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Welcome to the post-America world ('bout bloody time too)…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: July 29, 2017, 05:46:09 am »


from The Washington Post....

Say hello to a post-America world

The world has gone through bouts of anti-Americanism before.
But this one feels different.


By FAREED ZAKARIA | 7:49PM EDT - Thursday, July 27, 2017

President Trump sits alone at the Group of 20 summit. — Photograph: Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency.
President Trump sits alone at the Group of 20 summit. — Photograph: Felipe Trueba/European Pressphoto Agency.

IN London last week, I met a Nigerian man who succinctly expressed the reaction of much of the world to the United States these days. “Your country has gone crazy,” he said, with a mixture of outrage and amusement. “I'm from Africa. I know crazy, but I didn't ever think I would see this in America.”

A sadder sentiment came from a young Irish woman I met in Dublin who went to Columbia University, founded a social enterprise and has lived in New York for nine years. “I've come to recognize that, as a European, I have very different values than America these days,” she said. “I realized that I have to come back to Europe, somewhere in Europe, to live and raise a family.”

The world has gone through bouts of anti-Americanism before. But this one feels very different. First, there is the sheer shock at what is going on, the bizarre candidacy of Donald Trump, which has been followed by an utterly chaotic presidency. The chaos is at such a fever pitch that one stalwart Republican, Karl Rove, described the president this week as “vindictive, impulsive and shortsighted” and his public shaming of Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “unfair, unjustified, unseemly and stupid.” Kenneth Starr, the onetime grand inquisitor of President Bill Clinton, went further, calling Trump's recent treatment of Sessions “one of the most outrageous — and profoundly misguided — courses of presidential conduct I have witnessed in five decades in and around the nation's capital.”

But there is another aspect to the decline in America's reputation. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 37 countries, people around the world increasingly believe that they can make do without America. Trump's presidency is making the United States something worse than just feared or derided. It is becoming irrelevant.

The most fascinating finding of the Pew survey was not that Trump is deeply unpopular (22 percent have confidence in him, compared with 64 percent who had confidence in Barack Obama at the end of his presidency). That was to be expected — but there are now alternatives. On the question of confidence in various leaders to do the right thing regarding world affairs, China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin got slightly higher marks than Trump. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel got almost twice as much support as Trump. (Even in the United States, more respondents expressed confidence in Merkel than in Trump.) This says a lot about Trump, but it says as much about Merkel's reputation and how far Germany has come since 1945.

Trump has managed to do something that Putin could not. He has unified Europe. As the continent faces the challenges of Trump, Brexit and populism, a funny thing has happened. Support for Europe among its residents has risen, and plans for deeper European integration are underway. If the Trump administration proceeds as it has promised and initiates protectionist measures against Europe, the continent’s resolve will only strengthen. Under the combined leadership of Merkel and new French President Emmanuel Macron, Europe will adopt a more activist global agenda. Its economy has rebounded and is now growing as fast as that of the United States.

To America's north, Canada's foreign minister recently spoke out, in a friendly and measured way, noting that the United States has clearly signaled that it is no longer willing to bear the burdens of global leadership, leaving it to countries such as Canada to stand up for a rules-based international system, free trade and human rights. To America's south, Mexico has abandoned any plans for cooperation with the Trump administration. Trump's approval rating in Mexico is 5 percent, his lowest of all the countries Pew surveyed.

China's leadership began taking advantage of Trump's rhetoric and foreign policy right from the start, announcing that it was happy to play the role of chief promoter of trade and investment around the world, cutting deals with countries from Latin America to Africa to Central Asia. According to the Pew survey, seven of 10 European countries now believe that China is the world's leading economic power, not the United States.

The most dismaying of Pew's findings is that the drop in regard for America goes well beyond Trump. Sixty-four percent of the people surveyed expressed a favorable view of the United States at the end of the Obama presidency. That has fallen to 49 percent now. Even when U.S. foreign policy was unpopular, people around the world still believed in America — the place, the idea. This is less true today.

In 2008, I wrote a book about the emerging Post-American World, which, I noted at the start, was not about the decline of America but rather the rise of the rest. Amid the parochialism, ineptitude and sheer disarray of the Trump presidency, the post-American world is coming to fruition much faster than I ever expected.


• Fareed Zakaria writes a foreign affairs column for The Washington Post. He is also the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and a contributing editor for The Atlantic.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/say-hello-to-a-post-america-world/2017/07/27/aad19d68-7308-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 05:47:30 am »


It's good to see the rest of the world beginning to turn its back on America.

