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Monday, January 25, 2010


China has always been a mystery to the West. Ever since Marco Polo introduced Europeans to its charms in the 14th Century the West has been both captivated and horrified in equal measure. Whether by its isolation, perceived cruelties, its unChristianity, its sheer size, its Dynasties, its culture, foot-binding, use of opium, or just its inscrutable ways, China was, and remains, inscrutable.

Over time, the West has sought to conquer, then influence, then constrain, then trade, then exploit and now, it seems, coerce and cajole China to change its ways. To be, in essence, more Western, for China to be more like us and to be, in effect, less Chinese. Christian missionaries tried, governments tried, by force and by trade, individuals fell in love with China, Hollywood, artists and writers added to its mystique. The world too, from time to time, marveled at its past achievements like the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army, or gasped at the staggering statistics of China’s population, currently 1.3 billion people or 20% of our planet’s total, or more recently perhaps thought nervously of China’s growing strength, both militarily and economically, and tried to understand the unique hybrid form of totalitarian capitalistic communism that is driving it. And failed.

For China is not Western or a foreign country that has become Westernized, it is China, a great concoction of contradictions and anomalies that have built up over thousands of years to create one of the greatest countries on earth. An empire, in fact, that developed for the most part in total isolation from the rest of the world and which has gone from a feudalistic Dynasty, to gangsterism and warlords, to nationalism, near anarchy, brutal subjugation under the Japanese, civil war, revolution, and communist revolution in its purist and most radical form. A revolution that took in the cult of leadership, Stalinist style economic plans, genocide and a cultural-revolutionary revolution that would see China destroy utterly much of its non revolutionary past including its art, its literature and where possible many of its people and yet emerge with its communist ideology intact.

China’s communist revolution in fact grew out of foreign interference, for China had been sliced and diced by the British, the French, the Americans, the Russians, the Germans, and most noticeably the Japanese who in the 1930s decided to show how big and tough they were by attacking what was then a weak and virtually defenseless country. China was a mess, a 20th Century basket case, with foreign powers claiming chunks of it for their own and generally riding roughshod over the impotent Chinese government. Moreover, much of the land was controlled by feuding warlords, nationalists and communists, all of whom fought each other, the government, and who totally exploited any people not on their side.

By 1949 things were so bad that most foreign powers had packed their loot-filled bags and left while the nationalists, led by Chang Kai-shek, and the communists, led by Mao Zedong, fought it out. The communists won and Chanh Kai-shek fled with as many of his troops as could follow and set up camp in Taiwan, with US protection of course. Since then Chinese communism has followed its own unique path to nirvana in its own way and on its own terms, give or take the odd Soviet missile and the occasional copyright infringement.

Under Mao, China may have looked organised but it was an economic disaster. It had state-owned collectives and Soviet style state run industries none of which were remotely profitable. Mao instigated a plan for a Great Leap Forwards though it would have been better called A Great Step Backwards. It was a disaster, millions of people died from starvation, nothing worked and economic failures were hidden by political crusades and slogans. Everyone may have had a little red book but they didn’t taste good and when Mao went to the great politburo in the sky in the late seventies Mao’s successors set about not dismantling communism but by making it work, Chinese style.

The much-underrated Deng Xiaping got rid of a lot of the Soviet style collectives and introduced private ownership, and allowed private enterprise and new businesses to operate outside of government control. Further he created new Special Economic Zones in areas like Shanghai, which, free of much regulation and state interference, brought in foreign investment and business. Now, nearly thirty years later, China’s economy is booming and is second only to the US as a world power.

This is the new Chinese revolution; it's a revolution that is uniquely Chinese and the West doesn’t like it and, in particular, the liberal, human rights obsessed, Obama-riven, hand wringing West. Why? Because Chinese communism didn’t collapse in 1989 the way Russia communism did. In fact, when the pro-democracy brigade in China decided to get all happy-clappy and start banging their drums in Tiananmen Square and building papier-mâché statues to the Goddess of Democracy, the Chinese government showed exactly what they thought of free speech and human rights. They sent in the army, killed several hundred protestors, and drove a tank straight at the Goddess of Democracy and flattened her right in front of the worlds press.

