I can't make any sense of that, it seems wrong at so many levels...
He's likely to issue some kind of executive order forcing bytedance to divest tiktok to continue operations. We may see some DoJ or FCC enforcement action that's effectively a "ban" (for users) while only being legally a temporary disruption of service pending compliance (for lawmakers, judges, enforcement agencies, etc to be okay with it). As we have learned over the last 4 years, the president has near absolute control over all federal actions.
I think the safe bet is a bunch of saber rattling that ends with some US entity buying tiktok.
However if the CIA has some evidence that the Chinese are gathering up information and feeding it straight to their cybertroll farms then he absolutely can shut it all down and arrest some people because then they are breaking the law and that falls under Federal police power.
Maybe this period in history is a hint to stop electing legislators that are happier letting someone else do all the hard work of deciding what the government should do.
It depends upon what you mean by "can't."
If you mean legal authority to block a specific app, no.
If you mean use his authority to influence & effectively make it happen, he can.
In other words, it is very much a threat with teeth. It would just be a roundabout path for implementation.
This is the #1 mistake people have made over and over with Trump. “He can’t...”, “He won’t...”, “He wouldn’t...”, “He’ll never...”.
He doesn’t play by any rules. You have to assume anything and everything is on the table. If he really wants to ban TikTok he’ll either get it done or scorch the earth trying.
Do you really think once someone says, “Mr. Trump there’s no mechanism for you to legally ban TikTok” he’ll be like, “Oh yeah my bad, I better get back to work on helping America through this pandemic.”
He knows he can say whatever he wants and strongarm whoever he wants. That is his literal playbook!
History suggests otherwise - more often than not he neither gets it done nor scorches the earth trying:
■ Trump wanted to change the date of the election, or suspend it entirely.
■ Trump wanted to send the military in to quell domestic riots.
■ Trump wanted to force states to reopen on his timetable.
■ Trump wanted to force American companies to manufacture domestically.
■ Trump wanted to repeal DACA.
■ Trump wanted to repeal Obamacare.
■ Trump wanted to ban Muslim immigration.
■ Trump wanted to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.
The list of things Trump has tried to make happen, only to be sent whimpering back into the corner like a whipped dog, far outstrips his actual accomplishments.
What Trump does have is the power of government, which will make it awfully easy for Apple and Google to do it for him.
Any notably the power the executive branch holds, which the US classically prided themselves on being strictly limited in scope - as directly opposed to the monarchies the founding fathers resent, has exploded in power since 9/11 under Bush, then later even more so under Obama.
People had been critiquing the power grabs at the time for this exact reasons, knowing that they won't just be used to fight 'terrorism', which was always the pretext.
The fact almost every controversial thing Trump has done outside of congress has been using national security powers is not surprising. That authority was handed to them long ago and was always open to abuse.
The very broad national security laws in the US are the root source of the centralization of power. Simply changing who the president won't stop this train either. A lot of other country's presidents/prime ministers gained tons of power under the guise of counter-terrorism - including Canada and the UK.
Think about the Hong Kong national security act. Think about the patriot act and all it’s powers.
Nordstream 2 is a great example. Sanctioning a country that was literally the wall between you and the East is such an extremely stupid move. Just confirms Merkels sentence: "Europe can not rely on the US any longer".
German here and I have to, say: You lost me there, buddy. Even though I despise Putin and all what he stands for, I would now vote for polititians, who take a hard stance here, get the project done and take countermeasures or even sanctions against the US. Mind your own business! You have several catastrophes at home going on, maybe do something about that? We will buy our gas whereever we want to. Thanks for asking, we are doing fine here. So if you don't have a better deal for us kindly leave us alone.
Basically: grow dependence, extract concessions. The same way a crack dealer on a street corner does.
There is no salvation West or East of Europe. Europe has to do it's own thing. The US has shown, that we are mereley allies as long as we are useful and it does not hesitate to sanction it's allies. There is no friendship between countries.
Still, it's unrelated to Nord Stream 2. There is no risk to Germany there, simply because it's entirely voluntary mechanism.
As for your last comment, the one insisting sanctions against the US: Merkel might have her foot on the throat of the rest of Europe, but we’re not going to see the day when Germany finally builds the empire of their dreams.
The US is no position to police other countries - especially not European ones, who are not even part of one - about illegitimate wars.
Regarding the empire I don't know what you are talking about. If the US sanctions Germany, Germany is economically perfectly capable of creating countermeasures. I say we should do so, because I cannot stand this arrogance. If the US starts trade wars with everyone, it hurts itself the most.
It seems kind of absurd to just ban one of the most popular apps in the world over night like this, especially with a US company about to buy it. On the other hand, I agree that China has had an unfair advantage in terms of banning US apps. But an overnight ban? This could have been played better.
The interesting question is: What's the end-game here? Europe seems to be heading in the same direction. We obviously want global social networks, and no country is happy with a winner-take-all where they're not the winner. So my (optimistic) guess is that we'll end up with federated (or otherwise distributed/decentralised) networks.
Given that even the Biden campaign has prohibited their workers from installing the TikTok app, there isn't likely to be much of a partisan fight over this issue.
I mean here in France when the government or the assembly trie to pass a law that is potentially unconstitutional there is an emergency review process by the "constitutional council" that can veto all or parts of the law that infringe.
This process just happened recently because our president tried to pass a "hate law" on social media that was deemed unconstitutional because it had too many unpredictable side effects on free speech principles.
For instance, France has used similar tactics when rumors of Pepsi buying Danone came to light.
We do: the judicial branch.
For example the Republican stalling of appointment until they where in power.
I know that the US does have the legal framework to deem the app a security threat based on its foreign ownership. Grindr, the gay hookup app, essentially had a forced sale from its Chinese owners .
However, if TikTok is sold to MS, and all user data is held in the US, I don't see any rationale that gives the government the power to ban the app, and MS certainly has the resources to challenge any attempted ban in the courts.
Wonder if WeChat is next. That would be fairly effective in prevent overseas Chinese from communicating with the mainland and a lot of mom and pop businesses that operate through Wechat like the students who buy products for people back in China and advertise and transfer money using WeChat.
We'll be back to buying calling cards and dialing telephones, but I guess this is the era of decoupling one way or the other.
Maybe people will have to invent some kind of transformer software, like you plug a western chat app on one side and it passes messages through a third party relay to a chinese messaging app.
Yes, now it's the US doing desperate acts of authoritarianism out of weakness.
TikTok poses exactly the same risk as any other app on the App/Play stores. They go through exactly the same static code review and signing process - conducted by two American companies. Any security risk can be addressed at that point in the pipeline.
Assuming the concern is about “data security” (vs OS level security), I see literally zero difference between a state actor having access to my data, and a third party advertiser. If it’s insecure, it’s insecure - it doesn’t matter who the potential attacker is.
This is a horrible, horrible decision that has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with a horrible president desperately clawing for anything he can to get re-elected.
No, it does not. See the research here . TikTok is a data collection engine disguised as a social media tool.
