Professor Niall Ferguson of Harvard-Oxford has compared today’s China with “Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany in the years before World War I; a growing, aggressive nationalistic power whose ambitions will tear through pre-existing commercial ties and historic friendships.” That is how David Brooks of the New York Times described Ferguson’s views in his own article Chinese Fireworks Display on July 2, 2009.
The Chinese leaders seem determined to prove Niall Ferguson correct. That seems to be the only lesson that can be drawn from the New Times article by Edward Wong on November 13, 2009. The title of this article says it all China Focuses on Territorial Issues as It Equates Tibet to U.S. Civil War South.
The record of China in Tibet is clear. The Dalai Lama has described it as cultural genocide of Tibetan culture. Most people would consider it a bit thick that Chinese would compare their crushing occupation of independent Tibet with Abraham Lincoln’s war to keep American united.
However thick it may appear to non-Chinese, Edmund Wong reports in his NYT article that Chinese leaders believe that boundaries of today’s China should be those of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) at its height.
Frankly, this Chinese claim brings to mind Germany’s claim to Sudetanland, Austria and Poland. That was of course Hitler’s Germany and not Wilhelm’s Germany.
America is the successor state to 19th century England. So, according to Chinese logic, America should claim all the territories of the British Empire as American territories. By that logic, Tibet should be occupied by American troops. After all, until 1947, Tibet was a suzerain of the British Empire and Tibet was protected by the troops of the British Empire on Tibetan soil. So, China should immediately withdraw all its troops from Tibet and accept Tibet’s status as a suzerain of America.
This is of course just as ridiculous as China’s claim over Tibet. But will President Obama will have the courage to put China in its place?
We have argued before that Chinese leaders seem to be intoxicated by their own kool-aid and by what they perceive as America’s financial weakness. According to experts we read, the Chinese leaders seem to consider President Obama as an essentially weak leader.
England & Europe learned in the early 1910s and in early 1930s that the appeasement of an aggressive, expansionist country does not create peace or preclude war. Instead it creates conditions for a much wider conflict. Carter’s America learned the same lesson in the late 1970s when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. America is still dealing with the long term consequences of that invasion.
We sincerely hope that President Obama remembers these lessons and delivers a no-nonsense message to today’s “germanic” Chinese leaders. The consequent of appeasing an expansionist China could be extraordinary serious for the world.
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