The rise of china

RODAN

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In case you haven't been following all of the insanity thats been going on. Hong Kong is trying to liberate itself from China. the chinese govt is reacting very poorly to the protests, with violence and censorship.

as of yesterday a HK Hearthstone player said on stream something to the extent of free hong kong. He was stripped of all his prize money and banned from competing by Blizzard. Cases like this are getting more and more common. A lot of major companies have funding from china and therefore have to strictly censor themselves to cater to them (like the winnie the pooh stuff). I'm really worried that due to the massive amounts of people in china and the money and influence they have on the market for a lot of tech and media is going to lead to worse things in the future.

This isnt even including them basically recolonizing africa

is it irrational to be afraid of chinas growing geopolitical power?
 

THE_IRON_...KENYAN?

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The soft power shown by China and the possibility of them taking the place of the USA if it were to ever decline are a serious blow to the idea that The United States of America should not be the world police. America should be leading the cultural charge everywhere and it should absolutely and unequivocally have the strongest military in the world. If anyone we should be dumping a lot of money in Africa to try to out invest them and get rid of their foothold there. Now is not the time to be soft-hearted and entertain ideas of not engaging in "neo-colonialism" and the like. Its become abundantly clear that we are the only ones capable of leading the free world. This trend of self-hating anti Americanism has to stop, for the sake of the free world. We must believe in ourselves even if we arent perfect, and project our strength even harder than ever before. We cannot entertain isolationism.
 

EV

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Regarding the incident with the Hearthstone player specifically, from what I understand a company called NetEase Games operates HS for Blizzard in China. (I believe "surrogates" are required for any non-Chinese company to operate in the country.) I bet you it was NetEase's decision to ban the player after receiving pressure from the state, and Blizzard's hand was forced. Just a bit of context, though. Not trying to excuse the decision or how Blizzard handled it.

But that speaks to a problem international companies face when doing business in China. A lot of them take unfavorable partnerships to gain access to that market, or are required to censor/alter their products to conform to Chinese morality laws.

To use Blizzard and Hearthstone as another example, this year they quietly implemented a patch to change a handful of cards' artwork to diminish cleavage (Google Jaina censorship), blood, and violent images. But rather than apply the changes regionally, Blizzard altered everyone's cards in all three servers. Unsurprisingly, players used to a more liberal form of artistic expression were unhappy. Magic has faced similar restrictions since the 90s, but back then they printed different cards specifically for China to conform to their censorship laws. From what I can tell currently, they are no longer printing different versions.

We already do this to some extent in the US and other markets, though. The audience drives companies to change their behavior to generate more revenue. China has a bigger audience and so they're exerting more pressure. However, companies seem to be universalizing their brands rather than catering them to local markets anymore.

I think for as long as companies are obligated to do business in China in a metaphorical headlock, we're going to be noticing more Sino-centric consumer tendencies bleed into the margins of American commercialism.
 

vapicuno

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I get enraged when I smell white supremacy, so as an Asian I feel compelled to provide an alternate perspective, both historical and strategic.

One has to understand Chinese attitudes towards the west from the perspective of the Opium wars. In 1820, China's economy was the largest in the world. Chinese tea, silk and porcelain were goods high in demand in the west, yet there wasn't a demand for western goods in China. The trade deficit of the British East India Company grew, and the British saw Opium trade as a way out. Opium trade soared, and not only the British, but also Americans (such as the grandfather of Franklin D. Roosevelt) hopped on the bandwagon. This was clearly a huge problem, and the Chinese government took a strong anti-narcotic stance, albeit to no avail. On behalf of the British Parliament, in 1832, Lord Napier, Chief Superintendent of Trade of British Subjects in China, asked the Chinese government to legalize opium trade. Get that right -- the British told the Chinese to screw their society over just so they could make a profit. The Chinese government very politely said no, and when I say politely, I mean that they wrote a letter to Queen Victoria in 1839, which was ignored. What does a government do when it has tried all means to stop something that was such a detriment to society? It enacted the harshest executive and legislative actions. It seized all the opium in canton without compensation, and stipulated the death penalty for for all opium users and smugglers, local and foreign. Guess what? Opium trade continued.