TikTok isn’t doing anything that Facebook and Twitter are doing, or may do in future.
If there’s a technical security risk that we should be worried about, then I am equally worried about every single other non-Chinese company exploiting it.
If this were nation-agnostic, generic data protection laws, no one would bat an eyelid. Couching in terms of hand-wavy national security is just so implausible and blatantly self serving.
Edit: As they have done. (So don't complain about unfair market access, as they clearly have good reasons. Right?)
That's what XMPP and matrix is. Self host your own Chinese instance to communicate with people there.
It's the next generation that will truly suffer, because they will belong to neither country and be looked at as potential fifth columns by both.
An American-Chinese Pacific War is a projection of American insecurity.
In the long run, without its 19th and 20th century grievances, the Chinese do not care about America. Full stop.
One day the Chinese GDP per capita (currently 8,000 USD) will reach the Taiwanese GDP per capita (about 25,000 USD), the Chinese GDP will triple and nothing America does will ever be interesting to the Chinese again. Except for a Pacific War, which brings no benefit to the Chinese, outside of a few small satrapies.
If we Americans recognize the Chinese tendency is towards isolationism, a tendency with historic precedents, there will be no armed conflicts down the line.
Any pacific war will be a coalition of India, Japan, US vs PRC war most likely. They really really should stop murdering Indian soldiers, testing Japanese air defense daily, ram everyone’s ship whenever they feel like etc. But they can not stop themselves, because regime is based on nationalistic aggression and “payback” (wtf they are paying India for I do not know)
Somewhat OT, but nothing has changed there. Phone plans minutes also become useless after a while.
TikTok is getting mainstream in US.
That is the difference
No banning TikTok isn’t ideological in this case: it’s one of dozens of Chinese apps. No other app is under fire. Yes I am ideological about Trump: I am against corruption and he is bar none the most corrupt president the US has ever had and hopefully will ever have.
Edit: just noticed your username. Dude, not cool.
In your second paragraph, you're missing that no other Chinese app has 100 million American users. So yeah, no other app is under fire, but no other app matters nearly as much.
As to my username, for some reason I'm not surprised that it's too politically incorrect for you.
As to your username, it’s not a PC issue. It’s just juvenile to the point where combined with your overall ignorance means there is no reason to take anything you say seriously. I hope some day you grow up.
So as a matter of principle, at least, I'm fine with it. I can't say I feel great about the wisdom of banning Tiktok in particular, but I won't let that confuse me into disagreeing with the underlying principle.
Haven't the most egregious erosions of civil liberties (Patriot Act for example) been implemented using the same argument? Not commenting on the validity of your position specifically, but your reasoning for it seems like it could be applied to just about anything regardless of how well it fits into the idea of a free and open democracy
Yes. We should be careful about it. That’s why I’m against secret courts. But this action us happening in the open, and ByteDance will have a chance to challenge it in court. (Something no American company could do in China.)
Just because something can be abused doesn’t mean it is always abusive.
Oh, definitely. I think those excesses which have been justified under the pretense of national security have been quite terrible, and I think that they are bad for reasons particular to those cases and arguments.
I don't take it to mean we should not have a concept of national security, or that we are so helpless that we can't meaningfully engage in case by case analysis of what to do in specific situations. It could be applied to anything if one isn't willing to distinguish between different cases based on their merits.
The app will be banned from the stores, advanced users could still install the app by getting the APK.
There's always the web. Good luck banning a website.
Most of the users have their default DNS set up: the ISP ones, and the french ISP dns' must comply to the law.
If you want to access SciHub for exemple, you need to change your DNS config to something else.
It's possible for this to completely backfire though. Suppose Microsoft pays tens of billions to ByteDance to acquire TikTok's US operations and then the app tanks in popularity or fails to reach profitability. This seems especially possible given how new TikTok is and the faddish rise and fall of many other video-based platforms (Vine, HQTrivia, Pariscope, etc.)
Twitter, FB, Alphabet excercise absolute control over censoring people they do not like(who are most likely wrong but that is not the point). Saw what happened with those docs video that Trump retweeted?
Open internet is long gone.
In a way this gives Chinese apps an immediate advantage (as some are indirectly calling out in this comment section). If you want to reach out to someone in China, you have to use a Chinese company's app. Since social media is mostly a winner take all (or at least has a major snowball affect), this helps the Chinese social media company's grow even bigger. Now you already have one social media app for contacting people in China installed, why not use that app for contacting others?
The West has always said that the Chinese bans to Western social media and tech companies were authoritarian and antidemocratic. How is this less so?
If we started seeing local governments having openly KKK or neo-Nazi majorities, the freedom of speech balance would substantially alter.
First amendment rights in the US are typically circumscribed only via a requirement to show actual, existential harm.
Death by a thousand cuts:
What about when we consider the opposite? How many insignificant-in-the-moment-seeming changes never effect any sort of larger change?
It's really off the mark to criticize the US for not having done enough against Nazis! Forget banning, we invaded and killed those fuckers.
But we're nowhere close to the Nazi party in the US.
Ideas versus actions and objects.
Bans per se aren't antidemocratic, we already have plenty of banned stuff. The only thing that can be antidemocratic is their purpose.
Really? So why are there Apple stores in China?
It seems like a rationalization to always see ourselves as the "good guys" no matter what. Every empire ever did.
Playing devil's advocate, I can see the Chinese rationalizing their bans as defending their sovereignty against Western dominance since we have a long history of bullying China and other nations that don't toe the line.
My point being, there's rationalizations you can make from their side too, which doesn't make their behavior correct.
Just because you can find some kind of a rationale for banning TikTok doesn't mean it's not hypocritical, especially while we often like to claim to hold higher moral values.
It's a known fact that Apple cooperates, apparently enough to be satisfactory for the CCP.
Short personal anecdote if you don't believe they vigilantly ban anything they don't like: My mom is Chinese and Buddhist. Her tiny Buddhist organization was recently told they would have to cease operations. All they were doing was meditating and praying together in livestreams. They also had online lessons with Buddhist monks and stuff like that. It's all harmless stuff, and their page had like 5K likes.
You would think something tiny like that might fly under the radar in a country with 1.3B people.
> It seems like a rationalization to always see ourselves as the "good guys" no matter what. Every empire ever did.
I'm not saying we're always the good guys no matter what. There's enough to criticise in our society. But no matter how much room for improvement we have, you cannot seriously contend that it's even a question whether democracies like ours are superior compared to totalitarian regimes like that of China. That question was answered over and over throughout recent history, and shouldn't ever have been brought to the table in the first place.
> I can see the Chinese rationalizing their bans as defending their sovereignty against Western dominance
That's not a rationalization, that's literally just what they're doing. And we're also doing the same by banning TikTok. But that's not the point, defending your sovereignty isn't inherently bad. The point is that it's only bad if bad regimes do it.
Take the Iraq war. The goal was to further assert ourselves in the Middle East, settle old scores, signal to our official enemies we mean business and enrich a bunch of military contravtors.
