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The West Beat the Tom-Tom and Heralded Victory in the Cold War but They Hadn't Countenanced a Rising Dragon in the East

Updated on May 21, 2020
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An senior air warrior and political observer who has the pulse of the region and can sense a change when it comes.

The Beginning

During the days I was in school the world was dominated by the Cold War and there were two superpowers the USA and the USSR. That was the time the West was mortally scared of the spread of communism. Fate took a hand and the USSR concentrated so much on the military that their economic model collapsed. This was the reason for the disintegration of the Soviet state. This also marks the end of the Cold War with the Russians. At that time the West beat the Tom- Tom of victory. This was symbolized by the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and generally it was felt that communism was finished.

Perhaps this beating the drum about the victory in Cold War maybe one of the great mistakes of world history. The West refused to look beyond their nose at a monolith communist state in the East- China, where also history was being made when the Chinese soldiers assaulted agitating students in the Tiananmen Square with tanks and guns and killed 3000-5000 students.

The massacre took place when student protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square and erected a statue dedicated to the ‘Goddess of Democracy'. Sadly at that time Eurocentrism was so strongly entrenched that this momentous event was practically ignored and the west went back to cultivating China.

China was astutely led at that time by Deng Xiaoping. He noted the weakness of the Soviet economy (and their own), and decided radical economic reforms were needed. He put China on a course to his version of perestroika. But he essentially ignored the glasnost of Gorbachev. Deng coined the slogan “hide your strength, bide your time”. This was the Chinese proverb taken from the Middle Ages to make China the number one power in the world both militarily and economically. His thinking was simple and in a meeting of the Central Committee he put forward the idea that in case the West thinks that it won the Cold War, then pamper them on this account. He brought forward the idea to indulge the West into a false sense of superiority and security till China becomes the equal militarily and economically. At that time Deng planned China to become the biggest power in the world and preserve the primacy of the Chinese Communist Party as the Numero Uno in the world.

China Rises like the Phoenix

China's rise can only be seen in perspective. When the Communist regime came to power in 1949 by defeating the American puppet General Chiang Kai-Shek it began a systematic plan to make China a great power. At the same time to create an element of fear and shock in the minds of the West particularly the United States. That was the time when not even a bicycle was manufactured in China and there were no steel plants or large manufacturing units. China was just an agrarian country where 90% of the people depended on agriculture and generally hunger stalked the land.

To create an image of shock and awe the Chinese entered the Korean War on the side of the communist North and denied victory to the United States. Finally after three years of fighting a tired and weary America agreed for the status quo, the division of the country along the 38th parallel.

Just before the entry of the People's Liberation Army in Korea, Mao Tse Tung brought his strategic vision to the fore by invading Tibet. It was a very shrewd move as the United States and Europe were just concerned about communism as represented by Russia and completely ignored the invasion of Tibet. To top it the Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru was a man with no strategic sense and lived in a make-believe world of his own and allowed China a free hand in Tibet.

At the same time at home, Mao Tse Tung for all his faults ensured that China went nuclear and began to beef up the Chinese military and industry. China tested an atomic bomb in 1964 and for reasons which have never been made public the United States and President Johnson failed to react and became observers. Perhaps the failure to win the Korean war against China give the Americans cold feet to move against China.

The West and the Americans however considered Russia as the enemy and their entire strategy was to contain the Soviet Union. What happened next is indeed laughable. It is so laughable that one can almost die laughing on a bed of nails.

What happened next? Instead of opposing China the United States and the West occupied with their obsession with Russia reached a strategic consensus among them to engage with China. One of the biggest architects of this was Henry Kissinger and President Nixon. Little these worthies realize the true nature of China which had been aptly summed by Jawaharlal Nehru in his 'Discovery of India' that a strong China is always an expansionist China.

President Nixon assumed in hindsight foolishly that his 1972 Nixon-Mao reapproachment agreement would help the United States continue as the world's number one power. The US was happy it had split the Communist bloc and ‘won’ the Cold War. The Chinese allowed the Americans to bask in their sunshine and at the same time crafted a stunning rise which has turned the country into a technological and military superpower.

Present Era

President Nixon visited China in 1972 and paid his homage to the Chinese emperor like in the old days when China was a great power. Mao Tse tung never visited America. However he led Nixon up the garden path and Nixon came back convinced that China would be on the American side because at that time the American fixation was Russia. This state of affair continues for at least three decades and then 9/11 also took place. During these decades America embroiled itself in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and several places. Built massive aircraft carriers and bases all around the globe at a cost of trillions of dollars. America was smug that it had the money and could spend whatever it wanted to do.

The Chinese kept sitting quietly watching America do harakiri. Sadly despite spending trillions of dollars the American military nowhere won a decisive victory and even a fruitless war on terror has not seen terror being obliterated.

