Noted for Your Lunchtime Procrastination for June 8, 2015
Why People with a Grasp on Reality Do Not Miss the Old New Republic

Must-Read: Timothy Garton Ash: Xi Jinping’s China: The Greatest Political Experiment: "Xi is... trying to steer a complex economy and society... by top-down changes...

...led and controlled by a purged, disciplined and reinvigorated Leninist party. He is doing this in unprecedented conditions... trying to combine the ‘invisible hand’ of the market with the ‘visible hand’ of the party-state.... Much of the reignition has so far been about establishing control over the party, state, military and what there is of civil society.... The president may genuinely believe enlightened, skillful authoritarian rulers can handle things best: Lenin’s wager, but also... Plato’s and Confucius’s.... This experiment is life-changing for the thousands of purged officials.... It is also extremely uncomfortable for those Chinese who believe in free and critical debate, independent civic initiatives and non-governmental organisations.... If all this were to succeed as intended, western liberal democratic capitalism would have a formidable ideological competitor with worldwide appeal....

I do emphatically wish for them, and for ourselves, a China that experiences evolutionary and not revolutionary change. There are many reasons for that view, not least that most Chinese embrace it themselves. But the most important concerns nothing less than war and peace. A communist regime in crisis would probably find it impossible to resist the temptation of playing the nationalist card more aggressively somewhere in its neighbourhood.... My greatest concern flows not from the moral dictates of liberal democracy... but from the insights of political analysis that lead us to liberal democracy.... I would... take a (small) bet that, in this narrow sense [and in the short run], ‘yes, Xi can’ will prove correct. But in a broader sense and in the longer term? Watch out for a rocky 2020s...

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