COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

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chenda
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by chenda »

@nomadscientist That's by no means certain at all, a pacified China could easily have altered numerous outcomes which were certainly not inevitable. (Not least a war with the Soviet Union, with which Japan had fought major border skirmishes in the 1930s)

Regardless, China's resistance against Japanese imperialism deserves to be acknowledged and respected.

This interview with a historian gives a good primer on the topic:

https://psmag.com/news/china-lost-14-mi ... tten-66482

(Technically Japan herself wasn't conquered militarily. The emperor narrowly choose to capitulate after his empire was shattered, nuclear war and the inevitable prospect of a destructive Soviet-American invasion and occupation)

Jason

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Jason »

The existence of this thread reflects that at a minimum, China is damaged from a public relations standpoint. US/Soviet relations were relatively calm during the Cold War until they accidentally shot down Korean Air lines 007 and relations changed. The virus is somewhat of an analogous event and has led people to question whether a market economy that permits free enterprise and is now actually encouraging innovation as opposed to mere replication, can sustain itself under a government that disallows political/social/culture innovation. Trade naturally involves the import/export of ideas. Historically, it was not limited to mere goods. But that's pretty much been the case here, which is ironic in that China became a mercantile country when Buddhism, which permits/encourages market economy was imported from India and displaced Confuciusism which saw a market economy as inherently corrupt. The fact that China has not gone in front of the world and stated "this is what happened and we are responsible in some regard" leads to the rise of suspicion/racism/conspiracy theories the same way the USSR denied/obfuscated the Korean plane event until flight recordings were released in 1993 which told the real story and one materially different from the one first told.

chenda
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by chenda »

Jason wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:26 am
But that's pretty much been the case here, which is ironic in that China became a mercantile country when Buddhism, which permits/encourages market economy was imported from India and displaced Confuciusism which saw a market economy as inherently corrupt.
Could you elaborate on this ? My understanding was Buddhism blended somewhat with confucianism and taoism into a sort of low-key traditional folk religion.

Jason

Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Jason »

(@) Chenda

For a deeper dive, I would suggest William H. McNeill "The Rise of the West." But in a nutshell, as he explains it, Buddhism came to China from the middle-East and India and provided the moral foundation, customs and practices to sustain long distance trade nets. In order to trade with other geographic areas in a good faith manner, basic commonalities need to be in place and Buddhism provided it. Confusicisusm (sp) saw the exchange of goods only as a profit center providing no societal benefit. Use of the China canal system evidences the change. It was already in place, but before contact with Buddhism, it was used mainly as a tax collection and agricultural transfer system. After Buddhism, it transformed into a method of commodity exchange connecting disparate regions throughout China.

Edit: From a macro perspective, McNeill would claim that China's rise of trade/commercial power in the present day is a reversal of European eclipse of China beginning in the 15th century.

Alphaville
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Alphaville »

while it’s definitely an embarrassment for china, i’m much more concerned about the loss of usa global leadership concealed behind the smoke curtain of the china blame game.

remember the time when the world used to turn to us for answers? our national response continues in disarray, we still have no masks/we refuse masks, there is no widespread testing or contact tracing, our social fabric is ripping apart to the point of making the north dakota governor cry, the erosion of government and institutions is showing up at the worst time, and we’re looking like a has-been next to countries who have basically sailed through the pandemic. that’s horrible public relations too. can the world trust us anymore?

china, sure, whatever... we but have an nightmare of our own making in our hands and blaming china isn’t going to fix it.

here is fareed zakaria’s latest article on our misguided response to china—looks like the democrats are joining the bandwagon! hopefully it’s just propaganda for the elections and not a declaration of policy.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... story.html

i feel sorry for us.

chenda
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by chenda »

@Jason, thanks, looks like an interesting read.

