Turny Worms

This morning I received a message from an acquaintance, a woman in her 70s who grew up between Britain and Hunland. She asked me for my opinion on Adolfina Honecker’s, I mean, Angela Merkel’s, China deal. Having been distracted with other things recently, I hadn’t heard about it. (Funny how real life and work tend to get in the way of things) I took a Captain Cook and was amused.

Amused. Yes, I was amused. The EU will now increasingly become reliant on China. Had this been 20 years ago, I would have been more forgiving. Even 10 years ago one could have been relatively forgiving. After all, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao followed Deng Xiaoping’s maxim that China’s initials “PRC” should serve as an acronym for its foreign policy: please remain calm. Under Deng and his hand-picked successors, China sought to position itself as a stable, doveish but assertive alternative to an often histrionic United States. As the 1990s came to a close and the USA engaged in a catastrophic series of wars and foreign policy blunders after 9/11, Deng’s call bore fruit.

In developing countries, never entirely comfortable with the West, China’s policy of sticking to doing business, giving loans on (relatively) favourable terms and attaching (relatively) few strings proved popular. As American policy blunders and their consequences mounted, even many Western countries started to see the value of a Chinese alternative. If China would show progress with human rights and rule of law as other countries that embarked on the path of economic modernisation such as South Korea, Taiwan, Poland and Mexico had, why not China? Even if, say, Mexico had its issues with corruption and was always a bit dodgy in some ways, it was still better than it had been in most respects.

That all started to change under Xi Jinping. Initially he continued Deng’s path, but then he moved to supplant it, to replace it. The first country to feel his wrath was Norway. After the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, Norway found that its primary export to China, salmon, was being held up in customs causing billions in losses. Norway didn’t buckle per se, but that served as a warning and since then, there have been fewer efforts to support Chinese dissidents. The next country to be targetted was Sweden. A Chinese-born man who later became a naturalised Swedish citizen was arrested in Hong Kong and transported across the border for selling books in Hong Kong critical of the Chinese regime. This wasn’t, of course, illegal but it was a headache for Beijing. When the Swedish government did what it was expected to do, stand up for one of its citizens, Sweden was met with a campaign of hatred and abuse. Any pretext whether it was a Chinese family being ejected from a hostel after showing up a day before their reservation and refusing to leave after they were told that there was no vacancy or a satirical programme on Sveriges Television was used to whip up flames of hatred against the Nordic kingdom.

The most recent recipient of Xi’s affections is Australia. At this point, we should all know what we’re dealing with. There is no more excuse for ignorance and it’s abundantly clear that Xi is not Deng, he’s not Jiang and he’s not Hu. At this point, we should be aware of how cynical the PRC is. As most of the world is inflicting pointless economic self-destruction on itself, China is open for business and ensuring that it can leapfrog others. At this moment, Adolfina Honecker has chosen to make the EU a vassal of China. She’ll be gone before the year’s out, of course, but once French interests clash with China’s, once the Netherlands and China clash, they will see how much they can do when China shows them the same tender mercies it has Norway, Sweden and Australia.

In a way, I’m relieved that I was put in a position that I’d have to choose between Germany and the United Kingdom. (In order for me to hold more than a mini job of no more than 15 hours a week and 450 euros a month, I’d have to have a health account. In order to have a health account, I’d have to formally renounce all legal ties to the United Kingdom. I have formally rejected those conditions in writing and have formally accepted the consequences of my decision, acknowledging that my position in Germany is now untenable and that I will return to the United Kingdom once my rental agreement is honoured)Bit of a paradox. Now that my education in East Asian law, history and languages will come of use, I’ll be back in Britain more likely than not working in a position supporting independent seniors ans assisting Hong Kong settlers.

Author: Christopher-Dorset

A Bloody Kangaroo

10 thoughts on “Turny Worms”

  1. Some might think that we in the (largely) Free World have only ourselves to blame for China’s burgeoning power on the world stage. Why?

    Look at the attached map, showing the so-called 9-dash line (shown here as a multitude of dots) that is China’s claimed territorial waters.

    China calls the entire area within the marked -out zone as the “South China Sea” and the western media obediently follows suit.
    But look at the map: it’s the “South OF China Sea”. China’s claim to own it on “historical grounds” has no basis in international law, based as it is on disputed islands, many being little more that sandbanks (now concreted over by mainland China and militarized).

