2019-11-07 回復獎勵 29662
原創翻譯:龍騰網 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻譯:回復獎勵 轉載請注明出處

What lessons should Americans draw from China''s history?


原創翻譯:龍騰網 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻譯:回復獎勵 轉載請注明出處

Feng Xian, former Research Associate at Eurasian Center (2017-2018)
One example is good enough:
Since the Anshi rebellion, the Tang Dynasty experienced a strategic contraction due to the increasing external threat from the Tibetan Empire, Khitan Confederation, Nanzhao country. The Tang Dynasty hence formed a complex relationship with the military zones and legions. On the one hand, the Tang government needed the military zones and legions to confront the external threats. On the other hand, the unreasonable annual salaries and expensive rewards to earn the loyalty of those often disobeyed professional soldiers had become a tremendous financial burden for the central government.
(The soldiers during the period of the mid Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties Ten Kingdom were known for disobedience, arrogance, aggression. The armors, artifacts and paintings in this period vividly captured the military class’s characteristics and behaviors).
Nowadays, we see a similar trend in the US. Trump is pushing for a strategically global contraction due to the decline of the US hegemony in contrast with the rise of foreign powers (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Turkey, India…). The US is experiencing a great transformation from a universal empire into a nationalist state. However, Trump had to announce a huge increase in the defense budget, including both upgrading & purchasing weapons and increasing the salary of soldiers.
This seems to be controversial and could be interpreted by the liberals as if Trump is going mad once again. Nevertheless, this reflects not Trump’s insanity or “China’s threat” but the political and economic reality of the US.
The reality is American political leaders must earn the support and loyalty of the increasingly influential military faction and class (and the corporate behind). The global Empire with the accumulated history, internal and external interests, has made the military a huge profit craving industry and popularised group which, in my opinion, is strong enough to make the President or any politician get shot by a veteran with “mental issues”. On the other hand, the US’s financial hegemony and “mandate of heaven or manifest destiny”, since manufacturing is gone, are built upon the military hegemony. The US needs the military to preserve its hegemony but the ecosystem of that service and industry do not come for free.
Hence, the US is facing the same dilemma the Tang did with regard to the military faction and class. Soon and later, once the US economy and the government’s budget cannot support that huge spending, the structural conflict would erupt. How to deal with them would be a difficult task for Trump and futural leaders. The good news is at least for now Trump can fire John Bolton and the mad dog when he feels the gap of security policies.
While it is true that one happened in the 8th- 9th centuries, another 2019, there shouldn’t be the discredit to the former as if the experience and lesson are useless. The Tang Dynasty also had a carefully designed and sophisticated bureaucracy, law, monitor, check and balance to restrain the army, generals and soldiers. It was not the institution but obedience to the rule and institution, triggered by internal corruption and external accumulations and environment, went wrong.
The US military already has that trend. The US military not only has a close relationship with the arms industry and lobbyists but experience also a tremendous level of internal corruption. The loose punishment of the Courts-martial on war crime, corruption and sexual assaults of American soldiers also show the institution does not always function as the institutionalism and military nationalization promised (and imagine how will that look like in 10 years later?).
After all, if the institution can magically solve all the problems, then Liberia and Philippines that duplicated the American political system 70 or less than 200 years ago should become developed countries already rather than struggle with poverty or the civil war.
When the military is so capitalized, structurally speaking soldiers’ loyalty and discipline in the long run are questionable. To prepare for the future, I recommend the American scholars and politicians to study the history of the mid-late Tang Dynasty and the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, immediately.



Jevin Liu
The United States cannot print money willy nilly either. If they did, they would increase the supply of money, generating inflation, which decreases trust in the currency. Thus, less people demand it and thus its value goes down. It’s a vicious cycle of inflation.


Jansen Junaedi
He is not talking about the money, but budget allocations and its political impact.


Peng XiangPing
Tang Dynasty last about 280 years. It was one of the golden era of Chinese history. Now PRC is trying to return to that level of success in 21st century.


Jansen Junaedi
This looks similar to Late Roman Empire don’t you think?

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