As a Chinese Intelligence agent, I know we are your biggest rival in the game of thrones…
But as realists have been warning for more than 15 years, the emerging rivalry between the United States and China will be the single most important feature of world politics for at least the next decade and probably well beyond that.What Sort of World Are We Headed for?, BY STEPHEN M. WALT, Foreign Policy, OCTOBER 2, 2018
But, are we your biggest threat?
We don’t think so.
We now have come to believe that the great danger to the United States is not external.
Not the Chinese, not the Russians, not the immigrants …
America’s great danger is internal.
It’s your dividing house.
You may be heading towards a divorce or another civil war.
So, if the story of America is approaching its last and final page—The End, we believe it’s not as likely to be from an external threat, … but rather, your divided house will fall from within.
Listen to the story Thomas Friedman tells…
My friend retired Marine Col. Mark Mykleby stopped by for a chat after the Kavanaugh hearing last week, and as we bemoaned this moment, he remarked: “When I walked out of the Pentagon after 28 years in uniform, I never thought I’d say this, but what is going on politically in America today is a far graver threat than any our nation faced during my career, including the Soviet Union. And it’s because this threat is here and now, right at home, and it’s coming from within us. I guess the irony of being a great nation is the only power who can bring you down is yourself.”
The American Civil War, Part II, By Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, October 2, 2018
When I look at all the people today who are propelling their political careers and fattening their wallets by dividing us, I cannot help but wonder: Do these people go home at night to some offshore island where none of this matters? Do these people really think their kids aren’t going to pay for the venom they sell and spread? Don’t worry, I know the answer: They aren’t thinking and they aren’t going to stop it.
But while “they” sell their venom and fatten their wallets, the everyday American is losing sleep over the seriousness of your division. And with good reason.
And look at this from your famous general, James Mattis…
Unlike in the past, where we were unified and drew in allies, currently our own commons seems to be breaking apart. What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries; it is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future, instead of rediscovering our common ground and finding solutions.
All Americans need to recognize that our democracy is an experiment—and one that can be reversed.
Shocking things are being said about the extent and seriousness of your country’s division. My team put together these quotes if you want to hop into a cold shower…
[C]ultural divisions within civilizations have become the dominant feature of 21st century world order, with West and East alike confronting their own peculiar identity crises. The result has not been cultural clash so much as cultural implosion—and how it ends is anyone’s guess.
As we look to an uncertain future, Samuel untington, who passed away almost ten years ago, still teaches us one clear lesson. Man will not return to bypassed forms of political organization. Old alliance structures, regime types, and social norms will not succeed when the intellectual and moral frameworks underpinning them have been uprooted. The stakes in the fracturing of non-Western civilizations are large and unknowable. But the consequences of the splintering of the West’s ideas of liberty, the decay of political institutions, the abandonment of market-based economics, and the subduction of its military dominance are larger but knowable. As parlous as the clash of civilizations might be, the implosion of our own is much more to be feared.
History has not been very kind to countries that enter a state of multicultural chaos.
The United States is currently the world’s oldest democracy.
But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history’s most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Florence and Venice, and many of the elected governments of early 20th-century Western European states eventually destroyed themselves, went bankrupt, or were overrun by invaders.
The United States is dividing as rarely before.
From the philosophers of ancient Greece to the world’s great religions to our own Founding Fathers to the psychology research of the modern era, we are exhorted to choose our heart’s true desire: love and kindness. All warn unambiguously that division, if allowed to take permanent root, will be our misery and downfall.
I strongly suspect that political philosophy’s main task for the foreseeable future will be to analyze and chronicle the ongoing division and fracturing of America. I only hope that it doesn’t lead to the bloody dissolution of 1776 or the bloodier dissolution of 1861.
The danger of this era, in cultural just as in economic terms, is the danger of polarization and division.
And look at this unique way it is playing out in America’s
Of all the upheavals in American civic life – the disruptive presidency of Donald J. Trump, the paralysis of the institutions of government, the undermining of established political customs, the coarsening of public dialogue, the diminution of the role of Congress – one has gone virtually unnoticed, and it may be the fundamental problem besetting politics in the United States:
For the first time in American history, both major
political parties – the organizing institutions of American public life – are riven with division, dissent and disillusion.
And check out the famous evangelical pastor Tony Evans said, right there on Facebook—“warp speed”!
America is in serious trouble. From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation. Regardless on which side of the political isle you sit, it is clear that things are unraveling at warp speed. The United States is quickly becoming the divided states as disunity and conflicts abound.
Tony Evans, Facebook Post, April 2, 2016
The Presidential election isn’t the source of your division.
It just reveals where things are at…
Just before Trump’s inauguration, half (50%) of voters felt America was a more divided nation
after the eight years of the Obama presidency. Since Trump’s election, a majority (55%) of voters believes America is more divided.
Hanging by a thread…
The deep alienation that Trump supporters have felt for eight years — the sense that they were scorned
strangers in their own country — has been trucked over to blue America and delivered to Hispanics, Muslims, blacks, and college-educated women. Only “the thinnest of threads” still holds the nation together, says veteran pollster Frank Luntz, who was astonished by the raw rancor he saw in his diverse focus groups. “We’re one thread from everything being cut.”
Our nation is more polarized than at any time in recent history. It will soon be led by a president of
volatile temperament, uncertain principles, and a long history of seeking to crush his critics. Where does that take us over the next four years? On a leap into the unknown.
A strong military such as yours won’t help much if your country is hanging together by the thinnest of threads, right?
Coming to see your internal danger then led us to explore something very strange.
We are exploring the possibility that, if Christianity is the
story we are in, then your God is the Great Storyteller — and — you Christians in America are ultimately more responsible for the danger America is in than are your secularist opponents in America.
And if you scoff at the possibility Lincoln was on to something about how you may die by suicide, perhaps you need to meditate on the warning Jesus gave you in one simple, yet profound sentence…
Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
Of course, we know you’ll object to all this.
“Our divisions aren’t all that bad, are they? It’s not
like the blood is flowing into the bathwater yet, is it?”