America is a has-been nation full of stupid dipshits.

The 21st century is NOT America's century.

Donald Trump has hastened the decline of the Fascist States of America.

The world can begin to rejoice!!
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Donald
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2017, 07:20:37 am »

Ktj..."The 21st century is NOT America's century"

....no.....it's New Zealand's century🤑


Ktj..."the world can begin to rejoice!!"

..ahhhh..yeah...I wish you a very happy "begin rejoicing" time.......😳....really let ya hair down🙄
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2018, 09:21:03 pm »


from The New York Times…

CHINA: The Land That Failed to Fail



China Rules: They didn't like the West's playbook. So they wrote their own.
The West was sure the Chinese approach would not work.
It just had to wait. It's still waiting.


By PHILIP P. PAN — Photographs by Bryan Denton | Sunday, November 18, 2018

The pull of the past: Aerospace workers wearing Long March-style uniforms.
The pull of the past: Aerospace workers wearing Long March-style uniforms.

IN THE uncertain years after Mao's death, long before China became an industrial juggernaut, before the Communist Party went on a winning streak that would reshape the world, a group of economics students gathered at a mountain retreat outside Shanghai. There, in the bamboo forests of Moganshan, the young scholars grappled with a pressing question: How could China catch up with the West?

It was the autumn of 1984, and on the other side of the world, Ronald Reagan was promising “morning again in America.” China, meanwhile, was just recovering from decades of political and economic turmoil. There had been progress in the countryside, but more than three-quarters of the population still lived in extreme poverty. The state decided where everyone worked, what every factory made and how much everything cost.

The students and researchers attending the Academic Symposium of Middle-Aged and Young Economists wanted to unleash market forces but worried about crashing the economy — and alarming the party bureaucrats and ideologues who controlled it.

Late one night, they reached a consensus: Factories should meet state quotas but sell anything extra they made at any price they chose. It was a clever, quietly radical proposal to undercut the planned economy — and it intrigued a young party official in the room who had no background in economics. “As they were discussing the problem, I didn't say anything at all,” recalled Xu Jing'an, now 76 and retired. “I was thinking, how do we make this work?”

The Chinese economy has grown so fast for so long now that it is easy to forget how unlikely its metamorphosis into a global powerhouse was, how much of its ascent was improvised and born of desperation. The proposal that Mr. Xu took from the mountain retreat, soon adopted as government policy, was a pivotal early step in this astounding transformation.

China now leads the world in the number of home-owners, internet users, college graduates and, by some counts, billionaires. Extreme poverty has fallen to less than 1 percent. An isolated, impoverished backwater has evolved into the most significant rival to the United States since the fall of the Soviet Union.


China today might be unrecognizable to its Communist founders, but the past still holds a powerful allure. “Red tourism” is a big industry.
China today might be unrecognizable to its Communist founders, but the past still holds a powerful allure. “Red tourism” is a big industry.

It is less worried now about catching up to the West. Instead, it wonders how to pull ahead.
It is less worried now about catching up to the West. Instead, it wonders how to pull ahead.

The country leads the world in the number of internet users and college graduates. It is now working to land a person on the moon.
The country leads the world in the number of internet users and college graduates. It is now working to land a person on the moon.

Gone are the days when the state decided where everyone worked and what every factory made.
Gone are the days when the state decided where everyone worked and what every factory made.

The world thought it would change China, but China's success has been so spectacular that it has changed the world.
The world thought it would change China, but China's success has been so spectacular that it has changed the world.

An epochal contest is underway. With President Xi Jinping pushing a more assertive agenda overseas and tightening controls at home, the Trump administration has launched a trade war and is gearing up for what could be a new Cold War. Meanwhile, in Beijing the question these days is less how to catch up with the West than how to pull ahead — and how to do so in a new era of American hostility.

The pattern is familiar to historians, a rising power challenging an established one, with a familiar complication: For decades, the United States encouraged and aided China's rise, working with its leaders and its people to build the most important economic partnership in the world, one that has lifted both nations.

During this time, eight American presidents assumed, or hoped, that China would eventually bend to what were considered the established rules of modernization: Prosperity would fuel popular demands for political freedom and bring China into the fold of democratic nations. Or the Chinese economy would falter under the weight of authoritarian rule and bureaucratic rot.

