Sertorio wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:59 am
I do not see any other major country acting in this manner. Yes, China "could" become a threat, but it isn't, at the moment.
Yes, it is. It is laying claim to nearly the entire S China Sea. Also don't forget that it conquered Tibet. I believe we are all influenced by our history, among other things. For example, Americans are influenced by the Declaration of Independence which talked about God given rights. This eventually found its way to the UN Charter of Human Rights. America's actions are influenced by this. Another example, is that the Germans, to this day fear inflation because of the hyperinflation after WWI.
Now let's take a look at China's history. Historically, the Emperor of China saw himself as the rightful ruler of the world
, though he never actually achieved that. Ambassadors visiting him were not seen as representatives of an equal country but as messengers bearing tribute.
Excerpt from link:
By the later part of the 18th Century the Chinese government could contemplate with satisfaction the almost complete recovery of the whole extensive dominions which had at any time owned the imperial sway. The regions directly administered by the officers of the emperor extended from the borders of Siberia on the north to Annam and Burma on the south, and from the Pacific Ocean on the east to Kashgar and Yarkand on the west. But even that did not complete the tale, for outside these boundaries there was a fringe of tributary nations which still kept up the ancient forms of allegiance, and which more or less acknowledged the dominion of the central kingdom.
The Manchu Emperor of China claimed to be "the Great Exalted Monarch and Highpriest of the Great Ching Empire of the World," claiming, as an actual political right, the absolute sovereignty of the whole Earth. Every human being and every corner of the habitable Earth were subject to "the One Solitary Man," who governed the World. Styled "The One Man of the Earth", in his humility he was also styled "the Lonely One", or "the Solitary Man".
It was laid down in the authoritative work on the Rites of the Manchu Dynasty, as the first principle of the Rites of the Dynasty respecting Tribute that, "the barbarian States of the four quarters of the globe having submitted themselves to the influence of (Chinese) civilisation ", i.e. having become tributary, "all barbarian States of the four quarters of the globe are entailed States". Hence, the Imperial Commissioner Lin, in his notorious letter to the Queen of England, speaks of "her honorable State " — England — as one of the "entailed — i. e. tributary—States"; and reminds Her Majesty of "the power of the Heavenly Dynasty — of the Ta-Ching, to whom the whole Earth is subject — to order both China and the barbarian World "; and of "the Heavenly Dynasty's means to keep in subjection its ten-thousand States therefore advising the Queen, "by yielding respectful and true obedience, to evince her clear sense of Heaven's Ordinances." In a remarkable Essay on Russia, full of information, — although the author is inclined to think that the Russian people must have derived their origin from cannibals,— published by the ex-Cabinet-Minister Chi-Kiin-Tsau, reads: "The Ta-Ching having succeeded to the Empire, they are in possession of all the habitable Earth, and there is no corner within or beyond the seas, which is not subject to them."
The Government of China in the 17th or 18th century was no doubt sincerely unable to understand what there was offensive to European powers in its pretensions. The etiquette concerning the reception of tribute-bearers was thus fixed at a time when the tributary princes were for the most part of Chinese nationality, and the alien ambassadors only represented really barbarous tribes. The etiquette established for such receptions is as old as the Chow Li, and until European ambassadors understood in what character they were supposed to approach the Chinese Court, they could not explain clearly and convincingly in what particulars the supposition was erroneous. And, at the same time, till the Europeans had explained their own view of their own position, China could not be expected to understand in what respects the modern foreigners from the West differed from the tributaries and barbarians of antiquity, and from the dangerous barbarian neighbors of recent history.
The belief that the emperor of China ruled the world, so earnestly propagated by the Chinese officials, found additional support from the fact of European ambassadors being sent to Pekin; these being understood by the people to be sent like the ambassadors of the tributary states already mentioned to pay respect and do homage to the Chinese emperor. It was further supported by the fact that no Chinese ambassador had to go to any foreign court.
It is well known that Lord Macartney, whose Embassy to China took place in the 58th year of the reign of Chien-Lung, was received by that Emperor as "a messenger bearing tribute". The next embassy was sent in 1795, under Isaac Tilsingh and A. E. von Braun. They resolved to avoid the errors which had caused the failure of the British embassy under Lord Macartney; he had refused to perform the kotow; they were ready even to improve on the methods of the preceding Dutch embassies, and to make whatever recognition of suzerainty the Chinese might demand. Their mission has been characterised by a sober historian in the following terms: "They were brought to the capital like malefactors, treated when there like beggars, and then sent back to Canton like mountebanks to perform the three-times-three prostration at all times and before everything their conductors saw fit." Their mission was without result, other than to confirm the Chinese in their belief that theirs was the civilization to which all people must conform, and theirs the empire before which all the nations of the world must bow.
Most of China's subsequent misfortunes were in connection with one or other of these tributary states. The principal tributary nations then were Korea, Luchiu, Annam, Burma, and Nepal. In 1658 the Grand Lama was allowed to do homage at Peking, the Chinese emperor having acquired, through the accession of the Mantchu reigning house, a curious sort of protectorate over the established church of Tatary. In the same year the last recognised scions of the Ming Dynasty were put to death, and the lamas, who had been expelled under the later Chinese emperors, applied for leave to return and resume possession of their foundations. The young emperor fell under the influence of these sectaries. Nepal, an independent State on the southern slope of the Himalayas, tributary to China since 1791.
The dynastic records enumerated several others, including even England, but these were more or less accidental. The Chinese affect to treat all countries as tributary that have once sent an ambassador to their court. In their fantastic court calendar, Portugal, Spain, Holland, England, are all tributaries. Lord Macartney's mission of 1793 was described as bringing tribute. An English account of China published in 1795, shortly after Macartney's mission of 1793, ennumerated the states tributary to China as the Kingdom of Corea, the Kingdom of Tonking, Cochin China, the Kingdom of Thibet, the Country or Kingdom of Ha-mi, and the Isles of Lieou-Kieou.
That's how they traditionally saw the world. China was civilized; the rest of the world were barbarians. China was the center of the world and the rest must acknowledge its superiority. The emperor was believed to be the rightful ruler of the world. Relations between China and a foreign country was not one between two equals but between a sovereign and a vassal or tributary. Of course, China no longer has emperors. The Chinese no longer think the rest of the world are barbarians.
But there is still a residual belief among China's leaders that China's rightful place was to be once again, the Middle Kingdom, the country that the rest of the world must acknowledge is preeminent and must bow to. Trump wants America to be Great again. So does Xi. But his idea of Greatness is different. Since the demise of Communism, China's Communist Party is replacing the failed ideology with nationalism. And that implies the restoration of past Greatness.
Second, I want to draw attention to China's shifting borders:
The first point to note in China's long history is that whenever China was strong, it expanded. Whenever China was weak, it contracted or even fractured into smaller states. So its current expansion into the S China Sea is simply a continuation of historical trends. Don't forget, the Ming dynasty sent invading armies into Korea and Vietnam.
The second point to note from the youtube video is that China's periodic breaking up weighs strongly on the minds of Chinese leaders. That is why it can't let Taiwan go. Xi insists on strong central control over every aspect of China. They deem American style Federalism as too risky. So yes, China is a threat to Taiwan, the states of SE Asia and eventually Russia.
America, which is influenced by its founding documents, is better for the world than China, which is influenced by its history.