Now, twenty years later, as China’s economic might by necessity makes her a big player on the world stage, so über democrats like Hilary Clinton feel that they can lecture China on Human Rights as if they were ticking off a cheeky coolie. Equally, trendy and crucially important companies like Google can threaten a nation state with the removal of its product if the State doesn’t change its behaviour in a way that suits that particular company’s business and, suddenly, it's 1899 all over again. Even the UK is getting in on the old imperialism act with the country’s entire liberal media backed up by our main political parties all lecturing and whining hysterically to China when China sentenced a UK citizen to death for attempting to smuggle four kilograms of heroin into the country. No doubt Gordon Brown sees the chance for an election boost here and will restart the Opium Wars with himself in the role of ‘Chinese Gordon’.

Chinese occupied Tibet now has more Human Rights activists in it than Buddhists and has to operate while being lectured to constantly by uptight angst ridden college graduates on how to run their country. China, it seems, is the New World Order’s yellow-faced bogeyman du jour, only now Fu Manchu has cut off his pigtail, shaved off his long moustache and wears a suit rather than silk robes. But to the West he’s still evidence that a leopard can’t change its spots. Once an evil Chinese bastard, always an evil Chinese bastard as they say in liberal, caring circles everywhere.

Yet do the Chinese care? If we believe the Human Rights brigade there are 1.2 and a half billion Chinese, all desperate for their right to send emails to other Human Rights activists in Palestine or wherever. The reality is that most Chinese are too busy making money, getting kitted out in the latest Gucci and Chanel uniforms and flogging Mao Zedong kitsch to tourists to care about their human rights.

This is China, not Tooting, a country that has never known democracy, that saw five million of its people starved to death as policy under Mao and watched the Japanese in 1937 rape, torture, mutilate and murder hundreds of thousands of their countrymen in their then capital Nanking and the West did nothing and said nothing. Even now, Japan denies it ever happened. Sorry, it seems for Japan, is the hardest word. The key Western powers were no better as virtually every possible item of value or cultural significance that they could get hold of was looted, stolen or smashed during their occupancy and China’s indigenous religions were mocked and decried as heathen and their followers dismissed as savages. Now as we start the 21st Century we’re at it again and still telling China what to do.

New ‘capitalist’ China, it seems, is where the East meets West and the West doesn’t like it. We don’t send gunboats any more, or send in troops to loot and destroy or grab territories like Hong Kong. No, now we whine and wail and political opportunists like Gordon Brown and Hilary Clinton have hissy fits and newspapers and commentators, who would normally bend over backwards to use the most gushing politically correct euphemism when describing someone’s race or ethnicity, feel it perfectly acceptable to describe the Chinese as barbarians and lampoon their culture and government.

China has no reason to listen. Its people will choose their own destiny, which may well be democratic or most likely a uniquely Chinese variation on it. Whatever they choose though, they should choose it because it is their choice and not the choice of self-aggrandizing Western politicians and egoistical human rights activists whose arrogance and hectoring of the Chinese is on a direct par with the Christian missionaries who so plagued China in the 19h Century, they were wrong then and the activists are wrong now.

Confucius say he who buys US treasuries will eventually own the seller.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The dawn of 2010 and the ending of a year, especially the ending of a decade is most always a time for reflection. Thinking back to the beginning of the decade, things were very different. The end of 1999 was a time of hysteria; the media was filled with nonsense about the millennium bug, doom-sayers were predicting the end of the world and media darlings like Naomi Klein had been so inspired by the legions of anti-globalization protestors who had battled the police and the worlds financial leaders at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) shindig in Seattle that year that she had put pen to paper to cash-in on the angst and wrote No Logo - Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies.

The world, in fact, seemed poised to enter a whole new era of I-care-you-care-but-I-care-more-than-you-care compassion driven economics and the search for a better way. A world where realpolitik had become surrealpolitik and eunuchs had taken over the world machine. And, as befitted the times, the nation at the head of the machine and leader of the most powerful nation on earth cried and hugged as much as he huffed and puffed. Bill Clinton, interns aside, was a popular and charismatic world leader; he cared, he cried, he lied, and the world, generally, loved him for it. Globalization, it seemed, was something that just happened, driven by market forces rather than political forces, and for many represented the worst aspects of capitalism.

