China’s aggressive strategy of divide and rule is a historic miscalculation - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15163836
William Hague wrote:
China’s aggressive strategy of divide and rule is a historic miscalculation

Like the Kaiser’s Germany, Beijing is forcing its foes to unite to stand against its bullying and intimidation

History offers no close parallel with the modern rise of China. The sudden emergence of a nation comprising a full fifth of humanity as a new great power is a unique event. Yet as Western capitals take stock of sanctions imposed by Beijing on parliamentarians, diplomats and academics, including British MPs, we can find some historical analogies with the current development of Chinese foreign policy. In particular, we can hear an echo of late 19th-century Germany.

By the 1870s, Germany was the rising nation of the age, building an industrial, diplomatic and military power at great speed. With the artful Bismarck at the helm, it confronted and defeated one rival after another – starting small with Denmark, then dealing with Austria before humbling mighty France – being careful to isolate each one in turn and never to provoke unity among rivals. By the turn of the 20th century, its continental dominance and global role seemed assured. But under Kaiser Wilhelm II, an increasingly aggressive foreign policy became counter-productive, driving Britain, France and Russia to ally against Germany.

There are many differences. China has neither needed nor wanted to pursue its goals by military conquest and has prided itself on a “peaceful rise”. Its diplomatic strategy, however, has been until recently a model of “divide and rule” that Bismarck would have recognised and admired. Any European nations that offended China, in particular by meeting the Dalai Lama at senior level, were punished with a freeze in political relations and threats of economic consequences. Norway, which hosted the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for the incarcerated human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, was picked out for six years of denunciation.

On each occasion, the rest of Europe got on with pursuing commercial ties with China and avoided confrontation. The collective behaviour of Western nations was akin to a herd of antelope when one has been savaged by a lion, keeping clear of the immediate area but rapidly getting back to grazing. When Beijing froze political contacts with the UK for 18 months when I was foreign secretary, I don’t recall any reaction from other foreign ministers except relief it was not them.

China has no doubt drawn the lesson from this period that democracies lack solidarity. We have seemed so focused on commercial priorities and fear of missing out in the global gold rush to the east that we care little about our neighbours being singled out. If dictators have in their mind a stereotype of capitalist democracies pursuing profits at all costs, we unfortunately conformed to it.

Emboldened by growing strength and accustomed to Western division, China under Xi Jinping has doubled down on confronting criticism with an emphatic response, even if that means being rude and aggressive in tone. The last Chinese ambassador to Sweden embodied an approach of being quicker to take offence and sharper in retaliation, informing that peaceful country that “we treat our friends with fine wine but for our enemies we have shotguns”. Australia has been particularly singled out for commercial as well as verbal bullying, with many exports to China suspended.

China’s response last week to the limited sanctions imposed by the US, UK, EU and Canada on four officials involved in the repression of the Uyghurs was true to the “wolf warrior” playbook of diplomacy. Scorning any notion of a proportionate “tit for tat”, China decided to place individual sanctions on dozens of people who have criticised the treatment of the Uyghurs. Somewhat stunned by this, MEPs in Brussels have now turned against ratifying the investment treaty the EU signed with China in January. In this country, universities have become alarmed at the threat of Chinese behaviour to academic freedom.

In a democratic society such as our own, the placing of sanctions on MPs, including Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Tom Tugendhat, encourages all of us to defend their right to free speech. Even for those of us who emphasise the need to find ways of working with China on many global issues, the attempt to suppress criticism will give an incentive to step it up.

The emerging evidence of what seems to be an effort to eradicate Uyghur culture in Xinjiang deserves global condemnation. Vast numbers of people are interned in hundreds of “re-education” camps’; there are clear reports of mass sterilisation of Uyghur women; the whole area is under minute and intrusive surveillance and half a million people are forced to pick cotton. Arguments about whether this amounts to genocide are semantic: it most certainly is the violation of basic human rights on an industrial scale.

Ten years ago, the result of China imposing penalties of any kind in return for Western criticism would have been that others kept quiet. Now, however, the result will be that others speak up. Like Germany by the 1890s, the country is taken much more seriously, and its behaviour in foreign affairs has become more obviously unattractive. Public surveys show distrust of China intensifying. A recent YouGov survey across 24 countries showed more people preferred the US as a world power in all but one of them(Turkey).

