Thursday, May 9, 2024

Tourism Figures in the Red?


Friends, no one has been a more consistent critic of the Chicoms than me, but even I will admit that the current wave of Sinophobia washing over the West is at times excessive.  An example: Americans invariably ascribe Chinese economic success to underhandedness, state manipulation of markets, etc., when of course the truth is that, very often, the Chinese sell lots of goods to America and to the world because they work hard, pay attention to detail, and, quite simply, build things that people want to own.  There's no crime in that.  

Be this as it may, a worrying sign in Chinese-American relations is the huge falloff in international visitors to China since 2019.  The pandemic is responsible for much of this decline, but the steadily worsening image of China in the eyes of Westerners is also to blame.  Granted, the overlords of Red China bear a lot of responsibility for this P.R. calamity, but the fact of the matter is that, if Westerners and Chinamen don't talk to each other and strive to understand one another, relations are almost guaranteed to go from bad to worse.  Back in the days of the Cold War, the USSR was a closed society, and that made dealing with the Soviets, let alone conciliating them, extremely challenging.  It also meant that there was a constant danger of conflict and escalation based largely on misunderstandings.  Could the same toxic dynamics develop between Red China and the West?  I wouldn't discount the possibility.  We in the woke West like to give the cold shoulder to anyone we dislike, and that habit of disdain is already destroying our societies from within.  As much as we distrust the Chicoms, I would argue that, for the sake of world peace and the future of humanity, we have an obligation to get to know the Chinese and to accord them a modicum of respect.  That way we can be sure that, if ever a hot war does develop between our two peoples, we will have done everything in our power to prevent it.



    So what are you now, a propagandist for the PRC?

    Do the Chinese really build things people want to own? I don't think so. A lot of things they build are shoddy and don't last very long. Their philosophy is mass production with little attention to detail.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but recognizing two criminal dictatorships, in the case of the Soviet Union/USSR in 1934 and the PRC during the 1970s was a HUGE mistake. In both cases, establishing diplomatic recognition and trade with the two has caused us worse problems. It would have been far better of we had NOT recognized them. Ever heard about the Cold Wat?

    I'm sure you disagree, but I'm also ready to pursue my case.

    And India (with a so called democracy), is not a solution either. More shoddy products with mass production, and a guru-swami philosophy.

    Yeah, I know. Sounds racist doesn't it. That why I'm still enthusiastic about Korean and Japanese products.

    No disrespect towards you. Okay? Just expressing an opinion. Okay?


    No offense, but that illustration you used for this article looks like Bangkok, Thailand, having actually been there myself,

    Anyway, it's a good thing that most of what I learned about history and political science, before, during and after graduate school trying to survive all those Leftist Professors, is call STUDY ON MY OWN.

    One of the things I learned about during SELF-STUDY was that William Bullitt, (our first Ambassador to The Soviet Union) was that Bullitt was first very enthusiastic about recognizing The Soviets, but became very negative later on. Too bad that architect of our recognition with the PRC, the late Henry Kissinger didn't read Bullitt, or didn't care.

    Kissinger's experience with and about China was based on "the balance of power" theories he was nuts about. He didn't know shit about China when he started Kissing it up with them, since his academic speciality was mainly European Diplomacy after 1815.

    However, our industrialists were mentally orgastic about "hooking up with the Chicoms" since it would make them a lot of profit, and they would no longer have to worry about American labor anymore. After all, why pay a lot of Americans big bucks to produce anything much when a lot of "Chinese coolies" could do that for a lot less, including a good diet of gourmet rice and chopped vegetables.

    In any event, the fools who run our government (no matter who is president) will continue to suck it up with Communist dictatorships like The PCR in hopes that our society can become more and more like The
    the PRC, and American peasants can be herded around by them even easier.


    At the end of the day, very few Americans, to include so called upper class and well educated people, know next to nothing about the Chinese (PCR, Taiwan, or Overseas Chinese), and probably don't give a damn. Of course most Americans like Chinese carry out or home delivery, including fortune cookies, if the latter are still around.

    In summary, if you have never seen it, I always thought the film "The Sand Pebbles" which came out about 1966, with Steve McQueen, and based on a novel by a real Yangtze Patrol sailor, and filmed on Taiwan. was always a good movie to watch. It pretty well summed SOME of the U.S. involvement with the pre-Communist China prior to 1949. Not even a modicum of respect between The Americans or Chinese back then according to that movie.

    Finally, if there has been a racially motivated disrespect for the Chinese, you can focus on The Chinese Exclusion Acts of the late 19th Century and the 1920s, created by our U.S. Congress. Must be a few books out there on the subject, if only a dissertation by some PhD candidate.


    And the "Culprit of The West" award goes to Great Britain and The Opium Wars.

  5. Ray, fair enough, but, for starters, what's your proof that Chinese products are "shoddy", or any shoddier than, say, ours? A lot of advanced consumer electronics get built in China, and I don't see a lot of people rushing to abandon their iPhones or their Smart TVs...

    I agree that we would have been better off if we had kept China isolated and desperately poor, but that ship sailed eons ago. Now China is worldly and rich, and we can either find a way of living with them, or we can start WWIII. I prefer the former.


      My proof that Chinese products are "shoddy" is found in a lot of Antique Stores with American made products such as tools and kitchenware for starters. I am also seeing a lot of U.S. "Made in America"products in stores. In any event, if you prefer Chinese products, have at it! That your business, and your problem. Also, why are certain companies leaving China?!


