May 13, 2013 | 32 comments
February 8, 2013 | 146 comments
January 21, 2013 | 26 comments
January 8, 2013 | 2 comments
December 10, 2012 | 51 comments
Chapter 8 of Mr. Tucker’s new novel 2065, which we are serializing, on China’s invasion of Pearl Harbor.
(Page 2 of 5)
“The people of China can no longer tolerate a situation where their currency is not honored with the same respect as that of a country that owes us 32 trillion Yuan in debt. This is not only dangerous to us, it threatens the world economy. The Yuan is the world’s most sound currency, it should be respected.” And on it went.
It was all too familiar and Chen-li’s mind began to wander. He had been making the same points for the past ten years. The truth is, though, he liked the Americans and didn’t want to see them humiliated. Chen-li had spent much of his life studying Americans. In a sense, his whole career had been a preparation for this moment. His main subject of interest had been the decline of empires and their replacement by new powers. Sometimes the transition had gone smoothly, other times it had been steeped in violence. The Battle of Pydna had ended Greek dominance in the Mediterranean. The defeat of the Spanish Armada had marked Britain’s ascendency in early Europe. The Battle of Yaman had sealed the Mongol conquest of the Song Dynasty, while the Japanese rebuff of Kublai Kahn’s invasion in 1281 had assured that island did not become a part of the Mongol Empire, a situation that had persisted until China had finally persuaded them to join its co-prosperity sphere in 2035.
What fascinated Chen-li was the way the military conquest of an aging empire was often followed by the cultural conquest of the victor by the vanquished. Greece had become the literary and artistic standard of the Roman Empire. America had embraced English culture after breaking away from the British Empire in the 18th century. Perhaps the most spectacular example had been Russia’s adoption of capitalism after the defeat of the Soviet Empire in the Cold War. Far from falling into decline, the Russians had developed their resources to the point where they practically dominated Europe when the European Union finally collapsed in 2025. Unfortunately, the implosion of the welfare economy had dragged Russia down with it. Otherwise, the Russians might be standing where China stood today, astride the entire world economy.
This was the kind of transition Chen-li wanted to effect between the United States and China as the North American colossus approached its point of decrepitude. He wanted to orchestrate a smooth changing of the guard so that the torch of civilization could pass across the Pacific without dropping or without anyone getting scorched in the transfer. Because in truth there were many things he admired about America. He admired Americans’ free spirit, their willingness to take chances, their free-thinking. For all the advances in his countrymen had achieved in commerce and technology, he still had the misgiving that they were too subservient to authority, too willing to follow orders, too fearful of straying from the crowd. China still considered itself one big family and centuries of living in patriarchal hierarchies beneath the judgment of a mandarin elite had instilled a deference that made him wonder if China couldn’t easily slide back into the stagnation that had marked so many centuries of its history. China had something to learn from America, he knew that. Despite all the efforts his government had made in encouraging people not to stand around waiting for directives, its officials had never really succeeded in generating a free and adventurous people. That, he had to admit, was a Western invention.
The Prime Minister had now finished his presentation and started asking questions. Chen-li was surprised. He had assumed the hologram was prerecorded, but now there seemed to have a live aspect — although you could never tell with these things. It might just be a committee back in Beijing manipulating the image.
“Have the Americans indicated they are willing to enter negotiations?” the Prime Minister asked.
“The American ambassador just arrived from Beijing,” said the commanding officer. “We believe he will be the chief negotiator. We expect to hear shortly.”
“Has there been any public pronouncement from the Independence Movement?”
“Our agents inside the movement say the leaders have become reluctant to make public comments in our support. We are attempting to effect a change of leadership. That may occur within a few days.”
“Is everything aboard the ships satisfactory?”
“Everything aboard the ships is satisfactory,” replied more than one officer.
“Are the troops well fed and satisfied?” asked the Premier.
“The troops are well fed and satisfied,” responded an even greater number in a pattern all too familiar to Chen-li.
“Are they confident of their mission?”
“They are confident of their mission,” came the chorus.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online