But the rationalization that I think made it possible for a lot of these people to sleep at night was things like defending the country, empowering women, bringing in democracy etc.
These are different things.
Also, as an aside, I may be wrong on this, but I think people sometimes underestimate the foothold of the CCP in mainland China and assume a coup would happen a week after YouTube was let in.
I feel this is incredibly naive; I mean if you look at how in our democratic societies narratives are regularly constructed to strengthen the status quo, often by pretending that the 2 parties actually have major principled disagreements, while nothing fundamentally changes almost no matter who gets elected, to the point where there are studies showing that the majority of policies people in the U.S. are in favor of don't get enacted.
Hong Kong is a bit different, because people there don't necessarily see themselves as having that much in common with mainland Chinese, but I don't think CCP would actually collapse if YouTube and Twitter were to be let in.
I happen to think the bans have more to do with wanting to empower local companies, (which yes are more easily controllable too), so that there's a strong internal economy that would ultimately be able to withstand sanctions etc.
The important point is not what people believe, but what the CCP itself believes.
It seems natural for all governments brought to power through revolution to overestimate and fear the power of revolution. Especially when they knowingly don't have a firm grasp on public thinking, due to continued suppression of open, free media.
I don't think comparing these two is all that helpful. The Soviet Union made its authoritarian side too visible, i.e. Prague 68 etc.
Combine this with the fact that the union wasn't really united by any sense of national identity, that is the Czechs viewed the soviets as the Russians and their own party officials as puppets to Moscow.
In that sense the Soviets were foreign occupiers. This is not true for the CCP.
Another important point is that quite frankly, most people care about material well being first, political preferences second. By the time the USSR collapsed, its citizens felt like they'd be in a dire economic situation as long as the status quo continues. This is a much more powerful force than the rather vague promises of a democracy, I'd say.
The Soviets made the mistake of not allowing private business to occur basically at all, which means people had no hope of ever "making it".
In America, you have your Zuckerbergs that help keep the idea of an American Dream alive and something to look up to as being possible if one only works hard enough.
The Soviet Union didn't have that motivational force, however deceptive it is, but China does have its Jack Ma figures. Its economy is a mix of centrally planned and free trade and much more complex than the Soviet one was. It's also a bigger internal market. In other words, you could dream about potentially being a billionaire in China, you couldn't in the Soviet Union.
Also, many Chinese enjoy a relatively middle class lives that, as long as one doesn't get too political, probably don't feel that restrictive day to day.
As long as the CCP can keep the economy growing and people can maintain their middle class lifestyles, no revolution is coming.
But it's not going to be the basis on which regimes stand or fall. Especially in China, where the cultural barrier is most likely higher in terms of "connecting", than it was in Eastern Europe.
> China’s communist regime
China's regime is many things but cannot really be described as communist much anymore, this is erasing a whole lot of history post Mao.
> China’s communist regime killed tens of millions of its own people within living memory.
Absolutely. That has not stopped us from treating regimes like Saudi Arabia as friends. The U.S. foreign policy establishment is hardly concerned about human rights.
Of course these are horrible, but I don't believe for a second that the TikTok ban has anything to do with human rights.
I am not saying that it's necessarily the same, but is probably a lot closer than one would hope.
U.S. prison populations are basically forced labor, killing millions of civilians, not its own citizens but still, within living memory is also a thing, millions are without health insurance during a pandemic and still no universal healthcare in sight, police brutality, treatment of migrants, coups in foreign countries, school shootings, drone strikes with over 90% civilian causalities, holding people without trial at CIA black sites and GB etc.
Then you have the crimes that weren't committed directly by the U.S. but by its ales with U.S. encouragement and sale of arms, like what the Saudis are doing in Yemen right now, or the indirect funding of extremist elements in places like Syria via the likes of Qatar.
One area where the U.S. is far worse is overthrowing democratically elected leaders of sovereign countries that weren't sufficiently subservient to American corporate interests. It's basically the government doing the bidding of private interests, which is the very definition of fascism.
Again, I don't think they're exactly the same, but not as far apart as you'd think. The one major difference is the U.S. treats foreigns like trash, while China likes to keep it more domestic on that front.
School shootings and dearth of health insurance don’t remotely make up the moral gap between the US and China. As awful as those things are, they are but a drop in the bucket.
Further still, many of the other things you posit as uniquely American such as coups in foreign countries l, police brutality, dearth of healthcare, etc are not only present in China, but exist to a much more severe degree. The US has police brutality (lack of proper regulation of its police forces), China’s police will disappear people for political speech (actual institutional oppression).
I agree that the US is imperfect, but your attempts at drawing parallels between Chinese offenses and American offenses seems highly disingenuous. You seem to be flagrantly ignoring the different contexts when convenient (e.g., the difference between “civilians killed during war” and “killing one’s own civilians en masse as part of a political purge”) and listing offenses that are more egregious in China as uniquely American. I don’t really want to continue this conversation if you aren’t here in good faith.
2003 Iraq alone is ~200,000, (up to 1mil per some), and that's discounting the first Gulf War or the sanctions following it that killed overwhelmingly civilians.
The difference between you and me is that I don't see killing foreign civilians as somehow less horrible than domestic ones.
When you say it's different during the "course of a war", worth noting that in many places no formal war was ever declared. In places like Pakistan, the drone warfare for example is more of a shadow war than anything.
As for people dying due to lack of healthcare and you not counting it, if we're going to attribute the evils of CCP to "communism", why discount deaths attributable to "capitalism" so easily?
My ideology disagrees strongly with the CCP, but I try to be as objective as possible when evaluating any actor, especially one that is subject to wast amounts of U.S. propaganda and is hard to ever get a more nuanced picture of.
Another issue is that the U.S. likes to present itself as a moral leader on the world stage, so it should be held to higher standards.
I am not even going into the issue of financial sanctions, where China has nowhere the amount of power the U.S. has. And the American government is willing to use that power to block shipments of food and medicine to countries it does not like, even during an unprecedented global pandemic.
I appreciate this is not discussed regularly on evening news, unlike China is, but it is very much real, this is why when you poll people from around the world, the U.S. usually comes #1 as a threat to world peace.
1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Guatemalan_coup_d%27%C3%A...
2 - https://www.axios.com/the-biggest-global-threats-us-russia-c...
P.S. I don't say this to try and paint the West negatively. I say this because I want us to actually be as morally correct as we'd claim we are instead of just diluting ourselves into thinking we are soo much better already.
In other words, I'd really like the propaganda to actually match the reality.