    China has been allowed to make a grab for a vast area that of ocean that laps up against the shorelines of a sizeable number of Pacific nations. What’s the UN done? What’s our media done? Answer – sod all – absolutely sod all – and we wonder why China now extends its reach via social media, internet, mobile phones into every corner of our own domestic scenes round the opposite side of the globe. That’s without reference to aggressive powerplay towards Hong Kong, Taiwan, India etc etc.

    One glimmer of hope: my newspaper says that China’s coronavirus infection rate is 10 times greater than the country claims, that President Xi Jinping’s credibility and indeed job is now on the line. (Hooray!)

    Can his likely successor be any worse a figure on the world stage than the one we have right now?

  2. I have never understood why the Chinese, an intelligent people one supposes, can be so stupid when it comes to dealing with international investigations. At the moment the Chinese authorities are holding up the admission of the WHO investigators into the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic. They have already shown themselves capable of lying about statistics and “disappearing” any who threaten to tell the truth. The whole world, apart from the paid for useful idiots, knows you can’t believe a word the authorities say. This hold-up has nothing to do with visa problems and everything to do with the Chinese trying to get any awkward laboratories or paperwork destroyed. Why not just sign a confession? Their actions amount to the same thing and the world knows it. This reminds me of the actions of the Chinese swimmer, Sun I think his name is, who was desperate to avoid drug testing. His screeching mother actually destroyed the sample taken on the grounds that the drugs testers hadn’t knocked on the door correctly or some other such stupidity. Don’t they realise that this is simply confirmation of the suspicion that Sun was a cheat and a liar and that they might as well admit it?

  3. Christopher:
    I think the EU and China are well matched! I’d be very interested to read the terms of their ‘trade’ deal.

    We have been trying to get a trade deal with the EU for some time – and, of course, they want us to stop calling our feta cheese – feta cheese, and a whole host of other such things.

    But the most ridiculous thing as far as I’m concerned is their insistence that one of our major milk companies has to change the colours that they have used from goodness knows when from blue, white and red – because it looks ‘too much like the French flag and could be mistaken for a product from France…

    There were over 200 similar requirements and I think the Oz government is still trying to deal with them.

    You are quite right – the West has allowed China to make, assert, and then follow through on outrageous claims.

    As for China’s so-called ‘transparency’ over Covid – I rather suspect that, at this moment, China is busily making sure that no evidence of their ‘cover-up’ will be detected by any international investigation.

  4. Forget (or at any rate postpone) thoughts about forging trade alliances with the EU, Boadicea. (The EU proceeds further down the plughole of history with each new passing day!)

    Join its predecessor, namely EFTA, dedicated to free trade

    Here’s the internet entry under EFTA:

    European Free Trade Association
    The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, set up for the promotion of ‎European Free Trade ·

    etc etc..

    Then all you in the splendid Oz have to do is do a minor swap of letters in your feta cheese.

    Call it EFTA cheese instead, helping to flag up your vastly more progressive approach to trade and commerce!

  5. Colin: The name “South China Sea” is an exonym. In China, it’s simply 南海 — “Nanhai” or, simply, “South Sea”. In respect to China’s relative location to the sea, that would be objectively correct. It is a sea and it is to the south of China. Likewise, the Vietnamese name for the sea — Bien Dong, East Sea, is objectively just as correct. The name of the sea is less important in this case than China’s dodgy maritime and territorial claims. In some cases, China does have a legitimate claim. The Paracel Islands, for example, were historically disputed between China and Vietnam. However, in the 1950s the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam — North Vietnam — formally renounced its claim on the island in favour of China’s. Since the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam were united under the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976, there is no way that the Vietnamese government can go back on its original renunciation. Had the South triumphed, Vietnam could claim that an illegitimate government had made that decision and that it was under no obligation to honour that. But… That is really it. In all other ways, China is acting in bad faith. It’s worth noting that whilst the United States is not a part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it, in practice observes its terms. China is a part of that convention, but it blatantly ignores its terms.

    Interestingly enough, Xi was never guaranteed a life presidency. The CCP simply removed the two-term limit that was formally enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. Xi could very easily, should rival factions unite behind another candidate and challenge his rule, simply have him replaced using the regular electoral process. Xi’s faction was utterly dominant for some years and his opposition were weak and divided, but Xi was also a bit too confident. By amassing as much power as he did, he became utterly responsible for everything. Previous Chinese leaders were far more willing to let things slide and let others have more power as that meant that they could also share blame when things inevitably went wrong. Xi wanted to transform the country and party in his image, but he then became responsible for everything. Chinese politics have always been brutal.

