The Age of Chinese Dragon

The world appears to be either prematurely aging or completely insane. After a long period of cold peace from the end of World War II until the 1970s, Richard Nixon, then US President, visited China on the advice of Henry Kissinger, who served as his Secretary of State and National Security Adviser. The visit ushered in an era of conciliation and military relaxation beginning in the early 1970s in response to China's political favor for America, and the Chinese assistance in escaping the quagmire of Vietnam, which drained America and exposed real American values.

Given that countries do not pay blank checks and are not satisfied with empty compliments, China has mandated the acquisition of Western technology as well as massive investments. The West, on the other hand, paid a high price to isolate China from the Soviet Union, so that when Russia collapsed in the late 1980s, the American era and theories of the end of history began, and China began its modern renaissance, and because China was the owner of an ancient civilization, it took advantage of these opportunities to become America's first competitor.

Empires, like people, age and undergo stages of development from construction and prosperity, to degeneration, fall, and extinction. Civilizations do not last, and their decay is accelerated whenever their construction is fragile. They are replaced by other civilizations and new empires.

I do not believe that America is immune to this, but it differs from the other empires in that it rose quickly, so it will fall quickly, especially with the rise of the Chinese dragon, which began economically and will finish as a civilized nation, even by recalling and borrowing from the ancient past.

The Chinese civilization is the second oldest civilization after the Egyptian. It maintained its purity through voluntary isolation behind the Great Wall of China, which has made the Chinese a homogeneous people and made China geographically a crucible that melts all its components and elements into a harmonic system unique to this people. Despite their isolation, they provided the world with the longest trade route, the Silk Road. China had kept the secret of silk manufacture for over two thousand years, so that even its poor were able to wear silk clothes because they monopolized this industry, which they later exported to the world with banknotes and the customs system.

This road was travelled by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Timur, Marco Polo, the Messengers of Caliph Othman Ibn Affan, and the Arab traveler Muhammad ibn Abd al-Lah ibn Ibrahim, also known as Ibn Battuta, through whom the Chinese civilization gave much to the world while taking little from it. Nonetheless, China was able to recover from its setback, and its economy overtook Japan to become the world's second largest after the United States.

Two factors influence China's rise and the removal of Uncle Sam from the world leadership. The first concerns America, while the second concerns China.

As for America, the American age is declining with the end of the American dream, which turned out to be a mirage. It is the fastest empire to decay compared to the Roman Empire, which took nearly four centuries to fade away. The current American situation comes in line with theories of the Roman decline, which were explained by scholar Oswald Spengler as a life cycle of weakness to peak and then aging. In addition, Arnold J. Toynbee's theories stated that the empire's lack of real challenges makes it relax and rest, then deteriorate before it vanishes. However, there remains the theory of Ibn Khladun, the outstanding Muslim sociologist who predated all of these scholars, stating that the extinction of any nation’s power is the result of that nation's heinous and blasphemous indignities. That is, the empire's lack of moral values and lofty principles, which America lost a long time ago. The dollar has become their sacred god, and the best man is the fastest one to pull his gun, and the most famous woman is the fastest to take off her clothes. In other words, power has become their end goal, and the spiritual emptiness that comes with it hastens the aging of American civilization, the impact of which on the world has not exceeded consumer values and credit card worship.

For China, it is the ancient beliefs deeply rooted in the conscience of the Chinese people who do not believe in culture for the sake of culture, but rather to achieve wisdom, that will help them occupy first place in the world. Otherwise, culture will devolve into gossip, as mentioned in the semi-sacred Taoist hymns written 2,500 years ago by Laozi, the Chinese sage who was concerned with daily life and said that knowing others is wisdom, knowing oneself is boldness, leading others requires strength, and leading one’s soul requires power, and that what shrinks must expand and before taking you must give. That is why China willingly gave the world the secret of silk industry.

It is no surprise that China shone after the Mao Zedong revolution, which liberated the country from ignorance, disease, and poverty. It is enough to know that the British opium war against China resulted in addiction, poverty, and the spread of prostitution in major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing until 1949. That was when the Communist Red Army entered Beijing and declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China, sweeping away the dust of backwardness from the ancient Chinese jewels.

It is not surprising that China jumped to second place in the world economy after adopting the “one country, two systems,” one totalitarian and the other capitalist. This is what saved China from collapse similar to that of the Soviet Union, thanks to the presence of a strong communist party that applies state capitalism.

What China lacks is the spread of its language around the world, as Britain and America did with English. It doesn’t have soft power like Hollywood, and has failed in creating and promoting the Chinese dream as America did earlier, in addition to its poor record of freedoms and human rights, and a lack of social openness to the rest of the world.

The Ukraine war may be the straw that breaks the American camel's back, just as the 1956 Suez battles did for the British lion. Given China’s military resources, it is expected that China will become the world's biggest power by 2030-2050, with Ukraine serving as China's gateway to the Chinese Dragon Age.