A few end-week/end-of-empire links

The South China Morning Post goes somewhat off-message as a (venerable and worthy) commentator gently points out that China has pretty much lost Taiwan. The author tries to be nice about it, and comfort Beijing with the idea that perhaps it could still re-jig the Leninist mouth-frothing and ranting in such a way as to appeal to Taiwan’s free and democratic people. Reading between the lines, it’s clear he doubts it.

Meanwhile, the PLA are whining that Taiwan’s KMT crowd are conning them by extracting booze and banquets while not really supporting unification.

Across Planet West, the mainstream narrative-meme-thing is that Xi’s China is gleefully seizing the opportunity to grab spheres of influence all around as president-child Trump tweets the US into oblivion. A nuanced qualification is that Xi is not gleeful, but under pressure – racing against a return to rule by grown-ups in the US, and against the demographics that will soon start dragging China back.

But another possibility is that it is China that is already exposed and vulnerable – and would find itself on the back foot if the US were there to show a little assertiveness. Signs of hubristic overreach are all over, from the uncovering of United Front infiltration in Australia and New Zealand, to realization of the predatory nature of Chinese infrastructure/resources ‘Belt and Road’ forays. It’s only a matter of time before Beijing’s puppet regimes in Asia and Africa face popular backlashes, or Chinese interests attract protesting crowds and terrorist attacks.

Beijing has already compressed its versions of the Monroe Doctrine, ‘Speak Softly/Big Stick’, white man’s burden, Mahan-style sea power and Dulles-style dictator-adoption into a decade. At this rate, imperial decline should set in by end-March.

Which leads us to this book, finally out (marketing buzz courtesy of pro-Beijing elements who tried to ban it). And this rigorous and not immensely flattering survey of the Belt and Road initiative-vision-win-win thing.

I declare the weekend open with best wishes to all for the Dog Year. My local soothsayer assures me it will be a good time for everyone, apart from those actually born under the Dog sign. In astrological terms, this is a situation where ‘two canines meet’, which is a Bad Thing. It is especially inauspicious and ugly for those who will be 60 this year. As all Asia Experts know, this key anniversary represents a full cycle of all 12 animals and all five elements. Apparently, these aging unfortunates face a (more than averagely) miserable and desolate year, howling bitterly at an uncaring world. But for the rest of us – it’ll be great.


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10 Responses to A few end-week/end-of-empire links

  1. Links, links.

    In your case they must mean sausage.

    Not spicy, offal-laden, flabby and flaccid, overdone and full of mystery meat.

    Pop, pop!

  2. Citizen says:

    Howling bitterly – or whining like a decrepit ginger shih tzu?

  3. property devloper says:

    You’re right: it’s surprising terrorists and protesters have rarely taken aim at China, compared to less deserving targets. But surely the tide of world opinion must be overdue for tsunami-like change?

    I never knew how old George Adams was, but judging from references to the comic “Victor” in his latest “book”, which appears to be largely autobiographical, he must have been born in the mid-to-late 1950s. And didn’t one of his personas mention he was, astrologically speaking, a dog? Just asking…

  4. Red Dragon says:

    Adams is 60 even though he only looks 72.

    Did you actually buy his latest “book”, pd? Have you really read it?


  5. Stanley Lieber says:

    China’s external relations are a disaster.

    Their allies consist of North Korea and Iran, and Russia on a good day. The leaders and countries they temporarily have bought off resent them and secretly hope for their demise. Everyone else finds them childish and difficult.

    China is looking more and more like the unlamented moneybags Japan of the 1980s.

  6. I Married Miss Fang says:

    Rough year for ageing, slobbering ginger dogs ? Bummer.

  7. Older Than Old Timer says:

    Dr. WANG Chi who wrote the SCMP article said that while it was fortunate for the people of Taiwan, it was a mistake for Mao not to have ‘liberated’ Taiwan in 1950 when it would have been possible. Mao and his generals however had every intention of ‘liberating’ Taiwan, and to that end, they assembled tens of thousands of PLA soldiers moving them down to Fujian and Zhejiang opposite Taiwan. The reason the invasion across the Straits of Taiwan never took place leaked out with the publication of a book we all eagerly read in the mid-1950s. The title was “The Fluke that Saved Formosa.”

    As part of a month long training period for the PLA soldiers, many of whom came from North China and other more inland locations, water-related skills like swimming and sailing were required. Unfortunately instructional practice took place in waters also occupied by snails carrying the parasite Schistosoma japonicum. Schistosomiasis or liver fluke was contracted by 60-70% of the soldiers. By the time Beijing got a handle on this military health problem along its southern coast, the Korean War had broken out and the opportunity was lost to move against Taiwan. But it was not for lack of trying.

  8. Sojourner says:

    Thanks, Hemmers.

    Being a dog on the cusp of 60 I really appreciate your kind sentiments. My heart sinks, and even schadenfreude that a similar fate awaiting Ginger is barely any consolation.

  9. Joe Blow says:

    I second Sojourner’s sentiment: I’ll be hitting the big 6 in April. But strangely enough that does not bother me at all because I still have all my hair, all my teeth, I read books without glasses, I press more weights in the gym than ever before and wimmin are crazy about me. And I am not at all bothered by old wimmin’s superstitions.

    Most people think I am around 39.

    Speaking of old wimmin’s superstition: under the Canal Road flyover in Wanchai, but actually in CWB, you can hire an old witch (no, not Carrie Lam) to do some ‘villain hitting’ for 50 dollars per session.

  10. Bob says:

    Blimey, there do seem to be at least a couple of other earthy dogs here: I wonder, did we all drink Caroline’s dry as well…and, if so, has anyone still got the t-shirt?

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