Compare the narratives

Austin Bay considers the Seven Chinas grand narrative.

Nations have always used narratives to support their diplomatic operations. Not all of them are “weaponized,” but a powerful, moving story gives a diplomatic initiative additional energy. Often these narratives incorporate nation or ethnic historical and cultural themes. Since they support a diplomatic initiative, they are always political.

In February, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published a short paper entitled “Seven Chinas: A Policy Framework.” The paper briefly examined “seven identities” that the Chinese government uses to “shape and justify policy.”

Each identity is a narrative.

China 1: Self-sufficient civilization (We generate our own values)

China 2: Most humiliated nation (Our senior civilization, conquered and despised)

China 3: Leader of the developing world (Late developing China leads developing nations)

China 4: Champion of plurality (We are ending Western/American hegemony)

China 5: Sovereign survivor (We survived the collapse of Communism because we are unique)

China 6: Last man standing (The West is declining while our wealth is increasing)

China 7: Herald of the high frontier (China and shares the global trade and communications commons)

In the South China Sea China’s narrative weapons have augmented its military and economic clout. It’s proved to be a powerful combination.

Compare these to the ever-shifting globalist and SJW narratives that have replaced the traditional Western narrative. It is eminently clear that in any matchup of these particular weaponized narratives, China is not merely winning, China is going to win.