China, Tianxia, and the Plan to Break the International Liberal World
Modern China is resurrecting this dynasty of tributary taxation, through economic dependence, soft loans, and creating a Chinese diaspora throughout Asia and Africa.
Therefore, two suns are setting on the world; the Westphalian one of 300 years and the Chinese one of the Qin Han dynasties. Yet for the Chinese, there is only one sun in heaven, and they refuse to play second fiddle to the West. In part “revanchist”—a settling of scores from the days of colonial powers—and an assault on the weakness of Western liberal cultures. It is a sore test for the sons of the Enlightenment and for the architects of Westphalia, who ditched the civilizational state of the Holy Roman Empire for the solace of independent states.
Nevertheless, the weaknesses of authoritarian, top-down states such as Russia and China are their increasing reliance on a type of expansive nationalism. Civilizations are eclipsed not by external threats but by internal incoherence. In this, both the Occident and the Orient are obscured by haze; a lack of a moral teleology hinders both. Resources and geopolitics signify a lack of Plato’s “care for the soul.” Bound to the wall of Plato’s cave, it will take an epoch-shifting Spenglerian change to drag humanity from the cave of its own making and into the blinding sunlight.
Brian Patrick Bolger studied at the LSE. He has taught political philosophy and applied linguistics in universities across Europe. His articles have appeared in the United States, the UK, Italy, Canada, and Germany in magazines such as The National Interest, GeoPolitical Monitor, Merion West, Voegelin View, The Montreal Review, The European Conservative, Visegrad Insight, The Hungarian Conservative, The Salisbury Review,The Village, New English Review, The Burkean, The Daily Globe, American Thinker, The Internationalist, and Philosophy News. His book, Coronavirus and the Strange Death of Truth, is now available in the UK and the United States. His new book, Nowhere Fast: The Decline of Liberal Democracy, will be published soon by Ethics International Press.