The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was not surprised as I read this book.
I've been through my own intellectual crisis, reading many political books, watching the news, freaking out about the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and generally trying to get a general drift of China in global politics. Bits and pieces came to light from the time of Mao, the Cultural Revolution, the closing and opening of borders, Nixion, and then the great strategy boiled down to: "When capable, feign incapacity."
This book spells it all out, but let me make an analogy.
You know that A-Type next-door neighbor of yours that is totally driven, at all costs, to succeed? The one who was really rude to you until you got your own really excellent job? The one who didn't give you the time of day until you brought home your Mercedes?
Yeah, that one. The one who suddenly became all smiles and showed appreciation for all your wonderful accomplishments, but you later, (much later,) discovered that he was talking massive amounts of shit about you to his family, his extended family, and harshly shut down any lines of communication between his children and yours? Or the fact that for the last 20 (or is it 30, now?) years, he's been borrowing all your tools in your garage and never giving them back, has been using your accountant, has been making copies of all your entire movie collection, and during that entire time, he has always made that class of major justifications: "I'm not lucky, I just never got the breaks I needed, I'm physically unable to do the work, my boss hates me..." and you, like the chump you are, loaned him money, taught him everything you knew about how to make it big, and your wife and children STILL give the family charitable donations.
Take that analogy and apply it to China and USA. Not only is the censorship rampant over there, but all their schools teach total BS about how America has been pushing down China for the last 150 years. Anyone sent over in official capacities will look shamefaced about this and so many other facts, say it's just a small minority in their government and smile. Officials have been doing nothing but reassure and make all the right noises to the West, making promises and yet always breaking them.
This isn't about rogue elements in China, you know. They are autocratic. The Hawks established a plan to pretend weakness, get others to do all the heavy lifting for them, and get so strong, economically, that they will replace the West as the most dominant power in the world. They're actions speak powerfully and clearly. They have a long-term plan. Say whatever they need in order to get to the top, make sure they indoctrinate each generation to massively distrust other systems (first Russia, then America) and take the slow path to total dominance.
Again, this shouldn't come as any surprise. Any country with designs on power will go about things in a similar way.
But here's the thing: this book is written by someone who has been deep in the policy-and-analysis end of things in America. He had his own disillusionment, first believing that the best road was through peace and mutual aid. When the weight of such proof of duplicity in united fronts became too obvious, he spoke out. More and more proof is everywhere. 70% of all electronic intrusions come from China. There is near-total disdain for ecological problems including the cancer rates in their own population caused by industrial pollution. Free speech is nearly nonexistent. There has been a near-total eradication of the very IDEA of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China. Those dissidents who DID want to have an honest partnership with the world were subsequently murdered or imprisoned.
And all the while, official faces try to disarm and downplay all this and say all the right things to get more money, aid, and technology. (Although, I'm sure by now, technology isn't all that required. They send tons of students abroad every year to get as much as they want.)
And the poor-me scenario? Their GNP tripled between 1997 and 2007. And yet, they're still playing the same card. Coal power is blanketing the skies in neighboring countries.
I'm not being alarmist. Anyone who keeps up with the news can piece together a much larger picture than I can in a short review. I find it very telling that both Russia and China are united in painting America as devils, however, and not in some piecemeal way. I'm talking systematic, state-sponsored propaganda.
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