Because the deaths aren’t attributable to capitalism. Capitalism has increased longevity all over the world, including in China. In China, it not only made medical advancements available to the Chinese, but China’s recent prosperity (and the consequent improvements in health outcomes) is directly attributable to its slide toward capitalism. By contrast, the policies of mass murder and starvation during the “Great Leap Forward” were a massive regression in Chinese outcomes. Of course, all of this misses the point that even if the outcomes were exactly the same in both countries, a bad outcome due to malice is still morally worse than the same outcome due to incompetence. Failing to provide top notch healthcare to a country’s citizens is a much less grave offense than outright murdering millions of citizens to protect or extend one’s political power. America’s postwar faults aren’t comparable to those of China’s, and while I understand and appreciate your goal of trying to draw attention to America’s own faults, trying to make the comparison with China has the opposite effect. The US is already incomparably better than China, but we shouldn’t settle is the argument you ought to be making, IMO.
It's fair to say it's not as bad as doing it for political power, but it's worth noting that in the U.S. aprox. 45000 people a year die due to lack of adequate healthcare. Over the past 4-6 decades, it indeed ads up to millions dead.
This state of things is directly attributable to law makers being lobbied by corporate interests. Practically every other developed nation has some form of universal healthcare. We can add a large number of those that died from the current pandemic, since quite visibly the countries with universal healthcare did much better.
Your argument essentially seems to be that it's way better for private interests to influence public policy in a negative way than having the state enacting terrible policies by itself.
I agree that it makes it more distributed, but still terrible. And yes, it is capitalism. You cannot just take the good parts and disregard the bad.
> I understand and appreciate your goal of trying to draw attention to America’s own faults, trying to make the comparison with China has the opposite effect. The US is already incomparably better than China.
This is my main issue with your argument. Sure, China is still worse, I acknowledge that, my argument is that the U.S. is not as much better as many, including you, probably think.
You have a much more direct impact on the U.S. and making it better than you have on China. Diluting yourself into thinking the U.S. is already essentially "the good guys" prevents you from having the will to actively improve it and over time leads to the fact of it being not as far from China as you'd like.
The world already thinks of America as the bigger threat to world peace, you can keep telling yourself what you want, but the rest of the world has a much less rosy picture of the U.S. than you'd think and the best way to keep China from "taking over" is not to ban TikTok but to work hard to improve that image.
You’re mistaken, I have little difficulty in acknowledging America’s faults and focusing on improving them. I can simultaneously acknowledge that the US has considerable room for improvement without needing to pretend like our deficiencies are comparable to Chinese deficiencies, and indeed if one’s goal is to encourage Americans to improve, why drag in a China comparison at all? I don’t think Americans need to be diluted into thinking that we are only a little better than China in order to improve; in fact, I don’t think our motivation for improvement should be predicated on a China comparison at all. I think these kinds of nonsense comparisons are an impediment to improvement.
You haven't acknowledged a single one so far. You simply brush them as "I don't think the U.S. has killed millions of civilians within living memory" (it has), or the lack of healthcare is somehow not a direct consequence of capitalism in a sector that shouldn't be for profit (it is).
Everyone can say they can acknowledge faults, without actually acknowledging any.
> I can simultaneously acknowledge that the US has considerable room for improvement without needing to pretend like our deficiencies are comparable to Chinese deficiencies.
Again, I am not making the argument it is comparable, just that it's probably closer than people like you like to tell themselves it is.
> why drag in a China comparison at all?
Because this is a topic about America closing its markets to a Chinese company maybe?
The U.S. waged many imperialist wars in order to force open markets in various countries around the world to its exports. So it is indeed very ironic that now this aggressive proponent of "free market" is closing their own.
There are also disturbing points of comparison considering the U.S. is a democracy, like its slave prison labor for example.
I am coming at this as an European with an outside perspective. My life is far more directly impacted by the shit America does than China. And the U.S. does a lot of shit in terms of its foreign policy. It seems to me like your view of how the U.S. is perceived is colored by how American media says the world perceives America, rather than the reality.
Yes, the ideal of America is great, but the reality is far from the ideal and just looking at its handling of the current pandemic does not paint a pretty picture.
So agree to disagree, overall still better, sure, just not by as much as Americans seem to think, especially if you consider that the current U.S. "regime" is a lot older than China's current system and had a lot longer to stabilize, get confident and as a result a lot more peaceful.
If we were to include its entire history, including the history of slavery, it would indeed be the much worse party.
As I said, not a fan of the CCP and think it has fascistic tendencies, but the tales America likes to tell itself of how moral it is are honestly a bit delusional.
I don't think this discussion is going any further.
It seems pretty clear to me that it is. Specifically lobbying and campaign donations by the for profit health insurance industry is a direct consequence of there being a for profit, capitalistic motive within that sector. These capitalist incentives are directly lobbying against universal healthcare.
And no, I do not blame all of capitalism for this, Nintendo is not responsible for the lack of universal healthcare in the U.S., just in case this really needs to be said.
> as indeed many European countries with their public sector healthcare have capitalist economies.
They tend to have mixed economies with a strong regulatory system and a social safety net.
I know in the U.S. the success of any public service gets overlooked, its failings get attributed to socialism and capitalism's failings get overlooked, so in the end capitalism wins.
In the EU, we know you can mix the two. You don't have to pick capitalism or socialism, they can be mixed and matched as it makes sense, which indeed seems to be the best approach.
Not every aspect of capitalism is great and not every aspect of socialism is terrible. This seems to be forgotten a lot in American discourse and everything is very black and white to you, it seems.
Fascist more than communist: it's military-heavy, nationalist, authoritarian and corporatist but with notionally private enterprise rather than simply overt government industries, all of which are typical of fascism (a few overlap with features of Leninst-style Communism, but neither nationalism nor, particularly, private-but-corporatist industry fit that model.)
It's not particularly aggressively expansionist, so it's not quite classic Fascism.
None of this is to say that I think the executive action is a good idea, but there is a middle ground between “a bad idea” and “literally the same as the CCP”.
The classic arguments for eg free trade suggest that even if the other countries decide to sink stones in their harbours, you still benefit from unilateral free trade.
(And that's also why free trade agreements are a bit silly from an economic point of view.)
Also, countries aren't people and can't have friends. Countries have allies and opponents. This colors every interaction.
I’ve never heard of it described that way. I’ve heard it called “anticompetitive” or “protectionist”.
I mean, the US bans Kinder Surprise eggs, but I wouldn’t call that “authoritarian”.
It was never a reason of moral. There are all sorts of gates like that in many us industries which favor us compagnies
In the literal sense for a TikTok ban to be democratic it only has to be voted on. We can call it 'democratic' if a democratically elected politician can legally prohibit the app.
China is openly show everyone that they'll censor and force state-backed monopolies in every area they have control over. There is nothing wrong regarding morals if means help to stop totalitarian system from spreading.
The US will read all your messages; but you can say what you like in them. The ban isn't for authoritarian reasons; it is a fairly pure economic/geopolitical play. You can say whatever crazy stuff you like as far as the government is concerned.
The present-day equivalent to the train that carried Lenin from Zürich to Petrograd would be a little tweak in a social feed visibility algorithm in some corporate codebase.
Policy A: "Any social media platform that refuses to censor opinions the government doesn't like is banned"
Policy B: "Foreign social media platforms are only allowed to operate in our country if our own social media platforms are allowed to operate on the same terms in theirs"
Can you see why Policy A is antidemocratic but Policy B isn't?