But neither happened. Instead, China's Communist leaders have defied expectations again and again. They embraced capitalism even as they continued to call themselves Marxists. They used repression to maintain power but without stifling entrepreneurship or innovation. Surrounded by foes and rivals, they avoided war, with one brief exception, even as they fanned nationalist sentiment at home. And they presided over 40 years of uninterrupted growth, often with unorthodox policies the textbooks said would fail.

In late September, the People's Republic of China marked a milestone, surpassing the Soviet Union in longevity. Days later, it celebrated a record 69 years of Communist rule. And China may be just hitting its stride — a new superpower with an economy on track to become not just the world's largest but, quite soon, the largest by a wide margin.

The world thought it could change China, and in many ways it has. But China's success has been so spectacular that it has just as often changed the world — and the American understanding of how the world works.

There is no simple explanation for how China's leaders pulled this off. There was foresight and luck, skill and violent resolve, but perhaps most important was the fear — a sense of crisis among Mao's successors that they never shook, and that intensified after the Tiananmen Square massacre and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Even as they put the disasters of Mao's rule behind them, China's Communists studied and obsessed over the fate of their old ideological allies in Moscow, determined to learn from their mistakes. They drew two lessons: The party needed to embrace “reform” to survive — but “reform” must never include democratization.

China has veered between these competing impulses ever since, between opening up and clamping down, between experimenting with change and resisting it, always pulling back before going too far in either direction for fear of running aground.

Many people said that the party would fail, that this tension between openness and repression would be too much for a nation as big as China to sustain. But it may be precisely why China soared.

Whether it can continue to do so with the United States trying to stop it is another question entirely.


Apparatchiks Into Capitalists

None of the participants at the Moganshan conference could have predicted how China would take off, much less the roles they would play in the boom ahead. They had come of age in an era of tumult, almost entirely isolated from the rest of the world, with little to prepare them for the challenge they faced. To succeed, the party had to both reinvent its ideology and reprogram its best and brightest to carry it out.

Mr. Xu, for example, had graduated with a degree in journalism on the eve of Mao's violent Cultural Revolution, during which millions of people were purged, persecuted and killed. He spent those years at a “cadre school” doing manual labor and teaching Marxism in an army unit. After Mao's death, he was assigned to a state research institute tasked with fixing the economy. His first job was figuring out how to give factories more power to make decisions, a subject he knew almost nothing about. Yet he went on to a distinguished career as an economic policymaker, helping launch China's first stock market in Shenzhen.

Among the other young participants in Moganshan were Zhou Xiaochuan, who would later lead China's central bank for 15 years; Lou Jiwei, who ran China's sovereign wealth fund and recently stepped down as finance minister; and an agricultural policy specialist named Wang Qishan, who rose higher than any of them.

Mr. Wang headed China's first investment bank and helped steer the nation through the Asian financial crisis. As Beijing's mayor, he hosted the 2008 Olympics. Then he oversaw the party's recent high-stakes crackdown on corruption. Now he is China's vice president, second in authority only to Xi Jinping, the party's leader.

The careers of these men from Moganshan highlight an important aspect of China's success: It turned its apparatchiks into capitalists.

Bureaucrats who were once obstacles to growth became engines of growth. Officials devoted to class warfare and price controls began chasing investment and promoting private enterprise. Every day now, the leader of a Chinese district, city or province makes a pitch like the one Yan Chaojun made at a business forum in September.

“Sanya,” Mr. Yan said, referring to the southern resort town he leads, “must be a good butler, nanny, driver and cleaning person for businesses, and welcome investment from foreign companies.”

It was a remarkable act of reinvention, one that eluded the Soviets. In both China and the Soviet Union, vast Stalinist bureaucracies had smothered economic growth, with officials who wielded unchecked power resisting change that threatened their privileges.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, tried to break the hold of these bureaucrats on the economy by opening up the political system. Decades later, Chinese officials still take classes on why that was a mistake. The party even produced a documentary series on the subject in 2006, distributing it on classified DVDs for officials at all levels to watch.

Afraid to open up politically but unwilling to stand still, the party found another way. It moved gradually and followed the pattern of the compromise at Moganshan, which left the planned economy intact while allowing a market economy to flourish and outgrow it.


Once an impoverished backwater, China is now the most significant rival to the United States. Wuhan, a former river town, has swelled into a metropolis of over 10 million.
Once an impoverished backwater, China is now the most significant rival to the United States. Wuhan, a former river town, has swelled into a metropolis
of over 10 million.


A businessman stretched before a round of video golf at a hotel he built in Kunming.
A businessman stretched before a round of video golf at a hotel he built in Kunming.

