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On China and other niceties

We can a certain amount of repetition in 2022. Xi Jinping will be re-elected for the third time, and nationalism, in all its manifestations, shows no sign of going away.

The past is catchy, like a song, or as a historian might put it, more formally, history repeats itself. It’s a universal rule. It’s virtually impossible, whether the issue is large or small, to free ourselves from the past, of the Eternal Return, of what some call palingenesis. Thus, it’s already a fact that President Xi will be elected for the third time this autumn at the Communist Party of China’s 20th Congress to lead the destiny of the dragon.

Ideas also repeat themselves. More than one mental disorder forced Nietzsche to accept that it is not only events that repeat themselves, but also thinking. It is only possible to become a superman (an Übermensch) if we free ourselves from the fear of repeating things.

The predominant idea in 2022 will be nationalism, both market nationalism—the Chinese now consume Huawei instead of Apple, and Li Ning instead of Nike—and political nationalism. Every country has its dose of political nationalism. But as with all things, the degree of danger varies according to the weight of the country.

Today, there is no nationalism more pernicious than that of the two world superpowers, the United States and China. It’s naïve to think that military escalation is the danger, because ideas are fired first. We need to reduce the escalation of nationalist ideology, which is what triggers military escalation.

Leitmotif for 2022: the past is catchy, like a song.

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