In 1895, Lord Salisbury remarked to the German ambassador on the “rudeness of German communications, much increased since Bismarck’s time” and complained that “the conduct of the German emperor is very mysterious and difficult to explain”. Ultimately, such conduct led Britain to end “splendid isolationism” and join alliances against Germany. By that stage, it would be surprising if the ambassador had the confidence to tell the Kaiser that his approach might be mistaken, and was unnecessarily adding to his enemies.

Today it would be appropriate to explain to a Chinese ambassador that an over-reaction to inevitable criticism will jeopardise Beijing’s objectives more than might be realised. The EU and US are driven together just when they were moving apart. MPs who are picked on will win stronger support. The huge and expensive effort to expand Chinese “soft power” will be wasted money. But would that ambassador feel able to recommend to his superiors a more productive approach? Almost certainly not. Chinese leaders are fond of quoting from the mistakes of history. But now they are starting to repeat them.
#15163843
Damn I'm so insightful. I'm very sure if you look at some of my posts from the last few years. I've often said that I think China is starting to overplay its hand, and it will be a problem for them because it pushes everyone else together against them. Lots of data is indicating global distrust of China is growing. In the west, in Latin America, in Africa, etc. etc. It may not be a traditional war that is started, but an economic one. I think companies and government will realize that "investing" in China is just too risky given how quick they are to retaliate economically at the slightest offense. It's too risky given the horrible terms they offer to foreign companies, etc. etc. People are starting to finally realize that we need to decouple massively from China. I don't believe we need to sever 100% of trade, but we certainly need to sever most of it, especially technology and other critical industries.

It really seems like we are seeing the early seeds of western democracies finally getting up and stopping the dance to the Chinese dollar. Noting more unifying like a common enemy. :lol:

Globalization should have never meant we give everything to China. It should not mean we treat money as more valuable than people. It should not mean we trade away national security for profit.

Lots of western brands are being boycotted in China. I'm glad to hear this. Companies need to move the fuck out, and give jobs to the rest of the world. It's ok to take a hit in profits if we are hiring and taking care of more people.
#15163918
China is not putting up with what it sees as hypocritical Western interference in its sovereign affairs. Sanctions are being met with rapid counter-sanctions, and Chinese officials are vociferously pointing out Western double standards.
China’s colossal global economic power and growing international influence has been a game-changer in the old Western practice of imperialist arrogance.
Western hypocrisy towards China is astounding. Its claims about China committing genocide and forced labor are projections of its own past and current violations against indigenous people and ethnic minorities. The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia have vile histories stained from colonialist extermination and slavery.
#15163949
Starting in 2002, the United States government detained twenty-two Uyghurs in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp.
So Western troops can fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Chinese authorities do not have moral credibility to do the same on their own territory.
Western hypocritical allegations against China has been nothing else but a pathetic projection of own crimes against humanity.
#15163956
Well it was written by William Hague so...

I don't see China miscalculation anything. I don't think they will accept any outside interference full stop. Very much like Russia. Basically they will be your friend as long as you leave them alone within their own territory especially. So you can throw as many sanctions towards them as you like, complain about human rights, freedom or whatnot but all they will just look for new global partners to fill in the void that you are vaccating. China is now looking at Iran I have noticed. They already have Africa, the yet the West continues to seek trade deals within China, despite the tit for tat trade off of diplomatic sanctions even now. You have to question that.

Which then leads to this. The real question we need to ask ourselves is who really needs who. There is no doubt that severing ties with China will be damaging to our economy. And during a pandemic, I doubt it can be afforded anyway. But what else can we do? Like seriously now, what does everyone want to do. You can complain about China as much as you like, but we made China powerful. We gave them our production. And we would have to sacrifice that to do anything meaningful. China has their huge internal market of 1.4bn people, so despite their recession they could move their focus there to stimulate growth which is an option for them. But we have relied on cheap Asian goods for too long and as such have less options to us if we did that. And in that sense, it wouldn't be too bad on them but it would be bad for those on low incomes here. And we would see inflation like we saw in the 70s. So it wouldn't be a move without consequences for us. Nonetheless we would be separated from them and as such could perhaps do more than just send a few diplomats home which is all that I am seeing us do at the moment.
#15163958
Intel is spending 20 billion to build 2 new chip plants in Arizona

Hague is informing us that Chinese sanctions against western governments are unifying western governments, and they clearly are.

