Today's discussion:

A humbled China may be looking to de-escalate tensions with the West as its economy falters, analysts say

Analysts say that President Xi has been sobered by U.S.-led initiatives to redirect trade to allies and otherwise friendlier partners—a shift that came in response to Xi steering China toward a more nationalistic and assertive stance.

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“APEC in San Francisco may simply be the first step in a long and humbling climb down to reality, certainly to a status well short of global prominence, for Xi Jinping and for China.” – David Mulroney

Any thought of Chinese communists eating humble pie is wishful thinking. Like Stalin in the early 1940’s, when things go wrong for totalitarian regimes, they’ll turn on the charm and play nice in the sandbox with the West until they sense the advantage has swung back their way.

It’s all an act. Xi is playing Biden. Given them time and the bellicosity of that regime will return. The West must remain steadfast in its strategy of redirecting trade to friendly nations, while protecting themselves from Chinese interference in our internal affairs and theft of our intellectual properties.

23rd November 2023 at 8:21 am
Rob Tyrrell

Xi has gone all-in on China’s hegemony globally, and his hegemony politically at home. He took his one shot and missed. Perhaps Xi’s ultimate successor will follow a similar strategy but China’s moment seems to have passed. The demographic reality alone puts them in an increasingly bad situation. China can certainly still choose to be a peaceful, prosperous, and powerful country within the status quo. Hopefully, for the sake of the Chinese people and its amazing history and culture, they do.

23rd November 2023 at 8:31 am
Mike Fortier

The “demographic reality” is overhyped with respect to China. As we enter an age of automation China will require fewer and fewer people to manage and operate the “world’s workshop”. Plus they have already built much of the infrastructure so will continue to benefit from that. They can also outsource globally while retaining control. So as far as continuing to make everything for the world they can manage that.

Similar principle for their military – how many drone operating couch warriors will it take to sink the US 7th fleet ? Things are changing and they won’t need the same numbers of people to continue.

The only problem will be their internal consumer markets which will impact their economy overall. But that won’t impact their industrial or military might.

23rd November 2023 at 12:14 pm
Jake Birch

Couch warriors can’t invade and occupy Taiwan. The Chinese armed forces are full of the only-sons of an elder-honouring nation of aging-parents where the eldest son is required to care for his parents. Forcing Chinese parents to expend their elder-care plan on the beaches and in the hills of Taiwan is the surest path to political change in China.

24th November 2023 at 12:59 am
Rob Tyrrell

Isn’t the declining internal consumer market and their inability to support an aging population the most significant demographic impacts?

Thanks for the thoughtful reply! I use the voting to weigh in on my perceived “quality” of posts rather than my level of agreement/disagreement (hence my upvote).

23rd November 2023 at 12:22 pm

Xi is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Forgiving the transgressions of communist overlords that maintain a stranglehold over the country is not sound foreign policy. And let’s take the emotion out of the discussion.

We should never consider enhancing trade our relations with a country simply because of the their amazing history and culture. At the end of the day it’s about our needs and interests first, along with the integrity of our national assets and citizens.

I have one word back up that last point: Nortel. If that does not persuade you, then I have three more: The Two Michaels.

23rd November 2023 at 9:16 pm
Kim Morton

Until China moves from a thugocracy to a true democracy, we should avoid any buying anything from China.

23rd November 2023 at 10:40 am
Jake Birch

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” attributed by the internet to Sun Tzu

23rd November 2023 at 7:52 am
Mike Fortier

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

23rd November 2023 at 12:16 pm
Francis Ng

If you look at the way they treat the Uyghurs, the Hongkongers and the Taiwanese, you come to the conclusion that until they change to total Democracy, they will never change their way towards the West. They desperately need the West to stop their isolation policy for their economy to be restored, otherwise they won’t survive much longer. The question is, will they change to Democracy on their own? I don’t think so.

23rd November 2023 at 2:42 pm
B. Ross

The very least Canada can do is post and pass a clear Made In and origin law on all goods, so that the individual consumer can elect to buy or not buy a made in China product! After the Wuhan, wet market and COVID-19, origin controversy, and the earlier baby formula, scandals from China, I am especially suspicious of the infiltration of Chinese food, stuffs, disguised under imported by Anonymous nomenclature …That only cites a Canadian company as the distributor without acknowledging the origins. Consumers deserve a clear choice of what they purchase and consume. Where is a private member or political party that would back a clear origin and country of manufacture, disclosure act?!

23rd November 2023 at 4:59 pm
Rob Tyrrell

Hopefully, this is true and a sign that reasonably fair and low friction global trade is stabilizing factor that puts open conflict between great powers clearly against a country’s own self-interest. As long as the world has a hegemon among the potential hegemons, the United States is obviously preferable to any other emerging options post World War 2…if one likes prosperity and freedom that is. Although China did seem to be on a trajectory to surpass the United States, at least economically, it seems less likely at this point.

The economy that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, China.

23rd November 2023 at 8:04 am
Michael F

Don’t forget Rob that in the post WW2 era the US has also done some horrific things on the world stage. Just because they use a veil of freedom, democracy and supposedly free courts doesn’t mean they are not ruthless in their pursuit of being the world’s sole super power. Ask civilians in Vietnam, Chile, Iraq and Afghanistan how they feel about the US and their benevolence.

23rd November 2023 at 1:26 pm
Rob Tyrrell

Indeed, the good, the bad, and the ugly of America’s assertion of its power is well documented…in the due context of the alternatives.

23rd November 2023 at 1:59 pm
The Hub Staff

Thank you Rob for contributing to Hub Forum.

23rd November 2023 at 12:20 pm