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by Lenrod Nzulu Baraka
In the mid 19th century America’s population was less than 25 million. This meant that there were approximately 13 million fewer Americans than they were Frenchmen in the world.
One hundred and seventy-two years later America has a population of 335 million which is larger than the British, French, German, Dutch, and Italian populations combined. Contrary to the popular but disputed contention about the importance of size, it is clear that size does matter.
After a few centuries of mayhem, rape, and plunder Western Europe settled down to an irreversible decline in its population and an accompanying eradication of Western Europe’s importance as the hegemon of the world. Zero population growth coupled with two devastating tribal wars in Europe helped to relax the grip of Western Europe on the levers of power making room for the emergence of new power brokers on the global stage.
As Western Europe started its slow death march into oblivion as the global geopolitical juggernaut, two new power blocks emerged. The United States and the Soviet Union announced their arrival as the two main hegemonic powers with aplomb and with awesome displays of military prowess. The United States did the unthinkable and dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Soviet tanks rolled into Nazi occupied territories liberating and annexing these territories into the great Soviet empire.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, territories that had been annexed into the Soviet Union asserted their sovereignty and pursued a path of independent nationhood. The fragmentation of the former Soviet Union was encouraged by the US and its allies who understood quite well that it would be much easier to control and manipulate many small weak countries as opposed to a new reborn Soviet Union under another name.
President Putin, President Xi Jinping, and President Biden understand that size does matter. No nation can shrink its way to greatness.
Population decline, successful secession movements, and the loss of territory through conquest or environmental disasters can adversely impact and significantly weaken a global power. Russia, China and the US can be relied upon now and in the future to maintain existing borders and to expand their claims of sovereignty wherever possible.
The US civil war was fought to prevent the Southern states seceding from the American Union. It is unlikely that the American government would take kindly to Texas or any other state in the American Union seceding from the United States. The American Civil Wars is ample proof that the American state would resort to military force to prevent a secession from the American union.
China’s claims to Taiwan stretches back to 239 CE when an emperor of China sent an expedition to the island. In 1895 the island came under Japanese control courtesy of the defeat Japan handed out to China in the Sino –Japanese war.
After being devastated by the American war machine, Japan returned the island to China in 1945.
Four years later in 1949, the Chinese communist revolution led by Mao Zedong forced the former ruling dynasty in China to flee to Taiwan and set up a government in exile. Both governments in mainland China and in Taiwan claimed to be the legitimate government of China.
The mainland government of President Xi is recognized by the US and most of the rest of the world as the legitimate government of China. President Xi is adamant that Taiwan is a part of the greater Chinese nation and that reunification of the two parts of China is inevitable. A Western dominated independent state of Taiwan is as unlikely as a Chinese or Russian dominated independent state of Texas in America.
Size matters in geopolitics especially when increases in size adds markets, natural resources, man power, military strength, crucial specialised industries, and the control of strategic geographical landmasses.
President Xi knows what China stands to gain from reunification with Taiwan and is on record stating his commitment to the process. Provocations from Taiwan or the US will only serve to fast track the reunification process.
The US is therefore playing a dangerous game that could result in an unthinkable response from the Chinese that would make Pearl Harbor look like a humanitarian effort.
Lenrod Nzulu Baraka is Founder of Afro-Caribbean Spiritual Teaching Center.