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Samizdata quote of the day – either way, China wins

The reason Beijing seems so relaxed about the crisis is obvious: this is a situation in which China wins either way. Either the threat continues but shipping is safer for Chinese vessels than for others, in which case sailing under the protection of the red and gold flag may become a coveted competitive advantage, or Beijing finally tells Iran to knock it off, in which case China becomes the de facto go-to security provider in the Middle East. Both outcomes would be geopolitical coups. No wonder China is willing to accept a little short-term economic pain as the situation plays out.

Nathan Levine

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – either way, China wins

  • Kirk

    Reasonable calculus to ascribe to China.

    However, the number of times that these things have blown up in the faces of the idiots playing the games? Remember, the Tsar’s intelligence agents were behind the assassination of the Archduke at Sarajevo. How’d that work out, for Nicky and his family, again?

    I’m sure that Xi or whoever is sitting behind this little effort is quite certain they know what they’re meddling with, and confident that they’re in control. The reality is, once you allow things like this to get started, there’s no telling where or when the balls stop bouncing.

  • Chester Draws

    Well, China might “win””, if by winning you mean having to pay for the sort of international power reach that the US currently has.

    That sort of winning is very expensive.

  • Kirk

    I doubt that they’d bother to do much more than try their best to profit from the chaos.

    The real people harmed by all the Chinese machinations are the little countries that currently benefit from the current US hegemony… Imagine how much it would cost, in terms of actual loss of revenue and everything else, if you could no longer rely on the US coming to enforce free trade along the routes to your nation… Imagine the Chinese coming and saying “Nice economy you have here, we’d like a cut…”

    The US (and, the British Empire before them…) hasn’t been perfect in terms of benefiting the rest of the world’s free trade and what-not, but anyone who thinks the Chinese will even make the attempt, let alone do more than join the descent into chaos…? They’re delusional. Look at the Chinese history of “good governance” internally; they can’t even see the sense of enforcing building codes. You think they’re going to have the cultural trait of supporting the global commons? Look at how they suborned WHO, and other UN agencies.

    No, the US goes away? All y’all are gonna rue the day. The US will likely do fine, being set up for a decent amount of autarky. Europe and Africa? Asia outside China? LOL… You will pay a price, all of you. And, it won’t be cheap.

  • Paul Marks

    No Kirk – the agents of the Tsar were not behind the 1914 murders. Nor did Russia want war.

    Separate matter – but “building codes” are not automatically a good thing either, for example Alaska (not known for a gentle climate) did not have one till the Obama years (when they had to accept one as a condition of getting some Federal money – some unconstitutional spending program or other, justified under the “general welfare spending power” which does-not-exist, the “common defense and general welfare” being the PURPOSE of the specific spending powers granted to the Congress by Article One, Section Eight, NOT a catch-all “general welfare spending power” – which would make the Constitution a waste of ink).

    As for the post – it is a good post, the vicious Chinese Communist Party Dictatorship wins either way in the current situation.

    But given the utterly contemptable condition of the modern West, for example the viciously lying jury in the Mark Steyn case, I do not care as much as I once would have. The West has been dying for a very long time – the process of dying has to complete at some point. We are long past the point where it was just the leftist leaders who are evil – so are the juries of ordinary leftists, they lie without shame. And it most certainly is not an isolated case – there can be no justice with courts, and juries, like this. The products of the education system and the media.

    Chester Draws – “very explosive”, you mean thermonuclear war?

    Oh dear, how upsetting.

    “Paul not everyone who lives in Washington D.C. is evil” – true, but a great many of them are evil.

    For example, well over 90% of the votes of D.C. in 2020 went for a person who supports the sexual mutilation of eight year old children. To turn little boys into pretend girls and little girls into pretend boys – so they will never have children of their own.

  • Paul Marks

    There is a great difference between people who are honestly mistaken and people who are evil.

    And the people who make up the leftist activist juries in American cities, not just in the Mark Steyn case – but also in many other cases, are not honestly mistaken – they hate truth and they hate justice, they support lies and Social Justice (the enemy of justice), they are evil.

    So are the rulers of the People’s Republic of China – they are evil to.

    To say one group is evil does not mean one regards the other as good – they are both evil.

  • Kirk

    @Paul Marks:

    I call bullshit on your line about the Tsar “not being behind the murders”. The Black Hand was run out of the Serbian secret police and financed by Russian figures. The Black Hand was founded by one Dragutin Dimitrijevic, a Serbian Colonel of Intelligence almost certainly recruited by the Russians during his 1906 visit to Russia, and who was also involved in earlier attempts on Franz Joseph and the assassination of King Alexander.

    Many modern Serbs are taught about his service to the Tsar, and how the Tsar’s paymasters funneled money to him in order to fund the Black Hand. You talk to anyone from that part of the world, and they’re going to eventually bring that up; every single Serb I’ve ever run into who is present when Serbia is blamed for starting the war brings that set of facts up.