Rising incomes have turned China into a nation of consumers.
Rising incomes have turned China into a nation of consumers.

In cities like Shanghai, Chinese school children out-perform peers around the world.
In cities like Shanghai, Chinese school children out-perform peers around the world.

Western economists doubted that innovation could take place under China's rigid bureaucracy. They were proved wrong.
Western economists doubted that innovation could take place under China's rigid bureaucracy. They were proved wrong.

Party leaders called this go-slow, experimental approach “crossing the river by feeling the stones” — allowing farmers to grow and sell their own crops, for example, while retaining state ownership of the land; lifting investment restrictions in “special economic zones,” while leaving them in place in the rest of the country; or introducing privatization by selling only minority stakes in state firms at first.

“There was resistance,” Mr. Xu said. “Satisfying the reformers and the opposition was an art.”

American economists were skeptical. Market forces needed to be introduced quickly, they argued; otherwise, the bureaucracy would mobilize to block necessary changes. After a visit to China in 1988, the Nobel laureate Milton Friedman called the party's strategy “an open invitation to corruption and inefficiency.”

But China had a strange advantage in battling bureaucratic resistance. The nation's long economic boom followed one of the darkest chapters of its history, the Cultural Revolution, which decimated the party apparatus and left it in shambles. In effect, autocratic excess set the stage for Mao's eventual successor, Deng Xiaoping, to lead the party in a radically more open direction.

That included sending generations of young party officials to the United States and elsewhere to study how modern economies worked. Sometimes they enrolled in universities, sometimes they found jobs, and sometimes they went on brief “study tours.” When they returned, the party promoted their careers and arranged for others to learn from them.

At the same time, the party invested in education, expanding access to schools and universities, and all but eliminating illiteracy. Many critics focus on the weaknesses of the Chinese system — the emphasis on tests and memorization, the political constraints, the discrimination against rural students. But mainland China now produces more graduates in science and engineering every year than the United States, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan combined.

In cities like Shanghai, Chinese schoolchildren out-perform peers around the world. For many parents, though, even that is not enough. Because of new wealth, a traditional emphasis on education as a path to social mobility and the state's hypercompetitive college entrance exam, most students also enroll in after-school tutoring programs — a market worth $125 billion, according to one study, or as much as half the government's annual military budget.

Another explanation for the party's transformation lies in bureaucratic mechanics. Analysts sometimes say that China embraced economic reform while resisting political reform. But in reality, the party made changes after Mao's death that fell short of free elections or independent courts yet were nevertheless significant.

The party introduced term limits and mandatory retirement ages, for example, making it easier to flush out incompetent officials. And it revamped the internal report cards it used to evaluate local leaders for promotions and bonuses, focusing them almost exclusively on concrete economic targets.

These seemingly minor adjustments had an outsize impact, injecting a dose of accountability — and competition — into the political system, said Yuen Yuen Ang, a political scientist at the University of Michigan. “China created a unique hybrid,” she said, “an autocracy with democratic characteristics”.

As the economy flourished, officials with a single-minded focus on growth often ignored widespread pollution, violations of labor standards, and tainted food and medical supplies. They were rewarded with soaring tax revenues and opportunities to enrich their friends, their relatives and themselves. A wave of officials abandoned the state and went into business. Over time, the party elite amassed great wealth, which cemented its support for the privatization of much of the economy it once controlled.

The private sector now produces more than 60 percent of the nation's economic output, employs over 80 percent of workers in cities and towns, and generates 90 percent of new jobs, a senior official said in a speech last year. As often as not, the bureaucrats stay out of the way.

“I basically don't see them even once a year,” said James Ni, chairman and founder of Mlily, a mattress manufacturer in eastern China. “I'm creating jobs, generating tax revenue. Why should they bother me?”

In recent years, President Xi has sought to assert the party's authority inside private firms. He has also bolstered state-owned enterprises with subsidies while preserving barriers to foreign competition. And he has endorsed demands that American companies surrender technology in exchange for market access.

In doing so, he is betting that the Chinese state has changed so much that it should play a leading role in the economy — that it can build and run “national champions” capable of out-competing the United States for control of the high-tech industries of the future. But he has also provoked a backlash in Washington D.C.


‘Opening Up’

In December, the Communist Party will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the “reform and opening up” policies that transformed China. The triumphant propaganda has already begun, with Mr. Xi putting himself front and center, as if taking a victory lap for the nation.

