As a motivator, if you think about it, China has grown for 30 years at a rate of about eight percent a year, meaning that the economy has doubled in size every seven or eight years. And that period has come to an end. And so what it's looking for is a new source of domestic legitimacy, growth and unity, and that has forced the government to draw on new impulses, and one of the ways that it's doing that, of course, is by turning to nationalism. And it's cultivating a sense that China should rally around the flag. It's encouraging students in school to study the history of China's victimhood.Victimhood seems a pretty poor place to start - I think some guy in Germany took that route a few years back.
Not that China doesn't have some historical grievances (as did Germany). The question for the CCP is which path to follow - focusing on the past to seek to pump an aggressive patriotism, or focusing on the future in which the past is overcome by success in the modern world. But the latter path may lead to shrinking power for the CCP . . .
It is interesting to hear the opinion that China has moderating influences to which the CCP is sort of responding.
As noted by the Sam Trangredi, our guest on Midrats yesterday, in his book Anti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies (also available as a Kindle book here), one reason that authoritarian governments make aggressive political/military moves is often an attempt to shore up domestic support when the authorities power is shaken, citing the Argentine actions with respect to the Falklands as one example (and perhaps Putin in the Ukraine):
. . . The obvious question is why the Argentine government decided to use preemptive force in seizing the islands,There are plenty of other examples of internally threatened regimes who resort to external violence to keep their power.
The answer lies in Argentina's domestic situation at that time. *** With no appearance of legitimacy, the junta resorted to resolving a standing nationalist grievance, the outcome of which could appeal to Argentine patriotism and popularly justify continuation of junta rule.
This portion of the video seems particularly appropriate:
. . . fundamentally, the rule of the Communist Party relies on faith of a certain kind. Faith in the party above all.
The interview appears to have taken place before the current Hong Kong embarrassment to the Chinese power structure.
UPDATE: Cleaned up one split infinitive.