    I find the evidence compelling, that I’ve heard and seen. Dragutin Dimitrijevic “had form” for being both a Russian pan-Slavic agent/enthusiast, and for assassination. He was also not acting on behalf of the Serbian government, so then the problem becomes “Who was he working for…?”

    His trial and subsequent execution on 24 June 1917 can be interpreted as the Serbian government paying him back for getting them into the mess of WWI, or because they wanted to silence him. He was shot at sunrise, and it took some 20 rounds to finish him off.

    Average commentator has never heard of him, thinking that Princip just came out of nothing. I suspect that Dragutin Dimitrijevic was another one of the many Russian “intelligence operations” that brought massive blowback onto them. Russians pride themselves in their efforts in this arena, but the sad fact is, they’re really not all that good at it. How many times have they had to deal with the repercussions of such failed enterprises, where they actually outsmarted themselves? I would submit that WWII, with their early enabling support of Hitler and his Nazi party, played a huge role in enabling the early German successes in Western Europe, not the least of which support consisted of telling the COMINTERN to do everything it could to sabotage French defense efforts… Stalin and the Soviets got everything they earned when Barbarossa kicked off, just like Nicky did when he either gave the OK or failed to rein in his agents in Serbia.

    Russia has rather more historical “blotting of their copybook” than most would want to admit. They claim victimhood, but every damn time, you can trace what happened back to their own culpable and manifest stupidity.

  • JJM

    What fascinates me is the relative invisibility of Egypt with regard to the Houthi shenanigans in the Red Sea.

    Surely it’s in the national interest of that country to maintain a steady flow of ship traffic through the Suez Canal?

  • Kirk

    What fascinates me is the relative invisibility of Egypt with regard to the Houthi shenanigans in the Red Sea.

    Same thing has been puzzling me, as well. That fact is the “dog that didn’t bark in the night” in this whole thing. They have to be losing big money due to the decrease in traffic through the Suez.

    Either they’ve got something compensating them for it, or… Who the hell knows? I surely don’t.

    It is a conundrum, though. I’d have thought that they’d be making common cause with the Saudis, by now, and delivering troops across the Red Sea. On the other hand, who the hell knows?

  • John

    O/T but I have just woken up to the unwelcome but completely predictable news that the DC jury in the Mark Steyn defamation case has delivered yet another body blow to justice and common sense – to put it mildly.

  • Paul Marks


    The Czar was not behind the murders of 1914 (please read a biography of the man – if you want to understand him) and Russia did not want war in 1914 – and was in no condition to fight a war.

    The Russian military modernisation, even if everything had gone perfectly (highly doubtful) would not have been ready till 1918 – the war started in 1914 when Russia was utterly unprepared for war.

    French military modernisation was due to be finished by 1916.

    In 1914 there was one major power that was ready for war – and which also knew that its two principle opponents (France and Russia) were in the middle of massive military reorganisations – which made them very vulnerable.

    That power was Imperial Germany.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – please do not confuse Russia with the Soviet Union.

    That is something Mr Putin does when he talks about history – and it is very inaccurate and annoying.

    It is wrong when Mr Putin talks of the Soviet Union as if it was Russia – it was not, it was the sworn enemy of Russia – hating everything that Russia stood for.

    And Mr Putin’s claim to have brought Russia back, waxing lyrical about his Orthodox Christian faith (and so on), is also fake.

    As my friend Tim Starr points out – if Mr Putin has brought back Holy Mother Russia why is there mass abortion? And why is his (KGB) regime allied with enemies of the Russian people?

  • Kirk

    So… The all-powerful Tsar is not responsible for the activities of his intelligence organizations? Interesting theory, that.

    I did not say Nicholas II knew of or personally planned the assassination of Franz Ferdinand; what I said was that the Russian state was behind it. Likely, Darling Nicky wasn’t informed by the responsible parties, but the odds that his government wasn’t involved are in between “slim” and “none”.

    The number of occasions where some low-level apparatchik of the Russian/Soviet intelligence organs have done things that created “unexpected” blowback for the Russian/Soviet state are ridiculously high. After a thorough consideration of them, one would think that the people in charge of such organizations would recognize that they’re just not that good at these things, and that the grandiose delusional enterprises they come up with are not that effective. Or, beneficial…

    I would lay even odds that if Nicholas II had been informed that his agents were going to assassinate a fellow “union member”, he’d have shut that down. Unfortunately, he was effectively asleep at the helm of government, and those entities were doing their own thing. Like as not, there was a half-paragraph summary of Dimitrijevic’s actions and plans somewhere on a desk in Moscow or St. Petersburg when it all went down.

    Which still makes it his fault: Absolute monarch=absolute responsibility. His minions assassinated Franz Ferdinand, resulting in the death of millions, and he and his immediate family wind up dead in a basement. Not entire without a karmic component… How many other families wound up dead for his fantasies of pan-Slavism?

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk between you and Staghounds I have had enough for today.

    As for the idea that the Russian government in 1914 ordered the murder of Franz Ferdinand and his wife – to you use your own word Sir, that is “bullshit”.

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