Will They Really Ping, Xi Jinping By James Reed

     It goes to show how little I know, as the Chinese elite turn against Xi Jinping, who I thought was a god emperor for Life. Or was that Putin? Anyway:

“As Chinese authorities botched their response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, a quote from the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl” went viral on the Chinese messaging app WeChat: “What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognise the truth at all.” The analogy between the 1986 nuclear accident and the 2020 pandemic — Communist regimes trying to cover up the truth of a disaster and thereby worsening it — may seem a little pat. It may also seem wishful: After all, the Chinese Communist Party, unlike the Soviet one, emerged from the unrest of 1989 with a tighter grip on power. Edward Luttwak doesn’t exactly agree with the analogy, but he takes it seriously. “The Wuhan virus has made it impossible for Xi Jinping to continue with this program of staying in power for another 10 years,” he says. “Impossible.” Mr Luttwak, 77, knows a thing or two about regime change. A military strategist and historian, he may be best known for his 1968 book, “Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook.” Rumour has it that a copy was found on the body of Moroccan General Mohammad Oufkir after he failed to overthrow King Hassan in 1972.

Over a half-century, Mr Luttwak has produced a significant body of work on international affairs and military strategy. He also has built a lucrative career advising businessmen, political leaders, even the Dalai Lama. Along the way the Romanian-born polyglot made powerful friends across the world — from liberal democratic civil servants to party apparatchiks. The British historian Eric Hobsbawm once wrote that “like Machiavelli himself, he enjoys truth not only because it is true but also because it shocks the naive.” Mr Luttwak has come to believe that “regimes fall because of stylistic failure.” That happens “when the more alert members of the ruling elite are prompted to realise that the regime’s official ideology and style of government have become totally outmoded, obviously irrelevant and even ridiculous.” The Soviets are a case in point. “I visited the Soviet Union almost every year for years and years. It didn’t fall for material reasons. And in Chernobyl itself, it didn’t fall for moral reasons,” he says. “Even at the end, the Soviet regime was able to summon people to sacrifice themselves for the system.” Instead, he argues, the Politburo sealed its fate in 1984 when it appointed the ailing, 72-year-old Konstantin Chernenko general secretary.”

     Following this line of thought, it is quite possible that the Chinese regime could enter a period of critical instability, especially if the West moves beyond China as the factory of the World, and decides give it all to India. Then China may crack and break as the Soviet regime did, but the fall from its present inflated and dizzy heights will be spectacular. Buy plenty of beer and popcorn to watch.



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Wednesday, 24 April 2024

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