At this juncture I must pause and say, if you are someone who considers China a country devoid of human rights from the perspective of someone who has never lived in that country, let me get this straight -- when a country enacts the death penalty and people aren't sufficiently deterred, human rights are secondary; survival of the country is key. And don't blame the monarchy for being a flawed system -- the economy was the largest in the world, yet it was British drug trade policy that screwed the Chinese over.

So, the British got angry that they were losing profit from the Chinese busting their drug smuggling business so that they wouldn't selfdestruct, and went to war with China. What? Superpower, limits on power of a constitutional monarch (pre-democracy), moral high ground, policing the world, cultural superiority -- throw that out the window. Again, look at the first sentence of this paragraph. What? I'm not even going to talk about parallels to the Iraq war here. Trust a superpower to be a world police? Once bitten, twice shy.

The Chinese lost the war, and through the Treaty of Nanking, China paid 21 million dollars, and was forced to cede Hong Kong to the British indefinitely. Hong Kong was born, and China devastated. Hong Kong as a specially administrated region only exists today because of British interference that was totally exploitative. More ports opened in China, but China was already trading with the rest of the world. It didn't really open up trade, yet it destroyed a country in the process. This would start the "century of shame", as the Chinese call it. Regardless of what people brought up in Hong Kong think of the PRC, and I do respect their opinions, China's perspective that Hong Kong was unjustly taken from it, and now that it has returned to power, rightfully rules over Hong Kong, is historically justified. On the side, to address a point in the OP, I doubt that violence in Hong Kong is even comparable to police brutality in New York City.

I'm just going to add that from a strategic perspective, China will definitely do whatever it can in its rightful interest as a powerful sovereign state to prevent Hong Kong from being as independent as it can. This is just International Relations 101. The USA and Western Europe are blessed with geopolitical stability to have the privilege not to care about relationships with their neighbors who otherwise adopt similar ideologies. China, however, cannot afford a separatist Hong Kong lying on its doorstep as an entry point for adversarial influence. It's not trying to be evil; the west just didn't have to care about such things in recent history. If you want an analogy, look at Russia-Finland geopolitics. Russia (an allied power) went to war with Finland pre-World War II not because it was evil but because it couldn't defend itself from Germany if Finland didn't give Russia some buffer. If you are American and want something closer to home, consider the Cuban Missile Crisis. And let's not pretend that the USA is full of angels with the bay of pigs invasion. Again, superpower police?

Finally, let me emphasize that although it is easy to make the link between the Chinese political system and its stance on human rights, it is (right now) not an inferior political system in terms of how pragmatically and quickly it can organize society. Its key difference compared to all the non-democracies that get a bad rep (think Gaddafi, Pinochet), is that there is a culture of leadership succession in the modern Chinese Politburo Standing Committee, the highest governing body. It is certainly not a monarchy -- there are in practice three factions within the Chinese Communist Party, and they compete for power at the top. It has its flaws for sure -- succession is not codified for example -- but you cannot blame it for actually making good use of its centralized power with all the progress China has seen in the past decades. I think a democracy only really works when members of society to vote for the betterment of the country as a whole. With the huge amount of corruption in China, I'm not sure if it's ready for a democracy. I'm also not sure China is ready for more tolerant laws.

It is certainly rational to be afraid of China's growing geopolitical power if you are a westerner. From one perspective, it's intruding on American supremacy. From another, it's just making up for many lost years. Take your pick. I hope readers of this post consider these perspectives in making future posts on this thread.
 
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tcr

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What white supremacism is being preached to get you so irate?

I don't think very many people want to see China fail just because they hate Asian people. People are dismayed about the authoritarian regime in China due to multiple reasons, anything from mass surveillance to genocide of Uighurs; in today's information age malpractice is easily pointed out and criticized, and this is something that authoritarian states want to do away with.

