After discovering Troy Parfitt’s obviously biased romp through China by watching the ten-minute YouTube trailer for his theory of Why China Will Never Rule the World (a book released by Western Hemisphere Press August 23, 2011), I thought, “Why would China want to rule the world? Only fools want to rule the world. What most cultures/people want is to be left alone.”
All one has to do is look at what such goals did for Imperial Japan, Hitler’s Germany, the British Empire, which no longer exists as an empire, and the United States—a nation deep in debt and on the edge of financial ruin.
In addition, I thought it strange that a traditional publisher would support a book trailer that runs for more than ten minutes as if it were a mini documentary, when the Book Trailer Manual clearly says, “Please. Shorter is better. You want some absolutes? Okay, no longer than two minutes max.”
Even Publishers Weekly touched on the subject of book trailers and provided several embedded examples ranging from 26 seconds to less than 2 minutes.
In addition, Claudia Jackson at Book Buzzer says, “A book trailer is just like a movie trailer, except that it is a ‘preview’ of your book.” The sample book trailer Jackson provides runs one-minute-fifteen seconds of John Locke’s novel, “Wish List”, and for advice, she says, “Try and keep the trailer as short as possible. It’s not easy but you don’t want to lose your audience.”
Curious about the publisher, I then Googled “Western Hemisphere Press” to discover what else they had published and ended up at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, which is in the U.S. Department of State and says it is responsible for all of the affairs in South, Central and North America. The mandate of this office is to promote U.S. interests in the region by supporting democracy, trade, and sustainable economic development, etc.
One way to promote U.S. interests would be to support a book that denigrates China’s culture, institutions and people.
The second Google hit was Western Hemisphere Press, which leads to Troy Parfitt’s website for his book. Google found no direct link to a Website for Western Hemisphere Press or any other book published by a company with that name.
After looking through more than a hundred hits on Google, I thought—Is Troy Parfitt, Western Hemisphere Press and the U.S. State Department connected in some way.
After all, Parfitt’s biography on his website says he was born in 1972, graduated with a major in American history and a minor in Canadian political science from the University of New Brunswick and then became a certified ESL instructor, went to South Korea where he taught ESL for two years and then taught ten more years in Taipei.
Before returning home to Canada, he spent a few months as a Western tourist running around mainland China boosting his poor impressions of China.
I was reminded of a quote from Sterling Seagrave’s Dragon Lady of Dr. George Ernest Morrison, Peking correspondent of the Times of London. Sterling says, “As journalism’s first China watcher, Morrison was responsible for many of the slanders and half-truths of China that persist to this day.”
Although I agree with Parfitt’s thesis that China will not rule the world (a safe assumption since no one has ruled the world and the odds are no one ever will), his reasoning and evidence to support this thesis are further examples of the “slanders and half-truths” Sterling Seagrave reveals in his well researched book of the life and legend of the last empress of China.
I also read many of the Amazon reader reviews of Parfitt’s book, which reinforced my opinion that this book is another example of what Henry Kissinger wrote in On China that “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its (so called superior Western Christian and political) values to every part of the world. China’s exceptionalism is cultural. China does not proselytize; it does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant outside China.”
In fact, with that one quote Kissinger did a better job explaining why China doesn’t want to rule the world than the 424 pages of Parfitt’s book.
Discover more from Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
To subscribe to “iLook China”, sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top right-hand side of this page and then follow directions.
Is this guy stupid? Of course China will never rule the world, because no one ever has.
Hey, speaking of book reviews did you get a chance to read/review that book on the Opium war?
I recall writing about her book on the Opium War but do not remember when I did that. I was just looking for that post so I could get the title of the book and check it out now that it has been released. Cannot find it. Do you remember?
I remember it was in august, but I can’t for the life of me remember the title.
If you do decide to read it and do a review, please post it, I would be most interested in hearing what the arguments in that book are.
Thank you. When you remembered it was in August, that tightened up the search and I found it. I keep a chart with every post written listed on it with dates and links. Still, when there are more than fourteen hundred, it is a challenge to go back and find one.
I’ll see if I can find a copy today at the bookstore. It will be good if the book turns out balanced. I’m sure that China would have had opium addicts without the British but with the British and Western opium dealers and the two Opium Wars, the drug became an infestation–an epidemic as is the drug and alcohol problems in the United States today. However, from what I’ve read, it was much worse for China since the Chinese lost that war with the drug lords–mainly the British Empire.
