China in 2010 is Germany in 1910?

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Kaiser Wilhelm’s court allegedly made up its mind after the Social Democrats (then Marxists) won a Reichstag majority in 1912, seeing war as a way to contain radical dissent.

This assessment was tragically correct. War split the Social Democrats irrevocably, allowing the Nazis to exploit a divided Left under Weimar.

Problem #1:  The Chinese Politburo doesn’t have to worry about dissent.

The Fischer version of events is a little too reassuring, and not just because the Entente allies had already fed Germany’s self-fulfilling fears of encirclement and emboldened Tsarist Russia to push its luck in the Balkans. A deeper cause was at work.

“The only condition which could lead to improvement of German-English relations would be if we bridled our economic development, and this is not possible,” said Deutsche Bank chief Karl Helfferich as early as 1897. German steel output jumped tenfold from 1880 to 1900, leaping past British production. Sound familiar?

Problem #2:  Days it takes to start a small business in the United States?  Four.  Days it takes to start a small business in China?  Forty five.  Not to mention that China is preciously thin on other vital resources

Is China now where Germany was in 1900? Possibly. There are certainly hints of menace from some quarters in Beijing. Defence minister Liang Guanglie said over New Year that China’s armed forces are “pushing forward preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction”.

Problem #3:  China’s ability to project force is a fraction of the United States.  China’s GDP is on par with Japan, Britain, France, and Germany.  Furthermore, the Chinese are surrounded by governments wary of the direction of the PRC — South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, India, and despite all outward appearances to the contrary, Russia.

Professor Huang Jing from Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew School and a former adviser to China’s Army, said Beijing is losing its grip on the colonels.

“The young officers are taking control of strategy and it is like young officers in Japan in the 1930s. This is very dangerous. They are on a collision course with a US-dominated system,” he said.

There’s a reason why China is pursuing stability above all other factors.  They know, as we know, that they will inevitably lose any future conflict.  Soft power by opening up the world’s largest consumer market is the key to any future prosperity.

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