Alphaville
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:45 pm
@Chenda @Alphaville

I'd argue that Jiang Kai Shek was the one that liberated China from quasi-colonial rule and ended the "century of humiliation". Mao's cult of personality exaggerated his role as liberator when in fact the KMT played a much bigger role in ridding the country of Japanese invaders.
sure, although the point of my anecdote was not historical. it was more about supporting your idea that chinese people might prefer national unity and power over this or that ideology.

of course one individual is not statistically significant, but my conversation with the professor was eye-opening, as the guy was very americanized, had some important academic roles, and yet was willing to forgive mao his crimes because of what he saw as the achievement of national unity. this reflects a sort of hierarchy of needs.



on that note, and regarding your other question:
white belt wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:49 pm
I do wonder if the West will actually support Hong Kong if the proverbial push comes to shove. I mean the only thing that's protected Europe from Russian invaders is the US presence in NATO and as far as I know Hong Kong does not have any sort of agreements with any other countries (since it's technically part of CCP controlled China). The reality is that the average Westerner just doesn't have any skin in the game.
i think hong kong will eventually be swallowed with nobody left to stand up for them. 2047 looks far away for our 2 year election cycles, but china knows how to wait and play the long game.

a post cold war usa with no major adversaries trampling iraq in the name of protecting kuwait (protecting the oil really) is one thing... going after china to protect hong kong democracy at the same time that we’re losing our global leader status and destroying our alliances is another.

it’s a dismal outlook for hong kong, and taiwan afterwards.

nomadscientist
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by nomadscientist »

chenda wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 6:53 am
@nomadscientist That's by no means certain at all, a pacified China could easily have altered numerous outcomes which were certainly not inevitable. (Not least a war with the Soviet Union, with which Japan had fought major border skirmishes in the 1930s)

Regardless, China's resistance against Japanese imperialism deserves to be acknowledged and respected.

This interview with a historian gives a good primer on the topic:

https://psmag.com/news/china-lost-14-mi ... tten-66482

(Technically Japan herself wasn't conquered militarily. The emperor narrowly choose to capitulate after his empire was shattered, nuclear war and the inevitable prospect of a destructive Soviet-American invasion and occupation)
I know a lot about this topic, and I dont intend to get into rebuttal matches with articles. If quotes are decisive, this is what a Nobel prize winning historian had to say:

"The talks of the British and American staffs were sadly distracted by the Chinese story, which was lengthy, complicated, and minor."

- Winston Churchill, The Second World War

Actually the unimportance of the Chinese is only the second most interesting implication in this quote.

Peanut
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Peanut »

white belt wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:49 pm
The reality is that the average Westerner just doesn't have any skin in the game.
Those that do, have already shown that they will capitulate to China's interests. Remember the Daryl Morey tweet? He was forced to apologize for supporting Hong Kong by the NBA.

Jiang Jieshi liberating China sounds like a Taiwanese nationalist storyline tbh. "Corruption and decay" characterized the latter years of Nationalist rule in China, from what I remember of EA history in college. Chenda's book looks interesting. I was taught neither the Communists nor the Nationalists fought the Japanese very much, but the former did more than the latter.

@Alphaville: EA prof also emphasized to us that Mao keeping the country together postwar will forever be a huge deal to Chinese people. Remember how the city of Shanghai alone had been sliced and diced into various foreign concession zones.

Alphaville
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Alphaville »

Peanut wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:33 pm
@Alphaville: EA prof also emphasized to us that Mao keeping the country together postwar will forever be a huge deal to Chinese people. Remember how the city of Shanghai alone had been sliced and diced into various foreign concession zones.
yeah. and also, in recent history, china has reasons to stick to an authoritatian model and fear quick democratization. people in power in china today saw what happened to the ussr—the territorial disintegration, the loss of power, their many crises under yeltsin (including the inability to pay their army), the rampant mafias and the rise of the oligarchs... it took putin’s iron fist to restore order in russia. and yes, he’s a terrible man, but he’s also the political result of a failed democratic transition.

reepicheep
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by reepicheep »

I wonder what Barnett would say today.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a ... ture-0111/

white belt
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by white belt »

I listened to an interview with Kishore Mahbubani, former UN ambassador of Singapore. I haven't read his new book called Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy, but it seems relevant to this discussion. I feel like he provides a more impartial perspective since he is neither Chinese nor American. One quote in particular stood out to me in reference to how the CCP stays in power:
Kishore Mahbubani wrote:The bottom 50% in America are feeling very pessimistic about their future. And by contrast, [...]the bottom 50% in China have had their best 40 years in 4000 years. [...] I emphasize that because many Americans keep saying, "why aren't the Chinese overthrowing the Chinese Communist Party?" If the Chinese Communist Party has given you your best 40 years in 4000 years, is it rational to overthrow them? Why not milk them for another good 40 years?
[Moderator: Link removed. See discussion below.]

chenda
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by chenda »

@whitebelt - Interesting interview. (I assume all that militia stuff at the beginning was a joke ?!)

