“国家利益高于一切” – National Interest Comes Before All Else
Trends show that much of Europe and North America are about to experience the complete shock to society that the corona virus brought to China, Italy and Iran. Though some nations took swift and decisive action to ensure the best possible outcome for their people, others stood for too long, unwilling to react quick enough. Now they are caught staring dumbfounded at what is accelerating rapidly towards them…
And despite the horrendous losses, there are so many that still refuse to adjust to the new reality…
Life in a Pandemic
It has been two month since China started shutting down and its hard to find any part of society there that has not been altered dramatically. The rest of the world may need to prepare to make similar changes as it does not seem we will be able to go back to the way things were anytime soon.
First thing to note is that not all change has been for the worse. Yes, for the average citizen, it continues to be a painful period. The anxiety and depression brought on by the financial upheaval and the seemingly endless quarantines and the constant worrying about the health of oneself and loved ones has done almost as much damage as the virus itself.
Yet, there also seems to be a sense of unity over a shared experience and of a people coming together. Stories of brave doctors and service men and women flood the news, individuals doing what they must for the good of the whole. A feeling (coerced though it may be) of camaraderie has emerged not felt in decades. This newfound sense of community, as well as the complete buy-in from society that health and safety must come first, has given license to the draconian measures that are still in place all over the country.
You feel these changes from the moment you touch down in China. Before getting off the plane everyone is forced to cover themselves in protective gear. They then get tested and sent for a 14 day medically supervised quarantine. On the streets, everything and everyone is tracked, the health of every individual is monitored and red medical tents mark the entrance to every compound and building checking the temperature of everyone who enters. It may seem to many a dystopian nightmare, but it has proven necessary to quell the spread of the virus and allow some semblance of normalcy to return.
And economic life is returning. Restaurants and bars and retailers are slowly reopening, and though many in the workforce were permanently furloughed, new training programs are popping up everywhere.
The Shift East
At the highest levels, plans seem to be underway to adapt to a geopolitical shift East. Brazen finger pointing and childish name calling have already escalated a very tense balance of power to dangerous levels, much mending of fences will need to be done if we are to avoid direct conflict.
The two sides of the globe are very different from one another, and know next to nothing about each other. We had to learn the hard way that we are all intimately connected, it is past time that we start to understand the people that we share this planet with. A good place to start would be to pay careful attention to what their leaders say as every statement has been carefully chosen and every grand proclamation has a thread tied to the stories that define them.
Quotes by Xi Jin Ping
- “Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that their ideals and beliefs had been shaken.”
- “Some foreigners with full bellies and nothing better to do engage in finger-pointing at us. First, China does not export revolution; second, it does not export famine and poverty; and third, it does not mess around with you. So what else is there to say?”
- “Our responsibility is to rally and lead the whole party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, take up this historic baton and continue working hard for the great renewal of the Chinese nation, so that we will stand rock firm in the family of nations and make fresh and greater contribution to mankind.”
- “Comrade Mao, whether he was crossing ‘a sea of surging waves’ or scaling ‘a mountain pass impregnable as iron’ always held unwaveringly to his course, setting a shining example for the Chinese Communist Party.”
- “Happiness does not fall out of the blue and dreams will not come true by themselves. We need to be down-to-earth and work hard. We should uphold the idea that working hard is the most honorable, noblest, greatest and most beautiful virtue.”
- “We Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity so we applaud the achievements of others and we wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others’ success and we will not complain about the others who have benefited. We will welcome them aboard the express train of Chinese development.”