We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Balck's point was that as generations become lazy, the likelihood of war increases because rather than being willing to sacrifice for the next generation, they focus on themselves...and ultimately the sacrifice becomes of the entire being.
Seems likely that it's not a guarantee. I think younger generations are 'proving' his point here in the US. Though I hope not to his ultimate end.
This is why I worry so much about China. It's not about China's strength, it's about America's weakness.
Tech is not going to save us if our people are weak. We seem to think our machines will save us and we have to make no personal sacrifices. And we will spend months arguing and complaining about whether we have to do anything.
China has 1.4 billion people; if they are told by their government "go," they are conditioned to go. And they can pretty much turn on a dime. The government tells them to do something, they'll be doing it tomorrow.
All true, but China has a blessing AND a series of curses.
First the blessing - about a billion people who are still desperately poor. Willing to do anything for the nation, more importantly themselves, to get 'out and do something' other than what they are currently doing - basically subsistence or subservient farming. Easy soldiers can be formed among the dispossessed.
1. China is not one nation. It's a series of nations. Not all like each other equally. Whereas US citizens my have a slight racial divide, regional differences, educational gaps or political chasms - we are all US citizens when the crap hits the fan. Anyone here in NYC on 9/11 or the last big blackout recognizes what happens to Americans when we're faced with adversity - we come together. China has not been tested in this regard, and my guess is they still have issues.
2. China has major differences in 'care'. Much like the US, large swathes of the Chinese have seen rapidly expanding opportunity and material gain - mostly along the coast (China's great history and gains are along the coast. It's internal history is one of being overrun and fractured by Mongols and other nations). The coastal Chinese are closer to the US than central China. They don't want problems, they want more say in government, they want to grow their businesses and they have no love for the CPC - the true sovereign of China.
3. Wealth differentials. While poor farmers may make a great horde of military personnel, they DO NOT LIKE the wealthy coastal folks who will make up the 'leadership' of any military. Defections would be somewhat common. A good (fiction) book about the nature of this differential is "A Map of Deception". The people love their cultural heritage, but have no love for the CPC or the vast sums of wealth the CPC has created for the select few.
4. Ever see a Chinese kid studying in the US? I have, my son had 1 roommate in college, and many others in his classes. Think our kids are lazy? Think again. Heavy smokers, game players, looking for the easy way out while the family pays a fortune for their 'education' as they wine and dine and drive around (and wreck) expensive cars, knowing they have a job in the family business upon the return home.
I worry about China in only one respect - that we often overestimate our power (as Trump is doing right now). It's true that 2 of our carrier strike forces could hold the Chinese military at bay - in THEORY. Long enough to get other set pieces in place to overwhelm them.
But the Chinese are better than us at 2 things right now - computers and data, and low-end engagement. The first will be important for reducing our technological advantage, the second will be important because...well...Vietnam. Tech advantages only go so far.
The reality is we're better off finding ways of working with them than against them. I do support imposing regulations against China to force the CPC to back down, implement agreements they've backed out on, and stop forcing US firms to share technology in order to work in China. It would be good to have them enforce patent and copyright laws, too.
But tariffs? We're asking US citizens to pay more for Chinese goods that are imported, and more for non-Chinese goods, in an attempt to not buy Chinese goods? That is nonsensical, from an economics standpoint. Impose other regulations to make it harder to actually import. You can use laws (about purity, sources, etc), rather than tariffs, to generate the same outcome without as much economic impact.
China is going to overtake us at some point. That's almost inevitable. But they are nowhere near doing so today. Most of their "growth" is malinvestment, waste, and outright fraudulent bookkeeping.
The biggest advantage the US has is in its "Innovation" mindset, which arises from an acceptance of failure and the encouragement to RECOVER FROM FAILURE QUICKLY AND EVER MORE SUCCESSFULLY!
In China, those whose attempted "innovations" fail, lose face, are lambasted or lampooned, then sent either to re-education camps or EXECUTED! This is a longstanding Chinese cultural straight jacket and a rather stiff "tariff" on innovation!
That's why stifling the theft of intellectual property is key to the TRUMP's tariff demands upon China. The Chinese can only innovate by theft!