15 December 2018

The U.S. vs. China: A Great Experiment vs. A Great Civilization!

by Frank Li

No bi-lateral relationship is more important than that between the U.S. and China. Yet, the two countries seem to be on a collision course. Why is that?

Blame the U.S. for trying to contain China, without knowing what China is or even what America is!

China is the greatest country in human history with its own civilization, while the U.S. is merely an experiment, albeit a great one!

1. China is the greatest country in human history!

Two indisputable facts:

China has the longest continuous civilization in human history - Yes, 5,000 years!
Throughout human history, great civilizations have come and gone, with one major exception: China - come, almost gone, and come again.

The image below highlights the key difference between the Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire, which is the key reason why the former was long gone while the latter has long endured.

More on China in Section 3.

2. America is a great experiment!

Can any country possibly be more exceptional than America, which was founded with neither a king nor a pope? No, of course not! Yet, today, not only is America most religious among the developed countries, she also seems to be yearning for a king, if not a living God (Is Donald Trump a God?).

Why is that?

The great American experiment is deeply in trouble!

Bottom line: Governance is hard.

Exceptional at birth, America has proven to be not exceptional at all.

3. More on China

Let me repeat (from What is 'Free Market', Anyway?) my favorite example to help the world understand modern China ...

China is quickly becoming a cashless society, with e-payment by iPhone everywhere, from super-markets, to street-side mon-&-pap shops, and even to the homeless ... Any doubt? Watch the video below!

Two profound questions:
In addition to the technological infrastructures behind China's almost cashless society, what kind of social structure is there? Tip: think in such terms as law-&-order, inequality, and even moral standards.
Is this ever possible in the U.S.?

The video below highlights China's phenomenal growth of the past few decades.

4. The U.S. vs. China

The image below is an analogy, worth more than 1,000 words.

Who will win the head-on competition?

China, although the U.S. may win the first few rounds!

How and why?

Let me make the case from four perspectives as follows:
The big picture.
The trade war.
President Trump vs. President Xi.
Back to the big picture.

4.1 The big picture

A simple question: Can any country possibly be great without a great government?

No, of course not!

More profoundly, can an empire be built-to-last without ever having an emperor?

Most likely not!

Specifically, in terms of governance, the U.S. is perhaps 2,000 years behind China! Two informative readings:

4.2 The trade war

Below is President Trump's famous "I do not blame China" speech in November 2017.

What has changed since then for the U.S. to blame China so much, from IP (Intellectual Property) theft to unfair trade?

"Free" trade (i.e. trade without coercion) is fair trade!

It is critical for America not to treat China as just yet another third-world country (e.g. the Philippines), ripe for American exploitation forever, in the name of modernization.

More pointedly, Chinese leaders do not believe in democracy, and firmly believe their system is the best for China. So, three cautious notes for America:
China will never be like America!
China will never fully open itself (e.g. the financial services) to America, like many other third-world countries have done, thus avoiding being forever screwed by America.
China supports "free" trade (i.e. trade without coercion), not "free trade" per se! For example, China does require "technology transfer" in many commercial agreements. It's just smart business!

4.3 President Trump vs. President Xi

Two years ago, I spelled out, for President Trump, not only his challenges against President Xi (President Trump vs. President Xi), but also his path to historic greatness against China's Deng (An Open Letter To President-Elect Donald Trump).

But he has yet to listen, obviously.

Worse yet, President Trump has proven to be a minor league player, internationally. Two examples:
Huawei CFO Is Arrested in Canada for Extradition to the US (while the Trump-Xi meeting was held in Argentina).

What a bunch of shenanigans, in front of one of the most skilled statesmen in the world!

Has the author of Trump: The Art of the Deal really failed to step up in his new job of the American Presidency?

Two basic questions as examples:
How can President Trump's China strategy possibly be driven by the daily fluctuations of the stock market, as it seems to be these days?
Does he have a real strategy beyond a few campaign slogans?

For the Huawei incident, watch this video:

4.4 Back to the big picture

No question, the U.S. and China are competing for superiority, not only economically, but also politically. One informative reading: Towards an Ideal Form of Government.

No question, the U.S. has the most powerful military in the world. But does it really matter in its head-on competition with China?


Why not?

The same thing can be said about Russia, in place of China! Two informative readings:

Bottom line: Why Can't We All Just Get Along? If not, World War III will destroy us as a species!

5. Discussion

Both the U.S. and China face huge challenges at home as well as abroad. Neither should blame the other for its own problems.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what many American politicians have been doing: blaming China for all America's ills, from the job loss to the opioid crisis. As an example, read: Steve Bannon Is a Fraud, Totally!

Why is that?

Blame American individuals as well as America's political system! Two examples:

The image below is worth more than 1,000 words. For more, read: Trump to bring China hardliner Navarro to Xi meeting.

Here is my worst fear: China may become a casualty of American domestic politics, like Iraq did in 2003!

What happened to Iraq in 2003?

Bush II launched the Iraq War, partially at least, for the sake of his re-election in 2004! For more, read: American Presidency: Why is One-Term a Must?

As a Chinese-American, I am caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand, I wish China, my native country, well - She suffered too much over the past 200 years. On the other hand, I wish America, my adopted country, well - She must stop her precipitous decline, so as to remain the shining city on the hill. Most importantly, there must be no war, trade or otherwise, between the two largest economies in the world!

It is chiefly for this reason that I have been writing on politics for the past 10 years. As an example, read the image below.

Bottom line: Constructive criticism is a highest form of real patriotism!

6. Closing

Peace and prosperity for the world, not chaos or war - trade or otherwise!

Both the U.S. and China can, and should, learn from each other, while competing peacefully. Overall, however, the U.S. has actually more to learn from China than the other way around, especially in terms of governance, philosophy, and peace and harmony.

In other words, for America, rather than wishing China to become more like us over time, we will actually become more like China! After all, China has the greatest living civilization in human history, while the U.S. is merely an experiment, albeit a great one. For more, read: History 2.0 and The American Revolution is a Lie!

Now, please sit back and enjoy the long video below.

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