One reason why is that Policy B is viewpoint-neutral – the ban has nothing directly to do with what viewpoints the social media platform allows or disallows, it is simply demanding regulatory reciprocity ("We won't ban yours if you don't ban ours"). Whereas, in Policy A, the ban is part of the government trying to control which opinions are allowed to be expressed, which is anti-democratic.
(I haven't heard a clear explanation from the Trump administration of what their reasons for banning TikTok are. It is possible those reasons include Policy B, it is possible those reasons are completely unrelated.)
I won't nationalize your assets in my country if you don't nationalize my assets in your country.
I will ban your books if you ban mine.
"I will x if you will also x" makes you reactionary and gives agency to someone else to act on your behalf.
> and gives agency to someone else to act on your behalf
Relinquishing control is a very effective negotiation tactic. If you can credibly lose agency in a given situation - precommit yourself to a course of action - this means the other party has all the control and all the responsibility. If, given your pre-committed response, one choice is bad for your opponent, they're essentially forced by you to take another one.
Thomas Schelling wrote a whole book ("The Strategy of Conflict") about such scenarios.
A toy example (I think it's even from the book): imagine we're both in cars, driving towards each other and playing chicken. Whoever veers off to avoid collision first loses. If you want to win for sure, all you have to do is to rip out your steering wheel and throw it out of the window - if I see that, my choices are suddenly reduced to "lose the game, or we both die".
A real example is automated retaliatory strike systems that both sides of the Cold War worked on - strenghtening deterrence by ensuring a retaliatory strike will happen even if humans in charge change their minds.
This is true to an extent, but I find it unpersuasive. Because it’s basically my main negotiating and parenting technique. I don’t bluff well or frequently. I prefer to lay out the options ahead of time (because I’ve already thought them through) so I can let the other party make an informed decision.
“I will buy this widget for $X. Anything more than that and I will use your competitor / build it in-house.”
“If you clean your room, we’ll get ice cream. Otherwise, no video games today.”
“If you drop a nuclear bomb we will drop our nuclear bombs.”
The catch is that you have to mean it. Which is why I don’t see any real value in bluffing in long-term relationships. We’ve all seen those parents who tell their kids “If you don’t stop doing X right now then Y” and everyone knows (especially the kid) that there will be no follow through.
But predetermining your response doesn’t give away your agency. It’s simply stating in advance how you will respond to others agency in an effort to let them make an informed decision.
Suppose hypothetically, that the EU banned imports of Australian wine, why would it be “reactionary” for Australia to respond in kind by banning imports of EU wine?
EU would ban Aussie wine only if the benefits overweights straight reciprocation.
So Australia stating it will ban EU wines as a reaction just let’s the EU validate it’s worth it. If it’s not, no ban is set and nobody gets hurt. If it is, both bans are set but the EU comes out better if their calculations are right.
I just think that the losing side, when adopting similar moves, is not playing dirty per se. It's just leveling the field. You can only play foul if both players share, at least superficially, a similar moral framework.
The Chinese internet censorship isn't only censorship, it is also protectionism under disguise.
There is no reason to offer market access to the Chinese companies when China refuses to reciprocitate
Let's just stop beating war drums.
One reason Chinese products are cheaper is that they largely ignore environmental concerns. So by allowing the trade all we do is put our own, well-regulated factories out of business, whilst increasing the net pollution in the world, and instead of quality products that last we get junk destined for landfill, thus perpetuating the cycle. So there are very, very good reasons to look at the big picture here.
And that's before you even get into the slave labour...
Do you have any evidence for that? I doubt it.
> and instead of quality products that last we get junk destined for landfill, [...]
That seems like a decision for customers to make? If customers prefer cheaper products, who are we to judge?
> And that's before you even get into the slave labour...
I don't think that's a big economic factor. However, insofar as it is occurring, it is bad. I would suggest opening immigration more to give people around the world an alternative.
Last few decades are pretty much entirely made of evidence for that - private owners will, given insufficient barriers preventing it - move their manufacturing to the places with low labor costs. It's why almost everything you or I own has a label on it that says "made in China", and not "made in the USA".
> That seems like a decision for customers to make? If customers prefer cheaper products, who are we to judge?
Naively, yes. In pratcite, this is equivalent to letting a 3 year old choose whether they'll get chocolate or broccoli for dinner. Customers almost universally prefer cheaper products above almost anything else - including economy, environment, and their own safety. Which is why a good chunk of business-related laws in every country exists solely to remove options from which customers can choose.
You are right that Chinese manufacturing has grown a lot. But what's the evidence that this growth has anything to do with a hypothetical decline of the US? More than a century ago the US and German industrial output growing didn't diminish British output, either.
> Naively, yes. In pratcite, this is equivalent to letting a 3 year old choose whether they'll get chocolate or broccoli for dinner. Customers almost universally prefer cheaper products above almost anything else - including economy, environment, and their own safety. Which is why a good chunk of business-related laws in every country exists solely to remove options from which customers can choose.
Perhaps we should remove their opportunity to vote. When they make the 'wrong' decision when buying that mostly hurts themselves. But at the ballot box they can hurt the rest of the country and the rest of the world.
They can and they do.
In the first instance, this is why candidates are not allowed to literally bribe the electorate, and why constitutional change is harder than simply passing a new law.
In the second, it is why countries even bother trying to interfere in other countries’ elections.
Democracy is still better than the alternatives despite the failures. Oh so many failures.
If you open your market too early and don't protect your own elements, they will get crushed and you will be at the mercy of other powers.
Look at the UK, look at Germany, look at the EU... Having to please two superpowers and doing so bending backwards.
That's why I asked topicseed, accepting her/his argument that emerging markets need protection, when (and if) China should open up.
But apparently topicseed hasn't updated her/his thesis since 2005.
As for Tesla in China, I dimly recall that it's in partnership. SOP for BRICS economies. Quick search... Nope. I was wrong. This 2018 article states Tesla is the first foreign company allowed to operate in China without a domestic partner. https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/10/news/companies/tesla-china-...
Now I'm almost curious if there have been others since.
Of course things have changed a lot since the East Indian Trading company, kings and what not. So maybe protectionism works better in a global market interconnected. Maybe the Chinese model is simply the future for us, but probably not.
Personally I hope for a more GDPR styles approach to social media in general. There is no doubt China is spying through TikTok, and that’s bad, but I don’t really want Facebook or Google to sell my information either.
I notice your use of the past tense there; it did work well for the West but the situation in China is very different - they have been able to leapfrog to a Western level of technology without having a free and open society. So the rules are different now. The real test is now, starting at the same level, who can sustain it and who can pull away.
I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned GDPR. Yes, it was a huge amount of hassle and a lot of work (inspiring many memes). However, it did make people realise how much of their data was being used.