He is the party's most powerful leader since Deng and the son of a senior official who served Deng, but even as he wraps himself in Deng's legacy, Mr. Xi has set himself apart in an important way: Deng encouraged the party to seek help and expertise overseas, but Mr. Xi preaches self-reliance and warns of the threats posed by “hostile foreign forces.”

In other words, he appears to have less use for the “opening up” part of Deng's slogan.

Of the many risks that the party took in its pursuit of growth, perhaps the biggest was letting in foreign investment, trade and ideas. It was an exceptional gamble by a country once as isolated as North Korea is today, and it paid off in an exceptional way: China tapped into a wave of globalization sweeping the world and emerged as the world's factory. China's embrace of the internet, within limits, helped make it a leader in technology. And foreign advice helped China reshape its banks, build a legal system and create modern corporations.

The party prefers a different narrative these days, presenting the economic boom as “grown out of the soil of China” and primarily the result of its leadership. But this obscures one of the great ironies of China's rise — that Beijing's former enemies helped make it possible.


President Xi Jinping has shown no sign of abandoning what he calls “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. The observation deck of the Shanghai Tower, the world's second-tallest building.
President Xi Jinping has shown no sign of abandoning what he calls “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. The observation deck of the Shanghai Tower,
the world's second-tallest building.


A Communist Party Congress. Mr. Xi seems to believe that China has been so successful that the party can return to its authoritarian past.
A Communist Party Congress. Mr. Xi seems to believe that China has been so successful that the party can return to its authoritarian past.

China tapped into a wave of globalization and emerged as the world's factory. Advertising for day laborers in Shenzhen.
China tapped into a wave of globalization and emerged as the world's factory. Advertising for day laborers in Shenzhen.

A fashion design employee at a bridal wear exhibition in Beijing may have taken the opportunity for a break, but no one calls China a sleeping giant anymore.
A fashion design employee at a bridal wear exhibition in Beijing may have taken the opportunity for a break, but no one calls China a sleeping giant anymore.

Installing solar panels on a 47-story residential development. China succeeded by leaving a planned economy intact and allowing a market economy to flourish and outgrow it.
Installing solar panels on a 47-story residential development. China succeeded by leaving a planned economy intact and allowing a market economy
to flourish and outgrow it.


The United States and Japan, both routinely vilified by party propagandists, became major trading partners and were important sources of aid, investment and expertise. The real game changers, though, were people like Tony Lin, a factory manager who made his first trip to the mainland in 1988.

Mr. Lin was born and raised in Taiwan, the self-governing island where those who lost the Chinese civil war fled after the Communist Revolution. As a schoolboy, he was taught that mainland China was the enemy.

But in the late 1980s, the sneaker factory he managed in central Taiwan was having trouble finding workers, and its biggest customer, Nike, suggested moving some production to China. Mr. Lin set aside his fears and made the trip. What he found surprised him: a large and willing work force, and officials so eager for capital and know-how that they offered the use of a state factory free and a five-year break on taxes.

Mr. Lin spent the next decade shuttling to and from southern China, spending months at a time there and returning home only for short breaks to see his wife and children. He built and ran five sneaker factories, including Nike's largest Chinese supplier.

“China's policies were tremendous,” he recalled. “They were like a sponge absorbing water, money, technology, everything.”

Mr. Lin was part of a torrent of investment from ethnic Chinese enclaves in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and beyond that washed over China — and gave it a leg up on other developing countries. Without this diaspora, some economists argue, the mainland's transformation might have stalled at the level of a country like Indonesia or Mexico.

The timing worked out for China, which opened up just as Taiwan was outgrowing its place in the global manufacturing chain. China benefited from Taiwan's money, but also its managerial experience, technology and relationships with customers around the world. In effect, Taiwan jump-started capitalism in China and plugged it into the global economy.

Before long, the government in Taiwan began to worry about relying so much on its one-time enemy and tried to shift investment elsewhere. But the mainland was too cheap, too close and, with a common language and heritage, too familiar. Mr. Lin tried opening factories in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia but always came back to China.

Now Taiwan finds itself increasingly dependent on a much more powerful China, which is pushing ever harder for unification, and the island's future is uncertain.

There are echoes of Taiwan's predicament around the world, where many are having second thoughts about how they rushed to embrace Beijing with trade and investment.

The remorse may be strongest in the United States, which brought China into the World Trade Organization, became China's largest customer and now accuses it of large-scale theft of technology — what one official called “the greatest transfer of wealth in history”.

