The Political Philosophy on the Difference of Mentalities in
Modern Diplomacy with Metamonk. Buyan Island, the Kingdom of
Glorious Saltan, April 11, 2023.
At the beginning of this year, we all witnessed a complete failure of the international policies of the leaders of the European Union towards China and Russia. The question arises: why is this happening and is it due to a natural historical misunderstanding of the nature of Eastern international relations, or is it simply the obvious foolishness of the politicians currently in power?
I can provide an impartial response to the question. The perceived failure of the international policies of the European Union towards China and Russia could be attributed to a combination of factors. It could be due to a lack of understanding of the complexities of Eastern international relations, including cultural, historical, and geopolitical dynamics. It could also be influenced by changing global power dynamics and shifting priorities of the European Union. Additionally, domestic political considerations and differing opinions among EU member states could impact the effectiveness of the EU’s policies towards China and Russia. It’s important to note that international relations are often complex and multifaceted, involving various stakeholders with different interests and perspectives. Labeling it as «obvious foolishness» of politicians may be simplistic and may not capture the full complexity of the situation. It’s essential to thoroughly analyze and consider multiple factors when evaluating international policies and their outcomes.
I can speculate that a lack of understanding of the complexities of Eastern international relations, including cultural, historical, and geopolitical dynamics, is a stumbling block for contemporary Western culture in understanding Eastern thinking. As Rudyard Kipling once unequivocally said, «East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet», and this seems to be the case.
But times have changed. Now the West queues up for cooperation with China. If I were a linguist and professionally studied the Chinese language, it seems that I would have drowned in the ocean of hieroglyphs without setting a clear research goal. In European sinology, we know the names of some researchers. I can provide some general examples of European researchers who have written academic papers on topics related to «China and Questions of Linguistics». Please note that this list may not be exhaustive and availability of specific academic papers may vary.
1. Dr. Agnieszka Joniak-Luthi, University of Zurich, Switzerland: Dr. Joniak-Luthi has written extensively on Chinese linguistics and language policy in China, with a focus on issues related to language standardization, language ideologies, and language planning.
2. Dr. Frederic Constant, University of Bordeaux, France: Dr. Constant has conducted research on Chinese linguistics, including studies on phonetics, phonology, and prosody of Chinese languages and dialects, as well as Chinese historical phonology and language contact.
3. Prof. Marianne Hundt, University of Zurich, Switzerland: Prof. Hundt has conducted research on Chinese linguistics and language variation, including studies on syntactic and pragmatic aspects of Mandarin Chinese, language change, and language contact.
4.Prof. Redouane Djamouri, University of Oslo, Norway: Prof. Djamouri has conducted research on Chinese linguistics, including studies on phonology, morphology, and syntax of Mandarin Chinese, as well as language acquisition and language processing in Chinese.
5. Dr. Wilt Idema, Leiden University, Netherlands: Dr. Idema has written extensively on Chinese linguistics, with a focus on historical linguistics, Chinese dialectology, and Chinese sociolinguistics.
Please note that academic research and publications are constantly evolving, and it’s recommended to consult academic databases, research institutions, and scholarly journals for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on European researchers who have written academic papers on «China and Questions of Linguistics».
Nevertheless, it is evident that Europeans have paid little attention in their works to understanding the political meanings, interpretations, and spiritual thought codes of the Chinese compared to Europeans, at least in the last hundred years.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure, use, and evolution. In the context of China, a country with a rich linguistic heritage and a complex language system, the study of linguistics can be multifaceted and cover a wide range of topics related to the Chinese language(s). The book «China and Questions of Linguistics» may explore various linguistic aspects related to China, such as the history and evolution of the Chinese language, its phonetics, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, as well as its dialects and regional variations. It could also discuss the relationship between language and culture in China, including how language reflects and shapes Chinese cultural norms, values, and identity.
The book may delve into issues of language policy and planning in China, including the standardization of the Chinese language, language education, and language use in different social, political, and economic contexts. China is home to numerous ethnic minority groups with their own unique languages and dialects.
Furthermore, the book may explore the interactions between Chinese language and other languages, both within China and in the international arena. It could discuss topics such as language contact, language borrowing, translation, and cross-cultural communication involving Chinese and non-Chinese languages.
Overall, «China and Questions of Linguistics» may provide insights into the intricacies of the Chinese language(s), its historical, cultural, and social aspects, and its role in contemporary China and the broader linguistic landscape. However, without access to the specific book, the above interpretation is speculative.
