Influence v. Source Code

The Eastern Question: Part III,” by Chirol, Coming Anarchy, 3 May 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/05/03/the-eastern-question-part-iii/.

Chirol at Coming Anarchy makes a good point about the difference between influence and style. We have nothing to fear from a state that’s in China’s political orbit. We have everything to fear from one that acts like the old China

We need to remember that influence and ideology are different. A country where China has influence through say business interests like Kazakhstan isn’t as dangerous as a country running China’s “code” like Burma or North Korea. The west in the broadest sense is expanding its system, running its source code in more countries and that is part of the Eastern Question. Countries merely competing for influence is another matter entirely.

Thus, in order to maintain not the balance of power, but to maintain peace and international prosperity, we must expand or realign large sections of the world. Thus the latest Eastern Question deals more with the balance of power between stability and chaos than among states. The Cold War era was stable and thus safe. Since it ended, we’ve seen anarchy erupt across the globe. Keeping that in check and molding these regions into stable democracies will be our challenge.

Countries like Russia and China have had to slowly become like us in order to compete with us. All other isms have failed. Liberal democracy has no credible ideological competitors. We can’t fall into the classic trap of “masterly inactivity” we need to be forward thinking and acting.

Well said.

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