To allow students to block the city center and impede traffic shows weakness. Hong Kong’s reputation as a financial center and tourist attraction will suffer. And Beijing cannot permit this to go on too long without risking supportive protests erupting on the mainland. Nor can the students be allowed to force Hong Kong to give up Beijing’s veto of candidates. To capitulate would expose President Xi Jinping as a leader who can be broken by street action. To permit that perception would imperil Xi’s standing with Beijing’s hard-liners, and potentially the regime itself.
I think there is a lesson here for the Beijing government if are only wise enough to realize it: Taiwan is a great threat to the Beijing government's stability of the mainland conquers Taiwan. Why? Huge democracy protests will only happen in Taiwan if Taiwan is ruled from Beijing. As long a the mainland government doesn't take on responsibility for controlling who can be elected in Taiwan the mainland government don't have to worry about defiance from Taiwan.
The sad thing is that Hong Kong would be ruled quite well by a local democracy. It would be less corrupt than other cities in China and would be quite civilized.
Hong Kong's problem and Taiwan's problem is that mainland China is a rising power with demands for submission. China's rise is upsetting a balance of power that allowed a status quo of US naval domination to be maintained for decades.
In an essay about the problems with political secession Daniel McCarthy argues that many little states are able to exist under the protection of much larger states. But the US domination is fading.
The world is relatively peaceful today not because peace among states is natural but because the power differential between the top and almost everyone else is so great as to dissuade competition. Indeed, the world order is so top-heavy that the U.S. can engage in wars of choice, which have proved disastrous for almost everyone. A world consisting of more states more evenly matched, however, would almost certainly not be more peaceful. Libertarians and antistatist conservatives, of all people, should appreciate that all states are aggressive and seek to expand, if they can—the more of them, the more they fight, until big ones crush the smaller.
How are world alliances going to restructure in the next 50 years? Who will lose in these restructurings? I'm struck by the big demographic changes in the West. Not only are Western states fading they are also becoming less Western. So a Western alliance will become harder to put together and interests will diverge. This suggests an even faster decline in Western influence.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2014 October 03 07:57 PM|