The west does not need China for any reason, everything made in China can be made anywhere.
#15163961
The West are united on one specific point that is merely a point on morals/ideals and not a point they seem to be prepared to make a significant trade off. They are still open to deal with China. The UK still want their post Brexit trade deal, Europe want their 5G network and America want to maintain their current status with China by basically putting in obstacles in the way of the EU deal they want to make. In other words, this is rhetoric.
#15163963
B0ycey wrote:The UK still want their post Brexit trade deal


Yes, however the UK at this point is largely irrelevant and making a trade deal with China right now seems like many decades away. India and the US taking priority.

B0ycey wrote:Europe want their 5G network


Nope, Europe has Ericsson, the only competitor to Huawei and has already taken over Europe's 5G network.

B0ycey wrote:and America want to maintain their current status with China


Evidently not.

B0ycey wrote: In other words, this is rhetoric.


I disagree but curious as to why you would like it to be?
#15163966
noemon wrote:I disagree but curious as to why you would like it to be?


As far as I am aware Germany hasn't taken Huawei off the table. BoJo dodges this issue everytime he is asked whether our action was enough to stop negotiations with China and I don't hear any more talk of trade wars from America in the Biden administration. Europe would entertain more trade links to China in any case. But the real reason I believe this affair isn't going anywhere is the punishment was reciprocal diplomats rather an economic punishment which is completely pointless and only rhetoric.

As for what I would like it to be, my answer is if this is a big issue for everyone we need to sever ties now because otherwise we can't do anything. But if human rights is the big issue we also need to be consistent, which means we need to basically become an Island. You think China is worse than the tinpot States of Africa or the ME when it comes to human rights?
#15163987
It's a pretty silly article on its merits, but it's especially so coming from one of the most pointlessly belligerent foreign secretaries in modern British history.

There's something particularly grotesque about a guy whose foreign policy legacy was the wholesale destruction of Libya criticising anyone else for "divide and rule" tactics. Especially when the UK government is still absolutely determined to try and play the Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese off one another (an exact parallel of the way British "divide and rule" actually worked in the colonies).

The premise - that the EU and US were "drifting apart", and China has brought them back together - is just completely baseless. EU officials didn't like Trump's personal style, and there was some petty squabbling, particularly with Merkel. But there was no meaningful foreign policy realignment during those years, and in fact, liberal media in the EU and UK spent most of the time pining for the loss of "US global leadership", rather than calling for any serious cutting of ties. NATO still exists, after all.

The reality, it seems, is that there is only one model for Asian development that western powers will accept: modern Japan and South Korea. That is, completely docile and unassertive governments, aligned with (and preferably, militarily occupied by) the US. They can be prosperous, but heaven forbid they forge their own path. Only the US and the UK can be allowed to dictate to others on the international stage.

William Hague wrote:China’s response last week to the limited sanctions imposed by the US, UK, EU and Canada on four officials involved in the repression of the Uyghurs was true to the “wolf warrior” playbook of diplomacy. Scorning any notion of a proportionate “tit for tat”, China decided to place individual sanctions on dozens of people who have criticised the treatment of the Uyghurs. Somewhat stunned by this, MEPs in Brussels have now turned against ratifying the investment treaty the EU signed with China in January. In this country, universities have become alarmed at the threat of Chinese behaviour to academic freedom.

This whine is just hilarious. Britain and America reserve the right to put absolutely devastating, indiscriminate sanctions on any "enemy" country that does not toe the line - and even those who do. Look at Iran, which has been punished for sticking to the nuclear deal agreed with the western powers, while Trump's America pulled out in a spoiled tantrum and slapped sanctions on it.

Probably for the first time in their lives, a couple of British officials are receiving a small taste of their own medicine - and a supposedly serious figure in the British establishment is baffled. :roll:
#15163992
So your problem is with Western sanctions on China for numerous ongoing crimes against humanity but not on Chinese sanctions on several western countries for enquiring about it.

Because enquiring about it is evidently the same thing as committing genocide.

Kewl.
#15163995
B0ycey wrote:There is no doubt that severing ties with China will be damaging to our economy.


I don't believe this bit. Damaging to who exactly? wealthy elites or regular people?

When the west outsourced everything to China, the benefit went to the wealthy elites and corporations. Profits went up, the stock market went up, yes. On these traditional metrics you could say the economy "improved". However, the REAL economy didn't improve much. That is to say, "regular" people didn't benefit a whole lot other than few cheaper consumer products. It did not improve their overall well being, their job prospects, or real wages. Regular people do not even own a single share of stock, or own businesses. Thus, they simply could not benefit from deals with China.

