Friday, June 04, 2004

Recently, I've spoken to a number of people who've expressed excitement, even glee, at the prospect of the US being challenged, and eventually humbled, by China. At last, an end to US hegemony! Of course, there is a juvenile part of me that understands this. There is, after all, something appealing about the hyperpower's arrogance being dented. But, let's be honest, would we really want to live under Chinese hegemony? I quote from a recent Human Rights Watch report:

Fifteen years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese authorities are harassing activists to discourage them from publicly discussing the events of June 4, 1989, Human Rights Watch said today.

In the days leading up to the anniversary, Chinese security forces have warned,harassed, and intrusively monitored dissidents, writers, academics, and long-time pro-democracy activists. Over the past week, police have ordered some of its critics to leave Beijing. At least one critic was beaten when he tried to leave his home.

One solution, of course, might be to die not long after US hegemony crumbles, thereby having the satisfaction of that experience while not having to deal with the consequences of Chinese dominance. On balance, though, and more seriously, I think we should concede that, however much we might be out of sympathy with the current US govenrment, we're far better off living in a world dominated by them than the Chinese. Hell, at least Bush can be voted out of power.


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