“The Opium Wars” by Julia Lovell
Talking about the British Empire, I discovered recently during research for an upcoming post that famines in India during the Raj took almost 60 million lives and most of the famines were caused by the economic and trading policies of the British that fattened British bank accounts while causing suffering and death in India. I use this data in the upcoming post, which focuses on events in China—an update of the Great Leap Forward droughts, floods and loss of life due to famine.
It will be interesting to discover what Lovell wrote. Often the spin of a book during a promotion will not reveal the total focus, theme or content of a book and may leave out important information and details that would show a proper balance.
“It will be interesting to discover what Lovell wrote. Often the spin of a book during a promotion will not reveal the total focus, theme or content of a book and may leave out important information and details that would show a proper balance.”
I agree completely. There is a legitimate place in literary and political discourse for polemics and revisionist history. We may not agree with what is written but if it can make us think about things in a different way, it will have done its job.
I went to two bookstores last Tuesday (one was a Barnes & Noble) and both could not find Lovell’s book in their data base. It may not be available in many or any brick and mortar bookstores and only through Amazon, which is odd because her book was published by a major house. Books from major houses almost always find space on a shelf in bookstores and the Barnes & Noble was one of their two story super stores that even had its own underground parking lot.
Here’s the Amazon link to her book. I plan to order the paperback.
There are no Amazon reader reviews on the book yet, but it does have a decent sales rank (not steller but decent) so it is selling.
Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (2011)
However, while at Amazon I discovered another book of interest, which may be more fascinating than Lovell’s opium book. This book was also released this month (November). Hopefully, they will release it on Kindle and lower the price.
I copied and pasted this info from Amazon.
In the early 19th century China remained almost untouched by Britain and other European powers – ferocious laws forbade all trade with the West outside one tiny area of Canton. Anyone teaching a European to speak Chinese was executed. But as new technology began to unbalance the relationship, foreigners gathered like wolves around the weakening Qing Empire. Would the Chinese suffer the fate of much of the rest of the world, carved into pieces by the Europeans? Or could they adapt rapidly enough to maintain their independence? Humiliated by military disaster, racked by rebellions that cost millions of lives and ultimately invaded during the Boxer Rebellion by thousands of foreign soldiers, it looked as though the colonial Scramble for Africa was about to be followed by the Scramble for China. This extraordinary new book tells this epic story both from the European (mainly British) point of view and the Chinese. The degradation of China in this period is crucially important to understanding China today, whose government and people are steeped in stories of this terrible time and never wish to appear weak again. “The Scramble for China” is both highly original and brilliantly written – it reimagines these encounters between two equally arrogant and scornful civilizations, whether from the point of view of a Chinese governor or a British soldier. It is an epic of squalor, romance, brutality and exoticism, and it changed the world.
Powerful, astute and readable … meticulously researched in contemporary English-language records and journals, and written with flair and feeling, its rhetoric eschews rant and is never misplaced — John Keay Literary Review Compellingly erudite and clear-sighted history — Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times At every airport bookshop, the business traveller is offered shelves of volumes that purport to tell us how an emerging, powerful China will deal with the world, and how the rest of us should make the most of the commercial opportunities opened up by its rise. Those who wish to understand these issues more closely might be better advised to read this fair and fascinating account — Chris Patten Financial Times
Lots of helpful information there. Last Days of Old Beijing sounds interesting and has some nice reviews on Amazon. Maybe that’ll be my Christmas present to myself. What about The Party? Have you read that? Now my daughter is talking about going to Japan. Sometimes it’s traveling around India and other times it’s teaching in Kyoto (as her friend wants to do) or doing a masters degree in New York or moving to China to teach ESL and learn Chinese. A symptom of the age I guess. Thanks so much for the information Loyd. Your site is very informative.
I haven’t read Richard McGregor’s “The Party” but I have read media reviews and opinion pieces of it in addition to watching a few of the YouTube videos such as this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym1d0ZScElk , which runs about an hour but his lecture only runs 27 minutes before Q&A and that 27 minutes is worth listening to and I cannot disagree with anything that he said.
However, one should listen to all of what McGregor says during those 27 minutes and not form any opinions on one sentence. What McGregor has to say is not a criticism of China but an explanation of China and why China works for China.
I don’t know Mr. Lee or Mr. Parfitt. I was mainly curious to know if there was another edition of the book and if you could recommend a good one by Mr. Seagrave. I don’t know why that means I must be a supporter of the author or a friend of another poster, but thank you for the information on Amy Chua. As I have a growing China interest (and my daughter is thinking of teaching English there next September), maybe I should read her next.
Have a nice day.
Thank you, and here’s a link to the Amazon Kindle edition of Parfitt’s book. Remember, Parfitt taught English in South Korea (two years) and then Taiwan (for a decade) and not in mainland China — there should be significant differences between the three for gaining a teaching position. Each country may have different requirements and challenges.
Seagrave writes about 19th century China and the Qing Dynasty. If your daugher is thinking of teaching English in mainland China, she may want to read more current material on the subject and Seagrave’s work will not come close to modern times since he is a historian. It all depends on what you want to learn of China.
However, you may want your daughter to read Tom Carter’s post on teaching English in China.
If she has questions to ask Tom, she may be able to reach him through his Website at http://www.tomcarter.org/
That is, if Tom isn’t running around India taking pictures for his next book.
Then there is Michael Meyer’s “The Last Days of Old Beijing”, which is his memoir of living in Beijing and teaching English. I attended a book store author event for his memoir and he has some “very” interesting experiences to share that are worth reading about. You could say that Meyer’s went native while he was in China teaching English. I’ve been through the Hutong where he lived, and the area is rich with atmosphere and culture.
The next link will take you to his Website, which has some interesting links to posts on teaching in China.
And then there is the guest post by an American that went to China to teach English and ended up in jail before being deported.
As for Amy Chua, she is Chinese-American and cannot claim to be a mainland Chinese. She was born in the US, educated here and her memoir is about her tough Tiger Mother memoir of raising her two daughters, which upset many Americans that prefer the soft, always have fun, self-esteem approach to raising children. Her memoir “really” doesn’t have anything to do with China even though she is Chinese-American.
If you are interested in Amy Chua’s memoir, here the link.
So Lloyd, did you read the book or not?
Because from your comments and article, it does not appear that you have read it.
It is obvious that you and Betty are friends and/or supporters of Parfitt, which explains her question and yours. I’m sure Parfitt has a Goggle alert on his name or the name of his book. Most people that read books do not put out Google alerts to read what other people say of it.
My post is based on the ten-minute book trailer and I made that clear in my reply to Betty.
In that video, Parfitt makes it clear that China cannot rule the world due to Confucianism and the fact that many of the private businesses in China are run by foreigners saying the Chinese are incapable of competing with the West–specifically America.
My response is that no one will ever rule the world and that Henry Kissinger said it better. However, Confucianism has nothing to do with China not becoming a regional/global super power as Parfitt claims, or the fact that many of the lager factories in China are contracted to or run by foreigners such as Apple since Apple either manufactures or assembles more than 90% of its products in China under contract with a Taiwanese company that has manufacturing facilities in China.
If China does not rule the world, it will have nothing to do with Confucianism but the fact that no country will ever rule over the world. The best any country can do is having an economic influence over part of the world and China is already achieving that.
If Confucianism were the cause of Parfitt’s opinion that China will not rule the world, then China would never have been a regional super power for more than two thousand years as the most powerful, wealthiest and most technologically advanced culture on the planet up until about the time of the Opium Wars.
Amy Chua, of Tiger Mother fame (author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) wrote a book on this topic (Day of Empire) and says much the same thing—that China will never equal the US as a super hyper power but will be a global super power. However, her theory has nothing to do with Confucianism or the fact that many Western corporations have manufacturing facilities in China. Her reasons have to do with the fact that China is not a melting pot and/or salad bowl of cultures and ethnicities as is the US and Chua’s theory holds more water than Parfitt’s.
What follows was copied and pasted from Amazon.
“In this sweeping history, bestselling author Amy Chua explains how globally dominant empires—or hyper powers—rise and why they fall. In a series of brilliant chapter-length studies, she examines the most powerful cultures in history—from the ancient empires of Persia and China to the recent global empires of England and the United States—and reveals the reasons behind their success, as well as the roots of their ultimate demise. Chua’s analysis uncovers a fascinating historical pattern: while policies of tolerance and assimilation toward conquered peoples are essential for an empire to succeed, the multicultural society that results introduces new tensions and instabilities, threatening to pull the empire apart from within. What this means for the United States’ uncertain future is the subject of Chua’s provocative and surprising conclusion.”