On China's growing power; I think that while America is certainly not fit to be the world's police I think that China is even more unfit. For every transgression the United States has done in the past 4 years China has surpassed every one of them. You think it's bad when illegal immigrants to this country are locked up in tent centers with ICE? Tack on isolating those centers to the literal middle of nowhere and harvesting the organs of those immigrants for profit. (source) You think Fox News is bad because they provide 'fake news' and slanted optics of politics, well China does one better with media blackouts that blatantly censor unflattering material, or historical events simply deleted from books and the internet. Companies in the US fire people for making politically incorrect jokes, whereas people in China simply disappear if they speak out. Frankly I don't really give a shit if China was on the up and up 200 years ago and white people fucked them over, it's not really any different from current issues with the recreational drug market, where China traps fentanyl to the US.

What I am most concerned about is the autonomy of the individual and their place within 'the system.' Yeah life in the United States can suck at times but upward mobility is superior to many other countries, life expectancy is up, and there are still freedoms, whether people like the Proud Boys or Antifa or SJW Facebook mommies wanna say otherwise. The mere existence of song lyrics and protest signs and news articles all titled "Fuck Donald Trump" point to these freedoms being exercised; meanwhile in China the Great Firewall exists and VPNs get banned so the government can track what you say, who says it, and where its said.

It has its flaws for sure -- succession is not codified for example -- but you cannot blame it for actually making good use of its centralized power with all the progress China has seen in the past decades. I think a democracy only really works when members of society to vote for the betterment of the country as a whole. With the huge amount of corruption in China, I'm not sure if it's ready for a democracy. I'm also not sure China is ready for more tolerant laws.
In the same paragraph you laud China for making great strides to boost its economy then lambast it with huge amount of corruption. What then, is your stance on individual power within the country? If China is not ready now for democratic control then when will it be? The money in China is only going to centralize more and more to the top percentage of wealth owners in the country, meaning more and more will the people be screwed over. Do you think that the people of China deserve their own autonomy? Is it better for the state to control than the people, if so, why? Does culture mean anything? You say that human rights are second and survival of the country (re: culture) is pertinent, yet China is doing its damnedest to erase the culture of the Uighurs, of the Rohingya, of the Falung Gong, of the Tibetians, of the culture in Hong Kong, and more. Don't those people deserve their own autonomy in their regions, or because they were once owned by China they are now the property of the Chinese state?
 
What white supremacism is being preached to get you so irate?

I don't think very many people want to see China fail just because they hate Asian people. People are dismayed about the authoritarian regime in China due to multiple reasons, anything from mass surveillance to genocide of Uighurs; in today's information age malpractice is easily pointed out and criticized, and this is something that authoritarian states want to do away with.

On China's growing power; I think that while America is certainly not fit to be the world's police I think that China is even more unfit. For every transgression the United States has done in the past 4 years China has surpassed every one of them. You think it's bad when illegal immigrants to this country are locked up in tent centers with ICE? Tack on isolating those centers to the literal middle of nowhere and harvesting the organs of those immigrants for profit. (source) You think Fox News is bad because they provide 'fake news' and slanted optics of politics, well China does one better with media blackouts that blatantly censor unflattering material, or historical events simply deleted from books and the internet. Companies in the US fire people for making politically incorrect jokes, whereas people in China simply disappear if they speak out. Frankly I don't really give a shit if China was on the up and up 200 years ago and white people fucked them over, it's not really any different from current issues with the recreational drug market, where China traps fentanyl to the US.

What I am most concerned about is the autonomy of the individual and their place within 'the system.' Yeah life in the United States can suck at times but upward mobility is superior to many other countries, life expectancy is up, and there are still freedoms, whether people like the Proud Boys or Antifa or SJW Facebook mommies wanna say otherwise. The mere existence of song lyrics and protest signs and news articles all titled "Fuck Donald Trump" point to these freedoms being exercised; meanwhile in China the Great Firewall exists and VPNs get banned so the government can track what you say, who says it, and where its said.


In the same paragraph you laud China for making great strides to boost its economy then lambast it with huge amount of corruption. What then, is your stance on individual power within the country? If China is not ready now for democratic control then when will it be? The money in China is only going to centralize more and more to the top percentage of wealth owners in the country, meaning more and more will the people be screwed over. Do you think that the people of China deserve their own autonomy? Is it better for the state to control than the people, if so, why? Does culture mean anything? You say that human rights are second and survival of the country (re: culture) is pertinent, yet China is doing its damnedest to erase the culture of the Uighurs, of the Rohingya, of the Falung Gong, of the Tibetians, of the culture in Hong Kong, and more. Don't those people deserve their own autonomy in their regions, or because they were once owned by China they are now the property of the Chinese state?
These are important points. While I'm sure in the US there are people with anti-Chinese sentiment based on racism, we can't let any exposure or critique about China be restricted because we think it's anti-Chinese. This is critique of a government and its actions and it needs to be done. Just as critique of the US government is not inherently anti-American, critique of Saudi Arabia is not inherently anti-Arab, critique of Israel is not inherently anti-Jewish, or critique of Mexico is not inherently anti-latino, we need to recognize critique of China is not inherently anti-Chinese.
The surveillance state that exists in China is near-dystopian. I watched a documentary the other day exploring the states in China in which the Muslim minority live and it's truly sickening to see the conditions which they're forced to live in. They are also inserting themselves everywhere into the global marketplace. Africa is an area Chinese corporations recently been exploiting for resources (especially energy) and there are early signs of segregation with Chinese and African conditions being different in the places they inhabit too.
They're kinda the elephant in the room as a global power and I'm not sure what the best path forward is in dealing with them in an international relations perspective.
 
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Finally, let me emphasize that although it is easy to make the link between the Chinese political system and its stance on human rights, it is (right now) not an inferior political system in terms of how pragmatically and quickly it can organize society.
It is of course not an "inferior system" if you see it from an economic point of view and recent grown of hard power of China. But it's clearly a disaster on the social side and I wouldn't say it can quickly organize society when a government must resort to the army, violence, censorship and "human exploitation" to make the country work, and there are many examples for each of these points.
I will not go into details because many things have been already said above.
 

McGrrr

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I'm ethnically Chinese, but I emigrated young and grew up in England, so I feel well placed to empathise with both the Chinese and western points of view. As an economics graduate, I've also watched the progress of China since the '90s with great interest. I grew up with western values, so I naturally find the CCP to be deplorable, but that being said, the government raised 850 million Chinese out of (absolute) poverty from 1981 to 2015.

China has always been an inward looking country; one that's deeply suspicious of the rest of the world. It doesn't help that its history is a list of invasions from every direction due to its enormous borders. This history remains something that the CCP draws upon to stir up nationalist sentiment as part of its internal propaganda machine. For example, state television reruns period dramas about the war with Japan whenever there's social unrest. I digress... the point is that China looks after its own interests.

The west tolerated China's rapid growth partly because it was convenient and partly because the powers that be thought that when China was invited to the table, it would leave behind its insular past and play nice as a global power. However, that was beyond naive, as China is really only interested in stealing intellectual property and increasing its sphere of influence.

China's ultimate goal is to become THE global superpower, but that's obviously going to rustle jimmies in 'Murrica. This is also not so easy to achieve in a US Dollar dominated world. The problem is that as China grew wealthier, its new middle class began to increasingly buy western brands and travel abroad, thereby depleting the country's foreign currency reserves that were amassed from their heyday as the world's factory floor (a title it has since lost to other developing nations).

I could go on, but I'll address the OP.

The CCP is committing atrocities left, right, and centre, but that's been the case for decades. That's just how China operates, and the west won't intervene unless it's politically expedient to do so.

Should you be fearful of China's growing geopolitical power? At a micro level, it really doesn't affect you. A cynic might suggest that such narratives are encouraged to distract from real issues closer to home. A cynic is often right. Sort your shit out 'Murrica.
 

McGrrr

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If anyone we should be dumping a lot of money in Africa to try to out invest them and get rid of their foothold there.
How?

The Chinese offer uneconomic loans (i.e. either below market interest and/or high chance of default) to African governments for e.g. infrastructure spending. Nobody can nor will choose to compete with that.

