Is China Stupid? Subtitled "America, the Spinach"

Okay, just off of my latest Ken Follett novel, “Code to Zero”, I’m in the mood for a little international skullduggery, spies and intrigue. Those big games of “Who Do You Trust?”.

China is a masterwork of controlled public reactions. Homebound Chinese seem to be emotional people, the Italians of Asia, I guess, easily stoked into indignant, patriotic angers by captive media that tout the government’s line.
We certainly know that the Philippines is painted by China as a very bad nation when conflict with China occurs over islands.  Newspapers condemn evil Filipinos and Chinese stomp about in indignant anger.
Of course, it would appear that Japan is also a very bad nation, given that Japanese activists have landed on contested islands, really irritating the Chinese. Causing them to condemn the evil Japanese and stomp . . .
And Taiwan is a bad nation when it occupies contested islands.
And South Korea . . .
And Viet Nam . . .
When will China wake up to the fact that it’s divide and conquer strategy on the territorial conflicts in the West Philippine Sea is producing a hornet’s nest of enemies?
And in the background stands the biggest hornet of them all, with treaties in place to defend the Philippines and South Korea and Japan if they are attacked by China.
  • At what point will the people of China, the broad masses, ask, “why do all these other countries hate China so?”
  • And the follow-up question. “Could it be something that we, China, is doing?”
Well, hallelujah, yes indeedy. It’s called being an obnoxious bully and presuming that being big gives you the right to stomp around and tell everyone else what the law is without regard for their history or self-interest.
The historical document they use to claim the seas is a slap-dash nine-line drawing that was prepared by an enemy of the Chinese communist state, Chiang Kai-shek. But it is useful, so what the hey . . .
The people with insight say China is acting tough now because it is going through a transition in leadership, and leaders who aspire to remain on the job or get promoted can’t appear weak. So they posture as tough. Smart politics maybe, but dumb diplomacy.
Whatever the reason, China is acting like Bluto, the big dumb lummox who was always trying to steal Popeye’s goil Olive Oyl.
Well, in this modern tale, Oyl is oil and Popeye is the Philippines and America is the spinach that gives the Philippines the muscle to do what is necessary.
Like occupy its own islands and repel that lummox Bluto.
Occupy and defend.
Ken Follett might come up with something different, but that would be my strategy, acted out in concert with similar moves by Japan, and Taiwan, and South Korea, and Viet Nam and any other nation tired of being muscled around by Bluto.
The strategy would be labeled “The Year of the Hornet” and every habitable island within 200 nautical miles of Philippine shores would be occupied within one year, starting in November, right after the U.S. presidential election.
17 Responses to “Is China Stupid? Subtitled "America, the Spinach"”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Isn't China's bullying just a PR job by the Party and the PLA to unite and rally its people? DocB

  2. I think it is more than just posturing. China has cornered the market on rare earth metals, is aggressively mining in South America, and has laid claim to a broad expanse of the West Philippine Sea. I'm reminded of Japan, pre-WWII, seeking to corner the Asian market to assure sustainable economic growth. Or Germany finally declaring war on Russia during WWII because Germany needed oil to fuel her war machine. Resources are the raw product of wealth and power. China's appetite is huge. Gigantic.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think this battle with China is shaping up to being fought in the economic trenches, money wire transfers whizzing by like bullets and rockets, and not in the diplomatic arena with saliva and ink.DocB

  4. Yes, I think so, and the process has already started with boycotts in both nations. I wonder who has the most to lose. The Philippines is already looking for substitute markets for goods. China has more investments in the Philippines than the Philippines does in China I would guess. If it got gruesome, I suppose those could be nationalized. I just don't get the sense that the Philippine economic stability is dependent on China. Sting, yes. Enduring damage, no.I also suspect there will be tussles in the seas. It will be interesting to watch as the Philippines continues with oil exploration in the Spratleys. Will China interfere physically?I know I get upset knowing Chinese boats are taking coral and giant clams and other sea goods out of the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone. All under the eyes of Chinese military boats. It smacks of sanctioned rape to me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    No wonder Ambassador to China Sonia Brady suffered a stroke.DocB

  6. Anonymous says:

    Some wise ass suggested our mangkukulam, barang, sorcerers, and assorted witches work up some magic spell or your version of Popeye spinach to fight these chinese SOBs.DocB