But maybe you’ll want to look through the lens of story and
see the direction things are heading…
Story gives you foresight to see the consequences of future events long before they happen. A leader prepares for change no matter how illogical its cause. In fact, sensitivity to irrational change is quintessentially rational … if you wish to lead.
If you wish to lead, maybe you shouldn’t just keep pushing away those warnings from Lincoln and Jesus?
Because there are others who are thinking…
Debating Stephen Douglas over slavery, Abraham Lincoln said a house divided cannot stand. In 2018, we also are a house divided and must ask whether the terrible biblical saying Lincoln quoted applies to
us. Can we endure as a united country?
Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps.
It seems the country is back to 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, rather than in 2018, during the greatest age of affluence, leisure, and freedom in the history of civilization.
Heilbrunn: When you look at the state of America right now, where the political system, even with Republican majorities, has essentially ground to a halt, are you feeling less optimistic about America’s
future, or do you think we’re going to emerge from this in good shape?
Greenberg: All during history, there have been rising powers and declining powers. You had the Greek Empire, the Roman Empire, the French Empire and the British Empire; what happened? They reach a certain point, and their population changes— the mix of the population, the development of the population — a country that is united becomes splintered and becomes a declining power. What is happening here? During my lifetime, I’ve never seen the country so divided. Two totally different countries. We are declining until we get that turned around.
And it’s clear that many in your country are anxious…
So why the civil-war anxieties? In part, because our media environment breeds hysteria; in part, because Trump himself does so.
But the underlying reason people are worried is a plausible one: America’s divisions are genuinely serious, our cold civil war entirely real.
I began my journalism career covering a civil war in
Lebanon. I never thought I’d end my career covering a civil war in America. We may not be there yet, but if we don’t turn around now, we will surely get where we’re going — which was best described by Senator Jeff Flake on Monday: “Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act.”
This is not a wake-up call from us. We’re glad you are ignoring the possibility that your divided house could bring the story of America to its end.
Our agent, Paula Wong, helped us see the importance of your denial. Look at this video Paula came across, by Michele Wucker, the author of the book, The Gray Rhino…
And consider this…
A gray rhino is the big, scary thing that’s right in front of you with the big horn that’s coming at you—very hard to ignore—but somehow we manage to ignore anyway. It’s related to the elephant in the room, but the elephant in the room stands still and we all take for granted that the elephant in the room is not gonna get attention, nobody’s going to say anything, nobody’s going to do anything. We felt that the language needed a more active concept, so the gray rhino’s coming at you… The gray rhino gives you a choice: you can either stand there and get flattened, or you can get out of the way, and ideally not just get out of the way but use the gray rhino to use the opportunity to see whatever the next steps are in your business, in your life, in your policy.
So really the important part of the gray rhino is that you recognize it, and once you’ve done that you can ask the kind of questions that will help you get out of the mess. Just recognizing the gray rhino isn’t enough
to solve the problem but if you don’t recognize it, and if don’t start asking these questions, it’s pretty darn sure that you’re not going to get out of the way.
By definition, nobody does anything about the elephant in the room, just standing there. Also by definition, black swans – those “rare bird” unpredictable, random or unforeseen events that have extreme consequences – occur outside of our ability to anticipate them, despite the emergence of a cottage industry of self-styled black swan spotters.
Now meet the gray rhino: a highly probable, high impact threat that is neglected or outright ignored despite–or sometimes because of–its size. Far easier to spot than the black swan, faster moving and more dangerous than the elephant in the room, gray rhinos are the biggest problems facing companies.
Our Party is concerned about Gray Rhinos…
During the Lunar New Year holidays, political circles in Beijing were abuzz with this question: “Who, or what, are ‘black swans’ and ‘gray rhinos’?” This followed a major speech given by President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping at the Central Party School (CPS) last month, in which the the 65-year-old leader raised the highest alert for Party officials to “be on guard against black swans and keep watchful for gray rhinos”
(jingti hei tian’e, fangfan hui xiniu / 警惕黑天鹅, 防范灰犀牛) (People’s Daily, January 22).
As the world watches with anxiety the unfolding series of crises shaking up China, more questions are being asked as to whether simply enhancing loyalty to the top leadership will effectively solve the country’s problems. As long as these problems persist, Xi and other leaders in the CCP’s top echelons will continue to watch nervously for the potential emergence of those mysterious and frightening beasts known as “black swans” and “gray rhinos.”
But are you?
So, here’s an interesting question: is your divided house your Gray Rhino?
If it is, does this comment mean anything to you Christians in America?…
“We know that the father of lies, the devil, prefers a community divided and bickering,” Francis told a crowd of tens of thousands of youth Thursday night at a seaside park in Panama City.
Even Hitler weighs in on this…
Hitler always said that the best way to conquer your enemies is to divide them.
As far as feeling secure within your borders, you might want
to think again…
We as a nation have polarized and separated from each other.
Anyone who thinks this is a radical idea has an extremely narrow view of history. If you don’t believe me, go try to book a plane ticket to Czechoslovakia, or look at a map of Europe from the year 1600, then look at one today. See any differences? Borders move. Countries split and change hands. They do this for a myriad of reasons. Ours would be a major cultural shift toward the left and half the country refusing to go along with tyranny.
Things may not be as stable as you think…
The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Americans, we are told with much evidence, are a deeply divided people on any number of fronts. This should be almost unbelievable given America’s success at providing freedom and prosperity for its people at levels unmatched by any other civilization.
I know no one pays attention to your Pledge of Allegiance
anymore, but as a humorous exercise, Paula took our team through it one day…and we did marvel at your state of affairs when we saw these words: “One nation, under God, indivisible…”
And we are wondering along with you, can you live together
as one nation any longer? And if you can’t live together, how are you going to govern yourselves?
Today’s political polarization is more than a journalistic trope. It is more intense than at any time in the past century, and it pervades our political system from top to bottom. It feeds legislative gridlock and damages trust and confidence in political institutions. Abroad as well as at home, observers question America’s ability to govern itself as the times require.
