Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Just saw the Captain America 2 – Winter Soldier the other day. Man, I heard that this movie is good and I entered the cinema with expectation. Well, I was very satisfied! For most of the Marvel movies that I saw in the last couple of years, except Thor 2 which I couldn’t make it to see in spite of the presence of the beloved Natalie Portman, I love most of them. Certainly, some are better than the others. The first Captain America movie was actually a surprise to me. I thought it would be quite boring giving the background of the movie was back in WWII, it was actually a better one than Thor. This sequel is just amazing!...
The acting by most characters is fine. Robert Redford as a villain is a given, but his presence in most scenes are still commanding. Sam Jackson the Nick Fury is still the Sam Jackson, more than enough for this character. Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow hide her physique in most of the movie, but the bigger part in the movie make her character more interesting and we even root for some romance between her and Captain America. Anyway, she is still eye candy to the viewers. Falcon and Winter Soldier characters are smaller but optimal to screen time, and they were great in action/fight scenes. Chris Evan as Captain America is nice, though his acting is still a bit wooden, but we don’t really expect too much from Captain America. However, his fight scenes are really well, particularly those against Winter Soldier. The car chase and explosions are great as well.
The good thing is that this movie is really fine to be a stand-alone movie for people who are not following the rest of Marvel movies. As the heroes and villains of these movies don’t have too much super-power, it is more ground and realistic than Avengers. Also, the story itself with the spy plot that describe the supposed to be ‘good’ agency - SHIELD into a puppet of the” Nazi” Hydra add a nice depth to the story than would be a vanilla script for simply linking showing actions to actions. I think the subtext of technology of preemptive strikes, government’s seize of personal info to making the so-called ‘New World Order’ really resonate with viewers who are sensitive to the Edward Snowden vs. NSA saga, and other conspiracy theories.
Of course, there are always ‘holes’ that we can spot on in every movie, this one is no different. E.g. why would Black Widow, Falcon and Captain America after being caught, would be put in the same vehicle which would be easily hijacked by a good SHIELD agent easily? How would Black Widow know where Nick Fury’s USB drive be put in the lending machine? How could Black Widow and Captain America would be able to reach Falcon’s home so easy when the whole country are looking for them, etc. Those are minor things that I spot, but they wouldn’t really affect my enjoyment of the movie.
I don’t know how to rank this movie against other Marvels, but for a sequel, it is definitely one of the few that is better than the first one, even for outside the superhero genre. I would give a B+ easily.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Out of my busy schedule, I was very surprise that I could squeeze time to finish reading this e-book:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Instead of talking about how I found this book inspiring and useful, I'm just gonna paste some extracts that I made on this book below. These are highlights that I made while reading this book. I will certainly revisit them often in coming days as a way of self-improvement. This is indeed a great book! Can't help but recommending to everyone who love reading. It is not a difficult read, for mere 220+ pages, it is a great source of knowledge and wisdom that are as valid today as back then in the 1920s. Here you go....
Learning is an active process. We learn by doing.
Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.
Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
By criticizing, we do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment.
The person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself, and condemn us in return.
“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.”
When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
The secret of his success? “I will speak ill of no man,” he said, " . . and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do.
But it takes character and self-control to be under-standing and forgiving.
“A great man shows his greatness,” said Carlyle, “by the way he treats little men.”
Often parents are tempted to criticize their children.
Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do.
“To know all is to forgive all.”
“God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.”
Why should you and I?
There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.
The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.
The deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important."
"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
People sometimes became invalids in order to win sympathy and attention, and get a feeling of importance.
“the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.
“There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize any- one. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. “
Sincere appreciation was one of the secrets of the first John D. Rockefeller’s success in handling men.
We often take our spouses so much for granted that we never let them know we appreciate them.
I love you the way you are.’
We nourish the bodies of our children and friends and employees, but how seldom do we nourish their selfesteem?
The difference between appreciation and flattery?
That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere.
One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.
Now, if we stop thinking about ourselves for a while and begin to think of the other person’s good points, we won’t have to resort to flattery so cheap and false that it can be spotted almost before it is out of the mouth,
Nothing pleases children more than this kind of parental interest and approval.
What applies to professionals applies doubly to workers in offices, shops and factories and our families and friends. In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.
Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips. You will be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit.
Honest appreciation got results where criticism and ridicule failed.
Hurting people not only does not change them, it is never called for.
I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery.
Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime - repeat them years after you have forgotten them.
So the only way cm earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something.
First, arouse in the other person an eager want.
The only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what the other person wants.
Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?”