  7. Ah, it would never work. China has more witches and hobgoblins and spirits than any nation in the world. Superstition I think is actually a Chinese word. That's why they are out harvesting clam dicks and turtle nuts, to enhance their supernatural powers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    From: Island Jim-e (aka "The Cricket"_1. My wife (aka: Dragon heart) has made manyinteresting observations regarding the "China"!a. That it has many problems, issues, and hasmade a lot of mistakes which the leadershipis trying to cover up by making "fire" onexternal issues. There are many comparisonsand contrasts between the neighborhood and the"great dragon"! b. The Ph by accepted maritime and civil legalgovernmental courts of bother European, Americanand Philippine jurisdiction recognizes that theislands/terroritial waters of the PH is under amutual defence treaty dating back to the early1800s (I think). Even dating back to 1200 therulers of China were not chinese, so any so-calledexplorations by sea that may have been carried outby mainlanders were probably Mongal.2. The common person on any Chinese owned streetprobably does not really care, it is the businesspersons who are waging the tail of the "great dragon" and are playing the "tune"–greed as thetheme! The military puppet masters are just lookingfor ways and means to pump up their chests, beat the drums–show that they are worthly of their pay-checks! The elite government officals are veryenvious of the North Koreans who goose step on theslaves, (wear 100 medals on their dress uniforms,keep a 10 story graphic display picture of their"august-super-supreme-dear" leader -Orwell re-visited- and enjoy playing out a sequel to the"mouse that roard"!3. Popeye yes–but more like "Alice in Wonderland",(…the world is really becomingmore like a circus with 3 to 6 rings:environmental-resources-water-energy-population-and ego to keep us entertained!4. The truth and focus for the Philippines should keep REFORM in our own cirus Middle-center-ring!We need to keep our "center" on:a. Promotion and employment of qualified, educated-informed, engaged,experienced governmental people.b. Re-building the manufatue and infastructure base-continue land reform and put people back into therural farm areas to produce a new-educated generationof farmers.c. Power transfer from the few-privledged dynasticfamilies (monopoly) and open the Philippines toworld commerce-occupation-manufacturing-growthopportunities and land ownership!d. Build island infastructure to support transp-ortation, flooding, rain, storm, volcanic-earth-quake damage,damage.Chirp, chirp!

  9. Yes, quite a circus: environmental-resources-water-energy-population and hahahahaha ego to keep us entertained.I agree with your point 4, but think the oil potential in the Spratleys is large, and it could do a lot to help with the infrastructure. So it is a big deal to define and defend what is rightly the territory of the Philippines.

  10. Edgar Lores says:

    China has always been autocratic. The image I have in mind is that of the Empress Dowager looking daggers at a wayward minister, who is helplessly trembling in fear.Behind the autocratic rigidity, of course, is insecurity. Externally, this insecurity is manifested in the Great Wall, a useless defence against invasion. Internally, it is manifested in the iron grip it exercises over its citizens. The country is huge, and power must be used ruthlessly and cruelly to prevent it from fragmentation or descending into chaos.Another reason for its worship of power, I think, is its counter reaction against the abuse it suffered from foreign invasion by Western powers and Japan in the 19th century.China seeks – if not world – then at least Asian domination. It is driven, as you say, by the need for resources. In this need, it has spread its tentacles to Africa, South America and some Asian countries like Cambodia.Geopolitically, China is aligned with North Korea and Russia. The latter is an uneasy coalition intended to counter and frustrate the dominance of Western powers. The checks to Chinese power lie primarily in America and its multilateral alliances with Japan, South Korea, Oceania, Taiwan and other Asian countries. A secondary check is India. I do not like China as a power. It does not have the right stuff. In human terms, it is more than a bully with idle threats; it has inflicted harm and does not seem to have any compunction from continuing to do so. Its occupation of Tibet and cruel suppression of Tibetan culture must be condemned. The only silver lining of this inroad is the exile of the Dalai Lama and the consequent spread of Buddhism.In its crass attempts to claim and seize the South China Sea islands, China must be treated firmly, and recourse must be sought from international institutions and neighboring countries with identical national interests.As China progresses and living standards rise, the hope is that its citizenry will attempt to loosen the iron grip – and breath the slight but tantalizing air of freedom that their Hong Kong cousins enjoy.

  11. Very nice synthesis, with which I agree 100%. And your last paragraph is indeed the hope, that the securities would diminish with education, along with the need to be belligerent to claim a place among the large group of harmonious nations (Europe, U.S., most of Asia, Australia, Canada, much of South America, a little of Africa).

  12. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't worry much if PLA come knockin'. This is not going to be Divisoria 168. Nothing like a big Chinese ship firing a round against a puny Pinoy ship in the West Philippine Sea to incite the oxymoron of a Pinoy patriot. Rizal's words exhorting us in the background:"I die without seeing the dawn brighthen over my native land but you who have it to see forget not those who have fallen over the night."DocB

  13. You are more cynical than me, Doc. Historically, war is the great patriot-maker, the occasion for rallying around the community and the flag. That's why Rizal is a hero, and why Ramon Magsaysay is among the most revered of Philippine presidents. At some point, we cross over from being ego-patriots to being sacrificial-patriots, and Filipinos do that as well as anybody. Maybe better because of that hard-headedness which, converted to determination, provides a kind of relentless drive to erratum, on my remark to Edgar: I meant "insecurities" not "securities". Stupid Chinese keyboard here . . .

  14. Edgar Lores says:

    Joe, I forgot to state how uproariously fitting and funny the Popeye analogy is. Not only Oyl equals oil, but also the alliteration of Popeye and the Philippines. There is one other element in the analogy that can be made about the characteristics of eyes, but I refuse to be a racist.

  15. "Popeye the Sailor Man" has spent a lifetime at sea, squinting into the bright sunlight on the lookout for white whales and other assorted ocean-going creatures.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Was interested at first but then I realized it was just some silly old man ranting.

  17. Damn, I wondered when I was going to get discovered.

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