Recent scholarship on American politics tells us that we are a nation largely sorted into two teams, a people less and less able to understand or empathize with the other side. In “Affect, Not Ideology,” Shanto Iyengar, Guarav Sood and Yphtach Lelkes show that recent decades have seen a dramatic growth in the difference between how Americans feel about their own party and the other party. And, as Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster emphasize, the real change has been in how negatively we feel about the other side.
The U.S. is as politically divided as it was going into the Civil War, ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd said Friday before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“I think we’re obviously in unprecedented times with a lot of things that happened unexpectedly including election day for most people in the country,” Dowd said on “Good Morning America.”
“I am struck by where the country is today, which, to me — it’s much more akin to where we were in 1861 and how divided the country is.”
American polarization has become so severe that many will only believe news or facts endorsed by their fellow partisans, and many shudder at the thought of their child marrying someone from the other side.
I don’t need to point out to you that we have deep
disagreements these days. We’re in one of the most bitter, divisive, partisan eras in living memory.
Your freedom depends on robust debate. But can you even have an honest debate any longer?
By many accounts we are living in the most polarized period of American history since the Civil War. The followers of Fox News and MSNBC agree on so little that in many cases conversation has become
impossible. The very question of what constitutes a fact is debated and an assumption of bad intentions from both sides stifles honest debate.
Paula is always reminding me—politics is all about people
and their relationships. As you well know from the experiences of your own life, the worst crises in life are most
often relational crises.
Betrayal. Breakup. Hatred. Those painful words grab our full
attention, draining our emotional energy. Look what this guy wrote…
For many the greatest difficulties are strained or broken relationships with others.
When those relationships go bad, it touches our core — down to the deep purpose and meaning of life.
And what applies in our personal lives can also play out on a broader scale in the life of a nation. Your divided house has become a very dangerous thing for the survival of your country.
And so, as you Americans march further and further into the Danger Zone of the House Divided, you are heading for a relational crisis on a grand scale!
The intensifying domestic conflict in America isn’t
something to be taken lightly. In fact, our team now talks about it as a divorce. And we are not the only
ones who think this way…
This phenomenon—having strong, personal, and emotionally charged negative feelings about those in the other political camp, or what scholars call affective polarization—has risen sharply in the United States in
Tragically, the loss of trust in others traceable to polarization appears to be a similar process, writ large, to what happens during a couple’s divorce. As Joseph Hopper and other researchers have pointed out, a divorce tends to be an intensely polarizing process. Trust ebbs. Anger grows.
Divorces overflow with anger, and anger is a powerful thing.
America is engaged in a civil war.
Our nation has fractured so severely that today there is almost nothing that unites us. Not national interest, not faith, not a common vision for our future, not values and increasingly not a respect for the fundamental principles of our founding.
It still is unimaginable that Americans would someday again take up arms against each other, but such fraternal bloodshed always starts with unchecked hatred. And we sure seem to hate each other.
I worry about a new hate that is growing in our great nation. I fear our intolerance of one another is the new battle ground of evil. Today many feel it is ok to hate someone who thinks differently than you do.
The left hates the right. The right hates the left. This
attitude is poison. Poison that will sicken all of us.
Dr. Ben Carson, Facebook Post, June 18, 2015
And look out, because anger attacks…
Neal defines polarization in two ways: weak
polarization, which occurs when parties simply don’t work together; and strong polarization, which occurs when a party not only shuns the other side, but also outwardly attacks opponents or paints them in a
negative light. He showed that strong polarization actually dipped in the early and mid-1970s, only to take a steady turn for the worse by 1980.
If you think things couldn’t possibly grow any worse, Neal contends they probably will, particularly if the margin between the majority and minority remains thin.
So, is the story of America coming to its end? Or, is there
some hope of still getting this thing worked out?
Well, first, I guess you’d have to agree on what the
The United States is one country, but Americans are living in two separate worlds. …. In both Americas, people care about protecting civic life. They just can’t agree on what its problems are.
Since figuring out what the problems are is not happening,
you still have to figure out if the red and the blue can truly live together…
We can either reaffirm our historic commitment to
accommodating religious faith, or we will face profound divisions. Religious faith is ultimately too
strong to be subordinated to the demands of the state. The secular Left and religious Right can live together, but only if the faithful are allowed to truly live — and that includes exercising a religious faith that is more important than even national identity.
Okay. So let’s say you can truly live together.
There’s still a host of problems to solve…
Political polarization is a serious problem for the United States because it impedes steps necessary to solve mounting national problems. These problems include rising levels of government debt, illegal immigration, spending on entitlement programs, the deterioration of America’s roads, bridges, railways and airports, the impending failure of employee pension systems, and lackluster economic growth, not to mention various pressing international issues.
If the two parties cannot compromise to address these issues, they will gradually grow to a point of crisis, at which point it may be too late to do very much about them.
Political polarization between the two parties has grown to a point that Americans have not seen since the 1890s, and perhaps not since the 1850s when the nation was in the process of coming apart over
the slavery issue.
A polarized and distrustful political system will never yield the compromises needed to address the serious problems the country is now facing.
All in all, the state of your union looks bleak…
Our political system is in deep trouble, and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help, the real problems are more dangerous and harder to treat: A moral and spiritual collapse that has frayed the bonds between the country’s ordinary people and those who seek to lead them, a hollowing out of
institutions from Congress and political parties to local churches and civic life, and the disintegration of a shared national intellectual and cultural framework for discussing the issues that confront us.
The deep divide is driven by relational conflict, creating a
breakdown in the United States to such a great extent, that our team now believes it looks like the United States really is moving towards either another civil war or a divorce.
We don’t know how your story will finally turn out, of
course, and, dear reader, we hate to bring you so low.
But, the situation is serious, and we wanted to show you
some more of what we found — and this is just a sample. So brace yourselves –it’s a dark tunnel of many, many quotes…
First we need to understand that our political divisions are real and growing. They are rooted
not in top-down political rhetoric but in profound and lasting social and cultural differences. For a while, analysts tended to make light of our polarization, fruitlessly predicting year after year that our culture war (still raging) was just about to end. If anything, the culture wars have expanded now to include the whole of politics. It used to be that only arguments over gay marriage or abortion were stigmatized as moral abominations.
