Stormy Seas Ahead

With the NATO-Russian war heating up over Kosovo, American troops being deployed in both South America and Africa, and China beginning to prepare for worst-case scenarios, it’s probably fair to anticipate some difficult times ahead.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called on his top national security officials to think about “worst case” scenarios and prepare for “stormy seas,” as the ruling Communist Party hardens efforts to counter any perceived internal and external threats.

“The complexity and difficulty of the national security issues we now face have increased significantly,” Xi said Tuesday at a meeting of the party’s National Security Commission, state news agency Xinhua reported.

“We must adhere to bottom-line thinking and worst-case-scenario thinking, and get ready to undergo the major tests of high winds and rough waves, and even perilous, stormy seas,” he added.

The latest stern instructions from Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, comes as Beijing faces a host of challenges, from a struggling economy to what it sees as an increasingly hostile international environment.

In face of what he called a “complex and grave” situation, Xi said China must speed up the modernization of its national security system and capabilities, with a focus on making them more effective in “actual combat and practical use.”

He also called for China to push ahead with the construction of a national security risk monitoring and early warning system, enhance national security education and improve the management of data and artificial intelligence security.

Since coming to power a decade ago, Xi has made national security a key paradigm that permeates all aspects of China’s governance, experts say. He has expanded the concept of national security to cover everything from politics, economy, defense, culture and ecology to cyberspace. It extends from the deep sea and the polar regions to space, as well as big data and artificial intelligence.

Under Xi’s notion of “comprehensive national security,” China has introduced a raft of legislation to protect itself against perceived threats, including laws on counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, cybersecurity, foreign non-government organizations, national intelligence and data security.

Both Putin and Xi know very well what they’re up against in Clown World. The current iteration of The Empire That Never Ended more than a mere human enemy, it is a spiritual machine, which I suspect is why both men are being so circumspect about engaging in direct conflict any sooner than is absolutely necessary. It may be hard to understand their caution, in light of their overwhelming combined economic, demographic, and military advantages, but it’s that very caution, and the awareness that caution signifies, that appears to be panicking the leaders of Clown World.