"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
And if salespeople can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us. We’ll buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying - not being sold.
So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.
If out of reading this book you get just one thing - an increased tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle - if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.
When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves.
One can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested in them.
If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people - things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.
A show of interest, as with every other principle of human relations, must be sincere. It must pay off not only for the person showing the interest, but for the person receiving the attention. It is a two-way street-both parties benefit.
Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you, You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
Encouragement is a much more effective teaching device than punishment.”
People rarely succeed at anything unless they have fun doing it.
You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.
I have stopped talking about what I want. I am now trying to see the other person’s viewpoint. And these things have literally revolutionized my life. I am a totally different man, a happier man, a richer man, richer in friendships and happiness - the only things that matter much after all.”
“Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
Every body in the world is seeking happiness - and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.
It is what you think about it.
“most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Most people don’t remember names, for the simple reason that they don’t take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds. They make excuses for themselves; they are too busy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that one of the simplest, most obvious and most important ways of gaining good will was by remembering names and making people feel important - yet how many of us do it?
Simple. If he didn’t hear the name distinctly, he said, “So sorry. I didn’t get the name clearly.” Then, if it was an unusual name, he would say, “How is it spelled?”
During the conversation, he took the trouble to repeat the name several times, and tried to associate it in his mind with the person’s features, expression and general appearance.
We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing and nobody else. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual. From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others.
Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important.
So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.
I got the feeling that I had done something for him without his being able to do anything whatever in return for me. That is a feeling that flows and sings in your memory lung after the incident is past.
will bring us countless friends and constant happiness. But the very instant we break the law, we shall get into endless trouble. The law is this: Always make the other person feel important.
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
“I’m sorry to trouble you,.. “Would you be so kind as to ----? " "Won't you please?” " Would you mind?” “Thank you” - little courtesies like these oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life- and, incidentally, they are the hallmark of good breeding.
Almost everyone considers himself important, very important.
The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.
“Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours .”
In a Nutshell SIX WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU
PRINCIPLE 1 Become genuinely interested in other people.
PRINCIPLE 2 Smile.
PRINCIPLE 3 Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
PRINCIPLE 4 Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
PRINCIPLE 5 Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
PRINCIPLE 6 Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.
Come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument - and that is to avoid it .
Buddha said: “Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love," and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.
Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.
Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers.
Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding.
Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.
Be honest, Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.
Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right.
Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your
opponents into friends.
Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:
Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration?
Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose?
What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?
If you are going to prove anything, don’t let anybody know it. Do it so subtly, so adroitly, that no one will feel that you are doing it.
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.
Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so.
One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.
"I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.”
You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. That will stop all argument and inspire your opponent to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are. It will make him want to admit that he, too, may be wrong.
I adopted, instead of them, ‘I conceive,’ ‘I apprehend, ’ or ‘I imagine’ a thing to be so or so, or ‘it so appears to me at present.’
"I am convinced now that nothing good is accomplished and a lot of damage can be done if you tell a person straight out that he or she is wrong. You only succeed in stripping that person of self-dignity and making yourself an unwelcome part of any discussion.”
Never say, "You're wrong.”
I am at fault and there is absolutely no excuse for my blunder.
" ‘I should have been more careful,’… and you deserve the best;
There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it
raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.
‘If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.’
When we are right, let’s try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong - and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with ourselves - let’s admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm. Not only will that technique produce astonishing results; but, believe it or not, it is a lot more fun, under the circumstances, than trying to defend oneself.
The points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together.”
So with men, if you would win a man to you cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, say what you will, is the great high road to his reason.
Friendly remarks as: “It will be for the jury to consider,” “This may perhaps be worth thinking of,” " Here are some facts that I trust you will not lose sight of,” or “You, with your knowledge of human nature, will easily see the significance of these facts.”
In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing - and keep on emphasizing - the things on which you agree.
Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.
It is much more profitable and much more interesting to look at things from the other person’s viewpoint and try to get that person saying ‘yes, yes.' “
If you disagree with them you may be tempted to interrupt.
But don’t. It is dangerous. They won’t pay attention to you while they still have a lot of ideas of their own crying for expression. So listen patiently and with an open mind. Be sincere about it. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.
“If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.”
Isn’t it wiser to make suggestions - and let the other person think out the conclusion?
Consulting them about their wishes and desires was just the shot in the arm they needed.”
No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold some- thing or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.
I urged him to give me his ideas. This made him feel that he was creating the designs. And he was. I didn’t have to sell him. He bought.”
They are not perfect. We know that, and we want to improve them. So we should be deeply obligated to you if you could find time to look them over and give us your ideas about how they can be made more serviceable to your profession.
Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.
There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does. Ferret out that reason - and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality .
Try honestly to put yourself in his place.
Success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other persons’ viewpoint.”
"Cooperativeeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own. Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by what you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your ideas.” *
Seeing things through another person’s eyes may ease tensions when personal problems become overwhelming.
Why not pause and close your eyes and try to think the whole thing through from another person’s point of view? Ask yourself: “Why should he or she want to do it?” True, this will take time, but it will avoid making enemies and will get better results - and with less friction.
I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person’s office for two hours before an interview than step into that office without a perfectly clear idea of what I was going to say and what that persob - from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives - was likely to answer.
"I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”
Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.
I assure you that you were not one-tenth as distressed as I am.
‘Self-pity’ for misfortunes real or imaginary is in some measure, practically a universal practice.”
J. Pierpont Morgan observed, in one of his analytical interludes, that a person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one.
have taught me something about human nature , and I sized you up in the first place as being a man of your word.
I give you my word I will accept your decision as final. I will privilege you to move and admit to myself I’ve been wrong in my judgment. But I still believe you’re a man of your word and will live up to your contract.
Nothing will work in all cases - and nothing will work with all people. If you are satisfied with the results you are now getting, why change? If you are not satisfied, why not experiment?
"I want you to know I also feel this matter has been badly mishandled. You’ve been inconvenienced and annoyed and irritated by one of our representatives. That should never have happened. I’m sorry and, as a representative of the company, I apologize.
As I sat here and listened to your side of the story, I could not help being impressed by your fairness and patience.
I am going to ask you to do something for me. It’s something that you can do better than anyone else, something you know more about than anyone else.
When no information can be secured about the customer, the only sound basis on which to proceed is to assume that he or she is sincere, honest, truthful and willing and anxious to pay the charges, once convinced they are correct.
Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship.
“The way to get things done,” say Schwab, “is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.”
The one major factor that motivated people was the work itself. If the work was exciting and interesting, the worker looked forward to doing it and was motivated to do a good job.
That is what every successful person loves: the game.
The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance.
PRINCIPLE 12 Throw down a challenge.
I n a N u t s h e l l WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING
PRINCIPLE 1 The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
PRINCIPLE 2 Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
PRINCIPLE 3 If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
PRINCIPLE 4 Begin in a friendly way.
PRINCIPLE 5 Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
PRINCIPLE 6 Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
PRINCIPLE 7 Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
PRINCIPLE 8 Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
PRINCIPLE 9 Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
PRINCIPLE 10 Appeal to the nobler motives.
PRINCIPLE 11 Dramatize your ideas.
PRINCIPLE 12 Throw down a challenge.
It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
And by continuing the same conscientious efforts
“You might consider this,” or “Do you think that would work?”
” He always gave people the opportunity to do things themselves; he never told his assistants to do things; he let them do them, let them learn from their mistakes.
A technique like that makes it easy for a person to correct errors. A technique like that saves a person’s pride and gives him or her a feeling of importance. It encourages cooperation instead of rebellion.
Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.
You were on the spot, but you came through with flying colors, and we want you to know the firm is proud of you. You’ve got the stuff - you’re going a long way, wherever you’re working. This firm believes in you, and is rooting for you, and we don’t want you to forget it.’
Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face.
What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.”
Let us praise even the slightest improvement. That inspires the other person to keep on improving.
Singled out a specific accomplishment, rather than just making general flattering remarks, his praise became much more meaningful to the person to whom it was given. Everybody likes to be praised, but when praise is specific, it comes across as sincere - not something the other person may be saying just to make one feel good.
We all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobody wants flattery.
Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.
I realized I hadn’t given you the entire picture of our new line, and I would appreciate some of your time to tell you about the points I omitted. I have respected the fact that you are always willing to listen and are big enough to change your mind when the facts warrant a change.”
I thought I’d take the time to thank you for the fine job of x you’ve been doing.
Be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it - and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.
Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants.
4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
5. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit. We could give a curt order like this: " John, we have customers coming in tomorrow and I need the stockroom cleaned out. So sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves and polish the counter.” Or we could express the same idea by showing John the benefits he will get from doing the task: “John, we have a job that should be completed right away. If it is done now, we won’t be faced with it later. I am bringing some customers in tomorrow to show our facilities. I would like to show them the stockroom, but it is in poor shape. If you could sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves, and polish the counter, it would make us look efficient and you will have done your part to provide a good company image.”
PRINCIPLE 1 Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
PRINCIPLE 2 Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
PRINCIPLE 3 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
PRINCIPLE 4 Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
PRINCIPLE 5 Let the other person save face.