Now even differences over health care reform and the deficit are super-charged with moral accusation.
Now that both sides are out in the open and fully aware of the danger to their preferred ways of life posed by the other camp, we are entering an era of struggle and division that, if anything, exceeds what
we’ve lived through for the past twelve years. This isn’t the beginning of the end of our divisions. It’s only the end of the beginning.
Perhaps the only thing upon which the two factions can agree is that the present state of things is unsustainable. Like spouses in a crumbling marriage,
they eschew their marriage obligations, feud over differences instead of patching them up, and plunge into the abyss of divorce. Both sides want an America in their image and likeness, but neither has the
means to make this happen. Conservatives lack sufficient authenticity and vigor in the Christian institutions that might regenerate order. Progressives have evanesced to the point that they lack dynamism and fresh ideas.
I know many of youse disagree. But I am struck that rational people continue to express such concerns. Why do you think this is so?
I don’t believe we’re to Kansas of the 1850s yet. But
we seem to be lurching toward in that direction.
It appears as if 2017 might be another 1968. Recent traumatic hurricanes seem to reflect the country’s human turmoil.
After the polarizing Obama presidency and the contested election of Donald Trump, the country is once again split in two. But this time the divide is far
deeper, both ideologically and geographically — and more 50/50, with the two liberal coasts pitted against red-state America in between.
I can see it. We’re disintegrating as a fabric as a nation. In front of my eyes. From both generational to racial to intellectual to financial, it’s coming apart.
Senator Tom Coburn, Interview with USA Today, November 19, 2014
I have not seen the kind of bitterness in our discourse, our politics, like we have today, and I gotta say I think
it’s both sides — I’d love to say it’s just Democrats, but it’s not, it’s both.
The crisis of American public life is evident nearly to all observers. With each passing day, it seems, our politics grow uglier and dumber. Rancor is in the
saddle. The center isn’t holding. The grownups are missing. Americans’ trust in their institutions, and in each other, appears to be evaporating. Mounting evidence tells us that the heart of this crisis — the part that is driving all the other parts — is polarization.
“WE ARE NOT ENEMIES, BUT FRIENDS”, Announcing Better Angels & 7 Habits of Highly Depolarizing People, Better Angels, December 2016
The nation is more divided and polarized than most of us can remember at any time in our lifetimes.
But recent survey data provides troubling evidence that a shared sense of national identity is unraveling, with two mutually exclusive narratives emerging along party lines. …. Americans of both political parties sense the unraveling of a broadly shared consensus of American identity, although they
cite different reasons for feeling that way. About seven in 10 Republicans and Democrats fear that the United States is losing its national identity, the A.P.-NORC survey found. The two political parties may not share much, but each is increasingly aware that the other has embraced a radically different vision of America’s identity and future.
What remains clear is that America is more politically polarized than ever. The Left is growing more Left, and the Right is growing more Right. This is entirely consistent with other patterns, including the polarization of American religious practice,
which is so pronounced that “nones” — those unaffiliated with any faith — and Evangelicals are on pace to soon become the two largest religious demographics in the country. America is growing both more secular and more religious, more liberal and more conservative. The middle is vanishing.
Political polarization is the defining feature of early 21st century American politics, both among the public and elected officials. As part of a year-long study of polarization, the Pew Research Center has conducted the largest political survey in its history – a poll of more than 10,000 adults between January and March of this year. It finds that Republicans and Democrats are further apart ideologically than at any point in
recent history. Growing numbers of Republicans and Democrats express highly negative views of the opposing party. And to a considerable degree, polarization is reflected in the personal lives and lifestyles of those on both the right and left.
The divide runs deep. Down to your very identity as a
But after having spent the better part of the past decade studying the values of Americans through my organization, The Frontier Lab, I have no doubt about it: Americans today live without a unifying national
character. We are a nation with a fractured culture.
With democracy in retreat abroad, its contradictions and shortcomings exposed at home, and its appeal declining with each successive generation, it’s 1857 all over again. But if the challenges are the same, the solution may also be familiar. Vitriol and divisiveness are commonly blamed for the problems of contemporary politics. But Americans aren’t fighting
too hard; they’re engaged in the wrong fights. The universalism of the left and cultural nationalism of the right are battering America’s sense of common
national purpose. Under attack on both flanks, and weakened by its failure to deliver exceptional results, the nation’s shared identity is crumbling.
And the more we came to see how divided your house is, the
more we began to wonder if something is going on. Look what Paula showed us about the division which is flowing from the massive change in the story of America…
The united America we once knew no longer exists. Instead, larger or smaller remnants are trying to survive inside a collapsing framework. Each clings to its rendition of the American dream and claims to be its authentic representative. The consensus that acted as the glue holding America together is gone. In its
stead, strident clashes between the factions are the thunderous rumblings of worse things just over the horizon. The growing liberal hatred for America’s
Christian roots and morals means that we are no longer one nation under God.
The decline of civility is part of a larger trend toward
isolation in our society—a pulling away that, while not caused by the internet, has certainly been exacerbated by it. As Robert Nisbet writes in his classic
work The Quest for Community, modern man is experiencing a deep “sense of disenchantment and alienation,” caused at least in part by our abandonment of communal life (such as one might find in the church, local business, local civic and nonprofit associations, and the family).
“It has become increasingly clear to me that alienation is one of the determining realities of the contemporary age: not merely a key concept in philosophy, literature, and the social sciences . . . but a cultural and psychological condition implicating ever larger sections of the population,” he wrote, adding that “for millions of persons such institutions as state, political party, business, church, labor union, and even family have become remote and increasingly difficult to give any part of one’s self to.”
I know that many of you feel the way I do—that our great nation is losing her way. Dear graduates, you are entering an American society that is more anxious and more bitterly divided than I have ever seen in my lifetime. But the biggest challenges we face do not concern globalization, technology, or demographics. I believe our biggest challenge is a crisis of identity. America has lost her way because we have lost the threads of our national story. We no longer know who
we are as a people or what our national purpose is.
