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The NBA fiasco: The Chinese threat to the Liberal World Order and the opportunities it presents to India

China may have initiated the death of the liberal world order but India stands to gain from its demise as well.

Recently, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey triggered a chain of events in motion that could have massive repercussions. All he did was a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protesters. He posted an image that had the seven words, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” China does not take kindly to corporates meddling in its affairs. As a consequence, the NBA, which has made massive investments in the country over the years and generates huge revenue from it, swung into action and disassociated itself from Morey’s tweet. The reaction to the tweet in China was ‘harsh’, to put it mildly.

The Liberal World Order is based on remarkable narcissism. It’s based on the fundamentally flawed assumption that as any country became more and more developed economically, it will expand to become more and more liberal as a society. Of course, it’s a religious belief with no basis in reality. And the greatest threat to it currently is mounted by the autocratic regime China.

The Chinese Basketball Association declared that it would suspend all cooperation with Houston Rockets. China’s consulate general in Houston urged the team to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes.” CCTV 5, the sports channel of China’s top state broadcaster, announced that it would suspend airing the team’s events on television. And Tencent (TCEHY) Sports stated that it would suspend live streaming the games, and reporting news about the team.

The NBA, subsequently, made a statement that could only be described as a capitulation to the might of the Chinese. The NBA said that it realized that Morey’s opinions “have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.” “While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them,” NBA said in a statement, adding: “We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”

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The response of NBA to the tantrum by China was criticized widely across the board by US politicians, both Democrats and Republicans. Following the outrage, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement of his own. “The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say,” Silver said in the statement. “We simply could not operate that way.”

Daryl Morey, in the midst of all of this, issued a grovelling apology. For all the virtue-signalling globalist corporates indulge in, they regularly demonstrate that their allegiance is to money and money alone, as the NBA has now. Everything else is just a means towards increasing their revenues.

Americans are quite upset by the manner in which the NBA has capitulated to China. However, it is something that has been happening for quite some time now. The US Business class has been regularly massaging the egos of the Chinese regime to maintain its access to the country’s market. From Google to Apple to ESPN, every American company that has invested in China has knelt down before China and obediently fellated Xi Jinping.

When China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, every liberal intellectual was orgasmic in their belief that China would espouse liberal values. It was, of course, consistent with their delusional belief, embodied by Francis Fukuyama, that liberalism would mark ‘the end of history’, that is, liberalism is the end-point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution.

China is the biggest refutation of it. It was the predominant belief among liberal intellectuals that the investments made by the American business class in China would also result in the flowering of liberal values in the country. That has not happened. Instead, China has exported, along with a million other things, the values of censorship to the United States.

Wisdom has dawned on the American political establishment of late and credit for it must go to US President Donald Trump. People in the United States are also realizing that the American Business class has sold out their own countrymen and national interests to China for a few more bucks. Thus, we see a radical shift in US policy against the Chinese regime.

US President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on China and visa restrictions in response to unfair trade practices of the communist regime and its human rights violations against its Muslim population. As a consequence, the Chinese economy is suffering and it’s anybody’s guess the extent to which it would suffer.

Despite our own rivalry with China, there are certain things we ought to be grateful to the Chinese for. With their obsession with upending the global world order based on Western dominance, they have provided India with an opportunity to pursue our own interests with renewed vigour. Chaos is a ladder, a wise man once remarked, and China has unleashed chaos on a global scale. The chaos that was necessary for China to achieve its own objective.

It is due to the chaos that China unleashed that India got the window of opportunity to abrogate Article 370. For over two months, Kashmir is on virtual lockdown. We can do so because of the US-China trade war. Much of the international community and the US of A has endorsed India’s actions in Kashmir. This was unthinkable even a decade ago. It’s due to China’s hegemonic ambitions that an opportunity was created for India to alter the equations of its relationship with Pakistan.

The USA knows that it cannot afford to antagonize India during its trade war with China. Even in the rest of the Western world, there’s growing apprehension about China’s global ambitions. Thus, India has much more leverage now on the international scene than it has ever had in the recent past. And the Modi Sarkar with its focus on foreign policy is trying to milk it to the fullest.

The definitive wins with regards to international diplomacy have not yet translated into specific economic benefits yet. But with the corporate tax cuts that were announced recently and with the promise of more reforms around the corner, India will hopefully soon begin to reap the economic benefits of the trade wars as well.

The recent capitulation by the NBA to China ought to be seen as another step in the death of the liberal world order. And we ought to remember that China may have initiated it but India stands to gain from its demise as well. All of this is quite evident from the words of MEA Jaishankar himself.

During a talk at an American Think Tank, Jaishankar remarked on the changing political landscape of India, “You have a new set of people there with different thoughts, with their own sense of roots, who relate to the world obviously different from the people who dominated the Indian political scene before them.”

He also stated quite bluntly that the West never wanted India to become weak but neither did it want India to become strong. He described it as the ‘Goldilocks era of the relationship’. He also emphasized the fact that “India would hedge enough to make sure that it always has a strong bargaining hand vis-à-vis the West”.

China with its reckless abandon has opened up this opportunity for India. Our country is the only one in the region which has any hope of standing up to China. We also happen to be the only country that could ever hope to match the strength of China’s market. Thus, as China bares its fangs more and more as it has against the NBA on this particular occasion, it will also risk strengthening India’s hands. Ironically enough, China cannot pursue its hegemonic ambitions against the West without strengthening its regional rival India.

MEA Jaishankar’s words made it abundantly clear that India would make a hard bargain and pursue its own national interests. Times have changed and so has India. And the West must realize it and must come to a new understanding with India. And amusingly enough, contrary to our civilizational character, India stands on the edge of history as the Joker in the pack.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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