The Saker’s End of the West By Peter Ewer
Many of us here are deeply concerned about the coming collapse of he West, if not techno-industrial civilisation itself. But we are not the only one, and the Saker too, believes we are living during the last years of the West. I don’t know much about the Saker, this being the first thing of his I have read, but you can bet that I will be getting a sake on and saking over to his site to see what I can sake down for your reading pleasure:
“I rarely see this issue discussed and when it is, it is usually to provide all sorts of reassurances that the Empire will not really collapse, that it is too powerful, too rich and too big to fail and that the current political crises in the US and Europe will simply result in a reactive transformation of the Empire once the specific problems plaguing it have been addressed. That kind of delusional nonsense is entirely out of touch with reality. And the reality of what is taking place before our eyes is much, much more dramatic and seminal than just fixing a few problems here and there and merrily keep going on. One of the factors which lures us into a sense of complacency is that we have seen so many other empires in history collapse only to be replaced pretty quickly by some other, that we can’t even imagine that what is taking place right now is a much more dramatic phenomenon: the passage into gradual irrelevance of an entire civilization! But first, let’s define our terms. For all the self-aggrandizing nonsense taught in western schools, Western civilization does not have its roots in ancient Rome or, even less so, in ancient Greece. The reality is that the Western civilization was born from the Middle-Ages in general and, especially, the 11th century which, not coincidentally, saw the following succession of moves by the Papacy:
• 1054: Rome separates itself from the rest of the Christian world in the so-called Great Schism
• 1075: Rome adopts the so-called Papal Dictation
• 1095: Rome launches the First Crusade
These three closely related events are of absolutely crucial importance to the history of the West. The first step the West needed was to free itself from the influence and authority of the rest of the Christian world. Once the ties between Rome and the Christian world were severed, it was only logical for Rome to decree that the Pope now has the most extravagant super-powers no other bishop before him had ever dared contemplate. Finally, this new autonomy and desire for absolute control over our planet resulted in what could be called “the first European imperialist war”: the First Crusade. To put it succinctly: the 11th century Franks were the real progenitors of modern “Western” Europe and the 11th century marked the first imperialist “foreign war” (to use a modern term). The name of the Empire of the Franks has changed over the centuries, but not its nature, essence, or purpose. …
Over the next 900 years or more, many different empires replaced the Frankish Papacy, and most European countries had their “moment of glory” with colonies overseas and some kind of ideology which was, by definition and axiomatically, declared the only good (or even “the only Christian”) one, whereas the rest of the planet was living in uncivilized and generally terrible conditions which could only be mitigated by those who have always believed that they, their religion, their culture or their nation had some kind of messianic role in history (call it “manifest destiny” or “White man’s burden” or being a Kulturträger in quest of a richly deserved Lebensraum): the West Europeans. It looks like most European nations had a try at being an empire and at imperialist wars. Even such modern mini-states like Holland, Portugal or Austria once were feared imperial powers. And each time one European Empire fell, there was always another one to take its place. But today? The canonical answer is “China.” And I think that this is nonsense.
Empires cannot only trade. Trade alone is simply not enough to remain a viable empire. Empires also need military force, and not just any military force, but the kind of military force which makes resistance futile. The truth is that NO modern country has anywhere near the capabilities needed to replace the US in the role of World Hegemon: not even uniting the Russian and Chinese militaries would achieve that result since these two countries do not have:
1) a worldwide network of bases (which the US have, between 700-1000 depending on how you count)
2) a major strategic air-lift and sea-lift power projection capability
3) a network of so-called “allies” (colonial puppets, really) which will assist in any deployment of military force
But even more crucial is this: China and Russia have no desire whatsoever to become an empire again. These two countries have finally understood the eternal truth, which is that empires are like parasites who feed on the body which hosts them. Yes, not only are all empires always and inherently evil, but a good case can be made that the first victims of imperialism are always the nations which “host the empire” so to speak. Oh sure, the Chinese and the Russians want their countries to be truly free, powerful and sovereign, and they understand that this is only possible when you have a military which can deter an attack, but neither China nor Russia have any interests in policing the planet or imposing some regime change on other countries. All they really want is to be safe from the US, that’s it. This new reality is particularly visible in the Middle-East where countries like the United States, … or Saudi Arabia (this is the so-called “Axis of Kindness”) are currently only capable of deploying a military capable of massacring civilians or destroy the infrastructure of a country, but which cannot be used effectively against the two real regional powers with a modern military: Iran and Turkey. But the most revealing litmus test was the US attempt to bully Venezuela back into submission. For all the fire and brimstone threats coming out of DC, the entire “Bolton plan(s?)” for Venezuela has/have resulted in a truly embarrassing failure: if the Sole “Hyperpower” on the planet cannot even overpower a tremendously weakened country right in its backyard, a country undergoing a major crisis, then indeed the US military should stick to the invasion of small countries like Monaco, Micronesia or maybe the Vatican (assuming the Swiss guard will not want to take a shot at the armed reps of the “indispensable nation”). The fact is that an increasing number of medium-sized “average” countries are now gradually acquiring the means to resist a US attack.”
The Saker thus sees the end of the West, with Asian replacing the Western world, but this will be the end of imperialism. Somehow China is not going to be another America, once it rules the waves. That would be, I believe a miracle, something someone wanting an end to empires would wish for, but we have not seen anything yet. China, as I see it, will surpass anything we have seen America do, and it is just getting started. Here are some indications of this:
Another response is that the disease of modernity, which has destroyed our cultural heritage, looks like eating into Chinese culture now, corrupting the youth, rotting the minds of young Chinese, and it is happening even faster than the monsters of modernity did it to the West:
“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a tremendous generational problem on their hands. Millennials aren’t behaving in the expected or traditional Chinese manner. A growing number of China’s young people are moving away from what could be considered traditional Chinese attitudes. This includes changing views on authority, the Party, marriage, families and how they want to live their lives. Often, this puts them in direct opposition with the CCP.