“Chua (World on Fire), a Yale law professor and daughter of immigrants, examines a number of world-dominant powers—a none too rigorously defined group that lumps together the Persian, Roman, Mongol and British empires with the contemporary United States—and argues that tolerance and multiculturalism are indispensable features of global economic and military success. Such hyper powers rise, Chua argues, because their tolerance of minority cultures and religions, their receptivity to foreign ideas and their willingness to absorb and empower talented provincials and immigrants lets them harness the world’s human capital. Conversely, hyper powers decline when their assimilative capacities falter and they lapse into intolerance and exclusion. The sexy concept of a world-dominant hyper power, in addition to being somewhat erratic—the smallish Dutch Republic makes the cut, while the far-flung (but inconveniently intolerant) Spanish empire doesn’t—is doubtful when examining an America that can hardly dominate Baghdad and not much more convincing when applied to earlier hegemons. Chua does offer an illuminating survey of the benefits of tolerance and pluralism, often as a tacit brief for maintaining America’s generous immigration policies. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.”
A ten minute documentary style book trailer if well done should represent the theme and main points of the of the book, which is the focus of my post and what I wrote is not a review of the book but a response to the book trailer.
According to Chua, America’s strength is also its weakness while China’s strength is its collective culture, which may well be the reason why China was a regional super power for more than two thousand years and that collective culture came about not just from Confucianism but also from a mixture of Taoism, Confucianism, Legalism, Buddhism, etc.
If Chua is right and America’s decline happens, then China, as a super power (not a hyper power) will be a major player on the global economic and political field as it already is due to its growing economic influence.
I have a question since you and Betty probably know Parfitt or are acquainted with him. Who published his work and who are they? A publisher with no history on the Internet and no Website and only one book is odd. You may also be his publicist but one that does not know the book industry well enough if you were responsible for the book trailer. Parfitt should have one or more shorter book trailers less than two minutes. If he wants to keep the longer one, that’s his decision but the shorter one’s may have more of an influence on someone deciding to buy and read his work. The trailer is well done but it is too long and says too much.
What is a hyper super power? From what I know of China, it appears to me that currently we are on the same level. Sure they dont live in 2 story homes with at least 1 acre of lawn to care for weekly, but imagine the US with that many people and the same mountainous land.
I think of China as jumping to Lightspeed in order to catch up to the rest of the world in modernity. As a result, there are still some issues that are left unresolved. Still, it only took me 1 month to really get the feeling of China to the point I felt it was more my home than the US.
The CCP has admitted that they have not caught up to the US yet and the CCP is correct.
For example, in 1952, China was producing 0.005 kilowatts of electricity, which means most of China had no electricity. Today, that picture has changed dramatically and is still changing as China continued to build and expand its electricity grid into all parts of rural China.
In addition, what America considers poor people or living in poverty is measured differently than developing countries. Most of the people that are considered poor in America earn less than $22,000 annually (which would be about 132,000 yuan in China) while poverty in developing countries is measured in how much one earns daily.
The World Bank defines poverty in absolute terms. The bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.25 per day (for someone in the US, that would mean earning less than $457 annually), and moderate poverty as less than $2 a day. Today, less than 3% of China’s population lived in extreme poverty but more than one billion do not earn enough to be considered middle class by American standards.
The proportion of the developing world’s population living in extreme economic poverty has fallen dramatically in the last thirty years but 90% of that improvement took place in China.
China’s goals are to have a middle class equal the the ratio of middle class people and lifestyles in the United States and/or Western Europe. To do that, China must double or triple the size of the middle class that exists today in China from about 200 to 300 million to 600 or 900 million.
That’s when the Chinese will consider themselves equal to the United States. Part of that goal meant building high-speed rails, extending the traditional rail system, building highways between cities so China may be more like the US, cities that now sit empty waiting for hundreds of millions of rural Chinas to migrate to new urban centers in China so that they may improve their economic standing and lifestyles.
About 800 million Chinese still live in rural China in villages and homes that do not measure up to what is considered a developed countries middle class.
You spent most or all of your time in urban China where the modernization started in the early 1980s and that is where China focused most of its effort to improve life in China for the last thirty years, and you may not have experienced the real rural and remote China. Much of rural China, even though China is extending electricity as I write to villages all across China, still lives a lifestyle that is considered primitive compared to most Americans.
If China succeeds with its long-range goals, China may achieve economic parity with the US (regarding individual earnings power and quality of lifestyle) in about 20 to 30 years.