    Sheona: One of my old friends is Chinese. He’s personally a lovely youngish man, but as soon as it comes to politics and China, he toes the line. He takes even reasonable and well-supported critiques of Chinese policy as personal slights. The Chinese do not like losing face or looking bad and when they do, or risk looking awful, they will make it such a fight that people would rather just let it go. For better or worse, the world functions on Western sensibilities. We were, after all, the ones who imposed our sentiments, attitudes and mindsets on the entire world. On balance, this wasn’t always a bad thing. It wasn’t as if the world was full of virtuous, pure, good-natured people before European colonisation. In many ways, however many warts, shortcomings and failures there were, it was not always on balance worse than what came before or what the alternatives were. By and large, people are willing to go along with these norms because they are fair and equitable. The Chinese are not entirely convinced and most definitely do not lack civilisational confidence. They are perfectly willing, neigh, eager to overturn the Western-based order in all ways and doping is just one of the ways.

    Boadicea: One thing that amuses me is that Europeans and a certain segment of the US population were banging on about how isolated the US has become in recent years. The EU and the European model were held up as virtuous alternatives. In reality, the EU has increasingly been isolating Europe intentionally and unintentionally. Intentionally because there is a growing awareness that more and more European industries are increasingly redundant. There is still this image in the public imagination of the small farmer, those with 15-20 acres and a small flock of sheep or herd of cattle. But, in reality, European agriculture is just as dominated by multinational agribusiness as the USA, Canada or Australia. They turn massive profits on the EU’s protected internal market. Hundreds of millions of consumers with little choice. Other European industries — motor vehicles, technology, design, kitchen equipment, etc. are just as reliant on protections. Mercedes isn’t on the same level as Lexus, Bosch isn’t any better than Samsung or LG. There are no European computer makers and only a few marginally relevant smartphone makers — Nordic, of course. When a small island like Taiwan out-powers the entire EU, you know how far behind it is. The fear of mass unemployment of people in their 50s and 60s, those who by European reckoning have little chance of starting a new career before retiring, leads European countries with the EU’s encouragement to protect those industries. Unintentionally, because the EU is so hard to deal with that more and more countries no longer see it as being worth the effort. Yes, it’s a large and wealthy market — but the EU demands ever more in exchange for access to a market that is increasingly irrelevant. Trump received a lot of criticism, but he still offered fair access to the massive US market in exchange for reasonable access to other markets. He did better in that respect that previous presidents, awful style and personality, aside. With Dementia Joe the Child-Sniff Rapist taking over soon, access to the US market will be even easier. Others, such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand, Nigeria, Kenya, etc. all have much potential and much to offer and are eager to do business. What’s the point for Australia or New Zealand to argue with the EU when they can export their produce to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan? When even Canada, one of the most congenial and agreeable countries, had to walk away in tears before a last minute reprieve, why would others want to deal with them? The sad thing is, the EU thinks they can one-up the Chinese. A lot of Europeans will become collateral in that coming battle. With Adolfina Honecker giving even Dementia Joe the Child Sniffing Rapist a slight as a welcoming present, what happens when there’s a president De Santis or Abbott?

  6. One of the most informed responses I’ve ever seen on this site, Christopher, viewed on (and I’m afraid to say , in my case, largely off) over some 10 years or so.

    Yes, the focus has started to shift from China to the EU ( and more recently – 2 days ago – to the so-called “U” S of A).

    So forgive me if I extract just one line from your exposition:

    “… the EU demands ever more in exchange for access to a market …”

    Some might think it sums up the EU perfectly, the common polite description of the EU being “protectionist”.

    No, it goes further than that – much, much further- way beyond “protectionist”. It displays a quasi-Mafia mentality – namely “protection RACKET”.

    The so-called “level playing field” to which the Britain was told to respect and conform was anything but. Since when has a “level” playing field had the compulsory addition of a mountainous excluding barrier – geographical/political/ commercial – read tariff barrier – designed to exclude any and all competitors from its exclusive, privileged club – sidelining, excluding the outside world.

    The EU (initially “evolved” from the seemingly open and friendly EEC/Common Market ) s/was nothing short of an obscenity where Western democracy and global free trade are concerned. Look at the way that a “technocrat” Government was installed in Italy – an outrage where democracy was concerned. Greece too got similar treatment …

    Thank goodness we in the UK are now (largely) shot of the EU.

    Hopefully the EU in its current perverse and rotten state will end up where it deserves – in the gutter of history.

    We can then focus on the new issues and threats to Western democracy, world peace etc, starting with the so-called “U” S of A, then China, Iran etc etc.

