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John Mearsheimer continues to be a puzzlement to me.

In this video on Russia-Ukraine War, John J. Mearsheimer explains what should Ukraine do realistically. He gives his view on whether economic sanctions on Russia by the West will cause Russia to back down. He also explains that the issue of human rights and law in the light of international relations and how great power politics works in reality.

There is no doubt that Mearsheimer is intellectually astute and honest. His analysis of geopolitics is right on. Deep down, he believes that might is right and great powers like the US selectively and conveniently chooses when to tout International laws and when to exercise raw power. Geopolitics is a zero sum game. There is no such thing as a multi-polar world as each country will strive, lie and cheat until ultimately it becomes the hegemony dominating the whole world. China is no exception.

I’d like to think that this is a very ‘western’ concept and that the Chinese people have been quite content to remain in their own territory, seldom wanting to conquer and colonize far away places or other parts of the world. However, within China there is a history of warlords, typically romanticized and dramatized by the story of the Three Kingdom (三國演義) part historical and part fictional, that tells the stories of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace or restore the dwindling Han dynasty.

Sporadically, China is unified under an emperor who came from humble background and was generally benevolent to all the ordinary people (老百姓) and the empire prospered until generations later, the emperor’s descendants become corrupted. Thus the existing empire is overthrown and another dynasty is birthed. Throughout history China has been quite contended to stay put in it territory. As globalization progresses, will China also expand her horizon and visualize the world as its own oyster?

So, I am not sure that John Mearsheimer is wrong after all.

Please feel free to share this email with your friends (and contacts) if it is relevant. The current struggle for our world’s primacy is most interesting to me and maybe to you as well.

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