Thursday, March 01, 2018

Emperor Xi Jinping, First of His Name?

The Chinese set the stage for granting the mandate from the Chinese rubber-stamp parliament:

The ruling Communist Party on Sunday proposed to remove a constitutional clause limiting presidential service to just two terms in office, meaning Xi, who also heads the party and the military, might never have to retire.

The proposal, which will be passed by delegates loyal to the party at next month’s annual meeting of China’s largely rubber stamp parliament, is part of a package of amendments to the country’s constitution.

While some in China are protesting, wary of looking like North Korea's third generation family dictatorship; unless Xi grooms a child to rule after him, this is just plain old fashioned communist political practice. So not quite an emperor, really.

Still, if Xi wants to be a new emperor of a revived imperial China in power and territorial expanse, he should worry more about the mandate of Heaven (which has not been withdrawn yet, admittedly) than the mandate of the compliant Chinese parliament.

NOTE: Related thoughts in a pre-publication update that include the imperial and mandate allusions.

Although I contest the idea that America is "declining." Perhaps America will experience a relative decline because Chinese power rises more, but that is different than saying American power "declines." And given that China won't rise at their high rate forever, even if China passes America by in raw power, can China hold the lead?

Although I assume the author knows this and that is just the result of word limit constraints seeking a shorthand way of saying that.

UPDATE: Okay, I do concede that depending on how you look at it, American absolute power has declined since 1990, say. The end of the Cold War naturally meant that force structure declined. It would not have made sense to continue that pace of spending when the power it was focused on evaporated.

But I'm reasonably sure that our power is higher than it was in 2000, on the eve of 9/11. And with the end of the 10-year rule, American absolute power will increase again. Whether that keeps our relative power high enough is another question.

UPDATE: Chinese intellectuals warn of the bad effects of letting Xi rule for life. And the fate of Chinese intellectuals who oppose letting Xi rule China for life is just one of those bad effects.