still got the war they wanted, so what do you think the Chinese government might be able to get away with in a society where zero real dissent is allowed?
Let me cut to the chase. I expect the global economy to crater once again within the next 12-24 months, and that means everyone. China’s economy is as much a debt fueled house of cards as the U.S., and money printing/bailouts won’t save either of them this time around. As such, I suspect “leaders” around the world, including in both the U.S. and China, will shift blame for internal problems to enemies abroad despite the fact that domestic sociopaths and oligarchs are the true culprits.
The incentive to shift blame to external forces will be too powerful for politicians to resist, and the press in these respective countries will likely fan such flames (to avoid their own blame and protect their owners). This will vastly increase the odds of unnecessary and dangerous global conflicts. As always, the masses will lose while the elites sit on top deflecting blame to anyone and everyone but them. I really hope we can avoid this situation, but I also can’t ignore the writing on the wall.
The problem of crooked leadership destroying countries and then starting wars to blame outsiders is as old as human civilization itself. We’ll never escape this trap until we grow up, face reality and refuse to be manipulated into murdering other humans across the world for no good reason.
As I tweeted earlier today:
Power plays going on everywhere. From mega governments to mega corporations.
Concentrations of power are always dangerous and undesirable. The only way out is global, decentralized networks.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) March 1, 2018
Can humanity rise up and break the vicious cycle? We’ll know soon enough.
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