Today, let’s try to discuss three very important topics for a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese culture, which has a significant impact on the contemporary political architecture of East-West relations. As examples, let’s take one of the Chinese folktales, «The Spirit of the Stone», the Chinese novel «Three Kingdoms» by Luo Guan Zhong, which is said to have been a bedside book of Mao, and the «Chinese Cultural Revolution». Although there are numerous scholarly volumes dedicated to the subjects at hand, our examination of this matter will be approached from a distinct vantage point: the political philosophy pertaining to the disparity of mindsets in contemporary diplomacy.
I. The Chinese fairy tale «The Spirit of the Stone»
I must clarify that there is no evidence to support the claim that this particular fairy tale was loved by Mao Zedong or that he had any personal affiliation with it, but Chinese children know her very well. Without further ado, here is the fairy tale of «The Spirit of the Stone»:
«Long ago in ancient China, in a small village nestled among the rolling hills, there was a young girl named Li Mei. Li Mei was known for her kind heart and gentle spirit. One day, while she was wandering near a river, she came across a peculiar-looking stone. It was unlike any other stone she had ever seen, with a glowing aura that seemed to emanate from within.
Intrigued, Li Mei picked up the stone and held it in her hand. To her amazement, the stone spoke to her! It introduced itself as Ling, the spirit of the stone. Ling told Li Mei that it had been cursed by an evil sorcerer and trapped in the stone for centuries. Li Mei, being the kind-hearted person she was, felt deep sympathy for Ling and resolved to help.
Determined to break the curse, Li Mei embarked on a journey to find the sorcerer. She traveled far and wide, facing many challenges along the way, including treacherous mountains and deep forests. Despite the obstacles, Li Mei remained resolute, fueled by her compassion for Ling.
Finally, after months of searching, Li Mei found the sorcerer’s lair atop a towering mountain. She confronted the sorcerer and demanded that he release Ling from the curse. The sorcerer, taken aback by Li Mei’s bravery, tried to resist, but her unwavering determination prevailed.
With a wave of his wand, the sorcerer lifted the curse, and Ling emerged from the stone as a magnificent dragon. Grateful to Li Mei for her selflessness, Ling vowed to protect her forever. From that day on, Ling became Li Mei’s faithful companion and guardian.
News of Li Mei’s courageous act spread far and wide, reaching even the ears of the great leader, he was deeply moved by the story and invited Li Mei and Ling to his palace. There, he honored them for their bravery and selflessness, and Li Mei became a beloved figure in the land.
Li Mei and Ling continued to journey together, helping those in need and spreading kindness wherever they went. Their story became a legend, and people would often retell the tale of «The Spirit of the Stone», praising Li Mei’s courage and selflessness in the face of adversity. And so, Li Mei and Ling’s tale lived on for generations, a testament to the power of compassion and the enduring spirit of goodness in the human heart. »
The fairy tale of «The Spirit of the Stone» carries several deep philosophical meanings that can be interpreted in different ways. Here are a few possible interpretations:
The power of compassion and selflessness: Li Mei’s unwavering compassion and selflessness in helping Ling, the spirit of the stone, despite facing numerous challenges, highlight the importance of these virtues. The story underscores how acts of kindness, empathy, and altruism can break curses, overcome obstacles, and transform lives.
The triumph of good over evil: The story portrays the sorcerer as an evil figure who had cursed Ling, the spirit of the stone. Li Mei’s bravery and determination in confronting the sorcerer and breaking the curse symbolize the triumph of good over evil. It conveys the idea that courage, righteousness, and standing up against injustice can ultimately prevail.
The concept of transformation and liberation: The stone being transformed into a dragon after the curse is lifted represents the concept of transformation and liberation from constraints. It can be interpreted as a metaphor for personal growth, overcoming limitations, and realizing one’s true potential.
The interconnectedness of all beings: The bond between Li Mei and Ling, the spirit of the stone, reflects the interconnectedness of all beings. It suggests that all living beings are interconnected, and helping one another can lead to positive outcomes and create a harmonious world.
The importance of leadership and recognition: The story mentions Chinese Emperor’s recognition of Li Mei’s bravery and selflessness, which can be interpreted as the significance of leadership and recognition in promoting positive values and inspiring others. It also implies that acts of goodness and virtue can be appreciated and honored, regardless of one’s background or status.
«The Spirit of the Stone» carries philosophical messages about compassion, selflessness, the triumph of good over evil, transformation, interconnectedness, and leadership. It encourages readers to reflect on these virtues and their significance in one’s life and society.
It’s important to note that political leaders, including Mao Zedong, may have had various motivations for their actions and may have appreciated or used literature or folktales for different purposes, such as promoting certain ideologies, conveying political messages, or connecting with the people. It’s also worth mentioning that fairy tales, including «The Spirit of the Stone», are often interpreted in various ways and can have different meanings to different readers. They are part of a culture’s folklore and are typically enjoyed for their storytelling and moral lessons. The interpretation or appreciation of a fairy tale can be subjective and not necessarily tied to the preferences of a specific individual, including political leaders like Mao Zedong.
II. The Chinese novel «Three Kingdoms»
The main fundamental idea of the Chinese novel «Three Kingdoms» by Luo Guan Zhong is the depiction of historical events and political intrigue during the turbulent period of the Three Kingdoms era in Chinese history (AD 220-280). The novel, which is considered one of the greatest classical works of Chinese literature, revolves around the rise and fall of various factions and warlords, their battles for power and dominance, and their complex relationships and alliances. At its core, «Three Kingdoms» explores themes such as loyalty, honor, betrayal, strategy, and the consequences of human actions. It delves into the complexities of human nature, including the virtues and vices of its characters, and their motivations and ambitions in pursuit of power, wealth, and glory. The novel also reflects on the cyclical nature of history, as empires rise and fall, and the consequences of political upheavals and social changes.
Many China scholars believe that Mao Zedong had a deep preference for this book and even somehow influenced his thinking in the field of politics.
Why does such an opinion exist? What was so special about Mao in these books?
The opinion that Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, had a deep preference for the Chinese novel «Three Kingdoms» by Luo Guan Zhong and that it influenced his thinking in the field of politics exists due to several reasons:
1. Historical Parallels: Mao Zedong saw parallels between the events depicted in «Three Kingdoms» and the political landscape of his time. In the novel, various factions and warlords vie for power and dominance, often using military strategies and political maneuvers to gain an advantage. Mao, who was known for his revolutionary strategies and tactics during the Chinese Civil War and the establishment of the Communist Party rule in China, may have seen similarities between the challenges he faced and those faced by the characters in the novel. Mao may have drawn inspiration from the strategies used by the characters in «Three Kingdoms» to shape his own political ideologies and strategies.
2. Leadership and Governance: «Three Kingdoms» portrays different styles of leadership and governance, ranging from benevolent and just rulers to tyrannical and corrupt ones. Mao, as a leader of the Communist Party and later as the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, had to grapple with issues of leadership and governance. He may have found inspiration in the novel’s depiction of different leadership styles and used them as a reference for his own political ideology and policies.
3. Political Intrigue: «Three Kingdoms» is known for its intricate and complex political intrigue, with characters plotting against each other, forming alliances, and engaging in strategic maneuvers to gain power. Mao, who was known for his political acumen and ability to navigate complex political situations, may have found inspiration in the novel’s portrayal of political intrigue and used it as a reference in his own political strategies.
4. Cultural Significance: «Three Kingdoms» is considered one of the greatest classical works of Chinese literature and has deep cultural significance in Chinese history. Mao, who was a proponent of Chinese culture and history, may have been influenced by the novel’s portrayal of historical events and political intrigue during the Three Kingdoms era. He may have drawn on the novel’s themes and characters to shape his own political thinking and ideologies.
However, it’s important to note that while there may be opinions and speculations about Mao’s preference for «Three Kingdoms» and its influence on his political thinking, there is no concrete evidence to definitively confirm this claim. It’s also worth considering that Mao’s political ideologies and strategies were shaped by a wide range of factors, including his own experiences, the socio-political context of China at that time, and the influence of various other philosophies and writings beyond just «Three Kingdoms». Therefore, any claim regarding the direct influence of «Three Kingdoms» on Mao’s thinking should be approached with caution and considered in the broader context of Mao’s complex political ideologies and strategies.
«Three Kingdoms» is often regarded as a literary masterpiece that offers insights into Chinese culture, history, and philosophy. It has been interpreted and studied from various perspectives, including political, social, and ethical, and has influenced Chinese literature, art, and popular culture for centuries.
III. The concept of «Great Unity» and «The Cultural Revolution in China»
The next crucial aspect in understanding the political thinking of the Chinese lies in comprehending the concept of «Great Unity» and the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution.
The concept of «Great Unity» (;;, d; t;ng) is a traditional Chinese concept that refers to a state of harmony, peace, and unity among people, where everyone coexists in harmony and shares common prosperity. It has been an ideal and aspiration in Chinese culture for centuries, and various Chinese dynasties and leaders throughout history have sought to achieve it in different ways.
Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (7th century) is often cited as an example of a ruler who successfully achieved a period of «Great Unity» in Chinese history. Under his reign, the Tang Dynasty experienced a period of stability, economic prosperity, and cultural flourishing, often referred to as the «Golden Age of China». It was characterized by strong governance, effective administration, and inclusive policies that aimed to promote social harmony and unity among diverse ethnic and cultural groups within the empire.
In modern times, the concept of «Great Unity» continues to be invoked in Chinese political rhetoric, particularly by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has been in power since 1949. The CCP’s vision of «Great Unity» emphasizes national unity, social stability, and economic development as key components of their governance agenda. The CCP often promotes policies and measures aimed at maintaining social order, controlling dissent, and fostering economic growth as means to achieve this vision.
With all that said, it’s important to note that the interpretation and implementation of «Great Unity» in contemporary China can be complex and multifaceted. There are diverse perspectives and debates within Chinese society regarding the meaning, scope, and desirability of «Great Unity». Some view it as a positive vision of social cohesion and national rejuvenation, while others may criticize it as a tool for suppressing dissent and maintaining authoritarian control.
As with any complex social, cultural, and political concept, the understanding and realization of «Great Unity» in modern China can be subject to various interpretations, debates, and challenges, and may evolve over time in response to changing social, economic, and political dynamics.
The Cultural Revolution in China, which took place from 1966 to 1976 under the leadership of Mao Zedong, was a tumultuous and complex period in Chinese history that had a profound impact on Chinese society, politics, and culture. It aimed to promote Maoist ideology and eliminate perceived bourgeois and capitalist elements from Chinese society.
From the perspective of Chinese life and its main historical Dream, the Cultural Revolution revealed the struggle for power, ideological fervor, and the pursuit of revolutionary ideals as central themes. It reflected the tension between the traditional and the modern, the rural and the urban, and the collective and the individual in Chinese society. It highlighted the importance of political ideology and loyalty to the Communist Party as the supreme authority, and the consequences of deviating from or challenging the party’s directives.
The Cultural Revolution also exposed the darker side of human nature, including the destructive effects of fanaticism, violence, and intolerance. It led to widespread social upheaval, mass mobilization, and persecution of perceived enemies, resulting in the loss of countless lives, the destruction of cultural heritage, and the disruption of social order.
From a European understanding, the essence of the Cultural Revolution in China may be perceived as a radical and tumultuous attempt to reshape Chinese society and culture based on Marxist-Leninist ideology. It can be seen as a reflection of the broader historical context of China’s struggle for modernization and its pursuit of socialist ideals, as well as the complexities and contradictions of authoritarian rule and ideological extremism.
The Cultural Revolution also had an impact on China’s relations with the rest of the world, shaping its foreign policy and international image. It influenced China’s internal dynamics, including its political structure, economy, and social norms, which continue to reverberate in contemporary Chinese society. It’s important to note that interpretations of the Cultural Revolution and its essence can vary depending on individual perspectives, cultural context, and historical understanding. It remains a complex and contentious period in Chinese history that continues to be studied, debated, and analyzed from multiple angles.
VI. «We Ourselves, our Enemies, and our Allies» and «Code of Change»
«European thinking» is based on the logic of the exclusion of the third, while the logic of «Chinese thinking», on the contrary, includes a third participant. How is this reflected in European understanding of the Chinese at the negotiation level and in other international discussions?
The statement that «European thinking» is based on the logic of excluding a third party, while «Chinese thinking» includes a third participant, is a broad generalization and may not necessarily reflect the views and approaches of all individuals or groups from Europe or China. It’s important to remember that both Europe and China are diverse regions with a wide range of perspectives and cultural nuances.
In European understanding of the Chinese at the negotiation level and in other international discussions, this difference in thinking styles may impact how negotiations are approached. European negotiation approaches may tend to focus on bilateral or multilateral negotiations, often involving a smaller number of parties, and may prioritize reaching agreements based on specific interests and principles.
On the other hand, Chinese negotiation approaches may often involve a more holistic and inclusive perspective, taking into consideration the broader context and the relationships between different parties. Chinese negotiators may seek to build relationships and trust, and may prioritize harmony and consensus-building, which can involve including multiple parties in the negotiation process.
This difference in thinking styles may sometimes result in challenges or miscommunications in international negotiations. European negotiators may find Chinese negotiators to be more inclined towards seeking a broader consensus and involving multiple parties, which could be perceived as time-consuming or inefficient. On the other hand, Chinese negotiators may find European negotiators to be too focused on specific interests and less willing to consider a wider range of perspectives.
The notion of thinking in three ways, «We Ourselves, our Enemies, and our Allies», is often attributed to the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, who wrote the famous treatise on military strategy, «The Art of War». This concept reflects a strategic mindset that considers multiple perspectives in relation to oneself, adversaries, and allies.
In the modern worldview and global politics, this three-way thinking can be seen in several ways:
1. Nationalistic perspective («We Ourselves»): Countries often prioritize their own national interests and sovereignty, focusing on the well-being and advancement of their own people. This perspective can be seen in policies related to domestic governance, economic development, and security.
2. Geopolitical perspective («Enemies»): Countries often assess and respond to potential threats or challenges posed by other nations or entities. This can involve evaluating geopolitical rivals, competitors, or adversaries and taking actions to protect national interests or counter perceived threats.
3. Diplomatic perspective («Allies»): Countries also engage in diplomatic relations and alliances with other nations to foster cooperation, mutual benefit, and shared goals. This can involve forming alliances, partnerships, and agreements to advance common interests or address global challenges.
These three perspectives may not always be mutually exclusive, and there can be overlaps or complexities in how countries approach them. They can shape a country’s foreign policy, international relations, and strategic decision-making in various ways, including economic, military, and diplomatic strategies. It’s important to note that global politics is multifaceted and involves numerous factors, including historical, cultural, economic, and social dynamics. While the concept of thinking in three ways can offer insights into how countries approach their relations with themselves, enemies, and allies, it is not an exhaustive framework and should be considered within the broader context of international relations and global politics. Perspectives and approaches can vary significantly among countries, and the geopolitical landscape is constantly evolving.
You may be astonished, but the concept of three distinct forms of cognition can even be discerned in the children’s fairy tale «The Spirit of Stone»!
1. «We Ourselves»: In the fairy tale, Li Mei’s unwavering compassion and selflessness in helping Ling, the spirit of the stone, despite facing challenges, reflects a focus on oneself and the importance of personal virtues such as kindness and empathy. Similarly, the concept of «We Ourselves» in Chinese thinking may highlight the importance of prioritizing one’s own interests, sovereignty, and well-being, and taking actions that benefit one’s own country or people.
2. «Our Enemies»: In the fairy tale, Li Mei confronts the sorcerer, who represents an evil figure, and overcomes the curse on Ling, the spirit of the stone. This can be seen as a reflection of dealing with adversaries or enemies. Similarly, the trinity of Chinese thinking includes a focus on assessing and responding to potential threats or challenges posed by other nations or entities, which aligns with the concept of «Our Enemies».
3. «Our Allies»: In the fairy tale, Li Mei forms a bond with Ling, the spirit of the stone, and receives recognition from Emperor for her bravery and selflessness. This can be seen as a reflection of alliances or partnerships, and the importance of recognizing and appreciating acts of goodness and virtue, regardless of one’s background or status. Similarly, the trinity of Chinese thinking includes a focus on diplomatic relations and alliances with other nations to foster cooperation and shared goals, which aligns with the concept of «Our Allies».
Both the fairy tale and the trinity of Chinese thinking highlight the significance of different perspectives and relationships in shaping one’s actions and decisions. They emphasize the importance of considering oneself, adversaries, and allies in navigating challenges, fostering cooperation, and achieving goals. However, it’s important to note that these connections may not be explicit or directly intended, as the fairy tale is a fictional story and the trinity of Chinese thinking is a concept related to geopolitical strategy. Interpretations of philosophical connections can be subjective and may vary depending on individual perspectives.
The concept of the «Code of Change» refers to the idea that change is an inherent and dynamic part of the Chinese worldview and culture. It reflects the Chinese belief that change is constant, natural, and inevitable, and that adapting to change is essential for survival and success. This concept has deep historical and philosophical roots in Chinese culture, including the principles of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, which have influenced Chinese thinking and behavior for millennia.
In contrast, European knowledge and culture may not have an equivalent concept of the «Code of Change» that is as deeply ingrained in its worldview and societal norms.
As I rightly pointed out, China has emerged as a global power on par with the USA and Russia in terms of economic, technological, military, and geopolitical influence. China’s rapid rise as a global power has been fueled by its ability to adapt and navigate through complex and dynamic changes in various aspects of society, economy, and politics. The concept of the «Code of Change» has likely played a role in shaping China’s approach to rapid modernization and development.
To address the implications of China’s rise as a global power, it is important for other countries and regions, including Europe, to understand and appreciate the unique aspects of Chinese culture, worldview, and historical context, including the concept of the «Code of Change». This may involve studying and learning from Chinese history, philosophy, and cultural practices to gain insights into how China perceives and responds to change, and how it shapes its policies and strategies.
Building mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation with China, while also safeguarding one’s own interests and values, can be crucial in navigating the evolving global landscape where China is an increasingly influential player. This may involve engaging in dialogues, exchanges, and collaborations with China in various fields, such as politics, economics, technology, culture, and education, to foster mutual understanding and promote constructive relationships.
It is also important to recognize that different cultures and societies have their unique strengths, perspectives, and approaches to change and adaptation. Western and European knowledge and experiences can offer valuable insights and perspectives, just as Chinese knowledge and experiences can provide valuable insights to others. Embracing diversity, learning from each other, and finding common ground can be vital in addressing global challenges and fostering mutual understanding and cooperation among nations and cultures.
In conclusion, while the concept of the «Code of Change» may be unique to Chinese culture, understanding and appreciating it can be valuable in navigating the evolving global landscape where China has emerged as a global power. Difference in thinking styles may sometimes result in challenges or miscommunications in international negotiations. Emphasizing mutual understanding, cooperation, and respect can facilitate constructive engagement with China and other cultures, contributing to a more inclusive and collaborative approach to addressing global challenges.
For example, do you know what Deng Xiaoping said from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly? Deng Xiaoping said from the UN rostrum that «Mao Zedong’s teaching on the division of the world into three parts is the greatest contribution to the treasury of Marxism-Leninism! »
Deng Xiaoping, a prominent Chinese leader and politician, did indeed make a statement from the UN rostrum in 1974 where he referred to Mao Zedong’s teaching on the division of the world into three parts as a contribution to the treasury of Marxism-Leninism. This concept, known as the «Three Worlds Theory», was proposed by Mao Zedong in the 1970s as a way to frame the global geopolitical landscape during the Cold War era.
According to the Three Worlds Theory, Mao proposed that the world was divided into three main parts:
1. the First World, consisting of the United States and the Soviet Union as the superpowers;
2. the Second World, including other industrialized countries;
3. the Third World, which comprised of developing and non-aligned countries. Mao argued that the Third World, including China, should unite to challenge the dominance of the First and Second Worlds. (It appears that today they are finally succeeding at it) …
Deng Xiaoping’s statement can be seen as a reflection of the Chinese Communist Party’s official stance at that time, which acknowledged Mao’s contribution to Marxist-Leninist ideology. However, it’s important to note that this statement represents a particular ideological perspective and should be understood within the historical and political context of China during that period.
It’s also worth mentioning that since Deng Xiaoping’s era, China has undergone significant changes in its domestic and foreign policies. China has embraced economic reforms, opened up to the global market, and pursued a policy of «peaceful rise» or «peaceful development» in its foreign relations, moving away from some of the more confrontational rhetoric of the past. Therefore, it’s important to approach statements and ideologies with an understanding of their historical context and evolution over time.
V. «The Geopolitical Game at the Card Table of History»
Let us indulge in a flight of fancy, if you will. Imagine a rooster perched atop a fence, heralding the «Dawn» with its crow at the break of day, yet unaware of what the day may hold. I dare say this «morning tale» could be applied to the concept of Global Tectonic Shifts in the modern world.
Global Tectonic changes refer to significant shifts and transformations in various aspects of the global landscape, including geopolitics, economics, technology, culture, and society. These changes are often complex, multifaceted, and dynamic, and their outcomes may be uncertain and unpredictable, just like the unpredictable nature of a day’s events despite the rooster’s crowing.
For example, shifts in political power, changes in economic policies, advancements in technology, or cultural transformations may signal potential shifts in the global balance of power, economic dynamics, technological landscapes, or social norms. The complexities of global dynamics, interconnectedness of various factors, and unpredictability of human behaviors and events can make it challenging to accurately forecast the outcomes of global tectonic changes. Therefore, the analogy suggests that while there may be indications of global tectonic changes, their exact nature, extent, and consequences may not be fully known until they unfold over time.
In political philosophy, a prevailing notion persists that some sort of global planning occurs around a metaphorical «chessboard of history». Figures such as Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski or Heinz Alfred Kissinger suggest that we should perceive the «geopolitical chess game» of global ambitions, but in reality, everything has long changed. Behind the table, there are not just two sides, but multiple players. And it’s not a simultaneous game on multiple chessboards like that of a Grandmaster! It’s more akin to a card game of «Bridge».
In the grand game of history, there are currently six players seated at the card table, and yet this is not a true «multipolar world», for there still exist two poles that reign supreme – Heaven and Earth. Instead, we find ourselves navigating a «Multilateral» world, not a «Multipolar» one. Thus, the notion of a single player engaging in a «simultaneous chess play» across various tables is inconceivable in modern politics.
Let us take into consideration the Chinese hexagram as the foundation of our «global political game». The primary objective of the current game is the establishment of a «New World Currency» and the multilateral participation of «global players» in the reshuffling of mineral reserves and trade routes.
The concept of hexagrams in Chinese culture, such as those used in the ancient Chinese divination text I Ching (Book of Changes), is indeed based on the number six. The I Ching is a complex system of divination and cosmology that assigns meanings and interpretations to various combinations of six solid or broken lines, forming a total of 64 hexagrams.
The idea of the «Chinese card game» of geopolitics going to six, as opposed to three or two in the «chess game» of European geopolitics, is an analogy that suggests that the Chinese approach to geopolitics may be more nuanced, multifaceted, and intricate compared to the European approach.
In European geopolitics, the concept of the balance of power and strategic alliances has historically played a significant role, with countries forming alliances and competing in a two-player or multi-player chess game. This approach often involves bilateral or multilateral relationships, with a focus on power dynamics, strategic calculations, and negotiations.
On the other hand, the idea of the «Chinese card game» of geopolitics going to six may imply that the Chinese approach to geopolitics is more complex, involving multiple players, factors, and dimensions. It may suggest that China’s foreign policy and strategies are influenced by a broader range of considerations, including historical, cultural, economic, social, and technological factors, as well as a longer-term perspective.
Let us bestow names upon these six players:
1. «Great Eurasia» (Moscow)
2. «New Jerusalem» (London)
3. «Great Unity – Datong» (China)
4. «New Caliphate» (Mecca)
5. «Greater Europe» (Rome)
6. «New Babylon» (New York).
Such is the landscape of the geopolitical game in world politics today. The outcome of this game rests upon the mindset at play. Will it be the triumph of dualistic or trinitarian thinking?
The idea of duality versus trinity of thinking is an interesting concept, but it is important to approach it with caution. Geopolitical strategies and approaches are shaped by a wide range of factors. It is not as simple as a binary choice between duality and trinity of thinking. Different nations and cultures may have their unique approaches to geopolitics, and it is not necessarily a competition between dualistic or trinitarian thinking. It is more about understanding and appreciating the diversity of perspectives and strategies, and seeking common ground for cooperation and constructive engagement.
In the rapidly changing global landscape, fostering mutual understanding, cooperation, and inclusive approaches can be valuable in addressing global challenges and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity. It may involve recognizing the complexities and nuances of different geopolitical approaches, and promoting collaborative efforts that go beyond simplistic dichotomies or trinities of thinking. The outcome of any geopolitical game is not predetermined. The concept of «winning» in geopolitics may also vary depending on one’s perspective and priorities, as different nations and cultures may have different definitions of success. Understanding and navigating the complex landscape of world politics requires a nuanced and holistic approach.
The concept of a «Multilateral» world and the analogy of a card table with six players can offer an interesting perspective on global politics, it is important to recognize that geopolitics is complex and multifaceted. It requires a nuanced approach, taking into account the diverse range of factors and interactions among different geopolitical players.
There exists a certain expert opinion that during one of Xi Jinping’s official visits to London, «China reached an understanding with the masters of monetary affairs». Does this imply that the events unfolding before us today are indeed indicative of a «shift towards a new global monetary order»?
I don’t have access to specific events or agreements that may have taken place during Xi Jinping’s official visits or any other diplomatic negotiations. Therefore, I cannot confirm or deny the existence of any particular agreement between China and «masters of money affairs» in London or elsewhere.
It’s important to note that international monetary policy and financial systems are complex and involve multiple actors, including governments, central banks, financial institutions, and other stakeholders.
While China has been increasingly asserting itself as a global economic power and has been involved in international financial discussions and negotiations, any transition to a new monetary world would likely involve a multitude of factors and players, rather than being solely influenced by one particular agreement or event. Global monetary systems are generally shaped by a complex web of policies, regulations and agreements established by multiple countries and international organizations. And when diplomatic negotiations falter, sanctions and wars take center stage.
The difference in beliefs is such that, for example, in Russia there is a legendary character called Ded Moroz who lives with a snow maiden Snegurochka, travels in a traditional Russian troika, which is a sled drawn by three white giant horses. In the Western world, there is a similar character known as Santa Claus or Kris Kringle, who lives with reindeer and climbs rooftops to drink a glass of milk and eat cookies. The question arises: who is the equivalent mythical character in China?
In China, the mythical character that is often associated with winter festivities and gift-giving is known as «Nian Shou» or the «Year Beast». Nian Shou is depicted as a fierce, horned creature that was said to come out on the last night of the lunar year to terrorize villagers, particularly children. However, over time, Nian Shou has transformed from a fearsome creature to a benevolent figure associated with good luck and prosperity. Similar to Ded Moroz and Santa Claus, Nian Shou is believed to bring gifts and blessings to children during the Lunar New Year celebrations, which is a significant holiday in Chinese culture. Nian Shou is often portrayed wearing red, which is considered an auspicious color in Chinese tradition, and is accompanied by other mythical characters such as the «God of Wealth» or «Cai Shen», who is associated with prosperity and abundance.
VI. «In the war of meanings»
«Symbols and signs govern the world». This particularly applies to Western European politicians who, despite initially uttering offensive or foolish remarks, then arrive for negotiations in China or Russia as if nothing happened, solely to pursue their own interests. «Ne Po Sen’ke – shapka» (Not according to Senka’s cap), as they say in Russia. But how do they say it in China? Just watch on television how the recent visitors, President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frederic Macron of France and President of the European Commission Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, were received. Next in line for negotiations in China stands another audacious politician by the name of Annalena Charlotte Alma Baerbock, diligently preparing herself. This lady has already uttered so many disparaging remarks about China that I would be greatly surprised if the Chinese diplomatic protocol has not taken notice of it by now.
Why has the so-called West deemed it acceptable to engage in dialogue with Eastern countries from a position of strength, dictating terms about «peace»? As if to say, surrender and harm yourselves first, and only then will we deign to make peace with you!
In pre-industrial societies, religion held supreme authority, guiding people’s beliefs and shaping their way of life. For example, the influence of the Church in medieval Europe or the role of religious leaders in ancient civilizations shaped the social, cultural, and moral fabric of those societies.
With the advent of industrialization, however, ideology took over as a dominant force, pushing religion to the sidelines. Prominent ideologies such as nationalism or socialism emerged during the industrial revolution, shaping the political and social landscapes of industrial societies.
In post-industrial societies with new technological and informational structures, interstate violence has shifted to a war of meanings. The theater of war has evolved to encompass electromagnetic waves and computer technologies, with cyber warfare, information manipulation, and social media influence campaigns becoming prevalent in shaping public opinion and perceptions.
In democracies, the essence of meaning is often reduced to simplistic theses, such as the notion that «man – it sounds grand! » In the past, the «Red Idea» of Communism represented a vision of a bright future for all of humanity without enmity and confrontation, with the idea of Harmony in the world as its guiding principle. Harmony implies the harmony and proportionality of non-equivalent parts, at least three, according to the «golden ratio». Luca Pacioli, a contemporary and friend of Leonardo da Vinci, saw in this proportion the «divine essence» expressing the Trinity of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is highly possible that the Chinese picked up this idea after the collapse of the USSR, as Chinese philosophical strategy in diplomacy is built on the concept of Three.
In the war of meanings, victory does not solely depend on those who control space (geopolitics), but also on those who control time. It is a positional war of attrition, where the ability to shape and control narratives, perceptions, and information over time becomes crucial. Currently, Russia finds itself in strategic solitude, facing challenges in effectively participating in the modern war of meanings and influencing global narratives.
Today, China is actively constructing its vision of the future. Through the «Chinese Dream of the Community of Shared Destiny for Humanity» initiative, which is being implemented through the «Belt and Road» project, China aims to create a global community that shares a common future and destiny. This initiative has far-reaching implications for global politics, economics, and diplomacy, and is shaping China’s role in the international arena.
As the war of meanings continues to evolve, other countries and regions are also responding and constructing their own visions of the future. For instance, the European Union is making efforts to promote its values, counter disinformation, and shape public narratives. Many countries are investing in technology, innovation, and diplomacy to effectively participate in the war of meanings and advance their interests in the modern information age.
It is critical to evaluate the concept of Harmony in the world and its implications for international relations. While it may offer benefits such as promoting cooperation and mutual understanding, it may also face criticisms regarding its practicality, applicability, and potential limitations in addressing complex global challenges and conflicts.
Yet Kipling was mistaken. Sooner or later, the West is compelled to extend an olive branch to the East, for without close practical convergence and collaboration, there can be no lasting peace in the world at large.