What's China going to do with a Biden-run America?

I recently watched a few videos online that purport to predict the near future.  Prediction is an understandable desire, especially as the domestic and geopolitical situations have become very critical and complex.  It is more important than ever to anticipate the next major event, so as to act accordingly.  The problem with most of these videos, however, is that they did not even make correct predictions about 2020.  By now, President Trump was supposed to have gotten us into a nuclear war with North Korea.  Indeed, according to many, in 2016, Trump would never be elected president.  

Say what they will, the master prognosticators are not scientific.  That is the main reason why they are so (ahem) predictably wrong.  Their predictions are based more on their biases than on data.  That is why, in 2015, we were urged to cease all use of fossil fuels, or else the Earth would burn up in 2019.  We have far more data concerning climate than we do on illegal aliens, and both of those issues are fraught more with politics than sound policy.  I can safely predict that the climate will change.  Unlike climate, immigration is something we can actually control.  I predict that it will be controlled badly, but I cannot say how badly.

Making predictions all but impossible is something called the Butterfly Effect.  It is real, even if a butterfly in China does not, in fact, cause a hurricane in the Caribbean.  The effect is well known to computer programmers, who discovered that even a slight change in the initial parameters of a sequence of calculations can dramatically change the final outcome.  Kingdoms can indeed fall for want of a horseshoe nail.  George Washington was spared death in war because a British soldier could not bear to shoot anyone in the back; the course of history was, thereby, unpredictably altered.  

The predictions that are of most concern to us now involve both domestic and international strife.  

Domestically, our nation is now more divided than at any time in a century and a half.  Moreover, we are less likely to compromise — indeed, less likely even to discuss contentious topics — than in many decades.  We are truly at a fork in the road, one way leading to tyranny, another to the uncertainty that comes with freedom.   

Internationally, the government of China is making bold threats against Biden that it never dared to make against Trump.  China perceives weakness, and nothing so invites warfare as that perception.  The tyrants in China have many options, many routes of attack, from limited expansion in the China Sea to full-scale invasions of Taiwan or other Asian nations and, finally, ultimatums delivered to the U.S. that could abruptly go nuclear.  Which, if any, will the Chinese choose?  

One crisis could influence the other.  For example, increasing resistance to government overreach in the U.S. could result in various forms of reaction, from state nullification to military crackdowns by Biden.  Where that might go is unpredictable, but surely China would seize any opportunity presented by domestic discord.  Indeed, China could help foment discontent.  

If it is perceived that the U.S. government is leading us off a cliff, then a number of crises could quickly escalate.  A grassroots uprising, or a top-down coup, could result.  In either case, the outcome would be either chaos or authoritarian order, neither of which is desirable.  

Of one thing we can be certain: the future will be very different from the present, and unpredictably so.  

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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