Many in Washington predicted that trade would bring political change. It did, but not in China. “Opening up” ended up strengthening the party's hold on power rather than weakening it. The shock of China's rise as an export colossus, however, was felt in factory towns around the world.

In the United States, economists say at least two million jobs disappeared as a result, many in districts that ended up voting for President Trump.


Selective Repression

Over lunch at a luxurious private club on the 50th floor of an apartment tower in central Beijing, one of China's most successful real estate tycoons explained why he had left his job at a government research center after the crackdown on the student-led democracy movement in Tiananmen Square.

“It was very easy,” said Feng Lun, the chairman of Vantone Holdings, which manages a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of properties around the world. “One day, I woke up and everyone had run away. So I ran, too.”

Until the soldiers opened fire, he said, he had planned to spend his entire career in the civil service. Instead, as the party was pushing out those who had sympathized with the students, he joined the exodus of officials who started over as entrepreneurs in the 1990s.

“At the time, if you held a meeting and told us to go into business, we wouldn't have gone,” he recalled. “So this incident, it unintentionally planted seeds in the market economy.”

Such has been the see-saw pattern of the party's success.

The pro-democracy movement in 1989 was the closest the party ever came to political liberalization after Mao's death, and the crackdown that followed was the furthest it went in the other direction, toward repression and control. After the massacre, the economy stalled and retrenchment seemed certain. Yet three years later, Deng used a tour of southern China to wrestle the party back to “reform and opening up” once more.

Many who had left the government, like Mr. Feng, suddenly found themselves leading the nation's transformation from the outside, as its first generation of private entrepreneurs.

Now Mr. Xi is steering the party toward repression again, tightening its grip on society, concentrating power in his own hands and setting himself up to rule for life by abolishing the presidential term limit. Will the party loosen up again, as it did a few years after Tiananmen, or is this a more permanent shift? If it is, what will it mean for the Chinese economic miracle?

The fear is that Mr. Xi is attempting to rewrite the recipe behind China's rise, replacing selective repression with something more severe.


For decades, China has veered between openness and repression, including of the ethnic Uighur minority.
For decades, China has veered between openness and repression, including of the ethnic Uighur minority.

Since the Tiananmen movement, the government has been vigilant about crushing potential threats. Surveillance cameras in Beijing.
Since the Tiananmen movement, the government has been vigilant about crushing potential threats. Surveillance cameras in Beijing.

China's high-speed rail network, the largest in the world, has changed the way its people move. In Hangzhou, passengers waited outside the railway station.
China's high-speed rail network, the largest in the world, has changed the way its people move. In Hangzhou, passengers waited outside the railway station.

As China opened up, farmers were allowed to grow and sell their own crops, while the state retained ownership of the land. Greenhouses filled with bok choy and yellow cabbage abut investment properties and golf courses.
As China opened up, farmers were allowed to grow and sell their own crops, while the state retained ownership of the land. Greenhouses filled with bok choy
and yellow cabbage abut investment properties and golf courses.


Under Mao, many educated Chinese were sent to “cadre schools,” where they did manual labor. In May, these real estate agency employees went for a morning run as part of a company team-building exercise.
Under Mao, many educated Chinese were sent to “cadre schools,” where they did manual labor. In May, these real estate agency employees
went for a morning run as part of a company team-building exercise.


The party has always been vigilant about crushing potential threats — a fledgling opposition party, a popular spiritual movement, even a dissident writer awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But with some big exceptions, it has also generally retreated from people's personal lives and given them enough freedom to keep the economy growing.

The internet is an example of how it has benefited by striking a balance. The party let the nation go online with barely an inkling of what that might mean, then reaped the economic benefits while controlling the spread of information that could hurt it.

In 2011, it confronted a crisis. After a high-speed train crash in eastern China, more than 30 million messages criticizing the party's handling of the fatal accident flooded social media — faster than censors could screen them.

Panicked officials considered shutting down the most popular service, Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, but the authorities were afraid of how the public would respond. In the end, they let Weibo stay open but invested much more in tightening controls and ordered companies to do the same.

The compromise worked. Now, many companies assign hundreds of employees to censorship duties — and China has become a giant on the global internet landscape.

“The cost of censorship is quite limited compared to the great value created by the internet,” said Chen Tong, an industry pioneer. “We still get the information we need for economic progress.”


A ‘New Era’

China is not the only country that has squared the demands of authoritarian rule with the needs of free markets. But it has done so for longer, at greater scale and with more convincing results than any other.

