让我们一起看看作者 Walter Russel Mead 的傲慢、偏见和无知。
The mighty Chinese juggernaut has been humbled this week, apparently by a species-hopping bat virus. While Chinese authorities struggle to control the epidemic and restart their economy, a world that has grown accustomed to contemplating China’s inexorable rise was reminded that nothing, not even Beijing’s power, can be taken for granted.
We do not know how dangerous the new coronavirus will be. There are signs that Chinese authorities are still trying to conceal the true scale of the problem, but at this point the virus appears to be more contagious but considerably less deadly than the pathogens behind diseases such as Ebola or SARS—though some experts say SARS and coronavirus are about equally contagious.
China’s initial response to the crisis was less than impressive. The Wuhan government was secretive and self-serving; national authorities responded vigorously but, it currently appears, ineffectively. China’s cities and factories are shutting down; the virus continues to spread. We can hope that authorities succeed in containing the epidemic and treating its victims, but the performance to date has shaken confidence in the Chinese Communist Party at home and abroad. Complaints in Beijing about the U.S. refusing entry to noncitizens who recently spent time in China cannot hide the reality that the decisions that allowed the epidemic to spread as far and as fast as it did were all made in Wuhan and Beijing.
The likeliest economic consequence of the coronavirus epidemic, forecasters expect, will be a short and sharp fall in Chinese economic growth rates during the first quarter, recovering as the disease fades. The most important longer-term outcome would appear to be a strengthening of a trend for global companies to “de-Sinicize” their supply chains. Add the continuing public health worries to the threat of new trade wars, and supply-chain diversification begins to look prudent.
Events like the coronavirus epidemic, and its predecessors—such as SARS, Ebola and MERS—test our systems and force us to think about the unthinkable. If there were a disease as deadly as Ebola and as fast-spreading as coronavirus, how should the U.S. respond? What national and international systems need to be in place to minimize the chance of catastrophe on this scale?
Epidemics also lead us to think about geopolitical and economic hypotheticals. We have seen financial markets shudder and commodity prices fall in the face of what hopefully will be a short-lived disturbance in China’s economic growth. What would happen if—perhaps in response to an epidemic, but more likely following a massive financial collapse—China’s economy were to suffer a long period of even slower growth? What would be the impact of such developments on China’s political stability, on its attitude toward the rest of the world, and to the global balance of power?
China’s financial markets are probably more dangerous in the long run than China’s wildlife markets. Given the accumulated costs of decades of state-driven lending, massive malfeasance by local officials in cahoots with local banks, a towering property bubble, and vast industrial overcapacity, China is as ripe as a country can be for a massive economic correction. Even a small initial shock could lead to a massive bonfire of the vanities as all the false values, inflated expectations and misallocated assets implode. If that comes, it is far from clear that China’s regulators and decision makers have the technical skills or the political authority to minimize the damage—especially since that would involve enormous losses to the wealth of the politically connected.
We cannot know when or even if a catastrophe of this scale will take place, but students of geopolitics and international affairs—not to mention business leaders and investors—need to bear in mind that China’s power, impressive as it is, remains brittle. A deadlier virus or a financial-market contagion could transform China’s economic and political outlook at any time.
Many now fear the coronavirus will become a global pandemic. The consequences of a Chinese economic meltdown would travel with the same sweeping inexorability. Commodity prices around the world would slump, supply chains would break down, and few financial institutions anywhere could escape the knock-on consequences. Recovery in China and elsewhere could be slow, and the social and political effects could be dramatic.
If Beijing’s geopolitical footprint shrank as a result, the global consequences might also be surprising. Some would expect a return of unipolarity if the only possible great-power rival to the U.S. were to withdraw from the game. Yet in the world of American politics, isolation rather than engagement might surge to the fore. If the China challenge fades, many Americans are likely to assume that the U.S. can safely reduce its global commitments.
So far, the 21st century has been an age of black swans. From 9/11 to President Trump’s election and Brexit, low-probability, high-impact events have reshaped the world order. That age isn’t over, and of the black swans still to arrive, the coronavirus epidemic is unlikely to be the last to materialize in China.
“You know nothing Walter Russell Mead”. You are just feeding ignorance, bias and phobia towards China and it’s People. China is doing it’s very best to contain the virus and avoid more spillover to other countries using Draconian measures. This author might think his opinion is a show of Freedom of speech, but it’s more like Freedom of Bias. I now realize what a waste of time reading rubbish in WSJ, not worth my buck, I’ll just cancel my subscription and buy another magazine that can get their facts right, better yet save the money to donate to China!
Walter Russell Mead. What a cheap shot. Karma will find you.
This title is so racist. Every Chinese knows about what “sick man of Asia” means. There is explanation in the conversations thread. If you read it, you will know why it’s racist.
I believe WSJ also knows about it but still allows this title to be published. During the outbreak of coronavirus, Chinese people are fighting with it so hard. And WSJ really shouldn’t publish this title during the current time. It shows no empathy at all and is so cruel.
As a Professor of Foreign Affairs, Mead definitely knows what Sick Man means to Asian and Chinese. Obviously, a man in his age, looking at China becoming world’s 2nd largest economy and even able to challenge America in many aspects, can do nothing but use words to vilify China. Coronavirus is just an excuse for being racist for them. After witnessing China’s rapid growth for 20 years, finally, he got an opportunity to express his jealousy.
The title shows no intellect and very ignorant to say the least, or racist, imperialist and inhuman!
This is very humiliating to Chinese people. If one knows Chinese history, these were exactly words used by imperialist since opium war, if not earlier.
Today during this terrible time, the world is battling this outbreak as virus has no borders. Scientists from many countries including US are working around clock to develop vaccine and medicines to save people’s life. We are all on the same boat in this battle (certainly not the last one) as human race.
As the world leading newspaper, what is wrong with WSJ!
As a professor, Walter Russell Mead, I wonder how you teach your students?
Do hope this is not your intention.
China has many weakness like USA.But certainly it is not the sick man of Asia. Chinese are hard working and quite productive and thanks to the labor of average Chinese , average American at the US poverty level saves $1500/yr buying at WMT which sells lots lots of Chinese made stuff .
Fault the Chinese autocratic PLA leadership not the average Chinese with long history of civilization & culture.The PLA is afraid of losing its powers, anarchy and aspirations to dominate the world which will end tragically for it. Who opened up to MAO, the author should ask the question ?
The whole world can not follow American Style democracy for it requires 2 centuries of freedom, a strong middle class who can afford 80% of the goods produced (prada shoes or Gucci bags may be), a strong army , rule of law and good governance . Is there rule of law in sanctuary cities? Most of Asia became free after 2nd world war.
Walter Russell Mead. What a cheap shot. Karma will find you.
What’s wrong with this title? So racist
The fact that WSJ approved such an “opinionated” article is quite disappointing. No one, no government is perfect. Call CDC and ask the nurse how the coronavirus is screened in New York city; you’ll learn that the screening procedure is not thorough at all; this is not explicitly disclosed to the general public. What word you’ll use to describe CDC then? Completely ignoring the efforts Chinese people and government have made over the past few weeks, this article is not only biased but humiliating and lower the quality of WSJ .
China is already suffering from a vast excess of young men, due to the one-child policy. Female babies were aborted or left to die after birth, leaving a shortage of marriageable females. This produces a very unstable society, and it will take very little for it to explode into civil war.
A big upset in the economy could well trigger such a disaster, and the response of the party leaders could produce a conflagration that could spread to other countries.