Week after week, we document atmospherically a drift in the direction of decoupling and possibly more. Where is this going? What are the scenarios? There are no particularly positive ones that can be plucked from the evidence this week, that’s for sure. Houston and Chengdu are just the most high profile of the avalanche of developments, and on the consular angle there will be no predictions or analysis here – it is simply moving too fast to say.
What is needed is a common worldview embraced by all major players. China needs to be a part of the world and the world needs China to be a part of it. But how do we get there? And what would the worldview be that could be accepted by all? That there is a dichotomy of worldviews has been clear for many years, but it is now coming to a head, and even the near future at this point is just a mist. All that can be said with certainty today is that globalization as it has been known is over, supply chains are moving, China can be expected to strengthen all domestic self-sufficiency aspects especially tech and finance, and much of the rest of the world appears to be heading towards a consensus on the long-standing discussion over China relations. Not all the world, of course, but significant parts of it.
It all tends to lead towards brinkmanship and games of chicken, bluffing and feints. And maybe more. The one positive thought we have is that a serious military conflict is unlikely as it would be in no one’s interests. One hopes that all players in the respective posts would agree with that bottom line. What other issues are going to be added to the pile of differences next week, one shudders to think.
In other news, it looks like US investors might buy out TikTok from Bytedance, thereby resolving a key decoupling tech problem, the Chinese economy appears to be continuing a recovery at some level, and a Chinese rocket took off heading for Mars. NASA’s spacecraft carrying Perseverance Rover will be taking off to join it next week. Oh, how wonderful if that was the top item on this missive.