Barbarian Management

So, if our underlying crisis as a society is a “love deficit” to borrow from Cornel West, then one might wonder what it is that serves as the underlying cause or impetus of the “love deficit”? In a sense, we can understand where the crisis and thus this “love deficit” comes from when we compare the rapid breakthroughs which China has made in recent days in Middle East diplomacy, for instance, compared to decades of crisis, deadlock, and stalemate produced by American “diplomacy” and intervention in the Middle East.

When I was a graduate student, a friend and classmate of mine who was from Kuwait based his qualitative methodology of research paper and presentation on the nature and the outcomes of American diplomacy and intervention in the Middle East. His main argument and the main point he was trying to make through empirical evidence and methods was that the more America got engaged in the Middle East and the more America intervened in the Middle East, the more divided and hostile the countries in the Middle East became towards one another. On the other hand, his empirical evidence and method also showed that less American engagement and intervention in the Middle East almost always translated into friendlier and warmer ties between the countries of the Middle East. 

Hence, what we have come up with thus far is entirely evidence-based and scientific. For Washington to produce one set of outcomes in the Middle East while China produces an entirely different set of outcomes in the Middle East only in a span of a few days shows that the “love deficit” is also a matter of civilization and humanness. In other words, Beijing is far more civilized and human than Washington, and this can explain not only the outcomes of Middle Eastern diplomacy, but it can also explain our “love deficit” here in the United States and China’s rise in recent decades as a global power. 

Plus, as Henry Kissinger wrote: “European-style ideas of interstate politics and diplomacy were not unknown in the Chinese experience; rather, they existed as a kind of countertradition taking place within China in times of disunity. But as if by some unwritten law, these periods of division ended with the reunification of All Under Heaven, and the reassertion of Chinese centrality by a new dynasty.” The idea in Washington that China is engaging in the Middle East because of self-interest, oil, and money is merely self-projection, based on what Kissinger has made of the psyche behind Chinese diplomacy and statecraft. For China, the overarching purpose of diplomacy and statecraft is the management of the barbarians which we find in Washington and in other Western capitals today. As Kissinger wrote: 

“The principles of barbarian management became so ingrained in Chinese official thought that when the European ‘barbarians’ arrived on China’s shores in force in the nineteenth century, Chinese officials described their challenge with the same phrases used by their dynastic predecessors: they would “use barbarians against barbarians” until they could be soothed out and subdued. And they applied a traditional strategy to answer the initial British attack. They invited other European countries in for the purpose of first stimulating and then manipulating their rivalry.” 

Hence, the primary objective or goal of Chinese diplomacy and statecraft is not conquest, but rather, to deter conquest by barbarians. And this anti-barbarian and anti-imperialistic character of Chinese diplomacy and statecraft has now come in full display in recent days by bringing the two largest regional powers in the Middle East who have been vehemently opposed towards one another together to restore ties between themselves. A feat, which one must note, Washington has not been able to achieve in decades, for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the foremost reason being that Asia has proven to be far more civilized and human than we are here in the West. 

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