Multinational companies also can't outbid Chinese companies in emerging markets because the Chinese are more than happy to pay a bribe. No company can out-bribe the CCP, and even the dodgiest publicly listed corporations have some semblance of corporate governance to prevent it anyway.
 

GatoDelFuego

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Should you be fearful of China's growing geopolitical power? At a micro level, it really doesn't affect you. A cynic might suggest that such narratives are encouraged to distract from real issues closer to home. A cynic is often right. Sort your shit out 'Murrica.
do you think that China's practices will stop at its borders once it becomes the preeminent superpower? Why should they stop? The Chinese government covets power, and would love for the rest of the world's citizens to follow their rules. While this might not be different from any other government, the usa government is...restricted from blatant humans rights abuses or social credit discrimination in ways China is not. Assuming China's politicians are equally as immoral as any other countries, why WOULDN'T they bring the rest of the world to heel? Once China takes the top superpower spot from the usa, the usa either plays ball or gets crushed economically. If china can do x to their citizens, why won't they do it to me? Saying they won't affect me is hoping that the Chinese government will be a Benevolent Dictator

Sorry, your International Chinese Harmony Score (ICHS) is not high enough to buy this item. Sorry, your score is not high enough to fly to this African city. Sorry, the University/company you want to attend/work for has a low average score. We must hire more Chinese citizens to balance it out.
(https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/04/china-plans-for-corporate-social-credit-system-eu-sinolytics-report.html)
(https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/China-s-airline-censorship-over-Taiwan-must-not-fly)
 

McGrrr

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It’s an interesting case to just see how companies cater to the desires of China because it offers so much potential revenue.
The problem is two-fold:

1. China is key to their future profitability
2. Capital controls and ad-hoc bureaucracy already make it nigh on impossible for global corporations to repatriate existing cash from China (just ask Apple)

China's MO at the moment is to accumulate dollars as the country is depleting its foreign currency reserves. The CCP is actively holding profits made by foreign companies hostage by not allowing it to leave the country.
 
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McGrrr

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do you think that China's practices will stop at its borders once it becomes the preeminent superpower?
My point is that this is actually very unlikely to happen. I realise that I didn't spell it out though. Note the italicised below:

China's ultimate goal is to become THE global superpower, but that's obviously going to rustle jimmies in 'Murrica. This is also not so easy to achieve in a US Dollar dominated world. The problem is that as China grew wealthier, its new middle class began to increasingly buy western brands and travel abroad, thereby depleting the country's foreign currency reserves that were amassed from their heyday as the world's factory floor (a title it has since lost to other developing nations).
China has a serious foreign currency shortage. It also has twin bubbles in stocks and real estate. The economy is incredibly fragile right now.
 
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GatoDelFuego

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The Chinese economy is incredibly fragile right now.
That doesn't change the fact that thanks to an easily controlled population, enormous access to energy and minerals, intellectual property theft to get a jump start on technology, and just sheer numbers of people, china WILL become the world's largest economy. The USA has held on to its power for years thanks to stuff like aerospace, medicine, academic research, and computing. China is catching up and once it does, there's nothing stopping it (unless politics gets involved, as it has already started) from becoming the "new usa"
 

McGrrr

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I mean, all that needs to happen is for the US to not allow Chinese companies (rife with systemic fraud) to list on US exchanges until they reach western standards of disclosure, transparency, and governance, and the entire house of cards would collapse because China needs those dollars. The fear is overblown, but I blame the media.
 

vapicuno

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I hope to eventually respond to everyone but I will start with things easy to address first.

Historically, Chinese have in all aspects of their lives relied more on unofficial arrangements rather than a strict constitution. As I said, leadership succession is not codified, but the Politburo has an unofficial retirement age of 68. The written removal of term limits is indeed a recent development that has worried some Chinese. This concern is indeed justified. However, I do not think it is as big of a change as some might think. Chinese politicians like Jiang Zemin have exerted their influence way beyond their official terms. Furthermore, I think at this moment the Chinese are still interested in looking legitimate. Xi Jinping's aide, Wang Qishan, has stepped down from the Politburo despite the retirement age being unofficial.