Still, the commentators who feel the nation is caught up in a new kind of politicizing—a new type of rage and a new style of activism—are not wrong, exactly. One clear change in recent years is the emergence of
a factionalism that we’ve never quite known before
in American history.
Simply put, America can’t be the way it once was. As we’ll see throughout these pages, changes in the country’s sexual, religious, technological, demographic, and economic fabric make that impossible. And these upheavals have further
reshaped our politics, education, and laws. Traditionally, nations depend on the continuity of generations to transmit memories and beliefs across time and thus sustain their identity. At least for the United States, that pattern is now smashed. Discontinuity, more and more, drives today’s American life.
So even the idea, sometimes mentioned in our elections, that the people of America need to “take back our government” is a shocking indictment of how far we have moved, not merely from where we should be but from where we absolutely must be if
we are to survive.
Autonomy and self-creation. The Americans really are trying to push God out of the picture. But if Christianity is true, the lesson of Babel should give them pause. As they push God away, not only will they forget who they are at a foundational level, but
their ability to unite as a society will become increasingly difficult.
The difference between the America of today and the
America of what seems like just yesterday is that we
once had a common culture. As recently as 1990, Ken Burns could make a Civil War documentary for PBS and let historian Shelby Foote wax eloquent on the martial prowess of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest — something that now would likely get them both tarred, feathered, and Twitter-banned.
Yes, there were big differences between North and South a century and a half ago. The South was a slave-holding, free-trading, libertarian-leaning, conservative Christian, agricultural, aristocratic Sparta, while the North was a commercial, industrial, protectionist, Transcendentalist, social gospel, democratic Athens. But they held far more in common than separated them — beginning with the fact that, as Lincoln observed, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God.”
The greatest threat we face is an untethered individualism and an atomized society. We’re living in a dissolving age, not a collectivist one.
Alexis de Tocqueville prophetically predicted the
rise of this excessive and irrational individualism in his magnum opus:
“not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back
forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart.”
The opposing forces of centralized government
identity-recording and decentralized personal freedom in identity-making go to the heart of the
most bitter political disputes of our time. Identity politics have become rampant not only on the Left but
increasingly among the fascist and white nationalist Alt-Right. Disaffected Millennials seek a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves, but when identity is no longer grounded in ancestry, place, and tradition.
In short, when identity is no longer defined by tangible and physical reality, it becomes subsumed by ideology. Now blood has been shed in Berkeley and Charlottesville as these different ideologies have come into conflict. It is no accident that these liberal college towns where safe spaces reign were the first to see
political disputes burst into raw violence.
You are coming apart.
And Paula showed us this…
As a young man, Washington devoured the popular
early-eighteenth century essays of Joseph Addison in the Spectator of London. Addison was the author of his favorite play, Cato, and while reflecting on the sources of England’s bloody civil war in the 1640s, he
had written an influential essay on “the Malice of Parties.”
It’s worth quoting at length:
“There cannot a greater judgment befall a country than a dreadful spirit of division as rends a government into two distinct people, and makes them greater strangers, and more averse to one another, than if they were actually two different nations. The effects of such a division are pernicious to the last degree, not only with regard to those advantages which they give the common enemy, but to those private evils which they produce in the heart of almost every particular person. This influence is very fatal both to men’s morals and their understandings; it sinks the virtue of a nation, and not only so, but destroys even common sense. A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under its greatest restraints, naturally breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny, and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancor, and extinguishes all the seeds of good nature, compassion and humanity.”
So, we’re wondering about the strange possibility that your God is putting something in play…
A better formulation is this: what, if anything, is
behind all of the world’s changes, including
the movements in my experiences, such as the experienced ups and downs, comings and goings, and dyings and risings?
The fact of the world’s changes seems undeniable, at least from where I sit (for a time). Is there, however, something behind it all, not just as a cause, but as
a meaning-conferring explanation? In particular, is there a unifying power with constant intentions or purposes behind all of the movement or at least much of it? In other words, is there an intentional agent thus involved in the mix as a superhuman guide?
And maybe you need to think about this passage from your Bible in relation to the unique story of America …
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.
Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
So, if he is the one who has made every nation – including
both China and the United States – and “having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” – well, our team was amazed by how that fits with your unfolding drama.
Is your current allotted period coming to its end and your
boundaries are about to change?
Murchison says your freedom is being extinguished….
At home, the biggest problem isn’t political; it’s moral, conjoined to politics. There isn’t much comity among Americans — less so now than maybe since the pre-1861 period, due to our current gift for using politics as a blunt instrument against the differently
minded. We’re engaged, whether we know it or not, in extinguishing freedom of thought and speech.
Is it possible you are heading for another civil war?
What would make things better? It would be nice if
people felt social ties that transcend politics. Americans’ lives used to involve a lot more intermediating institutions — churches, fraternal
organizations, neighborhoods — that crossed political lines. Those have shrunk and decayed, and in fact, for
many people politics seems to have become a substitute for religion or fraternal organizations. If you find your identity in your politics, you’re not going to identify with people who don’t share them.
The rules of bourgeois civility also helped keep things in check, but of course those rules have been shredded for years. We may come to miss them.
America had one disastrous civil war, and those who fought it did a surprisingly good job of coming together afterward, realizing how awful it was to have a political divide that set brother against brother. Let us hope that we will not have to learn that lesson again in a similar fashion.
Sobering stuff, right?
And if those don’t catch your attention, we’d like to show this quote, from one of your Bible scholars, because it is so very relevant to your situation in America…
Satan’s greatest deception is to persuade us that we do not need to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. As with Adam and Eve, he continues to deceive human beings regarding God’s authority. Not surprisingly, he is particularly keen to have people ignore or reject the biblical meta-story. By doing so Satan bolsters his own position as ruler of the world.
It looks like that may be one of the biggest challenges facing you Christians in America.
