Canada has a great opportunity to dramatically change our relationship with China, if we imitate ‘shi,’ says Terry Miller.

Mr. Prime Minister, now that Andrew Scheer has bent your ear on how to deal with the Beijing regime, one wonders if there isn’t another method to employ that the regime would better understand rather than bluster diplomacy or a self-destructive tariff war.

China is one of Canada’s major trading partners. Currently we are not on best speaking terms with them.

We know Chinese culture is thousands of years old and well-established through stoic ideas, traditionally acquired and influenced through internal wars and by external invasions.

We need to recognize that history and change our relationship with the Beijing regime. We need to be more wary of the regime’s commercial, financial, and global policy and the institution of “shi.” 

In his book, “The Hundred-year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America As the Global Superpower,”Michael Pillsbury chronicles the approach Americans took with the Beijing regime.

Pillsbury says Americans (Canadians too) used to think that engaging the Beijing regime in commerce brought complete co-operation. Many thought China was on the way to democracy, mistakenly thinking that changes in China were brought about by political philosophy instead of industrialization and population migration to cities.

Pillsbury says Americans made the false assumption that the Chinese leadership wanted to be like America’s, when in fact they want to surpass America as the most powerful nation in the world and use “shi” to accomplish this task.

Pillsbury defines “shi” as the alignment of forces or the propensity of things to happen and the manipulation by a sage opportunist to focus on events and forces for political advantage.

Pillsbury says Chinese leadership supports “shi” because the memory of outsiders managing Chinese history and politics is still fresh in the minds of many leaders. Pillsbury says the “young hawks” are urging Chinese leaders to avenge a century of humiliation by replacing America as the economic, military and political leader of the world by the year 2049, the centennial of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

“Shi,” Pillsbury says, has nine strategies: Induce complacency to avoid alerting your opponent, manipulate your opponent’s advisers, be patient sometimes for decades, steal your opponent’s ideas and technology, substitute long-term competition for military might, recognize that dominant power will take extreme even reckless action to retain in the dominant position, never lose sight of “shi,” establish and employ metrics for calculating your status relative to other potential challengers, and be constantly vigilant to avoiding encirclement or deception by others.

Some of these strategies sound very familiar right here in North America!

The American trade war with the Beijing regime is on-going and Canada is involved.

So, we have wisely concluded trade deals with other parts of the world … CETA (Europe), TPP (Pacific Rim) and free trade agreements in South America.

We cannot compete with China by ourselves and if the regime in Beijing adopts “shi” strategies to replace America, that will affect us dramatically.

So Mr. Prime Minister, we need to change our external policies with the regime in Beijing. The parliament of Canada needs to direct the Foreign Investment Review Board to revise our national policy to substantially restrict People’s Republic of China companies’ ownership of natural resources, manufacturing, commercial investment, transportation, and the agricultural production in Canada.

These are economic sectors the Beijing regime needs to power “shi.” The Beijing regime is using “shi” to determine their relationship with us. Why shouldn’t we do the same?

Terry Miller is a long-time Brampton resident and former Peel Region and Brampton City councillor. The Scene column appears weekly in the Guardian.