GDPR had a lot of potential but it has been lost in it's current form. Cookie warnings seem like something a politician would do, not something someone with any real understanding of data security. Very little has changed especially for the big players. Hell Google Chrome was recently caught collecting data when in incognito mode. A Google spokesman stated "Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device" - that doesn't make it ok to collect the information and send it to themselves. It's pretty deceptive and this is recently, long after GDPR was introduced.
PS: The comparison to the East India Company (EIC) is a good one. The CCP is very much like the EIC (ironically it was the EIC supplying the opium for the opium wars). They have their own military, have a huge amount of power politically, openingly admits to using underhand tactics and breaking laws to enforce monopolies, as they are virtually untouchable.
It’s weird to point out this double standard but then apparently take the side of both countries banning foreign media companies.
If the Congress (the actual body meant to crate laws) decides to create a reasoned, comprehensive law to level the playing field with Chinese companies, then they should do it.
What shouldn't happen is this kind of impulsive decision making that arguably abuses the emergency powers of the presidency to block an app that allows people to film themselves and post those recordings.
If you claim that this app is a national security threat then any app is.
How so? Not every app is 1. Owned and controlled by an adversarial state, 2. In the hands of every American youth, and 3. Providing opaquely generated/sorted content.
So explain how every app is an equivalent security threat.
TikTok is just as much "owned and controlled" by an adversarial state as any app by US corporations is "owned and controlled" by the US government due to national security letters and the CLOUD Act.
“Jan 25 - Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Friday stressed efforts to boost integrated media development and amplify mainstream tone in public communication so as to consolidate the common theoretical foundation for all Party members and all the people to unite and work hard.”
In case you missed it, I’ll emphasize the relevant point: “via warrant or subpoena”
This is not “exactly,” as you say, the same provision.
No sensible person would suggest the American system is perfect. But to suggest that an imperfect system of checks and balances is tantamount to an actual unashamed dictatorship is equally divorced from reality.
There’s nowhere for this conversation to go, so have a good weekend!
Also, I've never stated that the entire US governmental system was "tantamount" to a dictatorship - this is a straw man you're putting up there. I named very particular legislation that I indeed consider equivalent to what it is you're suggesting the Chinese government is doing. If you want to rebuke that argument - fine, I'm listening! But please stop putting up straw men just because it turns out that it's kind of hard to defend the existence of such opaque and unchecked pockets of power if your entire argument builds on the superiority of a system that is designed to balance and limit individuals' power over one that just lets those in power reign over anyone else.
Also, abbub brought up a great point here that I want to emphasize: "checks and balances" that are weak in practice and depend on those in power to "just behave" are ineffective and shouldn't be considered equal to actual, enforceable limitations. I was stunned how close a US president can get to a dictator in terms of effective powers if he just decides to stop caring about morals, political conventions and other "soft limits". This experience seems to be an argument against the concept of "let's just trust everyone to play nice" and a clear indicator for the need of actual, effective and enforceable limitations to power. Those regulations that I criticized now are the exact opposite of this.
Of course there are. Congress can pass laws limiting executive actions. And the courts can constrain it.
None of which apply to this action, which has been publicly promulgated and will be publicly enforced and challenged.
Also, secret courts and NSLs are an abomination. Subpoenas are legal demands for information.
Banning an app because you are worried about external cultural influence on your youth ends any such claim.
Here's what OED says. (b) looks interesting, especially with the 1st amendment complications.
(Unless I'm missing something and arbitrarily is defined in US constitutional documents??)
(ˈɑːbɪtrərɪlɪ)[f. arbitrary + -ly 2.]
In an arbitrary manner, at will;
a. merely at will, without sufficient reason, capriciously;
b. unconstitutionally, despotically.
a1626: Davies Quest. Impositions 131 “This power of laying on arbitrarily new impositions.”
1656: Hobbes Six Less. Wks. 1845 VII. 394 “The point F is not to be taken arbitrarily.”
1754: Edwards Freed. Will iv. 2 (ed. 4) 279 “The meaning that they arbitrarily affix to a word.”
1769: Junius Lett. xxxv, “Their rights have been arbitrarily invaded by the present House of Commons.”
1849: Macaulay Hist. Eng. II. 126 “The Bishop of Dunkeld..was arbitrarily ejected from his see.”
1882: A. Macfarlane Consanguin. 1 “The arbitrarily chosen names of substances.”
- Wechat: this make a virtual “family separation”
- A purge of any app related to China (TuSimple, Zoom etc)
- Suspend F1 and H1B visa for “suspected” Chinese and make special scrutiny during immigration interviews for all Chinese applicants
- witch hunt more
Let me tell you what’s this: Chinese Exclusion Act II
China bans WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and a whole other bunch of apps.
Zoom should be scrutinized very heavily and potentially banned as well. Keep in mind China bans Skype.
Why does something need to be proposed at all, is the US threatened by zoomers doing funny dances on a smartphone app?
1. Equipping the CCP with a sensor placed in the pockets of millions of American citizens. This is already a problem when American companies are doing it for ad targeting purposes. But to do the same and funnel the data to an increasingly militaristic near-peer adversary? It in fact makes it qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different.
2. Tiktok opaquely selects which content it shows users. Again, American social media companies do this to a lesser degree (non-chronological feeds), but they don’t tweak their algorithms at the direction of the government to opaquely modify the information environment a citizen exists in. Note that there is currently very public tension between the US establishment and these companies because yes, authoritarians love this capability and no, they don’t yet have it in the US. Tiktok has no ability to refuse CCP’s requests to, e.g. erase any references to their concentration camps or to amplify claims that Bill Gates is trying to inject microchips via the COVID vaccine.
Whether a US executive should be able to single handedly make such a decree, I really don’t know. It doesn’t seem right to me but I ought to think about it more. What is 100% obvious to anyone looking at TikTok and the CCP with clear eyes is that it is a huge threat.
That aside, the US is a free country. Everyone can spread propaganda. I was under the impression that American citizens of voting age are able to discern information themselves and distinguish between hoax and reality.
Since when is it the task of the US government to police media companies?
I am not arguing whether or not the US government has the right to ban TikTok, I am explaining what the threats are. Do not conflate the two and confuse the conversation. It is absolutely possible that this is a threat and we can legally (or in compliance with our values) not do anything about it.
“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” - Xi Jinping
“ On April 9th, the day before Zuckerberg’s testimony began, Bytedance was ordered to suspend its most popular product, a news-aggregator app called Jinri Toutiao (Today’s Headlines). The next day, regulators yanked Neihan Duanzi, the company’s social-media platform, where users share jokes and videos. Last Wednesday, Zhang’s official apology appeared on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. His company had taken “the wrong path,” he wrote, and, along the way, he had “failed his users.” Perhaps it was not entirely coincidental that his words echoed a notice posted by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the country’s media regulator”
If ByteDance really was an extension of the state, surely they wouldn't even have launched a product that violates the regulations of the state they're supposedly an extension of.
You can increasingly say the same for American companies.
Do you also suppose that it would be a good idea for you to hit your head repeatedly against a wall, if I start doing so?