The question now is whether it can sustain this model with the United States as an adversary rather than a partner.

The trade war has only just begun. And it is not just a trade war. American warships and planes are challenging Chinese claims to disputed waters with increasing frequency even as China keeps ratcheting up military spending. And Washington is maneuvering to counter Beijing's growing influence around the world, warning that a Chinese spending spree on global infrastructure comes with strings attached.

The two nations may yet reach some accommodation. But both left and right in America have portrayed China as the champion of an alternative global order, one that embraces autocratic values and undermines fair competition. It is a rare consensus for the United States, which is deeply divided about so much else, including how it has wielded power abroad in recent decades — and how it should do so now.

Mr. Xi, on the other hand, has shown no sign of abandoning what he calls “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Some in his corner have been itching to take on the United States since the 2008 financial crisis and see the Trump administration's policies as proof of what they have always suspected — that America is determined to keep China down.

At the same time, there is also widespread anxiety over the new acrimony, because the United States has long inspired admiration and envy in China, and because of a gnawing sense that the party's formula for success may be faltering.

Prosperity has brought rising expectations in China; the public wants more than just economic growth. It wants cleaner air, safer food and medicine, better health care and schools, less corruption and greater equality. The party is struggling to deliver, and tweaks to the report cards it uses to measure the performance of officials hardly seem enough.

“The basic problem is, who is growth for?” said Mr. Xu, the retired official who wrote the Moganshan report. “We haven't solved this problem.”

Growth has begun to slow, which may be better for the economy in the long term but could shake public confidence. The party is investing ever more in censorship to control discussion of the challenges the nation faces: widening inequality, dangerous debt levels, an aging population.

Mr. Xi himself has acknowledged that the party must adapt, declaring that the nation is entering a “new era” requiring new methods. But his prescription has largely been a throwback to repression, including vast internment camps targeting Muslim ethnic minorities. “Opening up” has been replaced by an outward push, with huge loans that critics describe as predatory and other efforts to gain influence — or interfere — in the politics of other countries. At home, experimentation is out while political orthodoxy and discipline are in.

In effect, Mr. Xi seems to believe that China has been so successful that the party can return to a more conventional authoritarian posture — and that to survive and surpass the United States it must.

Certainly, the momentum is still with the party. Over the past four decades, economic growth in China has been 10 times faster than in the United States, and it is still more than twice as fast. The party appears to enjoy broad public support, and many around the world are convinced that Mr. Trump's America is in retreat while China's moment is just beginning.

Then again, China has a way of defying expectations.


__________________________________________________________________________

Jonathan Ansfield and Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Beijing. Claire Fu, Zoe Mou and Iris Zhao contributed research from Beijing, and Carolyn Zhang from Shanghai.

Philip P. Pan is the Asia editor of The New York Times and the author of Out of Mao's Shadow, an award-winning book about political activism in China. He was previously the Beijing bureau chief and the founding editor of The N.Y. Times's Chinese-language website. Mr. Pan joined The Times after a long career as a reporter for The Washington Post, including assignments as bureau chief in Beijing and Moscow. He has lived in China for more than a decade and his work has been recognized with the Livingston Award for international reporting, an Overseas Press Club award and the Asia Society's Osborn Elliott Prize for excellence in journalism about Asia. Before going overseas, he covered crime and immigration in the United States. Born and raised in New Jersey, he is a graduate of Harvard College and studied Mandarin at Peking University.

Design: Matt Ruby, Rumsey Taylor, Quoctrung Bui.

Editing: Tess Felder, Eric Nagourney, David Schmidt.

Photo Editing: Craig Allen, Meghan Petersen, Mikko Takkunen.

Illustrations: Sergio Peçanha.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • The American Dream Is Alive. In China.

 • How China Made Its Own Internet

 • How China Took Over Your TV

 • How China Is Rewriting Its Own Script

 • The World, Built By China


https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/18/world/asia/china-rules.html
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from The Seattle Times…

As America retreats, China moves to create a new world order

Behind the tit-for-tat trade fight between Washington and Beijing,
China is staking out an ambitious global agenda.


By JON TALTON | 6:00AM PST — Friday, December 14, 2018

President Donald J. Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach last year. Xi is holding China up as a protector of the world order in the face of new American isolationism. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Donald J. Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach
last year. Xi is holding China up as a protector of the world order in the face of new American isolationism.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


THE LAST TIME nationalism was on the march, we experienced two world wars that killed tens of millions of people.