India, by comparison, is in much worse shape than China because there has been little to no movement for about 40% of its huge population. If you want to see and experience what life in China was like thirty years ago, visit India and travel to every province, get out into the country away from the cities.
Today’s modern China has a population of about 300 to 500 million people. The old China that is still modernizing and improving lifestyles holds more than 900 million people. The last five-year plan and the current one shifted the focus to rural China for development. Before that, there was very little development in most of rural China and the improvement was moving at a much slower pace than urban China has experienced.
If we compared rural and urban China to a race, for the last thirty years, urban China has been speeding along at 100 miles per hour while urban China has been moving forward at 25 miles per hour. When this all started, Deng Xiaoping said improvement would have to wait in rural China until the job was almost finished in urban China. He didn’t use those exact words but that’s what he meant. Some would get there late than others.
One of the flaws of Parfitt’s theory and reasons why China will never rule the world is that China was not an industrialized nation in 1950 and the CCP’s first attempt to achieve industrialization on a Western scale during the Great Leap Forward failed. It wasn’t until the 1980s that China started to succeed in its goals to match Europe and America as an industrialized nation. To transition from an agricultural, rural country to an industrialized nation meant a learning curve. While the West started buildings it’s industrial economies in the 18th century, China didn’t really get started on this learning curve until the 1980s.
However, how China did it is very clever. They offered cheap labor and let the West come and build the factories for them. In the last thirty years, China has allowed the rest of the world to turn China into an industrialized nation and have the rest of the world pay for it until today China is known as the factory floor of the world and all of that was accomplished in less than thirty years.
While Parfitt sees this as a weakness because Western companies built and manage most of those factories, what he misses is the fact that China is learning from the West’s industrial knowledge and management skills.
Once that learning curve and that development is over, China will no longer need those Western engineers and managers to guide and show them how it is done. In fact, to sell cars in China, GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford all had to build factories there. China would not let them build the cars outside China and ship them in. In that way, the West built China’s auto industry and required that the CCP own a share of those industries.
It took the West more than two centuries to develop the industrialized system as Western Europe and North American transitioned from agricultural rural based cultures and economies to industrialized ones. If China meets all of its goals on time, that transition will have taken less than fifty years since the 1980s.
There isn’t much of a difference between what China has done and is still doing and what Tom Sawyer did in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Fin when Tom cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work for him…
The United States is currently a “hyper super power” (according to Amy Chua). The reach and influence of the US is both global militarily and economically and no other nation has that ability. China is not quite a super power yet economically but is moving quickly in that direction and will not be considered a super power militarily until it equals and/or matches the US.
Militarily, the US is the only nation with naval fleets in every ocean and air and army bases on every continent. The US is the only nation that can airlift an entire army in a matter of day to the other side of the world and wage war. No other nation has that ability–none.
At best, China is a super regional power.
Ok, thank you for explaining “hyper super power” for me. Just so much on the table to consider that my brain goes into a tongue twister like state.
I did see some of the rural, but not as much as I wanted. I saw some when I traveled to Guiyang by slow train on the hard seat. 38 hours each way is very hard to go alone without any knowledge of the language.
I’ve also been to Zhuji. Zhuji, like you said, still retains it’s old 1980s appearance. Guiyang has the same kind of late 1980s style. The TRUE farm experience I’ve ever come close to was when I visited a good American friend that lives on a tea farm with his wife and her family. Grandma lives in the traditional farm house, with a traditional Chinese log fire stove. Her bathroom is separate from the main house in the back. There is a hole in the wall by the giant bathing wok that is used to place sticks and things to start a fire (used for heating the bath water). They clean clothes and dishes in the family pond that goes around the back of the house (which now they’re upset because govt goons came in and built a pvc sewer pipe above the pond made of paper thin material). The sewer pipe is a big issue because while living on the farm your neighbors all have grudges against each other (they’ve lived there their entire lives so they go a little nutty).
Yea they build highways, but usually they link up to the major cities in giant turnpikes. As for their train system, it equals the speed of airplanes. Now that I’m back in the US, I almost miss the scenic travel experience offered by trains.
My first train ride was in China from Shanghai to Beijing and we had a sleeper cubby that slept four. This was before the bullet train. Great experience. A few weeks later, we took a very slow train south and it was a long slow trip on those hard seats. It seems, the slower the train, the better the price.
