Sunday, March 24, 2013

China's Incendiary Chessboard (cont)

Divergent culture was the obstacle to an opportune welcome by the Chinese. The diplomatic introduction went poorly. A letter was sent to King George saying, “You, O King, live beyond the confines of many seas, nevertheless, impelled by your humble desire to partake of the benefits of our civilization, you have dispatched a mission respectfully bearing your memorial.” At the time, China’s GDP had far surpassed Britain’s, its military prowess incongruent to such a lead, however. The emperor failed to recognize Britain’s naval fortitude and capability of clearing China of any agriculture, economy, or industry, to leave it in its ancient state eternally. Macartney’s request to become ambassador in Bejiing was a campaign, not a request. Thus began laborious negotiations—Sino-style. The game Wei-Oi began.
            Later, a new Chinese ambassador was appointed. Li Hongzhang was an ambassador whose role was to balance the encroachment—the Chinese would say arrogation—of Chinese territory with the culture of Chinese superiority as a nation. This would lead to a challenging career, though a markedly successful one. Li was known for his dexterity in negotiations, which served him well and led the wake of fame reputing him. Li stood as a marker for a savior in front of a large puzzle, aligned for disintegration. As Kissinger says, he was positioned in a classic dilemma of the defeated: can a society maintain coheision while seeming to adapt to the conqueror—and how to build up the capacity to reverse the unfavorable balance of forces?
            His credentials are most illuminated by his role in China’s midcentury insurrections. Jiangsu, one of the wealthy provinces in China (eastern), was being assaulted and assimilated by Taiping rebels: Western armies however, proving the historical grip of the Europeans on China, had secured the city to manage and control their commercial goods. Li worked with the Western armies to cogently eliminate a mutual threat. This was the cover under which Li actually controlled the Western armies to quell the rebellions and restore order to the region. In 1864, the fighting ended, marking the commencement of Li’s career.
            The nature of China’s governance is unsustainable. It relies solely on the patience of its people in conflict. It harnesses its people to help guide its policy. It is a game of attrition that is alleged for external threats, but actually affects the internal polities of the nation. The sovereignty of China was progressively, and recessively, allegedly controlled, not by concise, clear governmental action and industrial fortitude, but by the whims of culture and the capricious nature of the general citizenry of China. It used manipulation in lack of power. China manipulated the chessboard of the balance of powers, vaguely conscious of the tinder they would build. The objective question was if they saw the fire it brewed, or if the fire was accepted as present, not as a looming threat.

China's Incendiary Chessboard

China has dominated the manufacturing sector. It has historically been one of the imperial superpowers of the ancient world as well as a rich apparatus of culture. Its government was rooted in Confucianism, the key thread to the Communist foundation of its government. It also had ties—not threads, but ties—to Sun Tzu’s book Art of War. For centuries it had practiced a restrained, manipulative, if not deceitful manner of practicing foreign relations. In this world contrastingly are two civilizations: the West and the East; the east practicing “Wei Qi” whereas the West practices “chess” in foreign relations.
            The differentiating factor is the characteristic maxims of each governing hemisphere. The West is direct, and goes for total victory, emphasizes the tenet of glory, or the tenet of mettle in battle. The East is principled in the “Eastern style.” Its character espouses attrition, deviation, which are the tinder for a humane fire, or war. The Art of War states, “anger can turn to pleasure, Spite can turn to Joy. But a nation destroyed Cannot be put back together again; A dead man cannot be brought back to life.” When a fire is lit, it should be short, quick, and effective in its end. The means of course should be aimed with humane as the driven axiom.
            One of the let downs of Confucianism as the root of governance is that it attributes food production to the source of industrialization. This is not the case, as Germany would show in the late 1800s, or Britain even earlier with its navy and supreme dominance of the sea in the mid 1700s. Indeed, China’s rule as the Middle Kingdom and center of Earth would apex. Its decline would begin with the explorative inquisitions of the British in the 1700s. Growing steadily, it intended to expand its power and trade—the wo inextricably linked-in the Eastern hemisphere. Macartney was an ambassador sent by King George II.
            The primary purpose of his journey was the provocation of Sino interest. The British wanted to ostensibly open trade relations with China. He brought with him a composite of Britain’s finest goods and displayed—through commerce—the apparatus of British value and industrial strength. Diamond watches, weapons like mortars, and even a hot air balloon alleged to be tested through Beijiin did not impress the Chinese. Rather, they condescended the goods as foreign and barbaric by the (temporally relative) Chinese maxim that Europeans were barbaric. A plethora of racial slurs developed, a resultant due to the presence of European traders ensuing Macartney’s arrival. Macartney.