PRINCIPLE 6 Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
PRINCIPLE 7 Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
PRINCIPLE 8 Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
PRINCIPLE 9 Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Unlike a lot of people that I know, I love to read foreign news of all sorts, not just those trivial stuff or, oddities, but also serious international issues. I started back in my teens’ days and I have always been fascinated by all the possibilities in the world, the vastly different cultures, and the complex cross-nations cultures and history. If I can choose my job again, I truly don’t mind to be involved in some kind of works that related to international relationship. Anyway, interest to read is one thing, but more important is that based on what I’ve read, I’ve formed my own view of world affairs, and this is what I wanna share here for some of my own views these days. Certainly, my views are just mine, I neither can provide proof or comprehensive support to back them up, and most importantly, they could change as time changes.
It is one of the most important and complicated bi-lateral relationship in this century. Unlike the US-USSR relationship during the Cold War, the U.S. and China has commingled in many dimensions that they have lived with each other regardless. Some people say that the Sino-U.S. relationship is like a married couple. I would not agree such naïve comparison. Instead, I think that U.S. is no doubt the dominant one that dictates this relationship. Yes, China is trying to catch up in many ways, its GDP is ranked second in the world, behind the U.S., that makes some or majority of Chinese to be so proud of themselves and think that it is gonna be Chinese century: China is gonna trump the U.S. down from the top soon (a decade?). China owns a lot of U.S. debts, so Chinese owns a big piece of the U.S., the Americans would rely on China and all that…. I just think, not so fast, those views are so superficial!
Yes, the U.S. has a lot of problems, but no matter what they are, the strengths of the U.S. have remained very solid and there is just no way China can match them anytime soon. Just to point out a few. The U.S. has the most advanced technology, I would guess that would be at least 40 years ahead of China. The superficial one or the disclosed technology gap is about 20 years, but America’s technology development is not all transparent, it doesn’t just have the best scientists and facilities, but it has the full ecosystem to turn those technologies into military and commercial use! In terms of innovation, because of the freedom that the U.S. has, the experience in turning them into practical use, and the inviting/inclusive culture to attract talents from all over the world, American technology will stay far ahead in decades to come. It claims that China is heavily invest in technology and growing number of patents have been filed. That’s positive for China. But the fact is that many Chinese scientists would like to relocate to the U.S. to work there and not the vice versa. Also, the respect of intellectual property, the tech-business culture in China just can’t match what the U.S. can offer.
The U.S. Military is the best in the world. Yes, the U.S. military did and does atrocities here and there all these years, but they are no worse than any other militaries in the world. In terms of equipment, power, and experience, no country on earth can match them. China has spent a lot on upgrading its military; just put aside the possible corruption there, it is understood that China must spend a lot on its defense based on the fact that it has such a long borders with so many countries and many of them are not friendly to China with military conflicts in the past. But, how capable Chinese military is? I seriously doubt that they are good enough to be proud by sensible Chinese. The last major military conflict that China PLA involved was with Vietnam back in 1979. It is 1979! 35 years ago! For a soldier of 25 years old then, he is already 60 years old today! Old enough to retire! That means most of Chinese armies have never been involved in actual fighting in their whole military career. How can they match the U.S. Army basically has continuously involved in all sorts of military conflicts all over the world in last decades? China PLA’s equipment is already no match to those of the U.S., the number of missiles, ICBM, aircraft, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, satellites, hi-tech weapons, drones, etc. More to the point, comparing to the actual combat experiences of top U.S. commanders, the foot soldiers, the intelligence, even the geeks back in Colorado that fly those drones, etc., Chinese military just has no match at any level.
