Powers and Peoples
Our adversaries know that hard facts limit their actions. This lesson must be learned by our leaders.
The U.N. declared earlier in the month that it’s global population projection predicts India would overtake China next year as the most populous nation on Earth. India’s population is 1. 41 billion now, which is projected to increase to 1.6 by the midcentury mark. China currently has 1. 43 billion people, and its population is contracting.
I use the term “officially” to indicate significance. Chinese records keeping is improbably and suspiciously precise, dating back to thousands of years. The Chinese Communist Party can’t help but downplay the disastrous one-child-preferential boy-preferential policy. For a while now, I believe there has been more Indians in China than Chinese. University of Wisconsin scientist Yi Fuxian also believes Chinese population numbers are inflated, and recently claimed this has been confirmed by leaked population data from China that suggests the population has been contracting since 2018.
These are still huge numbers for any state to manage. This is, in other words, too many mouths to feed. History and the Arab Spring have shown that a hungry population will not be controlled (though they can be crushed). Both China and India will have a lot of work ahead, even though China’s caloric requirements are decreasing each year. These are hard realities that the American leadership has to face. It is not uncommon for our supposedly brightest to forget history, which can include anything other than ethnic grievances or the march towards progress. They have shown that they are unable to learn from their mistakes over the last 20 years.
No. Instead, the American foreign-policy establishment treats statecraft as a series opportunist soapboxes. They treat moralizing speeches about democracy, freedom, and the struggle for liberal hegemony’s fist, which is now fat and arthritic. Samantha Power’s career has been a civil war about nominative determinaism. She seems to embody this tendency more than others. In her ruthless idealism, as James W. Carden wrote for TAC last year, Power recalls no one so much as Graham Greene’s Alden Pyle in The Quiet American. As administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power is working tirelessly to ensure that the Ukraine conflict does not go unanswered.
In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in D.C., Power scolded China “for hoarding fertilizer and grain while millions of people in East Africa face starvation,” as the New York Times reported Monday. She stated that countries who have not fought in this conflict must now face the global food crisis. Artfully vague about the mechanics of the situation, the Times explained that “shortages started with a devastating drought and spiraled after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.” Times diplomatic correspondent (read: stenographer for and member of the same coterie as Power) Lara Jakes continued:
Beyond the battlefield devastation that is expected to continue for months, if not years, the war has severely interrupted wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine and fertilizer supplies around Eastern Europe, roiling global food markets and raising fears of a new African famine.
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This is a promise. The President of the United States, Biden, and other Atlanticist officials made it clear that they would fight to the death every Ukrainian. With increasing international support, Ukraine cannot continue this war for more than a few months. The West may be in recession, and Africa could face famine if the West is not careful with its sanctions. But Samantha Power and the Europeans are here to help. She said that Putin is “waging war against the poor world by raising food, fuel, and fertilizer prices while taking Ukrainian grain from the market.” This was like a virus capable of shutting down businesses and masking toddlers. Now maybe China is also responsible.
The Chinese are in an environment where more than one billion people must be fed. It is absurd to assume that they will join the West in its war against Russia, or that they will be content to cooperate with American-led internationalism. But that basic reality, while shrinking, remains. The Chinese Communist Party is not something I admire, and neither are their inartful methods. However, I fear American communists like Samantha Power, who are wide-eyed, ideologues who use charity as a stick. They have a far greater hatred of the Han. China and the United States have a strong rivalry. It is about shipping and navies, as well as manufacturing, trade and commerce. China’s leaders are ideologically driven, yes, but they also have to deal with the realities of energy and population.
No moment in the Biden administration suggests that Power’s classes have any understanding of these realities. They see a world that is higher than theirs. Is this the kind of heaven that all this moral crusading is supposed to create on Earth? Recent Ukrainian propaganda offers a disturbing hint. Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister, thinks the way to buttress English-language support for the Ukrainian cause is to promise the most digital country on earth by 2030. This is an image from another Ireland. A nation that has worked hard to be a global corporation. The “high-tech sector,” the video tells us, will represent 70 percent of national GDP in the onetime breadbasket of Europe. Ukraine will become cashless and paperless. It will have “e-residency”, and “courts using AI.” Many other buzzwords will also be used. This is just a false promise for a fake future.