If the west pulls manufacturing out of China. Moves some back to the west, even to Latin America or Africa; sure, perhaps corporate profits won't be as fat, but if you are hiring domestically, it certainly helps people. We have plenty of poor and down trodden in the west. It's time to help them for once. Decoupling for China could actually do that at the expense of massive profits for corporations and what not... they will still make money, just not as much. It sounds worth it to society.

It's time to put people over the "economy".

As a side note, it's also time we start measuring the economy with different metrics.
#15163998
noemon wrote:So your problem is with Western sanctions on China for numerous ongoing crimes against humanity but not on Chinese sanctions on several western countries for enquiring about it.

Nah, the actual sanctions here - on both sides - are irrelevant posturing. Sort of like when Russia and America occasionally go through the theatre of expelling each other's diplomats.

My problem in this case is with Hague's apparent shock that China retaliated to British sanctions by applying sanctions of its own. It betrays a fundamental arrogance and lack of self awareness on his part. Perhaps he was expecting the Chinese government to cower in awe at Britain's moral force? :lol:
#15163999
Sanctions against severe human right abuses are certainly more important than sanctions against those enquiring about it.

Hague does not sound shocked at all, and not only that but sanctions against UK politicians is a 'badge of honour'. It makes them feel special and freedom fighters, more will join so that they too can get the badge of honour.

Hague's 'shock' or otherwise sounds like a very irrelevant thing to worry about.

Hague is just saying the obvious, China's increasingly bellicose foreign policy is pulling countries together and very evidently so.
#15164005
Rancid wrote:I don't believe this bit. Damaging to who exactly? wealthy elites or regular people?


Honestly, both. But only in terms of inflation for regular people which in turn will effect what they can afford to buy. Those who have invested in China will lose out the most though.

What will happen if we pulled out completely is it will have an effect on our supply lines and that will have an effect on all parts of our economy that deal will China, either directly or indirectly. Basically what happened in the 70s when we were having issues with fuel or perhaps on a more recent example on PPE and the whole world trying to get what they could. I'm not saying we can't cope, but we would have to find new supply lines or even better start making things ourselves. In other words short term pain for long term gain.
#15164015
B0ycey wrote:
Honestly, both. But only in terms of inflation for regular people which in turn will effect what they can afford to buy. Those who have invested in China will lose out the most though.

What will happen if we pulled out completely is it will have an effect on our supply lines and that will have an effect on all parts of our economy that deal will China, either directly or indirectly. Basically what happened in the 70s when we were having issues with fuel or perhaps on a more recent example on PPE and the whole world trying to get what they could. I'm not saying we can't cope, but we would have to find new supply lines or even better start making things ourselves. In other words short term pain for long term gain.


Of course, but when I say pull out of China. I mean to do it in a controlled manner. It can be done, some western companies are starting to do just that already. As I said, there are plenty of poor, out of work, down trodden people outside of China. Many in western nations. It can be done.

Agree, short term pain for long term gain is what we need.

You are right, China will just fill the vacancy with someone else, and I'm fine with that. The idea isn't to punish China per say, but to do what's right by the people of western democracies. Both from their personal and I'll go as far as to see that we should do this for our moral well being. I agree that no one can do anything about what happens within China's borders (i've stated this a lot in the Uyghur thread). As horrible as it all may be, we simply can't do anything. However, what we can do is take care of our own, what we can do is stop pandering to these authoritarians, what we can do is stay true (as best we can anyway) to western ideals of (relative) openness in our institutions, of (relative) freedom, etc.

I would advise western companies to start doing this now, before China decides to punish the west by fucking over the supply chains of these companies. There is a massive risk in doing business with China. Companies need to mitigate against this, which is something they haven't been doing over the last 50 years. Staying the same course as before is simply a foolish idea from a business risk perspective.
#15164017
Rancid wrote:Of course, but when I say pull out of China. I mean to do it in a controlled manner. It can be done, some western companies are starting to do just that already. As I said, there are plenty of poor, out of work, down trodden people outside of China. Many in western nations. It can be done.


Rancid, you know I agree with this. But this topic is about the Wests approach to China's current actions. What have we done to suggest China's strategy is a miscalculation? Not that I believe they were ever trying to divide us. They just do not like Western interference in their politics. The West basically united to do the bare minimum and still on course to work with China on many economic levels. My opinion is the West should be looking to move out of Asia anyway. This has nothing to do with politics although if we don't we are then at the mercy of China like what we are seeing now - which is why these sanctions are merely rhetoric. We should be moving out of Asia because we need to return jobs back home as you say.

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