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Peter Robinson: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes that,

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages… It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power.

What do you make of this “Beijing Consensus,” this view that maybe they are better suited for the future than our form of government.

Victor Davis Hanson: If you gave me ten minutes and the internet, I could give you an almost verbatim quote from what left-wing people said about Mussolini in the twenties, and what right-wing people like Charles Lindbergh said about Germany in the thirties. They make the trains run on time…

But China has a rendezvous with radical pollution problems and clean up; demographic problems, a shrinking population that will grow old before it grows rich; one male per family, imbalance between the sexes. Somehow their brilliant foreign policy cooked up a nuclear Pakistan, a nuclear North Korea, a nuclear Russia, a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, and maybe, in the future, a nuclear Taiwan and Japan — all right on their border.

So I don’t get this fascination that, just because you fly into the Shanghai airport and everything looks great in a way that Kennedy doesn’t, suddenly they’re the avatars of the future.

What Thomas Friedman would need to do is get on a bicycle, cross rural China, then compare that with biking across rural Nebraska to see which society is more resilient and stable.

Victor Davis Hanson


A counterpoint made by VDH in his interview with the Hoover Institute’s Peter Robinson several years ago. To read more, you can take a look at Hanson’s much praised study of nine of history’s most pivotal battles, Carnage and Culture.

Or you can read on: