Whenever I watch the movie “Mary Poppins” with my kids, the confident trot of Mr. Banks in the turn of the (last) century United Kingdom (U.K) crooning about the mighty British pound before leaving for work from his home under the soot covered skies of the tree lined Cherry Lane seems to be portending the future of the United States which had displaced the U.K. by mid-twentieth century as a global power of consequence for the rest of the century, making it the American Century.
The panic of 2007 caused by the tuppins of funny money on Wall Street by bankers behaving like children scaring away both investors and depositors may have indeed sown the seeds of the change this century can expect as the world is conferring over reducing the black soot out of the chimneys still, one hundred years later. The fired Mr. Banks over the antics of his children in his stiff lipped bank learns the simple pleasures of wisdom at the end of the story before getting his job back. We must all hope that so could it be with the United States as Americans get their jobs back as the economy recovers, again, hopefully sooner than later.
“What if it does not?” it appears some pollsters are asking. The New York Times says China is creeping in, culturally, and The Washington Post says Americans are thinking that this could be a Chinese Century, but optimistic that the China anxiety could go away similar to that of the Japanese anxiety in the ‘80s.
Pollsters are trained to cleverly manipulate public opinion to shape popular psychology through the popular media: “don’t worry about China they are implying, the bubble will fade out and America will be on top again.” The Trumanesque foreign policy establishment in Foggy Bottom along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) run by the U.S Treasury is also spinning its wheels hoping they can do to China what the United States had done to Japan after Pearl Harbor in 1941: to break the will of the Chinese dragon toward the West. That the prince will slay Maleficent before everybody can live happily ever after. The Japanese empire had learned its lesson the hard way after being nuked into submission. The Asian tigers had met with a similar fate after being destroyed by the financial weapons of mass destruction in the late ‘90s. But the United States and Europe may not be so lucky with China nor should they be.
The tiny island empire of Japan was annihilated by Enola Gay in August 1945 by a Churchillian show of force, aided quietly by the United States as its chief executor in the Pacific. Japan, since then, had constitutionally turned pacific without ever being recognized for its peace nor was Gandhi in 1947 for ending Churchill’s imperial ambitions which had set the sun on the British Empire with the antithesis of the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Japan, a contrast that is as stark as night and day or Satan and God, even as the United States, Europe and the Soviet Empire piled up nuclear weapons gathering peace prizes for talking about world peace, the Hobbesian way. Now, the United States and the U.K are once again talking about financial weapons of mass destruction in a similar vein after bringing down the planet to its knees. The peace that has been concocted under the nigritude of the London skies since the Industrial Revolution is to learn to be civil in the progression from weapons of mass destruction to financial weapons of mass destruction. Civilization is yet to come to the West.
In the war between island empires, with the zero longitude passing through a place where the sun sets in the old world, the land where the sun rises was physically shocked into submission, just as the Jews in Germany were cooked and gassed into surrendering, for civilization to begin anew under the aegis of Anglo-Americana. This riff-raff of modern civilization is now struggling and desperate to retain power, silently scheming to do something similar to China.
The sleeping giant that was awakened by Nixon is no island empire and the United States must not nurture any delusions about China’s capitulation to the West. The 21st century will either be a global century or a deeply troubled century. And this is a choice the world must make now before that choice becomes the Hobson ’s choice of the latter.