This is a bad analogy and proves nothing. There's no connection between two people banging their head against the wall.
However, there is a connection between one actor performing a bad action and then facing punitive action from another actor because of it. It makes them less likely to perform similar actions in the future, and could cause them to reverse the previous bad actions that are still in effect.
Whereas if you're banging your head against the wall, me doing the same does nothing to stop you. Hence why it's a meaningless analogy.
Nobody should be using TikTok voluntarily, in my opinion. There should be a PR-effort led by governments, parties or NGOs to tell people why they shouldn't use TikTok.
An information campaign like you suggest might be justified. Though given how politicized everything seems to be, I suspect it might backfire.
Btw, would you like to make it illegal for people to send their personal information directly via email to the CCP?
TikTok users don't consent to the CCP directing their user experience. In fact, TikTok will do its best to avoid letting on to anything like that. And US jurisdiction doesn't cover this company at all. That is one of the rare situations where you really want a government to step in and tell people what not to do.
Just like you would still ban a dangerous product, even though users could know the danger if they really wanted to.
Banning TikTok isn't really about personal information or even surveillance of any kind. Social media can be abused in many different ways, and much more actively.
The debates around Facebook, Twitter and so on regarding political speech and misinformation is bad enough, and those companies at least don't have malicious intents and are criticized mostly for their inaction. With a company operating under Chinese law this is a whole other can of worms.
That's a great injustice to the Chinese people. But Americans poking their own eyes out in 'retaliation' makes neither Americans nor Chinese customers better off.
who said anything about making customers better off? it's done to hurt the other party's profit and expansion and influence.
Of course, if you get arbitrarily cynical, you are right. But then we'd need to have a very different discussion.
The defence budget of the US is in large part the gov's R&D budget and national economic programme. 'National Security' is now its headline for its international economic programme.
In the real world this is little more than just another politically motivated maneuver that will do little to undo the damage caused to the world and Western interests vis a vis China of the US withdrawing from the TPP.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. These TikTok users already won round 1 (Tulsa) and this would mean war.
A fitting note for every idea Taleb has ever had.
The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:
1. The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.
2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities).
3. The psychological biases that blind people, both individually and collectively, to uncertainty and to a rare event's massive role in historical affairs.
From your article:
Taleb, in a March 30 interview on Bloomberg Television, said a pandemic like the coronavirus outbreak was predictable and investors who weren’t hedged paid the price with steep losses. What’s impossible to predict is the timing of such an event, he said, which is why insurance must be in place at all times.
So essentially his "big idea" is the concept of insurance? That doesn't quite qualify as intellectually significant to me.
Now the West also needs to ban <X> (in this case, a social media platform) to function and is no better than its rival. If anything, this would prove the CCP was always right when it applied such measures in the past.
This sets a scary -albeit interesting- precedent.
It does no such thing. China was given market access under the precise promise of the Chinese would likewise open their own markets. They did not do that. Then they explicitly started banning American companies, conducting unfair trade practices, and more. All we're seeing now is a long await readjustment to reciprocity. Your logic is bizarre. If two parties were in a Mexican stand off, and both agreed to put down their guns only for one to not actually put them down, then the other party that put their gun down can pick it back up just fine. That other party IS better than it's rival because it acted in good faith, and it was it's rival who was deceitful.
Not good idea.
It is not about fairness it is just about power.
It always struck me how people in one nation can apply a single issue to defend his nation when there are many other issues that invalidate the argument about the fairness of his own nation actions.
Adding an extra wrong on top, doesn't make a right.
If it stops Chinese corporations getting an advantage great. But it seems ublikely to happen while US companies have the advantage, and once they start to lose it, it will probably be too late.
Even splitting doesn't help. You can try to split the main social network off from some other profit-generating activities, but they would probably start those up again, after some time. You can't split the social network, because then users of the smaller parts just join the bigger part again.
Currently we don't know how to do it, except encourage new companies to rise.
Lack of reciprocity is one of the weakest, I think.
If you want to talk to someone in China, you have to use WeChat and have your entire conversation mined by the CCP. There’s no encryption and no alternative. The writing has been on the wall for years that the US will be left with no choice but to blacklist Chinese apps in the same manner.
Thus it may make more sense to ban TikTok than WeChat. And always assume the CCP is listening to unencrypted communication. In fact, they are probably mining our comments in Hacker News.
Seems to me that it's not banned at all, they just release a region-specific version for a specific market.
Heck, region-encoded DVDs weren't a form of ban, don't you agree?
Tiktok is the same exact service with region-specific restrictions, primarily motivated to comply with local jurisdictions. That's it.
I’m guessing that the international tiktok hosts content that wouldn’t be allowed on China, and the CCP isn’t interested in having the workload of censoring the rest of the world’s content.
Bing has been in China forever.
Western platforms could always compete in China if they assent to domestic censorship laws like every Chinese platform. That's "fair" considering how onerous and costly compliance is. Western platforms simply have not invested in the necessary mass human moderation until the last few years, after confronted with the same violence that forced Chinese platforms to lock down post 2009 minority riots. Hence why Facebook and Google was open to engineering Chinese compliant versions after improving their moderation infrastructure following failed revolutions, genocides, mass shootings.
The reality is TikTok operates in US under US laws like how Bing operates in China under Chinese laws. There's nothing inherently unfair. The issue is asymmetric vulnerability due to fundamentally different governance systems. US could never leverage even western platforms operating legally in China to undermine China due to Chinese content controls - see China deleting diplomatic tweets on Chinese social media. But China can potentially leverage TikTok operating legally to undermine US. But instead of transferring TikTok to US ownership, which is merely anticompetitive, Trump decides to ban via executive action which is... upright undemocratic. That said, it's totally justifiable on security basis. But just remember China-hawks in current admin have no problem becoming the thing they wish to fight. That's what Americans should fear.
They get the best of all worlds.
The Chinese are relegated to using whatever is available in their country whereas western citizens can use whatever is best in the world.
So yes, it’s extremely unfair on the Chinese people.
(These ideas are from Henry Kissinger's on China, Destined for War by Graham T. Allison and The China Dream by Liu Mingfu)
There has been multiple rounds of racial genocide in China's history, some by internal turmoil, and more by external invasion. Yet the Chinese culture survived.
It might sounds incredible, but so many people in such a huge land, have its own life strength.
If you think a political dictator can purge a nation's history tie, in 10 years, without actually killing all the people, then you are certainly underestimate Chinese people's strength and ernacity...
You work in tech, right? Ever run this take by your Chinese coworkers? Ask them about their families' connection to Chinese tradition?
That doesn't mean they're perfect or blessed but they've definitely been there the whole time.
Obviously something as big as the introduction of jianti is quite radical and will have downsides but it's really overplayed by armchair spectators. For a fluent speaker it is at most an inconvenience - like reading chaucer or shakespeare, except the grammar is exactly the same only the spelling differs.
But it's clearly a continuous culture. We don't use a bunch of wacky f's in our writing anymore in America, doesn't mean we're not a continuous culture on our timeframe.