CS
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by CS »

@chenda
I don't think they're joking.

ETA - having that content linked here normalizes it. It possibly also connects everyone here with groups the FBI are investigating as terrorists groups. "Preemptively and immediately eliminate the old and infirm" is not something to salute but to prosecute.

It is all confusing because the site itself seems to be about China.

jacob
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by jacob »

I think therein lies the problem of having outrageous statements masquerading as "jokes". The idea is to say something that is way outside the Overton window and if called on it proceed to claim "it was just a joke" and if not, subtly move the Overton window. It's like dog whistling and Poe's Law combined.

Upon further reflection, I've decided to remove the link. Normally, I allow a very wide Overton window, but the "joke defense"-strategy annoys me greatly. It basically violates the principle of charity. There are certain topics (like talking about bazookas in airports) that are widely understood to so serious that they're never funny. Kinda goes back to the whole "it's not what we talk about but how we're talking about it"-philosophy of moderation. Point being that there are certain subjects that are so serious/risky that they should never be talked about in a joking manner. Weirdly, if there had been zero confusion about whether this was meant as a joke or not, I would have let it stand.

chenda
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by chenda »

I wonder what Kishore Mahbubani made of it, he seems a reputable individual and the interview seemed otherwise moderate and reasonable. I think they said there was going to be a part 2.

@Augustus - I think a war is most unlikely.

Alphaville
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by Alphaville »


white belt
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by white belt »

jacob wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 10:27 am
I think therein lies the problem of having outrageous statements masquerading as "jokes". The idea is to say something that is way outside the Overton window and if called on it proceed to claim "it was just a joke" and if not, subtly move the Overton window. It's like dog whistling and Poe's Law combined.

Upon further reflection, I've decided to remove the link. Normally, I allow a very wide Overton window, but the "joke defense"-strategy annoys me greatly. It basically violates the principle of charity. There are certain topics (like talking about bazookas in airports) that are widely understood to so serious that they're never funny. Kinda goes back to the whole "it's not what we talk about but how we're talking about it"-philosophy of moderation. Point being that there are certain subjects that are so serious/risky that they should never be talked about in a joking manner. Weirdly, if there had been zero confusion about whether this was meant as a joke or not, I would have let it stand.
ffj wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 10:05 am
Since Tennessee is a state away from me I thought I would do a little sleuthing and try to see what the hell this guy meant and I'm pretty sure it is satire in a weird way. I think, but it's so bizarre that it has me scratching my head.

He says Jeremy (Goldkorn), who is apparently the co-host couldn't make it because he is in a safe house run by the Middle Tennessee Patriots, and has just gotten back from a protest where they are advocating the end of the shutdown and "immediate and preemptive elimination of the old and infirm".

I couldn't find any group called the Middle Tennessee Patriots, nor any protests calling for the death of old people, nor does Jeremy mention anywhere on his Wiki or linked in that he belongs to a militia, much less a colonel.


This whole thing is weird to me. Anybody want to see if they can get to the bottom of this? It is so odd that it's curiously interesting. Maybe somebody that actually listens to the podcasts can shed some light?
Well it seems things have escalated quickly. In retrospect, maybe I should have provided more context.

Jeremy Goldkorn is a Jewish South African journalist and editor who lived in China for a number of years. He ran a site called Danwei that covered a lot of Chinese topics for an English-speaking audience, which was eventually blocked in China and which he sold to the Financial Times. He's written articles for Foreign Policy and the Guardian. He moved from China to Tennessee a few years ago I believe because his wife is a well-known Chinese-American classical musician and it helped her career. I think he is also now a US citizen.

Kaiser Kuo (the host of this interview) is a Chinese-American (born in USA) freelance writer who also lived in China for a number of years and worked at one time as the Director of International Communications for Baidu. He lives in North Carolina now.

