21st century

The Chinese Century via Bioweapon


Reading time – 4:10  .  .  .

I’ve written many times about the likelihood of this becoming the Chinese century and the many things we’re doing (or not doing) to make that a reality. We pay a huge price for our shortsightedness and small thinking.

We’ve been complacent since our 1950s dominance of the world economy, riding our then-intact manufacturing base, the only country in the world to have one. Then we pretended for decades that the world economic power it created for us still existed. But it didn’t and it doesn’t and we’ve actually enthusiastically created the path for our economic demise through short term thinking and behavior. That’s why so many millions of manufacturing jobs disappeared. And our constant kicking the can down the road instead of rebuilding and enhancing our infrastructure has left us weak. Now, though, there’s another more urgent threat to our world leadership.

Bob Woodward’s book Rage includes an examination of Covid-19 and it details comments from Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor. Before you dismiss him out of hand because he is just another of Trump’s revolving door cavalcade of advisors, read what follows, lifted directly from Woodward’s book (p. 333), referencing comments by O’Brien on June 11, 2020:

O’Brien continued, “It appears that they closed down travel all through China so that this disease couldn’t get to Shanghai or Beijing and other key cities. But at the same time they’re letting other folks travel from Wuhan to all over Europe and infected Europe and infected the United States. That’s not good. But whatever happened the Chinese have repurposed it into a bioweapon. And they’re using it, they’re attempting to take advantage of Covid to gain a geopolitical advantage over the United States and the free world, and to displace the United States as the leading power in the world.” [emphasis mine]

O’Brien said since Covid “hit the whole world, they’re using it with what they call their wolf diplomacy and for a long time they were attempting to trade PPE to get access for Huawei [5G provider with systems that allow the Chinese government to spy on users, including us] into countries. They were bullying countries into thanking them. They were bullying countries into saying things about the U.S. But overall, the theme is that they, as an authoritarian government, with all their surveillance state and their concentration camps and all that sort of thing, offer a better alternative for the world, a more efficient alternative, a kind of weird nationalistic, technocratic alternative to the world that’s better than liberal democracy. And Covid is an example of why the world should embrace China and Chinese values, and the Chinese form of hybrid capitalistic-mercantilist-communist government.

O’Brien said, “they’re taking every measure possible during this crisis to displace the United States. And we’ve got a hell of a fight on our hands.” [emphasis mine]

O’Brien concluded the consequences were dire. “If we lose our economic edge and we lose our economic might and stay closed for too much longer, we might be in a position where we couldn’t stay ahead or maybe we’d get behind and couldn’t catch up.”

CDC chief Dr. Robert Redfield had something to say about this, too (p. 332):

“It was difficult to understand how China had aggressive travel restrictions within China, and yet did not move to any travel restrictions” for people who wanted to leave China and go abroad, Redfield said.

“They really locked down Wuhan at one point. I think they quarantined over 11 million people. You couldn’t go from Wuhan to Beijing, but you could go Wuhan to London.”

Trump has done little to deal with the Chinese efforts beyond childish name calling. There have been no aggressive steps to lead Americans to safe behaviors to counter the pandemic; worse, he has given dangerous advice and helped to spread the disease. Nothing has been done at the federal level to make it safe to “reopen” our economy or begin to rebuild our economic might, which puts us further behind.

We are in the international fight of our lives – for our lives. We either face the reality of Chinese economic, military and political might or we will become a second rate nation.

This is the challenge the Biden administration faces on day one, even as we’re hobbled by disease. We’re all going to have to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time and we’ll have to stop fighting ourselves immediately, or the consequences for us will be terrible. We’ll have to face up to the danger before us and stop whining about a little inconvenience or even large personal impacts and instead support one another through our health and economic suffering and recovery. Prosperity and international leadership will require universal sacrifice for our common good. The question that will stay with us is whether we still have it in us as a nation to do that.

Some of the cost of complacency is incremental, like the chipping away at our industrial base; some happens faster. Regardless, complacency is a guarantee of our demise. I’m reminded of Hemmingway’s words in The Sun Also Rises, when his character is asked how he went bankrupt. He replied, “Gradually, then suddenly.”

We love to think of ourselves as extraordinary, that we are blessed with American exceptionalism. As gratifying to us as that may feel, we undermine ourselves with our self-congratulation. As I wrote in one of the essays referencing this becoming the Chinese century,

The problem with American exceptionalism is that we assume a superiority that isn’t always warranted. That doesn’t make us exceptional.

But we could be.

We’re already late in building 21st century America. It’s time to take action, to accept the necessary sacrifices and get on board that train to the future. And it better be a high speed train. The chief obstacle to that will be obstructionist Republicans in Congress who may rediscover the awfulness of deficits, now that a Democrat will be in the White House. They are in the way of our exceptionalism.

Mitch McConnell is the leader of the Republican wall of obstruction to progress. His Senate filibustered nearly everything Obama tried to accomplish for the first six years of the Obama administration, including efforts they themselves had championed before January 20, 2009. They effectively eliminated a fundamental tenet of our society: majority rule. For the two years after that McConnell was the majority leader in the Senate and he refused to bring most legislation proposed by Obama or any Democrat to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

We are paying the price for that wall to progress right now and McConnell’s obstructionism is going to continue during the Biden administration. There’s only one way to limit the damage he and his Republican agents of despair can do to America and the pain they inflict on you and me. It is to put Senate leadership into the control of Democrats so that the obstructions to progress can be minimized and we can begin to build our 21st century.

The January 5 double Senate run-off elections in Georgia give us the opportunity to create a 50-50 headcount in the Senate, which will strip Senate leadership and much of the power to obstruct from McConnell. For that to happen we have to do everything in our power to remove the two corrupt sitting senators from Georgia and replace them with honest brokers for We the People. Your part is to help to make that happen.

Go to this link and do all you can. If you’d like to understand this more, I strongly suggest that you read Sheila Markin’s excellent post.

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Ed. note: It has been said that the soon-to-be former president has lived in our heads rent-free for over 5 years, starting with his birtherism slander. That is what constant outrageousness and sensationalism can do, as every circus sideshow barker knows. But our national eviction notice has been posted. The squatter will be gone on January 20 and there’s a permanent

sign for him and every other ego-maniacal tyrant. I recommend that you post a similar sign for your own head.

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Ed. note: We need to spread the word so that we make a critical difference, so,

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JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
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