Will They Run the World?
My main interest in China in my childhood years was the Flying Tigers. (Go to: http://www.flyingtigersavg.com/tiger1.htm to learn about the Flying Tigers at their official site.) Retired Air Force Captain Clair L. Chennault was invited to review air operations in China in 1937. He stayed there until the end of the war in 1945. Who invited him? Why Madame Chiang Kai-shek.
When Lt. General Joseph W. Stilwell entered the China defense, I took an interest in the Burma operations which tried to cut supply lines from Japan to China. We all know that Stilwell was captured by the Japanese and that he was on the Battleship Missouri at Japan’s surrender in 1945. (Read about the China defense at: http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/brochures/72-38/72-38.htm.)
Other than the Boxer Rebellion, I still know little about the history of China. (Well, I watched the movie starring Ava Gardner. “55 Days at Peking” 1963 [http://www.avagardner.org/movientv.html])
The Boxers were really the “Righteous Harmony Society.” They resented the demands of foreigners and decided to drive them from Northern China in 1900. (Read about the Rebellion at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Rebellion.)
At the end of the war my brother sailed into China at Tiensen, strapped a 45 millimeter pistol on his hip, and went into town. He still talks about it.
The Chinese have always been suspicious about the intentions of foreigners. I think that continues to be a factor in our relationship with them today.
Now that I’ve established that I’m NOT an “Ol’ China Hand,” we can get on with whatever I’m trying to say.
History of U.S.-China Relations
From: [http://www.with.psu.edu/articles/article.phtml?article_id=50&show_id=9], I have generated an outline of U.S.-China Relations.
1700s: Trading between China and the U.S.
1850s: Starvation in China, the Gold Rush in the U.S. Railroad building.
1880s: Economic depression in U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.
1965: Chinese immigration restrictions lifted.
1945-1949: Civil war in China. People’s Republic of China (Red China) formed. U.S. recognizes Taiwan but not Red China.
1972: President Richard Nixon visits China to meet with Chairman Mao Zedong and improve relations. Diplomatic relations resume. More freedom given to Chinese citizens and small businesses. (I think that Nixon just wanted to see the Great Wall. You can’t see it from Washington. You can’t even see it from the No Name Moon, despite what some folks say.)
Now days, when we hear about China, we usually hear about the humongous trade deficits increasing with time. What this means to most Americans is that what the Japanese and the Arabs haven’t bought in the U.S., the Chinese will.
Trade Deficits are presently and will remain high with China. For what this novice thinks is a good explanation of what this means read Daniel T. Griswold’s article at: http://www.freetrade.org/pubs/pas/tpa-002.html. He claimed that many politicians have no idea what they are talking about in regard to trade deficits and that trade deficits can be beneficial.
I’m staying out of that argument, free trade versus restricted trade. I think that free trade is here to stay and will not be the only factor that gets us eaten alive by the Chinese Tiger. Gobble, gobble!
Our trade partners want a vibrant economy in the U. S. because they depend on it to support their economies. They will not jeopardize it in normal times. I said that to temporarily relieve tention.
Rome and the British Empire
The following has nothing to do with the discussion. I’ve added it to make it known that I suspect disaster ahead, maybe. If I could play some music from the “Twilight Zone,” I would do that instead.
Professor Gerhard Rempel, Western New England College, discusses the fall of the Roman empire at: [http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc1/lectures/14romefell.html]. Internal and external forces and the subsequent financial loads weakened the empire until it could not defend its self nor maintain stability.
If you stretch a nation outside its boundaries, as we are stretched, it will thin and weaken until its flaws will be opened and become vulnerable to attack (My words).
I added the last sentence to make things look scarier.
Anyway, we all know that the fall of the Roman Empire was due to drinking wine from lead vessels. My grandfather developed lead poisoning from working in mines with somewhat soluble lead ores. He said it completely sapped his strength and that it took years to recover. (Actually, I was an expert in this area having dealt with the FDA and OSHA over the years, but I don’t want to brag about it.)
According to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Empire, “The British Empire was the world’s first global power, a product of the European Age of Exploration that began with the global maritime empires of Portugal and Spain in the late 15th century. By 1921, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 470–570 million people — roughly a quarter of the world’s population — and covered about 15 million square miles (nearly 37 million square kilometers), almost a third of the world’s total land area.”
The British Empire freed its colonies after WWII per agreements made during the war. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada decided to make more of their own decisions. Financially weakened by World War II, the British people and their government decided that the days of their imperialism were over.
Is our empire fading too? (I ask, “Why not?”)
Will there be Chinese Aggression?
When I was in Korea, all of our fighting (my unit) was with Chinese troops. These were young men sent to free North Korea. Hundreds of thousands crossed the Manchurian border and in an organized attack chased the U.N. forces (including my unit and some of my friends) down to Pusan.
We captured some of these young men when I was there in 1951-1952. The ones I saw and talked to were very tall, dressed in quilted suits (that I later learned would stop a round from my carbine), and were glad to be out of the war. They surrendered after our air attacks wounded some of them and they needed medical attention.
There are many young men in China who do not have wives and sweethearts because of the desire to make sure the one child allowed is a boy. It may sound harsh but war is one way to reduce such a surplus male population. If an opportunity presents its self, could it happen again? Civil war in China would do the trick! Let’s not hope for that.
Taiwan is a pain in Red China’s side. At least that is what they say. Before WW II, Hitler said that Czechoslovakia was a spear in Germany’s side. Look at the map! So, Hitler was first.
Actually, the Chinese didn’t say that. I made it up so that I could quote Hitler. I learned that the day I attended my brother’s History class at UCLA when I returned from Korea.
When the professor said that about Czechoslovakia, I laughed. He slowly turned from the blackboard and looked to see who had laughed.
My brother later explained that there was no culture at UCLA.
I went back to UCLA in 1966 to take a course in high temperature thermodynamics. I talked to the students then and they said that there was no culture there.
I went back again in 1974 and, behold, culture had returned!
I guess I shouldn’t call the Mainland “Red China” now they are strongly capitalistic.
It would seem that Taiwan and the Mainland would have resolved their differences because of the growth of capitalism in the area, but they have not been resolved. A major spat between the two could be disastrous to our country and the rest of the capitalistic world. They need to kiss and make up.
We have pledged to protect Taiwan. Perhaps that policy should be reconsidered. After all, our old ally Chiang Kai-shek is long gone. But remember that our State Department likes to honor past commitments and will probably not modify their policy toward Taiwan.
I don’t think that we will see the Chinese making a pilgrimage across the Bering Sea, but they do have missiles, airpower, and nasty nuclear weapons. The former Soviet Union always reinforced their borders and was ready to stop any Chinese aggression despite the fact they were allies.
My advice here is: Always be nice to the Chinese!
From Henny Penny
The competition for resources could precipitate trouble between China and the rest of the capitalistic world. A major shortage of food could drive the Chinese beyond their borders. The demand for the “good life” will probably create increased demand for oil and much higher oil prices even in the near future. The need to reduce their population could result in wars of attrition. The Chinese population may be reduced by pandemics. Is so, so will ours!
Let’s hope the “Old China Hands” know what is going on in China and will keep us out of war with China and in good commercial relations. Let’s hope that China can successfully manage their problems.
How the Chinese Could Help Us All
The Chinese are use to managing difficult problems related to huge populations. They also have huge military resources that could be used to reduce tensions (not only intensify them) in the world. They seem to be natural business men and could help stabilize the world economy. I think it would be much better to form closer ties with China then to weaken them. What do you think now that you are an expert in the area?
copyright©2005 John T. Jones, Ph.D.