In 1999, as a new millennium dawned, the word ‘global’ was the expletive of choice. People, or rather, ‘caring’ people, wanted to protest targeted ‘global’ companies and, in particular, American global companies; McDonalds, Nike, Starbucks and, when they could get at them, US-owned multinationals. Global was a despised concept; it meant, in the minds of earnest ‘caring’ protestors, the worldwide destruction of indigenous businesses, traditional skills, the exploitation of labour and, of course, the absolute desolation of the local environment by ‘global’ companies intent on using cheap third world labour and accompanied by the vampiristic exploitation of the local resources. And, like the vampire, these faceless multinational global bloodsuckers were hated and feared, their presence seen as the harbinger of death and destruction, that at worst they would suck the life-blood out of a country and at best that they were making the world the same and filing it with American uniform trite; junk logos, junk food, junk culture, junk life and all driven by a junk, corrupt, capitalist ideology.

This was to be a decade where the traditional left / right in politics would begin to fragment and where individuals would unit behind a specific cause; Reclaim the Streets, Nuclear Power, anti new roads, saving trees, banning fox hunting, stopping wars, saving the whale, or supporting the Palestinians; where there was a cause there were thousands ready to march. Often these protest groups were loosely linked or collected under the umbrella of anti-globalisation, as indeed were the black bloc anarchist groups that, cuckoo-like, used protests for their own ends and a bit of ultra-violence. Then George W. Bush got elected and some religious zealots decided to take anti-Americanism to a whole new level.

Within two years of the world partying like it's 1999, a group of Muslim fanatics armed with nothing more deadly than a few penknives and their own hateful zealotry high jacked four airliners, crashed two of them into the Twin Towers and another into the Pentagon and a forth almost into the White House and virtually changed the world forever. What they did achieve, aside from killing a large number of innocent people and launching the biggest surprise attack on the US since Pearl Harbour, was to show to the Muslim world just how weak and fractious the West is when under threat and just how fractious, delusional and self destructive the West’s sense of protest has become.

For many on the left, anti-Americanism is endemic and almost a faith and, like all faiths, once one believes in its creed it is very difficult to change. Some felt that the US deserved 9/11, others that it was about time that the USA experienced an act of terrorism that, after years of carnage in Europe and the rest of the world, it would do America good to get a taste of just how horrible terrorism could be. For others, it was a terrible event but one that had been caused partly by America’s rampant globalization and equally gung-ho foreign policy coupled with their support of Israel, which justified and created Arab hatred towards the US. That 9/11 was in fact the US’s own fault.

Though another group saw the attack for what it was, an attack on the West, on the values and way of the life of the West, and on the centre of the West’s strength; the United States of America.

The USA’s reaction and the wider world’s response to it were sympathetic but hesitant and most of all careful not to attack or blame all Muslims for the actions of a few. In fact, the West went overboard in its efforts not to blame or offend Islam by appointing blame to the wider Muslim community and by doing so began to attack itself. Rather than lashing out, the West lashed in. We changed, altered and subverted Western culture and our Judeo Christian religions in favour of Muslim values so as to be seen as inclusive. New laws were rushed through parliament, making criticism of religion illegal and, for religion, read Islam.

When it was the UK’s turn to be hit and four Islamic disciples decided that they were doing Allah’s will by blowing themselves up on London’s underground, killing 52 people and maiming dozens more, the first people that the quota-driven BBC interviewed were not the victims and wounded but Muslims at London mosques to see if they were frightened of being victimised by thuggish Londoners who might blame them for the atrocity. Well boohoo and lucky for them that there was no fiery Iman calling for a ‘kristallnacht‘ style revenge as no doubt there would have been had the bombing happened in reverse and it had been Christians blowing themselves up in an Islamic country.  

What we have had throughout the noughties is the steady and constant self-flagellation style erosion of our culture, beliefs and values in favour of Islam for fear of offending, or being deemed to have offended, Islam or Islamic values. We now self-censor and find ever more ridiculous and craven ways of kow-towing to Islam lest we offend those who would, and possibly will, destroy completely our freedoms and way of life. And why? Because we have no faith in ourselves, or in our values, or in our countries. 

For the last decade we have protested everything and protested nothing. We have damned capitalism and smashed up McDonalds, we have hugged trees and championed same sex marriages, become colour blind on issues of race and ignored our own people in favour of foreign cultures that hate and despise our own culture and which would kill all homosexuals and which stones and burns women who question the decisions of men. Yet still our great Western liberal elite and politically correct soothsayers, bend over backwards to defend and protect Islam. Why? Because Islam is anti-American and anti-Isreal and to many on the left that is better than anything. It maybe be an unholy alliance but for the last ten years it has been the alliance of choice for many on the left, a choice that was made all the more imperative by the arrival of George W Bush in 2001.