    We’ll leave the current EU members to chat quietly and inconsequentially among themselves – while watching their participant members hopefully dwindle progressively by the month, year etc…

  7. Colin: One of the most “honest” moments in EU history came from Donald Tusk’s wife. She was asked why her husband gave up his position as being the leader of an ancient and venerable nation. She said it was the money. Being a senior Eurocrat simply pays far, far more and it comes with far, far less responsibility. It is also a way for cross-border trade to cut costs at the expense of workers in higher-income countries. After all, why pay an Italian trucky 30,000 euro a year when a Romanian can do the same job, just as well (or badly), for 11,000? Why pay a Swede or Dane 45,000-50,000 quid a year when you can hire a Pole for 12,000? Much is simply outsourced to Polish, Hungarian, Romanian or Bulgarian staffing companies.

    I’m a critic of post-colonial theory. It’s not that I’m enamoured with imperialism or colonialism. They were logical in their time and place and were merely extensions of what people had been doing, anything, for as long as there have been people. China expanding its national territory to ensure that its lucrative silk road paths were firmly under its control, the Zulu expanding their control over territory, cattle and people. The Lakota gaining control over vast swathes of the plains of north America in order to ensure access to and control over vital resources, the Arab attempt at world domination during the early spread of Islam through conquest, over-running venerable civilisations: Egypt, Persia and Mesopotamia, themselves with thousands of years of imperialism behind them. The Ottoman Conquest of the Byzantine Empire and the Balkans. In short, Europeans — and Americans — were hardly shattering norms. But one thing I do recognise is that we should work to be more equitable in our treatment of others. We’ve seen the logical conclusions of the mentality of “might makes right”, we’ve seen the ultimate horrors of chauvinism so many times be it the Tsarist pogroms, the genocide of the Ndebele at the hands of the Shona in Zimbabwe, the Rwandan genocide, the Yugoslav Wars, the Holocaust, etc. Giving people in Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, India, Burma, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, etc. a fair go is desperately needed. Doing something to let them develop their own economies in their own way, supporting literacy and small businesses is beneficial to all. The EU, however, has done the complete opposite. They’ve raped African fish stocks, they’ve seized control over fresh water supplies in countries like Namibia and charge extortionate amounts with no guarantee that the water will even be delivered. The EU has done everything possible to ensure that small farmers in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, etc. have no chance. They’ve done everything to crush economic development in Malawi and Zambia by dumping excess food supplies, thus undercutting farmers and creating continued dependence. So many are arrogant enough to think that Africans won’t notice this. They do and they resent it. The worm is very much turning and Europe is losing its edge more and more each day. Antagonising generation after generation of people in countries that are progressing quickly isn’t a good long-term strategy.

    As for the USA… In 2008, the USA was collectively relieved to be rid of Bush and Obama and the Democrats had a tremendous mandate for change. This was a mandate which they wasted. Obama spent 8 years insulting and antagonising people passive-aggressively, labelling people who had legitimate concerns “bitter clingers” and implying that they were racist. Even questioning Obama’s often poorly thought out and terribly implemented policies was considering racism by the bien-pensants. In November 2016, Americans streets burnt. There were riots. Throughout much of 2020, American cities were burnt and overrun by anarchists from Portland to New York City. For a month, federal courts were bombed in Portland. For years, people were harassed. Tens of millions of dollars were wasted on partisan witch hunts over Russia. Only the third president in US history was impeached and on spurious grounds. Then there was an election marred by irregularities and dodgy practices in such bastions of sleaze as Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, Las Vegas, etc. Do I think that Trump won in a landslide? Don’t make me laugh. Far, far from it. Some of these headcases imply that Trump would have won California and that is far-fetched to say the least. But there were problems that could well have impacted races in 4 or 5 states which could have potentially changed the election. These were worth investigating, but any effort to discuss this is ridiculed and shut down. Whilst I don’t necessarily think it would have changed the ultimate result of the election, the lack of transparency and concerted effort to shut down criticism has not had a salubrious effect. The left have shown that they only respect election results if they win. The right show have shown that they’re just as capable of being a negative force. Dementia Joe the Child Sniffing Rapist was one of the worst people to take over at this point. Something like a Gabbard/Sinema ticket could have united the country. But a notoriously corrupt and incompetent Senator and VP who has a long record of disastrous laws and stances with his scandal-tainted VP (She was awful as DA in San Francisco and AG in California with a long list of civil rights violations) is not the way forward. I do not see a way out of this for the USA simply because trust and confidence have been shattered.