There's a running gag on the show that Kaiser always comes up with some ridiculous introduction for Jeremy. You can listen to each episode and every one has a different introduction. For example from an episode in April, "Joining me from stately Goldkorn manor in the genteel outskirts of Nashville Tennessee is a man who was so unable to control his excitement from casting his first ever Presidential Primary ballot that he had to wear adult diapers to the polls; Jeremy Goldkorn." I think the unusual thing about the intro for the episode I linked earlier in the thread is that Jeremy was not on the interview, but Kaiser still introduced him. Jeremy's response would have made it quite clear to the unfamiliar listener that the intro is meant as a joke.

Jeremy and Kaiser are both left-leaning when it comes to domestic politics, which is also why I find this kind of amusing. There's another running joke that in their younger years they would have never expected to someday settle in the American South, which is traditionally a conservative stronghold. I'm hesitant to say that they are left-leaning on China issues since I believe their views are far more nuanced than that of any American political party. I listen to the Sinica podcast because I like the long-form interviews with journalists, academics, and other experts in the field on particular contemporary issues related to China. I find that they provide way way more depth and breadth than what you'll get from standard Western MSM reporting.
Last edited by white belt on Thu May 28, 2020 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

white belt
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by white belt »

Augustus wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 11:35 am
Based on what reasoning? There are not many reasons for massive military build up over a decade to the point that they could beat the shit out of the US military in asia. Recent war gaming shows the US would likely lose.

Why build up/move troops to the contested zones? I think you do not understand china. You ought to watch some of the news coming out of taiwan and hong kong, they have skin in the game and more experience with China than you do, and they are scared shitless.
I agree with Chenda that direct conflict between the Chinese and US military is unlikely. Although I think globalization may trend downward in a post COVID19 world, the world economies are still so intertwined that the economic fallout of any type of large conflict could be way more devastating than any potential gain by one side.

Here are a few questions I have:

-What is the benefit to China if they engage in direct conflict with the US?
-What is the benefit to the US if they engage in direct conflict with China?
-Do you think the American public has the appetite for a large scale conflict with a near-peer competitor?
-Do you think the CCP is willing to expose themselves to immense risk and potentially lose power?

What I'm getting at is that the ruling class in both countries are hugely benefited by maintaining the status quo.

There is a perfectly rational explanation for Xi Jinping emphasizing military modernization over the past few years. If you want to be a global superpower, you better be able to project military power to protect your interests. There's a narrative that China's goal is to take over the world, but I think that is unlikely. They are not a colonial power and almost their entire military is oriented towards defending the homeland, rather than contingency operations in other countries like NATO/US have been wont to do during GWOT. A lot of China's recent moves are to provide strategic capabilities to counter the fact that the US has military capabilities in allied countries that surround them (Japan, Korea, Philippines, Afghanistan, etc). Note that this is not me saying that I like the fact that China is improving their military capability, but rather just pointing at that it is to be expected. The US military shifted it's focus to training for conflict against another superpower 5+ years ago.

Now, I do think there is a possibility for proxy war in contested areas like the islands in the South China Sea, the Indian border, potentially even HK or Taiwan (I think Taiwan is the least likely, HK may be in the beginning stages of it). This is going to look a lot like the Gray Zone/Hybrid warfare we see in the Syrian Civil War and the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Borders will be porous, combatant/non-combatant line will be blurred, civilian/government/business line will be blurred, plausible deniability always, rampant disinformation and influence operations, and attacks that bridge all domains of warfare (land, sea, air, space, cyberspace). If you want to see an example of what a proxy war looks like that involves a complex web of different actors I encourage you to dig more into the Syrian Civil War. If you want to see masterful employment of Gray Zone/Hybrid warfare and Multi-Domain operations I highly encourage you to look at Russian strategy in the Ukraine.

I think I hit on it before, but I maintain a huge distinction between Hong Kong and Taiwan. The CCP has jurisdiction over Hong Kong (yes I know there's a constitution and HK is democratic and so on), however this is not the case for Taiwan at the moment.

chenda
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Re: COVID19 and boycotting Chinese made

Post by chenda »

@white belt - Ah that all makes sense now, I do like a bit of black humour :)

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