After the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the United States created institutions deliberately intended to establish a multilateral, liberal world order. These included the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Marshall Plan and trade-liberalizing rounds that culminated in the World Trade Organization. The success seemed validated with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But less than three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, nationalism is back.

The European Union, crowning achievement of bringing peace to the bloodiest continent of the 20th century, is in trouble.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leading champion of internationalism since Trump's election, has resigned as head of her party and won't seek re-election. French President Emmanuel Macron, seen as an essential Merkel ally, was forced into a humiliating retreat from economic reforms. Liberalism, including democracy and the rule of law, is in retreat in Hungary, Poland and Italy.

President Donald Trump's “America First” is the most troubling development. He dislikes international institutions, withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accords, antagonizes American allies and attacks immigrants.

Whatever the fate of Individual 1” and his legal troubles, these pillars of Trumpism will endure with a substantial portion of the electorate.

With the defeat of internationalist Hillary Clinton and the withdrawal of America from President Barack Obama's signature “high standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership trade (and geostrategic) agreement, America is retreating from world leadership. It's uncertain if the next election or two can reverse this.

The same isn't true of China.

With its ambitious belt-and-road initiatives (BRI), Beijing is investing in infrastructure across the globe.

According to the World Bank, the plans aim to bolster investment and trade between China and 65 other nations. Collectively, they make up more than 30 percent of global gross domestic product, 75 percent of known energy reserves and 62 percent of the planet's population.

Another sign of China's attempt to build a new order is the 16+1 summits involving central and eastern Europe. According to an opinion piece in The Washington Post, “China and its partners do not subscribe to a common set of rules that has any significant impact on their behavior. Nor is anything of consequence done by consensus. China's multilateralism lacks depth, and it relies on stroking egos and dangling bilateral deals. Call it ‘flatteralism’.”

Beijing gives lip service to existing multilateral institutions, even as it games some World Trade Organization rules and denies the validity of the Permanent Court of Arbitration's 2016 ruling in favor of the Philippines on the South China Sea. Indeed, Chinese President Xi Jinping has held China up as a protector of the world order in the face of new American isolationism.

But the belt-and-road is no substitute for American leadership.

The Economist magazine reported that “citizens of countries hosting BRI projects may come to regret their governments' enthusiasm. Like all Chinese cash, the BRI billions come without pesky questions about human rights or corruption … (and) require the use of lots of Chinese labor. BRI countries risk piling up dangerous amounts of debt, which some fear is designed to give China a strategic hold over them.”

Regular readers know that when I arrived here 11 years ago, I thought Seattle was perfectly positioned to prosper in the “Asian Century”.

But this was before the rise of Trumpism and the sidelining of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Washington remains China's largest trading partner among the states, but the U.S. pullback and China's filling the void won't work in our favor in the long term. Or in America's favor.

Even Boeing, which sees strong future demand in China, can't assume rosy forecasts amid the danger of a U.S.-China trade war. One way Beijing could painfully escalate retaliation for U.S. tariffs is turning more to Airbus — until its indigenous commercial airliners are ready for prime time.

Belt-and-road is fundamentally about extracting wealth, not creating it. As a result, don't expect business for Washington firms, except perhaps on the most painful terms. So I may have been wrong, and Seattle might be highly vulnerable in the Asian Century as it's playing out.

A reader told me, “A large part of our population and some in other countries believe that the global economy is evil and should be ended. But what really scares me is that our international markets are in danger of being taken over by the Chinese.

“It seems to me that the Chinese welcome this attack on the global economy and are aggressively seeking trade agreements with all the other countries in Asia and Mexico and South America as well … I think this would be devastating for us and would result in a failed economy.”

Yes.

Or worse could happen, as we should have learned from the hard schooling about the end-game of nationalism that began more than a century ago.

This is the big picture beyond the granular, day-by-day news reporting on the trade conflict.

Perhaps China will back down and make some concessions, which Trump can crow as wins. (This would stoke Chinese nationalism over a continued attempt to perpetuate its “century of humiliation”.)

But it's highly doubtful that Beijing will stop requiring American companies to transfer technology as a price of doing business or stop stealing American technology.

Addressing this requires strengthening existing multilateral institutions, patient pushing-back against Chinese bad actions and broadening world trade. For this, America is indeed the essential nation.


__________________________________________________________________________

Jon Talton comments on economic news, issues and trends for The Seattle Times, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/economy/as-america-retreats-china-moves-to-create-a-new-world-order
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