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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Despots, empires: China and the US

Despots, empires: China and the US

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When I was a teenager in Cuba, a year or so after then-Cuban president Fidel Castro’s revolution, a little boy asked me: “Why are you an imperialist?”

I felt it an unfair accusation. Communism was then taking hold in Cuba and its ideologies had commandeered the minds of the young.

In the US today something similar is going on. Only, it is the minds of an older demographic that have been hijacked, and by ideologies that are capitalist. US Senator Bernie Sanders saw this, as did the millennials supporting his bid to become the Democratic Party’s US presidential candidate.

However, failed Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s people rigged the party’s primary to crush him and them. Although she was so clearly in the race for herself, she would have benefited the US as well.

The same cannot be said of US President Donald Trump, the more malignant representative of her same establishment ideologies. He beat her by playing chameleon and camouflaging himself as an insurgent. With him at the helm the US begins its decline into imperialism.


Not “US imperialism,” that bugbear of the old-time communists I ran up against so long ago in Cuba. No, the US itself is today being eaten alive by imperialists in ways that enable us to see finally who they really are.

The sundry fossil fuel, Wall Street and pharmaceutical empires stand out so obviously, but there any number of related ones at work alongside them. Each has its super-rich emperor or emperors.

In the US, as in China, the class that now rules is a parasitic elite, intent on holding back history, no matter the cost to humanity, the planet, or coming generations, so it can get even richer, or become even more powerful, than it already is.

Instead of developing themselves as human beings its members have become addicted to success of the most selfish sort, endangering everyone by disastrously imposing yesterday’s profit making or power-extending schemes on a world in which these have become obsolete and harmful.

Political ideologies or religious beliefs in the hands of these people become toys with which they further their own aims over the general good.


With Trump in the US and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at the helm in Beijing, the takeover by a greedy elite seems on the threshold of a final victory over everyone else.

However, it will not happen. The world is at a tipping point. With Trump, everybody can see it has gone too far.

Communism collapsed and Russia went down. Now it is capitalism and the US that are coming apart.

What of China? Contrary to what it would have everyone believe, it has long been little more than a dictatorship propping itself up first with one European ideology — communism — and now with another — capitalism.

Neither will hold in the end. Like the US, China must find a middle way, its own indigenous truth, as Taiwan and Nordic nations already have.

Power, in the end, falls to the people as a whole, as was the revolutionary insight of the US’ founding fathers, and as is the present-day reality in Taiwan and other similarly advanced nations.

William R. Stimson is an American writer who lives in Taiwan. He teaches at National Chi Nan University and at Tunghai University.

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2017/02/06

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Protesters allegedly trying to break into the Ministry of Education building clash with police in Taipei early yesterday morning.
Photo: CNA

High-school student protesters and civic groups yesterday rallied outside the Ministry of Education building in Taipei, demanding the release of students arrested in the early hours of the morning after breaking into the complex.