The planet has a problem, and that problem is called China. The Middle Kingdom is toxic to the rest of the world, including its near neighbors (and, in essence, enemies) and the outer rings of enemies. Starting with the Koreas, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and India, and continuing to include Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, and ultimately Australia and the rest of the Commonwealth, the Fed Gov and Fifty States, and even Europe.
It’s an old story, dated the 16th of March – a lifetime ago in some ways. The Tibetan Review published a news item about how China could have prevented 95% of infections (and deaths) to that point. If the government had taken decisive action and admitted the problem just three weeks earlier than it did. (And of course, stopped attacking and punishing those who tried to sound the alarm.)
The story wasn’t hidden, it was just not hyped. Not hyped the way, say, that lies about Trump claiming it was all a hoax was. Or the way the condemnation for calling it “China virus” or “Wuhan virus” was splattered across our screens. But as cases (and deaths) seem to grow in Europe, the Commonwealth, and the Fifty States, it is gaining new traction.
Then came along Marketplace, telling us that China’s industries are back to 95% of pre-epidemic production levels. That China has “defeated” novel coronavirus. And more and more groups are urging every state and every county and town to imitate the “Chinese miracle” by going to a Chinese-style severe lockdown. Although if you read the whole story, it seems that there is much left to do in China that apparently their massive crackdown did NOT keep from happening: only 25% of small and medium businesses are functioning. And issues regarding the Uighur people and other internal problems remain, even though hidden.
But Breitbart recently published yet another analysis of China, reporting that they are in deep economic difficulty, with millions of lost jobs and a collapse of their economic bootstrap program. Especially for rural areas. Unrest, they report, is a distinct possibility, and sooner than later. One quote from the article is worth pondering particularly: “It also threatens a long-held tacit agreement between people and party that freedoms can be sacrificed in return for economic progress, an understanding that largely forms the basis of the authoritarian government’s legitimacy in the absence of elections.”
At the same time, China is doing some very odd things. It is providing PPE and medical supplies to various parts of Europe, much (or most) of Africa, and even to the Fifty States – or at least to the People’s Republic of Massachusetts (but, I admit, via private aircraft belonging to and paid for by the New England Patriots football team). Therefore, China is trying to increase its de facto colonization of Africa. Which should come as no surprise.
AND Chinese naval forces are apparently showing their flag in many places, not just where they are reported to be delivering shoddy equipment, as in Italy.
And we have more and more rumors of the Second Wave of COVID-19 starting to build in China. How many more cell phone accounts will go away this time?
The Beer Flu certainly has moved a lot of China’s problems and threats to the rest of the world to the back burners or off the stove entirely. But if anything, it has made the internal problems worse – and increases the incentive for China to meddle still more around the world. However, the current crisis does not change the basic strategic and geopolitical disadvantage China has against the North American unions. China’s condition is deadly for itself, and depending on how the ChiCom mandarins in Beijing try and deal with it, deadly for much of the rest of the world. It is not a good situation.
China is NOT going to go away on its own, and it is NOT going to suddenly become a honest, reliable member of the international community. (Honesty relative to other countries, not real-world honesty, of course.) We had best be better prepared than we were in January and February when China stopped being the manufacturing go-to for the world.