Friday, July 15, 2011

Living in the Age of Pre-Revolutionary China, Amazing Times

China today is in a pre-revolutionary state. The political system, try as the central authorities may (and many of them are extremely good at their jobs), simply cannot forever keep juggling the growing number of balls on its hands. As China industrializes and develops, the interests and aspirations of its people become more complex and conflicted. _WalterRussellMead

The ongoing unrest in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, etc. may presage a wider age of unrest across Africa, Asia, and extending into Europe. New powers are rising and old powers are in preparation for a great fall. The turbulence is likely to grow severe before the storm settles into another uncertain period of relative peace and neo-hegemony.
The Arab Spring, which has shaken regimes the establishment once assumed were eternal and which took our intelligence analysts as much as our pundits by surprise, is the kind of event we are going to see more of. History is shifting into hyperdrive and things are going to get weird.

...Not since the 1930s has the incompetence, incapacity and selfish shortsightedness of Europe’s governing class been so shockingly on display...While their fecklessness endangers the global economy, the Europeans are simultaneously knocking down what little is left of their defense establishments...None of this stops European leaders from erecting one fantasy on top of another in a bewildering series of cloud-palaces: global carbon treaties, anti-death penalty campaigns, regional associations across the Mediterranean. Every species of quackery and flapdoodle finds a home and a subsidy in Brussels. _WRM
But back to China...Should we truly expect the subdued and docile Chinese people to revolt against their CCP masters of the iron hand?
The pressure on China’s fragile environment grows exponentially. The balance between regional autonomy (often corrupt) and central power (often rigid and unaware of local realities) has been a source of trouble for thousands of years in China; today that balance is more urgently needed and more difficult to find than ever. The Chinese financial system, partly controlled by the center, partly controlled by wildly optimistic and often profoundly corrupt local governments, and partly private, becomes more complex, more unbalanced and more unsustainable with every passing day.
I wish the Chinese well with their juggling, and I hope that any revolutions will be peaceful and slow, but if history teaches us anything at all, big changes are headed China’s way. A billion people are undergoing wrenching and rapid transformations of everything they have known. _WRM
What about India? Will the subcontinent enjoy a peaceful transition to superpowerdom? Not likely, says Mead.
The inevitable stresses of accelerating economic development and the accompanying social change are going to test India and its neighbors as they have never been tested before. With a decaying, strategically addled but nuclear armed neighbor in Pakistan, and a dangerously explosive rivalry with China that is likely to escalate over time, India’s external environment is as challenging as its internal issues. On the other hand, geography and demography seem to be conspiring to make India a major force in East Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Nobody knows where this is going, but the emergence of India on the world stage could be even more challenging and transformative than the rise of China. _WRM
Is this the coming anarchy that Robert D. Kaplan foresaw, or something even more violent and catastrophic?

It is as if a small portion of humanity is working hard to achieve a higher level, while most everyone else is helplessly, zombie-like, waddling deeper downward toward the Idiocracy, with the two disparate groups passing each other on opposite sides of the highway.

The US election of a sado-masochistic Congress in 2006 and 2008, and a narcissistic sociopathic executive in 2008, was apparently the ceremonial rolling out of the red carpet for the coming global weirding, if not something even worse.

No comments: