China is a decaying nation with an increasingly boiling populace and a government with nothing to lose- war, as it turns out for China, will in fact be the answer.
A little history- in 1949 Chiang Kai-shek fled China after losing a civil war against Mao Zedong and his communist forces. Chiang formed the "Republic of China" in what we know today as Taiwan. From there he would LARP as the true ruler of mainland China until his death in 1975. Of course when Chiang moved in to Taiwan there were indigenous people living there. He stripped them of their culture, martial law, you know the deal. But Taiwan ultimately became it’s own thing, with it’s own democracy, and it’s own culture. You may have heard of TSMC- it’s one of the most important businesses in the world- it manufacturers the highest tech computer chips on the planet. Nothing shows a country is functioning properly more than the success of its businesses. Despite the amazing success of Taiwan as an independent nation, it's recognition has always hung in a delicate balance, e.g. the "U.S. acknowledges Beijing’s claim to Taiwan without recognizing its sovereignty over the island." Weird. The Atlantic has a great piece on all this.
Present day China is flailing. They likely leaked covid from their lab, the international community hates them for a multitude of reasons, their belt and road initiative is pissing off bankrupt developing nations, they stopped publishing their economic stats, they have terminal demography, the list goes on. My piece on why The Free World Must Ban Tik Tok dives deeper. Moving on, Xi Jinping is increasingly death griping his hold on power. His latest stunt was forcing out, in front of everyone, the only other dude who had a semblance of power in the latest Communist Party Congress. The people of China were willing to trade freedom for economic growth- which has been incredible over the last several decades. That growth is slowing and now the the social unrest will begin to boil, it already is with zero covid policy. Xi Jinping and the yes men he has surrounded himself with, as all dictators do, will need a move to unite their people and get some popularity back. They need to win a war. And they ain’t gonna do it any other way than an invasion of Taiwan. I predict China will invade Taiwan, you can track my other predictions here. The more interesting question is whether they attack US bases first which increases the likelihood they will take Taiwan, but also increases the likelihood the US gets pulled in. Noah Smith has a great piece on this. It’s a gamble. But they are not rational actors and they have nothing to lose.
And so what if they invade. You don't become a world hegemon by bullying people into submission. You do it by being a stalwart for freedom, you do it by dying on the battlefield with your allies. China has no allies. Even in the case China successfully invades Taiwan and it goes perfectly (it won't) and the occupation miraculously goes perfectly (that will be even worse), China is still in the middle of the fucking desert. But if I'm Xi, a megalomaniac surrounded by a bunch of people kissing my ass, and in my heart of hearts I know everyone thinks I'm a dick, while I see the rise of my nation start to peter out, fuck it I'll pull a Putin and go to war. Why not.
My hope is none of this happens. Hopefully Xi somehow loses his grip. The Chinese folk are unshackled with a little thing called freedom, and their entire nation joins the international community as a fair and just actor. Fat chance but a girl can hope.
Until then, let's build software. I cofounded Fullsend, a studio helping innovative companies build best-in-class apps. Let's talk, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.