Will you explore the possibility that, if Christianity is the
story we are in, then your God is the Great Storyteller?
It’s clear to us you have just pushed it away.
So, if you just keep ignoring it, maybe it’s time to wave goodbye to America.
Because, Paula showed us a verse in your book of Psalms which appears to reveal something related to your fixation with the external danger instead of considering the warning from Jesus about your divided house…
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
With your God at the center of your formula of freedom, for
two hundred some years you Americans did build something amazing. But now that you’re pushing God out of the national picture, it may all have been in vain….
Our national political polarization is by now so well established that the only real debate is over the nature of our cultural, political, and religious conflict. Are we in the midst of a more or less conventional culture war? Are we, as Dennis Prager and others argue, fighting a kind of “cold” civil war? Or are we facing something else entirely? I’d argue that we face “something else,” and that something else is more akin to the beginning stages of a national divorce than it is to a civil war. This contention rests fundamentally in two trends, one political and the other far beyond politics. The combination of negative polarization and a phenomenon that economist Tyler Cowen calls “matching” is leading to a national separation so profound that Americans may not have the desire to fight to stay together. Unless trends are reversed, red and blue may ultimately bid each other adieu.
Interestingly, you may have reached a point of no return, for already you are sorting yourselves out.
For better or worse, that dynamic has changed. Traditionally heterogeneous coalitions, U.S. parties are becoming more ideologically cohesive. Republican moderates are now a weak minority and liberal Republicans are virtually extinct. The parties tailor their appeals to different “customers”—the
Republicans mainly white, working-class, and older voters, the Democrats young, minority, and highly educated voters. And it’s not just the parties; U.S.
voters seem to want to live among people with a similar political outlook, and they’re sorting themselves accordingly.
For a solid decade, wonks and pundits have been charting America’s growing political polarization. By now, a reasonable consensus seems to be that, first, partisan polarization is at record-high levels; second, it exists not only among elites, but also among the mass public; third, it is increasingly driven by negative partisanship—dislike for the other party—rather
than substantive issue-based differences; and, fourth, it is the end product of a half century of geographic and demographic sorting.
By this November, all (or at least most) Americans may become united in the belief that making Donald Trump the most powerful human being on Earth would be exceedingly unwise. But in the meantime, we keep getting more reminders that America is fundamentally two different countries, increasingly at odds and moving farther apart.
While we often lament this geographic sorting that divides us, the farther Red America and Blue America move apart, the more logical it is for any given
individual to make that a factor in where they choose to live.
And certainly, there is no ‘going back’ to the way it was…
The first disagreement is about metaphors, and perhaps it is the most important one. How to speak of countries and nations? Some people see them as relationships. They use the language of couples and
romantic feeling: a breakaway region is no longer in love or loved, seeks divorce, wants its freedom. Secession may be painful, but it’s her right. Others prefer the language of the body: a country is an organic whole, its component parts are limbs. What for some is just the right to seek happiness elsewhere, for others feels like mutilation: the pain is physical, unbearable.
So, we circle back to metaphors. Breakup or mutilation, the language of feelings or the language of the body. Perhaps, both are correct. To an extent, Catalan nationalists are right when they say countries are partnerships. They do have feelings and require a modicum of happiness to endure. Misunderstandings, frustration, or resentment can destroy them. Some
relationships are better broken, some breakups are followed by regret. What they all have in common is that in most cases breakups are irreparable and painful.
So, if you have personally experienced the pain of divorce
in some way, you can hear the Gray Rhino growling…
If there’s one thing Americans of all political stripes can agree on, it’s that the country is divided—bitterly, dangerously, perhaps irreconcilably riven.
… and you may recognize this is your nation’s all-is-lost moment.
An American civil war would be awful for you, we recognize.
But, it’s bigger than that.
Because of occupying the superpower throne… It would bring so much suffering to the entire world.
Won’t you consider a peaceful political divorce instead?
Divorce is hard, but it’s easier than cutting the brake lines on your wife’s car. It is long past time for an amicable divorce of the United States of America. There is simply no common ground with the Left anymore. We are now the couple screaming at each other all night, every night as the kids hide in their room.
We cannot come together, but we do not have to live like this. The history of the world is nations breaking up and redrawing their borders. If we want to avoid this political divide turning into a deadly one, we should do likewise.
So, maybe it’s time for you Americans to roll up your
sleeves, and ‘damn the torpedoes’, make a choice?
David French thinks so…
The stakes could not be higher. Accommodate or separate. That’s the choice we face.
It sure looks like America has entered a period of great drama which will decide whether she continues as one nation or morphs into multiples.
There’s value in visiting Huntington again…
The greatest surprise might be if the United States in 2025 were still much the same country it was in 2000 rather than a very different country (or countries) with very different conceptions of itself and its identity than it had a quarter century earlier.”
But, there’s more…
What holds the United States together? And will it continue to hold? …. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, big countries (the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, indonesia) and not-so-big countries (Czechoslovakia) have been getting smaller. Why should the United States remain an exception to this phenomenon? Especially as it gets poorer – and more statist.
Social and cultural questions are also dividing us, almost as much as slavery did in the 1850s. Fault lines
over abortion, the role of religion, gay marriage, affirmative action, welfare, illegal immigration, and gun ownership are starting to manifest themselves
If current trends continue, the United States may unwind in the reverse of the manner in which frontiers became territories and then states. No entity is ensured perpetual union. The process of forming nations and empires and then disassembling them
back into small city states or provincial units is certainly not novel, but rather ancient, and more likely fluid and cyclical than linear — even if the process takes decades or at times centuries.
Victor Davis Hanson is right. The process may take some
time. But then again, consider this…
America’s stability is increasingly an undercurrent in
political discourse. Earlier this year, I began a conversation with Keith Mines about America’s turmoil. Mines has spent his career—in the U.S. Army Special Forces, the United Nations, and now the State Department—navigating civil wars in other countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq,
Somalia, and Sudan. He returned to Washington after sixteen years to find conditions that he had seen nurture conflict abroad now visible at home. It
haunts him. In March, Mines was one of several national-security experts whom Foreign Policy asked to evaluate the risks of a second civil war—with percentages. Mines concluded that the United
States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts’ predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, and you keep pushing away those warnings from your God, our team wonders if this song could become your new national anthem…
So, my team and I are showing you our research because we hope to show the Central Military Commission that because you refuse to think seriously enough about your dangerous dividing house in America, we can continue to win against you without fighting.
As you can imagine, there is conflict in the Central Military Commission over how China should proceed against your
What should we do to bring about the change we desire?
I have some inside information for you—in China there
is a faction called the Ying Pai, a group of hardliners who
believe the time has come to be very aggressive against your military presence and drive you out of the neighborhood. Shih Tzu and his Uncle are devoted to this group…
But hostile Chinese officers, who feel the U.S. is in terminal decline, think they can get what they want. Fanell believes they might move against a U.S. Navy vessel passing through the South China Sea. “The confrontation would be designed to bloody the nose of the U.S. and remind the region that it is now China’s navy and air force that rule the region,” he warns. He thinks Beijing “will actively seek a near-term military confrontation in the South China Sea.”
A leading Chinese general has urged the military to use force to block U.S. ships from traversing waters claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea and retake Taiwan.
Senior Colonel Dai Xu, who serves as the president of the country’s Marine Institute for Security and Cooperation, on Saturday lashed out against inaction over repeated U.S. Navy trips through disputed territory in the South China Sea, much of which is claimed by Beijing. Speaking at a conference organized by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper The Global Times, Dai said that China should attack ships that violate its maritime
“If the U.S. warships break into Chinese waters again, I suggest that two warships should be sent: one to stop it, and another one to ram it,” Dai said during a panel discussion, according to The Global Times. “In our territorial waters, we won’t allow U.S. warships to create disturbance.”
But my Uncle, General Tso, is part of a different group which still embraces Sun Tzu’s advice to “win without fighting.”
Keyword: wants. It’s the job of all strategic leaders to prepare for confrontation. To do otherwise courts disaster should confrontation come. But few sane leaders crave strife.
That includes Chinese leaders. We make much of Chinese sage Sun Tzu’s maxim that winning without fighting constitutes the supreme excellence in
statecraft. Short of that, Master Sun implores generals and sovereigns to take enemy states intact, and to wage short, sharp wars in order to avoid bankrupting the treasury and national manpower. Their paramount mission is to win. Next most important is to hold down the expense in resources and lives for both combatants. Sun Tzu’s Art of War remains a
staple of strategic discourses in China today, and justifiably so.
Top Navy and Marine Corps officials on Wednesday expressed concern over China’s expanding global reach and said the superpower was rapidly buying up foreign land to “win without fighting.”
“When it comes to China, the bottom line there is the
checkbook,” Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer told lawmakers during a House Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing.
My Uncle believes that what the Ying Pai desire,
which is to aggressively sprint ahead to achieve the fulfillment of our China Dream, is risky — and unnecessary.
And this has my Uncle’s attention…
There is no longer a dominant model for future war, but instead a blurred concept and a range of speculative possibilities.
And you may want to consider this…
Maj. Gen. William Hix, director of strategy, plans and policy for the office of the U.S. Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7, said, “Prediction is fraught with danger,” at the Atlantic Council’s U.S. Army Futures Forum.
Throughout history, there have been many “sad examples” of the tendency of people to optimistically embrace the idea of decisive opening strikes and quick finishes for war, Hix said.
“Most often, those predictions have been hugely wrong and, in some cases, resulted in catastrophe,” he said.
A large part of the problem is the failure to anticipate
social and political change, as well as technology revolutions, Hix said, citing America’s experience in the Civil War.
“Most of our officers were trained in Napoleonic
methods, and we missed the fact that the industrial age was maturing,” he said. “And the casualty rates that we suffered on both sides of our Civil War are indicative of the fact that we missed the importance of relatively small things like rifled muskets, artillery that fired indirectly, repeating arms, the railroad and the telegraph and what that meant to the speed of war at that time.
“Today, our failure to watch for those types of signals
has led to strategic surprise in the Russian actions of Crimea,” Hix said.
“The Ukraine, in many respects, is a harbinger of future war … and the long-term rise of China and the autonomy — I think the world economic forum calls it the fourth industrial age — suggests a potential shift in the character of war that is as profound and fundamental as the transition from the 19th to the 20th century.”
But we’re also curious as to whether you are even interested in taking seriously the danger which the Ying Pai pose to America.
Conflict may come sooner than most Americans imagine. This month alone, Beijing is reported to have placed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on three artificial islands in the South China Sea. The U.S. also recently said that American military pilots in Djibouti have been hit with lasers fired from a new Chinese base. The Pentagon has filed a diplomatic démarche requesting that China investigate, but mere diplomacy won’t suffice in the game Beijing is playing.
Timidity deters nothing. It encourages the increasing Chinese aggression. But so far America’s plans to upgrade the U.S. combat fleet have been diffident. To remain the world’s dominant maritime force, U.S. sea power will have to be trained, equipped and exercised. On this rests the future of the U.S. as a great power.
According to the RAND Corporation, the United States may already face grave challenges in defending Taiwan at an acceptable price. Those challenges are growing more acute in other contingencies, as well. In 2014, Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, warned that U.S. superiority was being “challenged in ways that I have not seen for decades.” He added, “This is not a future problem. This is a here-now problem.” And in 2017, the normally circumspect chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, told Congress that America might lose its ability to project power into contested regions within five years, absent corrective measures. The worst of the China challenge may or may not still lie in the future, but the challenge is plenty severe today.
To support China’s regime, a regime that ruthlessly represses its own people, denies universal values to justify its dictatorship, and challenges the existing international order to seek its dominance, is morally
corrupt as well as strategically unsound. Like Frankenstein’s monster, China is now seeking to revenge against its creator – the West.
While many policymakers in Washington have now realized that it is time to get tough on China, some still believe that the present and future conflicts between the U. S. and China can be managed. My view is this:
Without China’s democratization, a clash between the U. S. and China is unavoidable because the two countries’ strategic goals are on a clashing course and their core interests cannot be compromised.