All through this period president Xi Jinping kept quiet and spread its tentacles into Europe, Australia, and America. Their policy was clear; to make the West dependent on China for its well-being. They followed one of the famous quotes from Bollywood films where the hero says, “Apna time Aaya”.meaning " our time will come." China has played the waiting game wonderfully well and they have now cornered America and the West, something which they had planned for over four decades. To the chagrin of America and the Western powers the Chinese have not only allied with Russia but even solved the border problem with them.

However, I will add here that this so-called alliance between Russia and China is also suspect and it will crack at the first sign of stress for the simple reason that the Chinese economy is too big and its population the biggest in the world, while the Russian economy compared to China, is too puny and its population one 10th of China yet having the biggest landmass in the world – likely to give thoughts and ideas for Chinese to expand.

The Final Joust

Last word

After almost 5 decades the realization has sunk into the American think tank that perhaps they were wrong in thinking that China would be their partner. One fails to understand how this thinking came in the American mind and they allowed China so much of leeway like occupying Tibet, threatening countries around China, instigating North Korea to go nuclear, claiming the entire South China Sea, and setting up artificial Islands and military bases.

The new Chinese assertiveness can be seen by the way they tackled Australia. Australia sought an independent investigation of how Covid-19 originated. China did not like this and reacted in a way that has put Australia on the mat. China has suspended beef imports from Australia and is threatening to cut off student and tourist flows (both major sources of revenue).

The message is clear. If you do not toe the Chinese CPC's line then expect no goodies or mercy.

The West would have been happy in case the COVID-19 had not emerged. The gloves are off now as the USA has realized that COVID-19 did have origins may be from China but at the same time the Chinese concealed it and allowed the West to go to seed. There has been massive all-around suffering and almost 90,000 Americans have died. This is more than all the dead in World War I and the Vietnam war which lasted years. American deaths took place in four months.

Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University who is an advisor to China’s State Council, has said, the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union had some clear-cut lines of demarcation but the new cold war between US and China is rapid and fast-moving and one cannot know what will happen in the future. He opines that Western Europe will be destroyed in case it takes an aggressive stand against China and the USA also will suffer but China will come out unscathed.

Another country in Asia that has not quite realized its potential mainly because of a negative leadership of Pandit Nehru is India. Under Narendra Modi India is revisiting itself and in the post-COVID world is the one country that China fears.

It is for the western powers to realize this. China is aware that the rise of India which matches Chinese capacities in its immediate neighborhood is not something that China will like and hence it has already started an aggressive posture against India on the border. It is instigating Nepal which is ruled by a Communist party to make extravagant claims of land against India. The Indians have been restrained on Nepal mainly because of long historical ties lasting over 3000 years.

It is for the West to realize whether they wish to go back to China or confront China with all available economic powers like India and Japan. Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and the Chinese have suffered badly at their hands for a hundred years. It is the key to stability in East Asia.

As far as China is concerned the Communist Party of China believes in Pax Sinica. This is like Pax Romana, where all roads led to Rome. The CPC would like all roads to lead to Beijing.

The United States has to make hard choices. History will record the rise of China as a superpower basically because of the facilitation by the United States and Europe. The clock cannot be put back but in case the United States shows some mettle, some good may happen but as it stands China is on the ascendant and it is going to be very difficult to stop the Dragon


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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      11 months ago from Singapore

      Denise, nice of you to have commented

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      11 months ago from Fresno CA

      You have some interesting theories here. The US problem is that we cannot imagine anyone would be patient enough to wait decades to see a plan unfold but it has. So there is that.



    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      11 months ago from Singapore

      CHRISS, thanks a lot for your comment which was very interesting to read. I have read the book by Kishore Mahbubani. He is a Sindhi But I differ with the message which he sends across. His contention that the Chinese have selected their system is wrong. The Chinese people were not given any choice for the selection of a system because it was imposed on them by force as brought out by Orwell in1984. If the Chinese had selected this system there would have been No Tiananianman Square and almost 5000 protesters being gunned down by tanks and guns.

      There is no doubt and I have brought this out in my article that the United States has committed harakiri and facilitated the rise of China. Without the billions of dollars, the US and Japan poured into China, the Chinese would never have been able to raise the standard of living as they've done. This bubble will burst as sitting closer to China in Singapore I am aware that Japan is dismantling all its factories and infrastructure in China and shifting to other countries, for this alone the Japanese government has earmarked $2 billion.

      China is not going to have a rollercoasters ride to be the number one power. There is many a slip between the cup and the lip and watch out my friend and keep your fingers crossed.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      11 months ago from Northern Germany

      You probably read his book?

      The message of Kishore Mahbubani: "America thinks it has the best system and that every country would do better if they adopt the American system. China is different. China says: Only we Chinese know to be Chinese. You select your system, we select ours."