It's a change, and one that history purists tend to not like, but definitely not a culture-breaking change or something that breaks links to the past. There are still a lot of ancient pictograms left in the simplified characters, a lot of connections to concepts, ideas and views from past millennia.
Though fun fact, Mussolini was pretty big on emphasizing the whole Italy == Rome deal.
And in the US there's only maybe 300 years of serious history to cover so I recall my history class had to reach all the way back to Greece as an idealogical source of American democracy.
To check the validity of this statement while neutralizing my own bias, I watched the following video  which maps out China’s political borders year by year from 1600 BCE to 2017. Watching at 2x speed on mute took 4 minutes and was quite illuminating.
: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWqVzZnwnOk "The History of China : Every Year"
: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Wu0Q7x5D0 "The History of the World: Every Year"
In a way, you're doing Chinese history a huge disservice by making it a lot less interesting than it actually is when you claim that it's all just one empire persisting steadily through time.
And anyway, "the west" has a continuous history going all the way back through the ancient Greeks. That's at least two and a half millennia. It's not been the same people or the same empire since then, obviously (same for China), but the continuous written history easily goes back at least that far.
I'm baffled by what this means. Could you compare it to the United Kingdom for me? Are you conflating written history with continuous history?
For instance the sunzi bingfa (art of war) was written in 500BC and still is mostly understandable today.
On the other hand if I were to drop a reference from Vergil or Homer in latin/greek. I would be branded of being in cahoots with Boris Johnson and very few people would understand it.
Edit: And even that - I don't think Italians really would understand Latin texts (tho will have a better chance than brits). I think ancient greek is a little easier for modern greek speakers tho.
> The Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent that they cannot understand each other.... [They] also have another language which is like a universal and common language; this is the official language of the mandarins and of the court; it is among them like Latin among ourselves....
The idea that you could transplant a peasant between millennia in China or even over any significant distance, and have them remain intelligible is simply untrue. In addition, you could take an educated person in most of Europe in the last 2000 years and expect to be able to communicate with them in Latin — it’s only the last hundred years or so when this has fallen out of favour. So recently in fact that nobody raised an eyebrow about the fact I had mandatory Latin lessons from the age of ten at my school, in the 90s.
For starters the written language is essentially the same between the chinese dialects - so learning a new one is mostly an exercise of mapping sounds and then learning new idioms. Passing as a native speaker though will be harder as the canto/mando split highlights.
You're right - latin's influence is still amongst us. Indeed I believe it was common to teach Germans Latin in the hope it would make them have a stronger technical appreciation of German. And the UK legal system has its roots in the Roman legal system.
That said I assure you Latin the language is far more arcane than the standard Chinese. Meanwhile in China, suntzu bingfa will be learned and referenced in culture and people have statues of zhugeliang and guanyu in their homes displayed at chinese new year. I haven't met a friend yet you has an Aeneas or Caesar displayed in their house.
Maybe Hercules and Zeus as figures are more prominent examples of people we have remembered but they aren't really celebrated in that first hand nature. I don't think Brits identify with Hercules or even Boudica. But I would posit chinese people do identify with the ancient greats like kongzi.
I think the idea of identity is key. Interestingly the Chinese people in Singapore and Malaysia diverged from China ~150-200 years ago. But this sense of identity with the old chinese history has been preserved between both of them so you can't just write this off to CCP propaganda.
Perhaps culturally Chinese culture has always sought to unify/assimilate things into its monoculture whereas the history in Western europe has been a more fluid and accepting melting pot.
And people have been living in Europe for thousands of years too. The "4000 year history" is a CCP thing they sell to the populace to make their dictatorship seem more legitimate. It's pretty stupid, most cultures have been around for at least 1000 years.
Differences between civilizations can feel offensive.
There's some evidence remaining that China was once a collection of societies. Notably language. The CCP insists that all of China speaks Mandarin, but thats only the case since the cultural revolution.
Chinese writing is indeed nearly universal. But spoken language once had many dialects, and still does to an extent. These dialects are sometimes mutually unintelligible. If it wasn't for CCP party line they would be considered different languages, as part of Chinese language family. Much like many of the southern Asian languages are different languages that cluster together.
Yes. As I mentioned these ideas are not mine but advanced by 3 books which explain the Chinese perspective. These books are bipartisan and multinational and explain this principal.
* Henry Kissinger's on China (Republican)
* Destined for War by Graham T. Allison (Democrat - Joe Biden recommended book)
* The China Dream by Liu Mingfu (Chinese PLA General)
What "real chaos" has "China" (which is, by the way, nowhere homogenous) seen that we have not seen?
EDIT: I suppose the Great Leap Forward was an example of "real chaos", to an extent we haven't seen in the West. But where was China's 4,000 years of history to stop the deaths of millions of their own?
Yellow Turban Rebellion
Northern and Southern dynasties:
An Lushan Rebellion:
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period
Ming Qing Transition:
Second Sino-Japanese War:
Ever heard of Pax Romana?
Not at least, 45 is on the high end of estimates
>Frank Dikötter, Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and the author of Mao's Great Famine, estimated that at least 45 million people died from starvation, overwork and state violence during the Great Leap Forward, claiming his findings to be based on access to recently opened local and provincial party archives.
I mean, the word "civilization" just makes reference to a complex society with certain societal and governmental structures. A civilization can be peaceful but it can also be brutal. Many (if not all) historical civilizations started wars, took slaves, forced people to adopt certain religions or customs, or made outright genocides, and that doesn't make them less of a civilization.
This is ill-informed and easily proven wrong.
I'm no China apologist, but the Chinese have suffered the worst human disasters in history.
Let's go down the list of top 10 anthropogenic disasters by geometric mean death toll and count the causalities in China :
1. 2nd World War estimated 70 million dead, 17.5 million dead in China 
2. Three Kingdom War 38 million dead, all Chinese
3. Mongol Conquests 35 million dead and transition from Song to Yuan. Chinese population registers drop from 140 million to 70 million. 
4. European Colonization of the Americas 35 million dead, no Chinese dead
5. Taiping Rebellion 35 million dead, all Chinese
6 Red Eyebrows Rebellion 30 million dead, all Chinese
7. Muslim conquest of India 41 million dead, no Chinese
8. Ming Conquest of Yuan 30 million dead, all Chinese
9. Qing conquest of Ming 25 million dead, all Chinese
10. Second Sino-Japanese War 22 million dead, mostly Chinese
and as a bonus:
11. An Lushan Rebellion 21 million dead, all Chinese
Let's count the bodies.
Total dead in 11 conflicts: about 380 million dead
Chinese dead: about 200-220 million dead.
The Chinese are in a whole other ball park in terms of historical suffering. Nothing in American history compares to even a civil war most Americans have never heard of, like the An Lushan rebellion. For perspective, "only" 700,000 American soldiers died in the US Civil War and there were no accounts of civilian casualties of similar magnitude.
Absolutely mind boggling.