On a hot Friday before a holiday, it’s hard to stay focused. In this chaotic world, it’s usually hard to stay focused on anything, especially with supposed “leaders” relying on distraction and buzz rather than anything of substance.
So let’s play a little game of speculation. I have little to back up anything I’m about to say here, other than the simple and obvious fact that where the US has the attention span of a caffeinated squirrel, China is always playing a long game. As a colleague once told me, “China has had a bad 200 years, but we think the next 200 will make up for it.”
North Korea has agreed to de-nuclearize! Trump’s foreign policy is a success!
Headlines something like this have been circulating for a few weeks, but they contain more errors than words. North Korea hasn’t agreed to remove nuclear weapons at all, but appears ready to try to negotiate for some reason. Any concessions on their part almost certainly have little to do with the US and a lot more to do with their only benefactor, China.
And the world is a much more dangerous place to the extent that anyone believes that North Korea is somehow becoming more peaceful, especially when it comes to believing this is a result of anything to do with the US.
The long-awaited move has come. Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked the nation’s top political body to amend the “Basic Law” or constitution to allow him to stay for a third five-year term.
The wave of protests in response was anticipated, but still extraordinary. It is China, after all, and the authoritarian government does not allow protests – except when it does. Xi’s action has setup a showdown of sorts in a nation which has experienced more cultural turmoil than perhaps any other and still retained a Confucian sense of order.
But can that last, or is this the start of something different?