That said, the amount of power Xi Jinping has consolidated at a time when China is strenghtening in the international community is unprecedented, and I'm not qualified enough to talk about the implications of that. The CCP derives a lot of its legitimacy from the economic growth of the nation, and we know from history that nationalism and wars are tools used by states to appease the people when the economy slows (which is happening in China). Xi is now a strongman in the sense of global politics, I hope Xi will be responsible with his power.
 

GatoDelFuego

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Xi is now a strongman in the sense of global politics, I hope Xi will be responsible with his power.
How many world leaders have actually been the responsible one?wwho hasn't abused the power they're given?

This is the entire point I was making with my post: we're at the stage where we have to HOPE China plays nice. We have to HOPE they don't crush people's rights when they become the superpower.


Oh yeah, and you don't have to "appease" your citizens when you control their interactions through gamification and paranoia (sesame credit, paid censorship, etc). Call me when the internet harmonizers go on strike. Or maybe by then the ccp will have developed an unrestricted ai to censor the internet for them. Glad that you've gotten the "easy" response out of the way (that China isn't a True Dictatorship....yet). Eagerly awaiting the difficult response of trying to justify organ harvesting next.
 

Ninahaza

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Can we just like, leave Africa fucking out of this?

Do i have to become the T'challa of this thread?
 
In case you haven't been following all of the insanity thats been going on. Hong Kong is trying to liberate itself from China. the chinese govt is reacting very poorly to the protests, with violence and censorship.

as of yesterday a HK Hearthstone player said on stream something to the extent of free hong kong. He was stripped of all his prize money and banned from competing by Blizzard. Cases like this are getting more and more common. A lot of major companies have funding from china and therefore have to strictly censor themselves to cater to them (like the winnie the pooh stuff). I'm really worried that due to the massive amounts of people in china and the money and influence they have on the market for a lot of tech and media is going to lead to worse things in the future.

This isnt even including them basically recolonizing africa

is it irrational to be afraid of chinas growing geopolitical power
?
I don't think you look at news at all. There hasn't been pacific protests happening in Hong Kong. The chinese goverment can't tolerate the
destabilization of their region by violent protests in any way, you just mention how "poorly" have they been reacting to the protests, with "violence" and "censorship"... what? Not sure if you're either blind or not but those are not pacific protests in any way. Many of the people who protest have weapons, which don't mind using against those who disagree with what they're doing, they're nothing but vandals and should be treated as such. It's ok if they disagree with the central and region government, it's ok for them to protest, but what's not right is to hold violent protests that don't lead anywhere and whose only purpose is to vandalize and kill people. I wonder why is this so similar to Ukraine where the so called "pacific protests" led to a coup d'état and a new pro-western goverment... let's just pretend that the US isn't behind the protests in Hong Kong.

Looks like you even forgot which countries colonized the continent, if I was you, I wouldn't use the term "recolonizing" here buddy. They have been inverting and developing Africa after centuries of western exploiation of their natural resources. The US and Europe didn't bring anything but misery and poverty there, so what I can think off is that you just happen to have a pro-western view of it.

I personally wouldn't be too afraid of China's growing geopolitical power. I'd be afraid of the US wanting to try and dominate the geopolitical power again. The US has been the only country in the world with a so called democratic state that has been doing non sense wars. From having overthrowing democratic governments and funding militar dictatorships that have cost a lot to the peoples of latin america and central america, to destabilize the middle east region with unnecessary wars, such as what has been done in Irak, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, where they finance, train and maintain terrorist groups, but of course, all this has been done and done today to bring the good "democracy" to these countries just because they act like the police of the world, right? The U.S. government has no morals to talk about human rights, that has always been a joke for them. At the end of the day, at least, China and Russia doesn't make wars just to create more and more instability around the world.

Someone once said, "The United States seems destined by providence to plague America of miseries in the name of freedom". I wouldn't add not only the American continent but also the world in general.
 

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