Nan discusses the rapidly shifting perception in the US that China is the U.S.’s Greatest Enemy. Billy describes Gorden Chang’s career and expertise.

Amy continues her story from last week, reminding the audience about her re-education camp friend nicknamed “The Missile” who had suggested a group suicide in protest.  Amy told him it won’t change anything, but will hurt all their families. 

Amy recalls her ordeal with the Red Guard and remembers having suicidal thoughts. She remembers applying for an opportunity to go to Xinjiang.  She was rejected. She remembers frequent suicides in her community at that time. She recalls he father being concerned about her well being. He told her that since she liked to read, she should read a book on Chinese history.  She recalls reading a book starting from 700bc and continuing to the last dynasty. Amy recalls being fascinated by the book.  Her father asked her what she thought about their current circumstance. It had given her a great deal of perspective on their current situation. She went on to read books of various philosophers. She realized that some people thought bad things can lead to good things.

Amy recalled this experience to “The Missile”.  He insisted that he likes science, not philosophy. Amy convinced him that there was philosophy in science.  The next morning he went back to his dam building project feeling much better. 

The Missile had also told Amy that, since his grandfather was a land owner, he was forced to denounce his father and forced to beat his father.  It was the worst thing that ever happened to him.  His father hung himself two days later.  The Missile could not forgive himself. 

Three months after their rejection from college, with the help of a compassionate official, Amy went to a school. About 6 months later, The Missile was also excepted to a University. He later left University and founded a company. The story will be continued next week.

Billy introduces Gordon Chang, author of the book “The Coming Collapse of China”.  Nan mentions the current negotiation in Alaska and asks Gordon what he things will happen.  Gordon suggests that there will likely not be any negotiation progress. They will just be exchanging points of view.  Nan mentions Chinese demands to remove various restrictions on Chinese business.  Gordon thinks the conversation will be broader in scope at this point.

Billy asks if China is emboldened with the current geopolitical situation enough to not care what the rest of the world things. Gordon suggests that they are very confident perhaps even arrogant.  Billy asks if the current administration will continue the hard line of the past.  Gordon mentions the continuation of the determination that the situation in Xinjiang is genocide.

Amy mentions having read Gordon’s impressive books.  She asks if the Biden administration will reset relations.  Gordon suggests the Biden admin is in a “top to bottom” review of China policy.

Nan asks, if the Chinese are not living up to their WTO commitments, why are we negotiating.  Gordon mentions that, even if it is futile, our allies want to see an honest attempt to come to terms with China.  Gordon things we are in a “zero sum game” that will continue until one of the two countries fails.

Nan asks about Gordon’s recent article regarding China’s difficulties providing enough food for their population and asks what effect this will have.  Gordon suggests that the expense of procuring food will limit China’s power.  He suggests that China will be less and less self sufficient over time.

Amy recalls being sent near the border of Burma during the Cultural Revolution, where she heard from her acquaintances that there were villages where farmers stopped farming. Amy describes the decline in farming as being very important.  Gordon recalls that 30-60million people died from starvation during the Cultural Revolution.  Gordon suggests that 2020 was a disaster for China with regards to self sufficiency.

Billy asks if China will become more aggressive in order to feed themselves. Gordon suggests that is very possible, looking to history for examples of aggressive moves in the past to acquire farmland.

Nan asks how far China can keep going with the Belt and Road project.  Gordon suggests the project was never well conceived, building infrastructure that is of no interest to the private sector.  He says their economy will not provide enough resources to achieve their ambitions. He also points out that, for a variety of reasons, they will have to achieve any goals sooner than later. “The see a closing window of opportunity.”

Amy asks if China can replace the US dollar.  Gordon says it would be very difficult because, to be a reserve currency, a currency has to be completely convertible. Chinese currency is convertible on the Current Account but it is not convertible on the Capitol Account.

Billy asks about China’s relationship with North Korea. Gordon says that recently China has been more openly violating US sanctions, because supporting North Korea creates leverage and ties up US resources.  Gordon thinks Taiwan will not be annexed in the next 6 year.  Gordon does not believe China has been helpful with North Korea.  Amy mentions Taiwanese friends who think reunification would be good for Taiwan, possibly because of their investments. Gordon suggests that most Taiwanese do not identify themselves as Chinese.  He mentions the overwhelming election of Tsai Ing-wen in a response to the clamp down in Hong Kong.

(break)

Nan suggests that the most important part of the conversation with Gordon Chang was his statement that the US and China are in a Zero Sum Game.   Nan mentions the many challenges facing the US.  The team points out the stupidity of escalating tensions with Russia when China is a far greater threat.  Amy points out that, even though millions died in the Great Leap Forward from starvation, there was still no revolution.

Fred suggests that our biggest enemy is not China militarily, because they are doing a great job of giving us the rope to hang ourselves. He points out the lack of protest of US interventions in Iraq and Syria, compared to the Vietnam war.

Michael Olsen disputes Billy’s assertion that “if” China declared war on the US, we would coalesce. He suggests that China has already declared war on the US, it has just been an unconventional war. 

Nick reminds us all that living in peace is the final goal.

Ed in Los Gatos talks about the difference between kinetic and non-kinetic warfare.  Sighting Sun Tsu, he says, “Once you turn the public against their leaders, you have captured the initiative.”

Homeless Jo points out that China is a huge country and asks why they can’t cultivate their own food.  Amy suggests that their strategy has been to develop exports first. Nan says their main goal has been to push urbanization and GDP growth.  Billy points out that the US has a lot of farmers.

Jo from Delaware (spoofing Jo Biden’s voice) China is not our adversary it is our benefactor.

Phill from Monterey mentions alternative food production technology.

Gary Arnold suggests that communism doesn’t work anywhere and suggests that Universities in the US are broadcasting communist ideas.

John in Capitola is concerned that there is no mention of the threat of Russia.

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