Sunday, June 12, 2005

Mark Steyn, Sinologist extraordnaire

Via Insty, I found this extremely insightful piece written by Mark Steyn, who not only understands China better than most journalists but understands China better than most US State Department diplomats. If the Senate Democrats do succeed in derailing the nomination of John Bolton as UN Ambassador, Steyn would be a perfect replacement.

In my relatively short 40-plus years, I have seen the America-haters of the world (including many in the Democrat party) repeat the same tired prophecy of American decline. Every decade, though, they are forced to replace the country that stands to displace the United States as the World's Only Superpower.

For example, in the 70's it was the Soviet Union that was going to bury us. After the Soviets were in turn buried by the Reagan military buildup, then it was Japan that would destroy us economically. Alas, in the early 90's the centrally-planned Japanese economy began a decade-long recession that left those damn free-market Yankees without a competitor to the title of World's Economic Superpower.

Enter the Chinese, with their amazing transition from a planned to a (partial) market economy. For many on the Left, the Chinese are the best of both worlds: an economic powerhouse that redistributes wealth better than the Europeans. But as Steyn points out, market economies cannot function in a totalitarian state. Eventually, one will destroy the other. Either the Chinese will cease to be communists, or they will cease to be capitalists.

I'm betting on the former, but only after the latter has occurred. China is running headlong into a confrontation, not with the West, but with itself; one that will leave it in tatters, just as the Cold War left the Soviet Union as impoverished as it was in 1917. Hopefully, after the coming Chinese meltdown a new, freer society will emerge. But one thing is sure: America will still be on top.


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