Culturally, the U.S. is dominant all over the world, its powerful media and entertainment companies export its products all over the world and reap not only money from them, but more importantly transpose the American value to the people all over the world, including China. I don’t see the other way around. Not that the U.S. political system or culture is the best, but at least the civilized transfer and balance of political power in the U.S. create a stable political structure that support the development of the country. Its ‘proclaimed’ role of defending freedom and democracy at least fool most of the regular folks. In fact, the openness of the society, the so-called Land of Opportunity, and all that really appeal to most oppressed people in the world. China on the other hand, doesn’t have any of those appeals. Confucius teaching works for certain Eastern cultures but not all, and in reality PRC itself really doesn’t practice any of those Confucius values, thus that wouldn’t make it a sincere promoter of such values. Basically, money is the only appeal the PRC can use to ‘buy’ influence in the international community. That’s all! The U.S. can use its culture, its military strength, and a bit of money to make other countries to look up to the U.S., and China can only use some money to do that only if the U.S. chooses to look the other way temporarily. However, if the U.S. truly wants to compete with China on influence on any country, I would guarantee that the U.S. will win. It is because the U.S. owns the money machines (IMF, World Bank, BIS, Wall Street, rating agency, etc.) and holds the biggest stick (Pentagon, NATO, etc) in the world. And, China has NONE! China doesn’t have any true friends in the world. The African looks up to China because China opens its wallet and showers them with its hard-earned money. Most other countries look up to or pay lip services to China just to make their own money. If U.S. once turns to them and yell for obedience, they bow. Some countries like Thailand would try to go both ways to appeal China and the U.S. to reap the optimal benefits, but most others would simply bow Uncle Sam. Again, China has no real friends internationally. Russia is no friend, in spite of SCO. Even Burma is now going the U.S. way. Vietnam, so-called the communist bro, goes the U.S. way considering the territorial dispute in South China Sea. Even North Korea, the bad boy, would bow the U.S. if the U.S. would extend an olive branch to them, I would think. So, what’s left for China? Pakistan? Cambodia?
U.S. has the most sophisticated economy, U.S. dollar is the top dog in reserves all over the world. Yes, many Chinese thinks the financial tsunami in 2008 exposed the shortcoming of U.S. economic engine - it is a fuck-up, corrupted, evil money machine. China wasn’t burned by it back then, unlike Europe and Japan. So, the Chinese believed in their economic system, the China way. But, just think about it. PRC economy is protected by the RMB, a currency that PRC government can print as much as it wants. It is not freely convertible or traded in the world. Europe and Japan got fucked in the crisis, because that’s the ugly strength of the U.S. – its ability to pass it pain to the other countries, which is something that China can’t do. On the other hand, the U.S. economy has its strength of self-heal and problem correction. It doesn’t mean that the U.S. economy will not be fuck-up again, just it has a toughness to withstand impacts from the others and still can ‘pass or share’ the load of pain to its ‘allies’. Also, U.S. and other developed economies as well are exploiting the rest of the world (including China) to benefit their own people. For example, U.S. has so much oil and gas reserves of its own that it continues to squeeze the quick import from the Middle East. In 30, or 50 years of time, once the reserves in ME are used up, then it will start to explore its own and let the ME to go fuck themselves. China’s economic ‘miracle’ in the last 30 years is the result of self-exploitation and destruction of its own resources: land, water, air, people, etc. The powerful ones in China turn themselves rich in the process. Yes, many of the rest of the country have improved economic status, they move from dirt poor to low low middle class, from illiterate to be literate, but they achieve these by checking out the welfare of their future generations with destruction of the environment. The government officials of all levels are all corrupted. They make money, move their dirty money with the spouse and children abroad, those billionaires, multi-millionaires follow. No other country in the world would have their rich and powerful all have left or gonna leave their country, except China or perhaps Russia. Many of them have the destinations in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and the U.S.!
So, would there be conflict between China and the U.S. God-forbid? Sure! But I don’t think all-out war would be an outcome because of two reasons. First of all, Chinese military is just no match to the U.S., it is a no-win situation for PLA, unless committing suicide is its goal, but it is the Chinese military that we are talking about, not the Japanese, suicidal mission is not in the gene. Secondly, since Chinese’s rich and the powerful, particularly those in the top leadership have their money, spouse and children in the U.S. and its allies, as we all know how powerful the NSA is and how fierce the CIA could be, you think that China will dare to threaten the U.S. military for real? I would imagine that there would be men in black, black SUV and helicopters to grab the Chinese official’s spouse and children and put them in some kinds of ‘camp’ swiftly. The bank accounts of those Chinese leaders in Swiss or BVI will be frozen. Then, those in Beijing will have ‘facetime’ with their love ones in chat and do whatever they are told to do. Basically, the ‘balls’ of Chinese leaders are in American’s hand, there is no room for negotiation or showing ‘macho’, but wimping or begging for mercy. That’s how I see it.
In fact, I would imagine there would be deals behind the scene between the Chinese and U.S. leader that Chinese can show toughness superficially to provide a ‘feel good’ feeling to its own naïve population, but would in fact succumb to U.S. leadership. So, the difference between Japan and China to U.S. is that Japan will do publicly whatever the U.S. told, and China will do that respectively in private.
I don’t wanna burst the imagined bubble of most PRC citizen’s inflated self-confidence of their country, but that’s just the way I see it. China is no match to the U.S. if the current state of affairs for both countries remain.