  8. Christopher: Who is “Dementia Joe the Child Sniffing Rapist?” Someone you’ve met in your travels, perhaps?
    I myself would have nothing to do with, much less vote for, a “kiddy-fiddler” or, for that matter, someone whose thought processes weren’t quite up to the mark.

  9. Colin: Since Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Greece or Cyprus – we have no problem with re-branding Feta as ‘Australian Made Feta’ which I noticed has been done. But, it is outrageous to demand that an Australian Company changes its logo because it looks too much like the French flag – that is way over the top!

    Fortunately, I live in a country where some common sense occasionally prevails. Recently Big Bully McDonalds took a small family business to court to stop it from using its family name which just happened to be McDonald. Our courts decided that Big Mac had no right to stop anyone from using their family name for business purposes.

    Christopher: your comments re the EU paying people lower wages in the poorer countries in that conglomerate is very telling. And I think will play a great part in the demise of the EU.

    Two examples come to mind. Ecco shoes is one. When I discovered them – I was delighted. Quality shoes that fit my odd shaped feet and lasted and lasted. Sure, they were expensive – but I was more than happy to pay for something of quality. Then production was sent from Denmark to somewhere else in Europe – the price, of course, did not change, the quality did. I am no longer prepared to pay for the name – and, I suspect, I’m not alone.

    Then there was Asko – whose dishwashers were amazing – the best ever. Until we bought one made in somewhere in Europe other than Sweden… and read recent reviews – alas after we had bought one!

    Already I am reading reviews of Bosch appliances that are not made in Germany, but in other parts of the EU – they are not complimentary.

    Quality EU producers will not be able to trade on their ‘name’ reputation for ever.

    Cog: From the outside looking into the US, it seems to me that neither side of your political spectrum is prepared to admit that the 70 odd million people who voted ‘the other way’ need to be respected – only insulted. There can be no ‘healing’ whilst that is the case.

  10. Boadicea: Yes, that happens so often. I look at people and traffic around me. More and more lorries have “PL” number plates: Poland. There are a lot of white van men (or their Hunnish equivalent) with “BG” — number plates: Bulgaria. I very rarely frequent German businesses any more favouring Vietnamese, Arab and Chinese shops. But one thing I’ve noted was that more and more people working in bakeries, drug shops, etc. have Slavic accents. (I favour the Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabs because the experience is a lot better. I was getting fed up with getting screamed at or watching people getting screamed at in German establishments. The immigrant shops leave you alone and let you shop in peace so long as you’re not doing something that causes trouble for them, the Germans just scream because they seem incapable of behaving reasonably)
    It’s not just outsourcing that’s the problem. I also have very odd-shaped feet. Mine are like duck feet sans webbing. They’re short, but incredibly wide. I often buy Birkenstock simply because they fit well. Recently, it’s become incredibly hit-and-miss. Sometimes they are as good as they were when I was growing up. I’m not good to show and they take a beating but they still last. Others have given up the ghost relatively quickly. My current pair are holding up well, but my last pair left much to be desired and the one before wasn’t great, either. They’re still made in Germany, but German standards are no longer what they used to be, either.
    One or two bad experiences with Asko and Bosch and Samsung and LG will only look better. A disastrous experience with a Mercedes and a VW will make a Lexus or Hyundai look a lot better.

    As for the USA… I take the piss out of the vegetable who is set to take office in a week and a half. When I refer to him as “Dementia Joe the Child-Sniffing Rapist”, I do so because Trump — who has often given me pause and grounds for discomfort — has been dragged through the mud for years. It was one false accusation after another. Biden shows all the classic signs of dementia. There are so many videos of Biden coming up behind young girls, putting his hands around them and sniffing their hair. There have also been multiple, credible and corroborated accusations made by women over the years of Biden raping them. The same people who said that all women must be believed, amongst them Kamala Harris, suddenly either ignore the accusations or dismiss them. There have been years of increasing left-wing riots and agitation. More often than not, this was encouraged and lauded by many of those on the left. When Trump attempted to keep as much order as he was constitutionally allowed to, he was accused of sending in troops and being a dictator. But, those who praised rioters, pillagers and arsonists, those who shot innocent people, who beat innocent people, are fuming about sundry rabble — many opportunistic troublemakers who always show up in demonstrations were there, as were Antifa agitators — so whilst many involved were unhinged Trump supporters, it was more complex and nuanced than just that. In the last few days, there has been a mass purge of dissidents and critics of the incoming regime in social media. It’s been coordinated. When alternatives such as Parler refused to censor people, they were deplatformed by Apple and Google. Amazon went so far as blocking their use of Amazon software to try to shut them down.

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