Sino-American relations have never been exactly stable. Part of it comes from the knowledge of every Chinese of Western incursions, and of every classically-trained Westerner that when our societies falter, they are usually absorbed by Asiatic ones.
But even more centrally, both parties are locked in a co-dependent relationship despite having radically opposite goals. The Chinese would like to be a superpower; the USA would like them not to be. And yet, the US depends on Chinese borrowing and the Chinese, on American consumption — to a point.
As of today, the eco-sabers are out and rattling. From Global Times:
Not long after Barack Obama took office, US trade and commerce authorities announced a 35 percent import tariff on Chinese tires. In response, China took retaliatory steps of imposing tariffs on US chicken and automotive products. Both China and the US suffered losses as a result. From then on, the Obama administration waged no trade war against China. If Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports, China-US trade will be paralyzed.
China will take a tit-for-tat approach then. A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.
For years, China has enjoyed a seemingly permanent position as a US trade partner because of the lower cost of making items in China. This has been a long-term winning position for the Chinese which has allowed them to replace entire industries in America, aided by Leftist politicians who relentlessly raise costs with more regulations, legal liability and protection for unions.
If that were to go away, China might face less of an ability to, like white liberals fleeing to the suburbs, buy off its problems with prosperity. Its market would then turn regional, where many of its neighbors are enemies, and internal, where it seems to be afraid to tread.
This calls to mind the question of Chinese stability, and whether the post-war Communist regime will fall as the Soviets did, because of its divisive diversity:
As for Chinaâ€™s presumed cultural unity, there is not a single language understood throughout China. The division between Cantonese and Mandarin is reasonably well known in the West, but there are other fault lines. The former leader Deng Xiaoping spoke with such a heavy accent and dialect that his daughter interpreted for him when he spoke in public. There is not even a single, standard written language.
China is far from being a unified racial/ethnic entity. It contains within its borders approximately 100 million people who are members of minority groups. It makes no more sense to speak of China as a continuous state or single civilisation than it does to speak of Europe as a continuous state or single civilization.
The current Chinese regime beat the Nationalists by unifying a peasant army to attack and dispossess the ruling caste, who headed to Taiwan instead. The question for the future remains if ideology and prosperity are enough to unify China as it heads into an uncertain century.
We see, for example, Nationalism rising as liberal democracy and diversity have collapsed from within. They collapsed not by ideology, but because their end results were terrible and have wreaked disaster across several continents, much as Communism did.
We see also a general lack of faith in human intent. Where the past was a century of the ego, in which what people thought they wanted was more important than its consequences, the new viewpoint of these battered populations is inherently conservative: stick to what works, and specifically, what works well.
Some of the solution for China will come from their unique mindset:
Throughout their history the Chinese have been very inventive when it comes to practical solutions to particular problems but did not develop theories from practical solutions that offered general explanations of the world.
…Philosophy as we would understand it in the West, that is, analytical thought examining the nature of reality with, in theory at least, an absence of ideological baggage, is virtually absent from Chinese history.
…Compared to whites, Asians are more cautious, less impulsive, less aggressive, less sociable, less psychopathic, and have lower self-regard (the same can be said about whites compared to blacks).
…This is not the type of personality that â€” despite an advantage in average IQ â€” pushes a society towards the achievements that characterize the West: developing an industrial revolution from scratch, creating modern science, giving birth to analytical philosophy, and evolving many varied forms of political life that value the contribution of the individual.
In contrast to the author of this piece, many of us see the advantage as being with the Asian perspective and method here. The West suffers from an over-abundance of creativity without being anchored to a central point which fixes it to reality, which explains the tendency of Western societies to explode through ideological fixation of an almost autistic nature.
Where the West struggles with internal chaos, China has stability. If this holds, it is likely that China will revert to mostly pre-industrial conditions, while the West will try for a futuristic solution. Which one works, time will tell.