President George W Bush was a man whose general demeanour, Christianity-driven Republicanism and slow Southern delivery, peppered with embarrassing Malapropisms, induced hatred and derision on an unprecedented scale. He was also seen as a man who had achieved his position in part because of who his father was. Whatever the reason, Bush failed to deliver as a President and led the US and its Allies into a disastrous war in Iraq, while presiding over, and sowing many of the seeds that would create one of the worst economic crises the world has ever seen.

The combined effect of 9/11 and the failed presidency of Bush ironically changed the forces of protest. Now, at the end of the decade, being ‘global’ is cool. Gordon Brown, the UK’s profligate and pompous prime minister called the economic crisis a ‘global crisis'; that is, it wasn’t his fault... "We need ‘global’ solutions", he said. President Obama, the liberal worlds messiah du jour has globalitus and talks endlessly of ‘global health initiatives’, ‘global warming treaties’, a ‘global currency’ and a ‘global poverty act’. Obama is noble and global and, as befits the Son of God, was awarded a coveted Nobel Peace prize after only a few months in office when he had actually done nothing but espouse his wishes for ‘global solutions’. But no matter the world loves him. They love him because he’s black, because he’s not George Bush, because he knows how to be cool and doesn’t fluff his speeches, and most of all because he’s global without the ‘ization’ bit at the end.

Yet now at the beginning of a new ‘global’ decade where are we? The Reclaim the Street activists have all bought cars, and the anti globalization hordes are making lots of money online, or advising ‘global’ companies how to look cool. Bush has gone and is making, like Mr Blair, vast sums of money talking on the lecture circuit where his Bushisms are seen as quaint and endearing. Iraq is in a bloody mess, its streets strewn with the limbs and entrails of our soldiers, suicide bombers and the countless innocents caught in the middle and the countries that went in now can’t wait to leave. Iraq may fall to Islamic extremism or it might not, all that’s certain is that, whatever happens, no country in the West is going to go back in and help the Iraqi people, which leaves the fanatics, Iran and Syria waiting like vultures to pick at the remains.

In the West, governments have borrowed and printed money on a scale unprecedented in history and despite the current euphoria in the markets there is an upturn, there is, as they say, ‘many a slip twixt cup and slip’ and the world may yet see a crash or social upheaval caused by a market crash. In the US, the great liberal messiah is losing popularity almost as fast as Bush lost his words. 2012 may in fact see the US people elect a curvy woman from Alaska as President, which would be a fitting revenge on the President who said of her; ‘a pig in lipstick is still a pig’, which is an unfortunate phrase coming from a someone who is black, liberal and presumably likes to be seen as a respecter of women...

Yet the decade began with the threat of radical Islam and it is ending with it as well. From the attempted bombing of Flight 253, to the nuclearisation of Iran, to the Islamification of Europe, the West’s way of life is under real threat and the next decade will be crucial in deciding how and where that threat leads. One in the know, of course, is the daughter of anti-porn crusader Bonnie Klein, the journalist and ‘activist’ Naomi Klein who launched the decade with her anti-capitalist diatribe, No Logo. Now having ditched the anti-globalization mantel in 2007 with her book, The Shock Doctrine, she has got in early on the 'stop Sarah Palin getting elected in 2012' bandwagon with the publication of Going Rouge: Sarah Palin An American Nightmare a play on the title of Palin’s best selling book Going Rogue. No doubt Going Rouge will be full of the kind of liberal left bile and invective that was spat at Palin following her sensational arrival as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election and no doubt she will shrug it off but if Klein and her po-faced acolytes are on the warpath already then Palin must be doing something right.

Klein and her kabala of liberal left opinion formers protest anything as long as it's anti-Amercian and anti-capitalist and have been wrong consistently. Their opinions morph from one bogey man, or woman, to another and now that their chosen one is in office they are desperate that it is their politically-correct quasi-Marxist take on the world that sets the agenda for the coming decade. I for one sincerely hope that it isn’t but believe that the fight to save and keep some of the West’s values after another ten years of Islamification, liberal left fifth columnism and political shenanigans will make the next decade one of the most decisive and toughest ever. Happy New Year.