Friday, December 9, 2011

Xuetong's Prince

Yan Xuetong, a professor of political science at Tsinghua University recently wrote an Op Ed piece in The Times entitled “How China Can Defeat America." Mr. Xuetong is also the author of a book entitled Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power. One can be sure his Op Ed piece was studied by our own intelligence services as Mr. Xuetong is uniquely qualified to talk about power in a mysterious country that maintains two parallel systems: one a competitive market economy and the other a dictatorship of the proletariat as represented by the continued importance of the Communist Party. Xuetong begins his piece by saying that though he is often considered a hawk, he is "a political realist." He goes on to point out that “realism does not mean that politicians should be concerned only with military and economic might.” Xuetong cites “the ancient Chinese philosopher Xunzi" who described “three types of leadership: humane authority, hegemony and tyranny.” Essentially Mr. Xuetong has written a 21st Century version of Machiavelli’s The Prince that is a benign prescription for Chinese dominance. “Humane authority,” Mr. Xuetong avers, “begins by creating a desirable model at home that inspires people abroad.” He goes on to conclude, “thus the core of the competition between China and the United States will be to see who has more high-quality friends. And in order to achieve that goal, China has to provide higher-quality moral leadership than the United States.” In The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick imagines a parallel universe where Japan (along with is fascist allies) wins the Second World War. The implication of the book is that Japan wins by military might. How would Dick describe the triumph that Xuetong envisions? How would the economic juggernaut that is modern China assert its moral superiority? Confucius say, country with population well over billion have many mouths to feed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.