    Points well taken. Frankly, my deep down personal beliefs (which will never see the light and reality of day) is that the U.S. should not have a military presence anywhere in East Asia to include Southeast Asia. Trade and diplomatic relations yes, but no military/naval. This includes The Philippines and Indonesia. The country in the area that needs to help us "hold the line" in Pacific is Australia, for better or worse. The PRC can have Taiwan too. Bet you, if we pulled out of Japan, and Korea, and The Philippines completely in the next few years and secured a line in The Pacific, we would probably be better off in the long run. Anyway, never going to happen, so my thoughts are basically fantasy.

  7. Dr. Waddy and Ray, et al from Jack: I am NO expert but I have had some experience of undergrad study of Chinese history and culture ; I attended a Chinese University in Singapore for a semester and I wandered freely through Hong Kong some 50+ years ago. I enthusiastically share your hope that we can get along with China, for their sake and the world's benefit. Their astonishing rise to extensive prosperity is a miracle to be celebrated for them. PP My suggestion: first acquaint oneself with Chinese history and the paramount importance with which they regard it. They know they are a great country; they have been one for 2000 years, with some relatively brief, bizarre interludes of disorder from which they have always recovered. They manifest a continuous 3000 year old civilization imbued with very constructive and positive principles like redeeming Confucianism , the virtues of hard work, veneration of the aged, an almost incomparable entrepreneurial spirit and respect for well founded time proven tradition. They take a far more extended view of historical time than us ; they pay compelling attention to their history and are terribly determined to prevent any reprise of the catastrophic disorder and humiliation they endured in large part at the hands of the West,a militantly technologically Westernized Japan and by rogue Chinese captured from without by the most destructive doctrine ever forced on humanity, Marxism. Their national security and integrity is, I think, their essential motivation in all major decisions. I think their excruciating recent experience and some perception that theirs is a demonstrably superior culture has made them distrust the rest of the world. Do they see domination of the world as the only way to assure that they will never again be debased as they were in the last two centuries? I don't know. I do know I would travel only in a guided group in any country as authoritarian as is the Peoples' Republic and in which I might be suspect.

  8. Dr. Waddy, Ray et al from Jack: I applaud your encouragement of healthy, measured respect for China. As a purely amateur historian I will venture this opinion: they are the cultural progenitor and nexus of East Asia and their civilization is one the three seminal ones in world history. The others, I think are Islam and the West. I would welcome the views of accomplished scholars like yourselves on this observation.

  9. I do not wish to suggest above, when recommending "acquainting oneself" with China's history, that any individual reading this is necessarily bereft of such knowledge Jack

  10. Ray from Jack: I would disagree that China is a communist country. For a people as practical as the Chinese, having the murderous absurdity of marxism imposed on them had to be unimaginablyhard to endure.They redeemed themselves, by their own efforts, by becoming China again and freeing their great work ethic , in accordance with immutable human nature, to creditable individual and family advancement. I think , having suffered the curse of communism, they may well be one of the most antimarxist countries ever. Authoritarian, yes but not enslaved anymore by that most inhuman of doctrines. I think its impossible for a marxist land to manifest the monumental achievement of prosperity they have managed.

  11. Ray, lots of companies are leaving China, but not because of product quality. It's because they fear that putting all their manufacturing eggs in one basket, which may implode at some stage, is unwise. Those fears are justified! Also, to some degree the cost advantages of doing business in China have been exaggerated, and they are slowly dissipating as China's wages catch up with our own.

    Ray, I basically agree with you. Why does the Pacific Ocean need to be an American lake? What do we gain from projecting our power that far? And who cares who rules Taiwan? How is that a vital U.S. interest? I've always been an isolationist at heart.

    I agree with Jack that, if we reassure the Chinese that we respect their culture and their sovereignty, the danger of Chinese aggression could be dramatically reduced. We should bear in mind that the Chinese have no recent experience with military adventurism and will be very hesitant to role the dice strategically.

    Jack, I haven't thought long and hard about which civilizations are "great", but I don't think anyone could gainsay the inclusion of China on that list!

    Is modern China "communist"? There are a lot of ways to answer that question, but I would say that it is, properly speaking, more fascist than Marxist -- not that its leaders would appreciate the distinction.

  12. Dr. Waddy from Jack: Our view in 1950 was that communism had worked an exceedingly threatening expansion in capturing China. We drew a line, ala 1939, in Taiwan and South Korea and preserved the possibility of the Nationalists redeeming China.Such considerations are out dated. China is not part of a communist contagion, though it could oppose us for national, not doctrinal reasons. We must, I think, countenance the sphere of influence all great powers maintain. We should of course defend our freedom of the seas anywhere but the crescent of Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and India can probably, if it is resolved to do so, curb possible Chinese expansion. Taiwan may be a keystone in the security of that perimeter but not for us. The Chinese are not adventurers. We still have our Navy, with which no nation wants to tangle ;that can preserve our access to the Pacific for peaceful pursuits. The Pacific is a great expanse; I crossed it on a ship four times. There is room for us all there.

  13. Good point: what folly to think that any nation could master, permanently, the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean!

    I think, if we're to be honest, Taiwan's best long-range chance of preserving its (nominal) independence is to deter Chinese aggression with ITS OWN STRENGTH. Make the Chinese doubt their ability to conquer Taiwan, at least not without unacceptable losses. If I were Taiwan, I would build nukes, and subtly advertise their existence, a la Israel.