circa 1500 and 1800 A.D. the "West" (European
countries and later the United States)
grew rich on China trade and expanded the Chinese
technological legacy in armaments until it secured
independent sea routes to Chinese ports and protected
markets in China.
By mid 19th Century,
Europe and the USA (to a lessor extent) dominated
the world almost entirely through military force.
Soon European ideologies arose that effectively rewrote
history despite the reality of the recent past.
In a line of progression
from Adam Smith and Georg W. F. Hegel to Friedrich
Engels and Karl Marx to Emile Durkheim, Max Weber,
and countless other philosophers, historians, and
economists, the world was divided into arbitrary zones
such as "capitalist" and "non-capitalist."
The concepts of "Protestant
ethic" and "industrial revolution" were invented and
China, along with other ancient civilizations, was
belittled and dismissed as anachronistic, backward,
and still "feudal."
This complex ideology
is continually enhanced and supported by new rounds
of academics, journalists, and politicians for each
After the Second World
War, the French added the popular characterization
of the "Third World" to the lexicon. In the Thirld
World scenario the most technologically disadvantaged
(poorest) countries on Earth lie outside the first
(capitalist) and second (communist) worlds.
At that time, the baton
of world economic and political "leadership" was passed
from an exhausted Europe (Britain mostly) to the United
States, the only surviving superpower. The inherited
ideology was redefined by Americans and justified
what became known as the Cold War.
interpretation of economic and political development
is, in fact, accepted without reservation by every
country on the planet. China itself is governed
by a constitution that does not question the reality
of such concepts as "capitalism," "class struggle,"
The irony is that
China embraced one of the chief components of Euro/USA.-centered
ideology when it accepted the notion of communism.
Of course, as we are witnessing today communism in
China is an ideology that, like Confucianism before
it, is forever reinterpreted and redefined to
Communism as practiced by
the Chinese is first and foremost an organizing principle
for the administration of China and the starting point
in the creation of a new as yet undetermined ideology.
Viewed in this
light, we see then that the world is still being divided
arbitrarily based on belief systems that arose in
Europe and the United States in the 19th Century.
As the Cold War fades, we
see how damaging its impact was on international relations
and how it retarded the natural growth of economic
and political systems outside Euro/USA definitions.
Yet the lessons of
the Cold War are not learned. Already there
are attempts to create a new cold war with China based
on the old 19th Century concept that it is the West's
duty to "better" China by insisting that China become
As part of this ideology,
age-old anti-China sentiments are rising in the United
States. The architects of anti-China policies
continue to press China on "human rights" as part
of a desire to see Western ideas and institutions
adopted outright. This is the same tactic used
on Russia (and the USSR before it) to negative effect.
It is an ideological
assumption that the wholesale adoption of Euro/USA
"democracy" will result in an efficient economy, "freedom,"
and the other "advancements" from which all the citizens
of such systems supposedly benefit.
Look at the
example of Russia today. The end result of American
insistence on complete economic and political revolution
is a destroyed economy and a return to political repression.
And the collapse of Russia's Asian borders has created
the world's worst crises (Iran, Iraq, Osettia, Chechnya,
North Korea, etc.).
The Bush and Clinton
administrations have not helped matters. Nor
has a Congress enticed by Taiwan money. United States
policies on China are uninformed and cause unnecessary
rifts between the two countries.
journalists, academics, and right-wing ideologues
in the USA dismiss those with alternate viewpoints
on China as China "apologists" but this is not the
case. There is no need to apologize for accepting
China on equal terms.
And accept China as
it is we must. For China is the ascendant power in
Asia. And by virtue of demographics alone the focus
of world economic and therefore political power is
shifting to Asia in the 21st Century.
As a new world order
unfolds in the decades after the approaching millenium
it will become increasingly evident that not only
is a new cold war with China unrealistic, it is counter-productive.
Calmes for Sinomania!, 1998. All rights reserved.