George Yeo, one of the most consummate statesmen in Asia (Singapore Cabinet member for 21 years!) is always a mandatory listen.

Here he explains the worrying dynamic between the US and China. He has by far the best understanding I've come across.

Here is what he says 🧵
To him "China knows that time is on its side. It should not fight now if it can fight later and it will not be necessary to fight later because by that time it will be strong enough to prevent a war from happening"

But the issue is that "when the US makes moves against China,...
...China cannot show weakness because if it shows weakness then the Americans will do more against China. So it has to be firm, but it should not escalate.

If the US wants to push China into a win-lose position, China will say 'I prefer win-win but let it be lose-lose and...
... let's stay lose-lose until you, in your wisdom, come to the conclusion that we are both better off being in the win-win quadrant.'"
Yeo sees US politicians as universally confrontational on China, with many wanting a war. He sees 3 strands:
1) those "who want to provoke China into war, if possible, because they think that if war with China is inevitable then it's better to have it earlier rather than later"
2) those "who feel that China should be moved down a peg or two because it's getting too arrogant"
3) and then "there are others who feel that 'if we do nothing they're going to overtake us and we can't allow that to happen'"
When the host asks him what's the end game of a war with a nuclear power, Yeo replies: "Before we reach Armageddon, there is such a thing called 'proxy war'".

Meaning of course that the goal is to use Taiwan (and most importantly the people there) as a proxy to fight China.
Yeo says a key reason why the US wants to fight China is because of projection, they assume China will behave like the West:

"Many Americans think that when China becomes strong it will behave like an imperial power, the way the Western powers and Japan behave when they are...
...powerful. That they will start taking over other people's territory, [etc.] I think the Chinese know that there is no profit in this."

He's been very consistent in saying that China knows "there is no profit in interfering in other people's affairs" 🔽
Lastly, he also talked about Hong Kong, a city where he used to live.

He says "I was frankly quite disgusted at the way the Western media were lionizing the violence. It was sickening. I was relieved when the National Security Law (NSL) was introduced."
To him the NSL, which outlaws separatism, "is entirely reasonable because all countries have that".

In the long run, he believes it's better for Hong Kong because it "ensures that beyond 2047 there'll still be One Country Two Systems, it's likely to continue indefinitely".
Obviously what he says will come as shocking to those who form their understanding of the world via Western media.

But it's how many - if not most - people in Asia view things. The shocking thing is that these views - right or wrong - never transpire in the Western media bubble.
This is a link to the full interview, by the way

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More from @RnaudBertrand

Oct 24
A puzzling observation in today's world is that almost no Western leader has laid out a positive vision for the future.

Take Biden for instance. His big vision is "democracies vs autocracies". Meaning his vision for the future of the world is conflict. How positive is that?
Contrast this with China: between "national rejuvenation" and "common prosperity" at home and the "global security initiative" as their vision for improved international relations; everyone is very clear on the journey they're embarked on.
This is a key, if not the key reason why the "West" has no chance in hell to convince the "rest" to join them.

There's simply nothing to join! Except conflict, I guess, but you join a conflict to fight for a vision - for a better world - the conflict itself cannot be the vision!
Read 10 tweets
Oct 23
Probably not what they expected 🤭

At the Athens Democracy Forum a researcher at the University of Zurich was asked to comment on democracy in China and her response was that actually... China is actually kind of democratic!
Perfect occasion to re-link to this old thread of mine 🔽

Many people do not know that the country in the world where people most perceive themselves as living in a democracy is... China!
Also here is the Harvard Kennedy School study she refers to in her talk.

Conducted over 13 years by Harvard researchers on the ground in China, it found that over 93% of Chinese people are satisfied with their government! ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
Oct 23
Extraordinary intervention by Jeffrey Sachs at the Athens Democracy Forum!

Here are a few extracts 🧵

Here he argues that what matters is a country's unique governance culture: classifying countries in political systems ("liberal democracy or not") is oversimplifying.
He doesn't hold back when describing the US governance culture: "A semi-democratic white-dominated hierarchical racist society that aims to preserve privilege by the elites [and founded as] a slave-owning genocidal country". Ouch!
That's why he argues that "the biggest mistake of president Biden was to say 'the greatest struggle of the world is between democracies and autocracies'."

He adds: "The real struggle of the world is to live together and overcome our common crises" under thunderous applause.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 23
This statement by Singapore's gvt on Richard Branson's criticism of their drug policies is an instant classic:…

"[The British who] prosecuted 2 wars in China to force the Chinese to accept opium imports [have no] moral right to lecture Asians on drugs"
It goes on: "Nothing we have seen in the UK or in the West persuades us that adopting a permissive attitude towards drugs [...] will increase human happiness. Where drug addiction is concerned, things have steadily worsened in the UK, while [they] have steadily improved in SG"
They invite Branson for a live televised debate so he "may use this platform to demonstrate to Singaporeans the error of our ways and why Singapore should do away with laws that have kept our population safe from the global scourge of drug abuse" 🤭
Read 6 tweets
Oct 22
The truth is that not a single person speculating on why Hu was led out has a single clue why. Period.

Could just as well be a health emergency to do with his wife for instance.

Automatically suspecting malice for anything happening in China is, as often, the real scandal here.
This is, by the way, what those who really know about Chinese elite politics, like Alfred Wu, believe 🔽
Exactly 🔽 Hu himself obviously has major health issues, he needs an aide wherever he goes
Read 6 tweets
Oct 21
China developped a new "electromagnetic sledge" train that goes up to 1030km/h (640mph).

Besides ultra-fast ground transport, they say a key applications is aerospace. Yet another sign that they are going for O'Neill's "high frontier" vision.

A small 🧵…
This ⬇️ is why.

The O'Neill vision is about massive (Mios of people) space stations. Since it'd be WAY too costly to build those habitats with stuff from earth, O'Neill proposes to shoot Moon material into space with... **electromagnetic sledges**!
Here is a thread I made a little while back on the book O'Neill, a professor of physics at Princeton University, wrote on his vision.

Rather ironical that it's China who's going for his vision and not the US but great ideas are universal!
Read 4 tweets

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