Our prime minister must realize that U.S. President Joe Biden and his secretary of state might be no more adept at dealing with China than Canada. To ask the president to add the two Michaels to the list of things for the U.S. have to do could be downright silly. The U.S. attitude seems to be to continue to tease the tiger.
And people who know wild animals will tell you there is no deadlier game than to tease a tiger. Joe Biden probably thinks of the bear baiting of Russia through the Cold War that eventually lessened the Russian resistance.
It was the economic pincers that finally brought the USSR out of the Stalinist era. That will not work on China. Economic penalties do not work on the Chinese. These are people mindful of their existence in power because of the Long March. And if you do not understand the Long March, you do not understand modern China.
Any student of Chinese history can tell you that the Long March was not an orderly withdrawal but a rout. The truth was that it saved the communists from total annihilation by the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek. There was horrendous loss of life but the Long March was seen as proof of the endurance and rightness of the Chinese Red Army under the leadership of Mao Zedong.
We face that same determination today as was exhibited in the Long March. We saw in the Korean War that the Chinese soldiers are expendable. There are always more where those came from.
Today’s Chinese leadership expects to be treated as equals by American and European politicians and business leaders. In dealing with them, you need to remember that brash North American directness, humour or salesmanship is something they might not understand. There is considerable subtlety to the concept of ‘saving face.’ in dealing with Asian politicians or business people. I have always told sales people dealing with large dollar sales that until you have established a relationship with the Chinese, you should leave your company’s product in your pedler’s sack.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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