November 16th. Understandably focused on the grief, death and mire of Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine there has been little coverage in much of the media of yesterday’s ‘walk in the woods’ by US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (first given name Jinping). And yet, historians might look back on their stroll through the carefully coiffured gardens of a Californian estate as one of the most important moments in what President Xi rightly calls the “most important bilateral relationship in the world”. So, how did the conversation go?
Joe: Things have gotten pretty testy between us of late, Jinping. We don’t want a war any more than you do but sometimes you make it very hard. We need each other if we are going to survive politically, even you, Mr Dictator.
Jinping: Agreed, Joe, and thanks for the compliment. Why don’t you try dictatorship? Still, you also fail to understand that my position as President-for-Life is not as easy as you may think. There are a host of factions defying me within the Chinese Communist Party and all of which are more not less nationalistic than I am. If you want a war then let those morons replace me. You see, as ever you Americans cannot be bothered to learn anybody else’s history but your own much-exaggerated greatness. The world looks very different from where I sit given what those imperialistic bastards the British did to us a few years ago back in the 1840s. The Chinese people want payback and at the very least some contrition from you arrogant, ever weaker and not to mention very ugly Westerners. A bit of kow-towing would not go amiss either.
Joe: Look, Jinping, we are not the British. In fact, not even the British are any longer the British, just an irrelevant and utterly chaotic little island off Europe led by a bunch of inbred aristocratic buttheads. In other words, get over it! The real problem is you Chinese and the enormous historical chip on your shoulders. Sure, we’ll show you respect, but we will never kowtow before you because we know the price we would pay. We also know you are facing your own self-inflicted economic time-bomb caused by your imploding property bubble. Your aggressive regional policies and restrictive corporate policies have also seen many Western companies flee China just at the moment you need them. So, knock yourself out.
Jinping: You over-state our problems, Joe. Our economy is sound, tremendously resilient and has great potential. My problem is not economic at all but political. In the wake of a little local difficulty in 1989…
Joe: You mean the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre…
Jinping: …our little local difficulty in 1989, Joe, we promised the Chinese people the Party would improve their living standards year on year so long as they NEVER contested our authority. Sadly, COVID and some other minor difficulties mean that we can no longer offer that deal and the people are getting a little uppity.
Joe: So, what do you plan to do about it?
Jinping: Well, that’s what I am here to tell you about so we can avoid any further unnecessary friction. First, do a deal with you to dial down your anti-Chinese rhetoric so that you Westerners calm down as we go back to what you call ‘globalisation’, but what we call ‘China-isation” and return to making us rich and powerful by buying what we make. Second, do what we must do to steal from you what you want and then simply sell it back to you more cheaply. Third, use the money to continue investing in the People’s Liberation Army to shore up the position of the Party domestically and project our, erm, peaceful influence internationally. Fourth, mire your in any case useless European allies in debt thus weakening the Western Alliance. We will even give them some money so that they can pretend to share the burdens of NATO. Fifth, and above all, reunite the breakaway province of Taiwan with the Chinese fatherland which you must understand is “unstoppable”. None of what I have said is in the least anti-American. In fact, if you let us do what we need to do in our sphere of influence, we will let you do what you need to do in your own. No names, no pack drill. What possible problem could you have with that? You get rich, we get rich, and the rest simply don’t matter.
Joe: Well, hold on there a moment, Jinping. We may have a few minor concerns. Is it really in the American interest to make you so strong that in time you force us out of East Asia? The fool you support in Russia has already revealed to us your global dominance strategy by trashing international law by invading Ukraine with his two-bit military. Even though most Americans don’t give a damn, just a few of us do! We also know that your whole PLA gig is to make our already complicated lives in DC even more complicated by stretching US forces globally so that when you do decide to act against Taiwan you will ensure we are busy in places like Ukraine and the Middle East. The kind of investments you are making in the PLA, your so-called String of Pearls, not to mention your support for Pyongyang are very clearly designed to force us out of the Indo-Pacific and subjugate our fellow democracies in the region.
Then there is Taiwan. Good luck with that. Your military men might have noticed that the shortest distance between mainland China and Taiwan is just about the same as the shortest distance between England and Normandy. When we and the Brits did D-Day we had already practiced such operations several times elsewhere, we were already the world’s leading maritime-amphibious powers, and we enjoyed complete air superiority. What you really want is for us Americans to turn a blind eye whilst you use whatever means necessary to subjugate the Taiwanese, as you did in Hong Kong, and as you are doing against the Uighur people.
By the way, it’s your wife’s birthday next Monday. My intelligence people tell me you have forgotten.
Jinping: Joe, it’s none of your bloody business. You accept that Taiwan is legally part of the People’s Republic of China. In other words, you accept our sovereignty over Taiwan and all you are doing is quibbling over how we do it. Do you really want to go to war over a small island faraway about which you know nothing? Your Allies? They cannot even defeat my useful idiot in Moscow. So, I think not.
The bottom-line is this, Joe: I have come all this way for a four hour meeting as a courtesy to tell you we ARE going to bring Taiwan back into the Chinese family. We would prefer you accepted that reality and we both got back to mutually enriching ourselves. If you do not, then we have a REAL problem and much sooner than you think because I must do this. You Americans really must wake up and smell your own appalling coffee… you really are not the power you used to be. We, on the other hand…
In any case, there is always President Trump for us to deal with when we have arranged his re-election…
Photo Credit: INSTAGRAM/whitehouse