Statement Submitted by Dr. YANG Jianli, To the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing titled, “Dissidents Who Have Suffered for Human Rights in China: A Look Back and A Look Forward”, Dec.7, 2016
China, however, is more than stumbling into the South China Sea. It is using its power to push out others, namely, the United States, which has no South China Sea sovereignty claims, and rival claimants. Beijing may want to “win without fighting” as Holmes suggests, but it cannot win without confronting.
Confrontation, unfortunately, is “inevitable,” as Yu Maochun of the U.S. Naval Academy points out. Beijing is trying to push out its borders and expand control of peripheral waters.
James Fanell, once the top intelligence officer of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet and now a noted commentator on defense matters, is concerned that the Chinese desire confrontation to achieve their
“centennial goal of the great rejuvenation” of the Chinese state. This goal, he told The National Interest, “requires the consolidation of all its perceived territories, to include the maritime territories of the South and East China Sea.”
NO ONE can say we didn’t see it coming. Since the end of the Cold War, and even before, it has been obvious that a rapidly rising China could eventually menace America’s position and influence in East Asia—and,
perhaps, globally as well. Since the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995–96, moreover, there have been accumulating signs that Beijing is not a status quo power, but rather one determined to reshape the East Asian order. For decades, then, there has been no
shortage of warnings about the emerging China challenge.
Most Americans have ignored these warnings, and that
has our attention.
So, we want to know what you really want, now that
the story has unfolded the way it has.
Are you going to continue to look the other way and
let us just keep on keeping on? Because, well…
It is this confrontation, between Washington and Beijing, which will determine the course of the 21st century.
For seven decades since World War II, a rules-based framework led by Washington has defined world order, producing an era Without war among
great powers. Most people now think of this as normal. Historians call it a rare “Long Peace.” Today, an increasingly powerful China is unraveling this
order, throwing into question the peace generations have taken for granted.
My Uncle and I believe China can continue to win against the United States without fighting. We just have to be patient.
But you really should pay more attention to us. We are far more shrewd than you realize.
Chinese leaders’ reawakened sense of destiny is a much more overpowering force than is generally understood in Washington, D.C. Financial markets and Western political capitals are littered with those who have underestimated the durability of China’s rise.
China has been called a “trivial state,” one which seeks nothing more than “perpetuation of the regime
itself and the protection of the county’s territorial integrity.” This view fundamentally underestimates the nature of the Chinese challenge. China, under Xi Jinping, has become a revolutionary regime that seeks not only to dominate others but also take away their sovereignty.
The United States has consistently underestimated China. We have refused to recognize that it is pursuing a strategy intended to displace the United States as a great power and the liberal world system that the United States has underwritten.
The Chinese Communist Party has plenty of its own problems, but the presence of stupid people in leadership roles isn’t one of them.
The West chronically underestimates Asians. The Russians couldn’t believe that Japan could stand up to their battle-tested armed forces in 1905, when Japan crushed the Russians on land and sea at Port Arthur. In his new biography of Winston Churchill, Andrew Robert reports that months before Japan took the British citadel of Singapore in 1942, Churchill “had privately predicted to the American journalist John Gunther that in the event of war the Japanese would
‘fold up like the Italians’ because they were ‘the wops of the Far East.’ Once again, recourse to racial stereotyping had led him badly to underestimate a
determined foe. Churchill effectively admitted that he had been wrong when on 15 February 1942 he said in a broadcast, ‘No one must underrate any more the
gravity and efficiency of the Japanese war machine. Whether in the air or upon the sea, or man to man on land, they have already proved themselves to be
formidable, deadly, and, I am sorry to say, barbarous antagonists.’”
It’s time to stop underestimating China.
Oh, and by the way, if the day ever comes when you read the Three Warfares report prepared by your controversial Professor Stefan Halper for the US Secretary of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, you’ll get a sense for the central role which story is playing in the unfolding drama between
the China and the United States…
The Three Warfares is analyzed here as a flexible and nuanced three dimensional war- fighting process; it is, in effect, war by other means. It is a dynamic tri-part synergistic process. It is uniquely suited to an age where success is often determined by whose story rather than whose army wins and arrives at a time when mass weapons, though a deterrent, have been essentially unusable for sixty years, where kinetic force as too often been a recipe for disappointment and ‘un-won’ wars.
The Three Warfares introduces a powerful new dimension to inter-state conflict and may, in time, impact the conduct of war in ways not dissimilar to the modern introduction of ‘Special Operations’ warfare. It has the clear potential to modify, if not change, the game.
Chinese experts in public diplomacy and the media argue that they will be a critical and growing aspect of the three warfares over the next decade. In other words, they recognise the weight of Joseph Nye’s comment that it is not the one whose army wins but the one whose story wins who is the ‘real’ victor.
An all-out war, with both sides using their total military capability is, in our assessment, a low probability exigency – the focus will be on ‘winning the story’ rather
than the military war.
Flexible and nuanced, the Three Warfares accommodate innovation while insuring Party control and direction. This dynamic tri-part process is mutually reinforcing. It is uniquely suited to an age where success is often determined by whose story rather than whose army wins.It arrives at a time when mass weapons, though a deterrent, have been essentially unusable for sixty years, where kinetic force has too often been a recipe for disappointment
and reversal. (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan)
In this respect, 21st Century warfare – where hearts, minds and opinion are, perhaps, more important than kinetic force projection – is guided by a new and vital dimension, namely the belief that whose story wins may be more important than whose army wins.
Given Joseph Nye’s insight that 21st century conflicts are less about whose army wins and more about whose story wins, Chinese media warfare efforts are of core importance in promoting the Chinese story.
The Public Diplomacy Program has been neglected by policy makers in Washington who have failed to realise that in 2013 it is not whose army wins, it is whose story wins. This is a lesson that has not escaped our Chinese protagonists.
Chinese policy-makers understand that in 2013 it
is not whose army wins, it is whose story wins.