I only did the sleeper cabin once. It was my first train experience from Guangzhou to Shanghai. Add to that, I couldnt speak chinese to talk with the ticket staff. Back then I had luck. A very nice chinese girl in another line next to me noticed my problem and quickly vaulted over the metal bars separating the lines and began translating for me.
I had wanted the dirt cheap hard seat because I wasn’t rich. The money I claim as my own was all blown within the first week I got to Guangzhou. The rest was what little mom gave me to survive on which ate into my money I rationed for food.
Instead of the seat, I got the 6 person sleeper…top bunk. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s been some time since I’ve had to climb around things without ladders. It was very cozy because I flipped the hood down on my hoodie sweater, put my ball cap over my face, and slept most of the trip.
I did the hard seat to Guiyang (to visit a girl that later began to cheat on me). Hard seat is cheap.
Just wondering which version of the book you read. The copy I have only has 416 pages, not 424. Did you read the Kindle edition? I’m afraid I haven’t made it to the world of ebooks yet. I thought the section on George Morrison was interesting. Parfitt seemed to be saying Westerners did more bad things in China than many know, and that when China talks about Western interference, they have a valid point. I’m curious what you thought of that section. Also, Parfitt has several books by Sterling Seagrave listed in his bibliography. Can you recommend his best one?
I do have a Kindle, but I went to Amazon to see how many pages were listed for the hardcover. I suspect Amazon counts the empty pages in a paper printed book.
When you ask about Sterling Seagrave’s books regarding China, I would recomment “Dragon Lady”.
I agree with Parfitt about Westerners doing many bad things in China, which may have started with the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion. I also recommend Jonathan D. Spence’s “God’s Chinese Son”.
In addition, my criticsm (if what I wrote is seen as such) was of the theme presented in the ten-minute trailer of Parfitt’s book.
First…dont forget the Spanish empire (massive naval armada and it’s explorers are famous for the discovery of the Americas and circumnavigating the globe). Also, dont forget the Roman Empire, which tried world conquering, but discovered long battles far away end in disaster (as Ghengis Khan also found out).
Second…I’m curious exactly what did this guy do in China. If he had a paying job as an english teacher then why make many complaints against China? I really even doubt he went to the countryside and I have not yet seen the video. It’s easy to go to a junky looking suburb of a major city and claim it resembles a ghetto, and by doing so it would be like going to the worst part of Chicago and filming it with a label to represent ALL of US.
Take the time and watch Parfitt’s video and you will see what I’m talking of. He taught ESL in South Korean for two years and ten years in Taiwan and never taught in Mainland China as Tom Carter did.
His so-called expert opinion of Chinese culture is based on those ten years of teaching ESL in Taiwan and a possibly “hurried” packaged tourist trip of the mainland (nothing even close to Tom Carter’s two years visiting every province of China seeing its culture up close and personal) before he returned home to Canada and wrote his biased opinion in a book, which, if you see the video, shows that he favors Western individualist centered culture as the winner over the Asian collective culture of China.
What Parfitt seems to have missed is that China’s collective Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist, etc. culture was the most powerful, technologically advanced civilization on the planet for more than 2,000 years before it fell behind under the Ming, and then Qing Dynasties and the British Empire arrived to launch the West’s drug wars on China in the 19th century.
In fact, the West rise to global power in the 19th century took place while China was passing through one of its transitions, which happened after the Han Dynasty and then again between the Tang and Sung Dynasties in addition to what caused the Ming to go down and the Qing the rise.
However, in the West history shows us that when a powerful civilization such as Rome goes down, centuries of recovery usually follow while most of what was learned during the rise of a Western empire was lost.
The British Empire ruled over 25% of the earth’s land surface and its people for more than a century. What do they rule over today? In comparison, all of China’s most powerful dynasties lasted much longer.
Han Dynasty ruled 425 years
Tang Dynasty ruled 288 years
Sung ruled 316 years
Ming ruled 275 years
Qing ruled 267 years
As for the US, it has only been a recognized global world super power since the end of World War II. How many years? 66 Before that, the British Empire was the world’s dominate global super power.
In addition, the only reason the Mongols didn’t conquer Europe was because their leader at the time, a grandchild of Genghis Khan was wounded in battle and died. The clans had to return home to Mongolia to decide who would take his place. The Mongols under one of Genghis Khans decendants were on one side of the Danube River while the Teutonic knights were on the other side ready to be slaughtered.
Fate saved the day for Europe. No telling what history would have written for the West if the Mongol leader had not died that day.