      Mahbubani said, he was first time in 1980 in China, and saw the poor and very restricted living conditions at that time. He pointed out that no matter what human rights are still neglected in China, the people have experienced an unprecidented rise in quality of life within the past 40 years, more than in the 4000 years before.

      I can contribute that i was first time in 1993 in China (had to do with the Yangtze 3 gorges project at that time). I saw ox-carts coming towards me on the passing lane of a new built Autobahn. Modernization was under way, but means were still archaic in the early 90ties. Today this is a different China, i can tell you, i have many passports full with visas. Only if the economic progress is faltering, Bejing will have a problem. That is their main concern, not the US, not Europe.

      The book "Has China won" holds a lot of information and truth, sometimes a little biased, but generally i can confirm by personal experience. And the USA is doing almost everything to accelerate and amplify this process, the process of making China win.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      CHRISS, Thanks,

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      12 months ago from Northern Germany

      Please Readmikenow, aren´t you overrating the influence of the US? Think of the strategem i mentioned in my comment: "Feign madness but keep your balance", in other words, make the enemy believe you are not smart enough...

      About the 1.4 Billion people, yes that is a problem for Xi. That is what Xi is more afraid of than any foreign country, competitor, enemy, you name it.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      ReadMike, thanks. China is equally in trouble.The Americans play their cards well the dragon can become a pussycat. It's a question of willpower.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      12 months ago

      Interesting article. I think there is sufficient evidence for China's economy to be so influenced by the United States, they are being very careful. China has a problem the United States does not, it has over a billion people. These are people that need to have work, housing and more. This is a huge problem. If American companies started leaving China, there is no way China could make up the difference. Most of their technology they steal from the United States and other countries like Japan and India. They may be rising, but if they are not careful, they could also have a huge fall. I enjoyed reading your article.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Pamela for sparing time and commenting

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      12 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Thi is a very interesting, well-written article and I do wonder what is next between China and the U.S. Trump says he likes everyone when asked so I really don't know what he thinks about China.

      You are right about the U.S. always thinking Russia is the biggest enemy, MG. The Democrats keep trying to prove Trump and various others have some nefarious relationship with Russia. Did Russia hack the election? Who knows. I think we had better pay attention to China.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Chriss, You are right in whatever you have stated. The Chinese are playing their cards adroitly but it is also fact that president Xi is under great pressure and many in the politburo are not happy with him. He has antagonized all China's neighbors and the Politburo is not happy. Let's wait and see. I have a suspicion just like Nikita Khrushchev was removed, anything can happen in China.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Road Monkey, Yes, what you write is a fact, the US did give almost 3 million dollars to the Wuhan lab. this is sad but it's not just flash in the pan that over 200,000 people have died in 5 western nations and such numbers have not died anywhere else. Grapes of wrath coming home?

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      12 months ago from Northern Germany

      Kudos, a very good article on how China acts strategically. Indeed they think in generations and not from one reelection campaign to the next. And yes, the US is comitting hara kiri and doesn´t even realize it.

      The 36 strategems do work. This one came into my mind while reading your article: "Feign madness but keep your balance",

      Next stragetem will possibly be:"Befriend a distant state and strike a neighbouring one" (Recent polls in Western Europe show that sympathy for China has overtaken the US. Who sent medical teams, PPE to Italy?)

      Current US administration is not even close to think strategically. They are easy prey for China.

      Your article gives an outlook for the international stage. What about the domestic stage? Isn´t Xi Jin Ping more afraid of what may happen inside the country than what the US is doing? If matters get economically out of control, weather will be rough.

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      12 months ago

      Very interesting assessment. I understand the Chinese believe in "the long game", whereas elected politicians are always looking to the short term advantage. I believe the USA may have some involvement in Covid 19. There are research papers discussing this kind of virus from several years ago and some indications that the USA asked China to do the necessary work on it. Whether there was then an accident, a deliberate release or a lapse in bio security, who knows?

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Ruby, for sparing time and commenting

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      12 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a most interesting account of America/ China. We have always seen Russia as the enemy. Everything I buy here in the US. is made in China. Trump seems to like both China and Russia, All I can say is, " America wake up and smell the danger. "

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      12 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Col for your comment. It is for the west and the USA to take stock. 200,000 dead, it may soon reach 300,000 all from 5 countries, the USA and West Europe.

    • profile image

      Col Parduman Singh 

      12 months ago

      This is a very interesting subject. I have a feeling that world War three is really started. All wars are not fought with guns and tanks and modern warfare is biological and psychological. The Chinese have inflicted heavy casualties on America and Western Europe as in their perception they are their main opponents. America and the West must realize that over 200,000 people have died in the western world. The USA and Western must ask in their minds as to why such a large number of casualties never took place anywhere else?. Even a layman will know that this was a Chinese plan to cripple the west and I wonder if they have succeeded. Many in America are still talking of Russia forgetting the yellow peril..


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