Ghosts of the One-Child Policy
The CCP’s most urgent and long-term challenges is the country’s contracting demographics. Many Chinese millennials just aren’t having children—not even one child that prior generations did and which state planners took for granted. The causes aren’t hard to define; four decades of the one-child policy have led to a dramatic fall in the country’s birthrate. That policy, which was instituted in 1979, has had a bigger impact than the intended result. While it did curb China’s population, the CCP’s enforcement of the policy was draconian and inhuman. Mass forced abortions and sterilizations, as well as stiff economic fines were waged against women for having more than one child. These harsh measures went a long way to reshaping Chinese women’s outlook on traditional roles, including marriage and childbearing. Another related factor is education. For the past two decades, women have outnumbered men at China’s universities. Young, highly educated and in well-paying jobs, they value their careers and financial independence over getting married and having children. As a result, China’s population is both shrinking and aging rapidly. By 2030, China will have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 14. By 2050, about one-third of China’s population will be over 60. This poses an existential threat to China’s economic progress.
The Marriage Crisis and the Economy
Nonetheless, for a growing number of China’s millennials, the ancient tradition and institution of marriage and family has fallen by the wayside. In just the past five years, marriage rates have fallen 30 percent. Many millennial women now view marriage as an artifact of the past, when marriage was necessary just to survive. The impact of this decline poses a threat to the Chinese way of life. Ironically, reducing the birthrate was once considered critical for China’s development; now it’s plaguing the long-term future of the CCP and the country’s economy. That’s why the Chinese leadership is especially desperate for young people in the middle- and upper-income brackets to have children—at least one if not more. As the CCP seeks to move China into a high value producer economy, it will need more high consuming citizens, not fewer. Peasants and unskilled or uneducated workers simply don’t have the buying power of China’s middle class. Even the most strident command economy apologist knows that it’s difficult to grow an economy with a shrinking consumer base. This demographic trend will also put a lot of pressure on social services as well as on children forced to care for their aging parents.
China’s New Feminism
Predictably, young, urban working women in China are increasingly adopting a more feminists outlook. They’re highly educated and earn a good living. Rising economic development and education tend to lower fertility rates. Additionally, with many having lived abroad, China’s millennial women desire a different way of life. They’re pushing back against state propaganda, rejecting the traditional expectations of marriage and children in favor of delaying or even avoiding both. Their ideals of happiness and fulfillment differ sharply than those of prior generations.
Western Influences Are Strong
Once American television shows and movies became accessible in the early 1990s, they heavily influenced the views and ideals of Chinese youth. Yang Gao, a Singapore Management University sociologist who researches foreign entertainment’s influence on Chinese youth, observed that American TV is “massively popular” among the Chinese younger generation. The reasons aren’t surprising. Young people find the individualist ideas of spontaneity, nonconformity, and self-realization very appealing. The common theme of standing up against authority and the establishment are particularly attractive to China’s millennials. The CCP has determined that additional ideological support is necessary against the invasion of Western values into Chinese culture, or what Chinese leader Xi Jinping termed, “the wrong ideas.” Those would include democracy and the rule of law, as well as religious and spiritual beliefs, with Christianity, Islam and Falun Gong at the top of the list. The CCP’s solution is to reinforce political and indoctrination and monitoring of children beginning at the earliest school age, and teachers and university professors, too. But some historical facts simply can’t be avoided, even under the powerful propaganda and censorship of the CCP. China’s millennials are quite aware of the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern European communist political systems and the contrast with open, Western liberal societies that continue to endure. Furthermore, the existence of a free and democratic Taiwan just offshore and Hong Kong’s wealth and relative liberty on the coastal mainland continues to impact the thinking of millennials. Stanley Rosen, a professor at the University of Southern California who studies the relationship between Chinese youth and the state noted that, “Over the past decade … many Chinese college students—perhaps even a majority of them—prefer elements of liberal democracy to China’s one-party system. I think there is a real threat.”
The “996” Life
As millennials become more aware of the rest of the world through travel, entertainment, the internet and social media, their view on work and life has changed. The younger generation works hard in upscale jobs to indulge in luxury items from the West as a reward for their hard work. The “996” life—working 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week—is their way out of the life their parents lived. They’re rejecting the dull factory work their parents performed and the stifling propagandistic culture of the Party. They value luxury and autonomy and look down on conformity and authority.
The CCP’s Big Challenge
At the other end of the spectrum, even those that believe in the Marxist ideology are dissatisfied with the current leadership. Some of the most enthusiastic Marxist millennials regard the current party and its leadership as not being Marxist enough. The backlash includes criticism for their hypocrisy on equality and sexism in the Party. With his ascension to leader-for-life, Xi now effectively owns China. That gives him enormous power, but it is also a double-edged sword. The old days of indoctrination of the masses through the totalitarian control of information are long gone. Whatever goes wrong in China, from a struggling economy to appalling levels of pollution to inflation and more, the blame will belong to Xi and the CCP. For Xi Jinping, trying to control the energies, doubts and aspirations of its younger generation may prove to be the most difficult challenges he faces. Dealing with U.S. President Donald Trump may well be the highlight of his day.”
These issues all indicate that it is modernisation and consumerism, which eventually destroys a country. It is not just China either, for the crisis in Japan is even worse, as Vera West detailed in her article on the end of sex in Japan.