He’s sitting at his desk in his office in Beijing.
He’s going through reports of his subordinates’ performance. Some are as loyal as he wants them to be, some not so much. The latter are put on the heap for reassignment, i.e. demotion.
News of Nancy Pelosi’s (Speaker of the US House of Representatives) plane arriving in Taiwan flashes on a large screen on a wall across.
He pauses as he takes in the landing of the plane, the sight of the welcoming committee waiting on the tarmac.
‘The more Americans challenge me on Taiwan, the more I can keep my people furious about their interfering with our sovereignty and the more they will accept the restrictions I impose on their freedoms.
Freedom should be reserved for the leadership, the very accomplished and faithful to the ideas of the party.
Freedom in the hands of regular people leads to chaos, like in the West, where freedom got Trump to be elected. And where they may elect him again.’
‘But what really gets my people to tolerate the harshest of restrictions on their liberties is the promise that one day soon, we will make our move for world dominance. And we’ll have Americans queuing up to learn Mandarin. Won’t that be a beautiful sight?
I can’t wait.’
A voice through a speaker on his desk interrupts.
Speaker phone – Chairman, the cyberattack committee wanted to go ahead with targeting the list of American and English companies they sent you this morning. Have you had a chance to go through it?
‘I have. Leave company D out for now but proceed with the rest. We need their technology.’
Speaker phone – Indeed, Mr Chairman.
He grows silent, a hint of worry on his furrowed brow.
‘That drone attack that killed the Al Qaeda leader in the center of Kabul has got me worried.
I don’t think the Americans would ever try that on me. We would fire missiles immediately on them… but so would they on us. In the confusion, would Russians jump in, too?’
He returns to his papers, assessing the loyalty of his subordinates.
He pauses again.
‘Western businesses have been very good for us… and our forcing the transfer of technology has been essential to what we have become in so short a time.
But they are growing more distrustful. Which is why we’re trying to extend our influence over other nations… but the idea of freedom keeps coming up. It’s hard to squash it, snuff it out, like we’re doing here in China. Maybe the Chinese are more pliant… more willing to tolerate structure… and surrender their personal dreams in the interest of the nation.
That is what we’re banking on to build the new Chinese Empire. The pliant quality of Chinese citizens, willing to work hard for the good of the party and the nation, and willing to surrender their personal ambitions.
In the meantime, I get to extend my rule… until I die… like Mao did.
Oh, to die in power… what a wonderful idea. The whole nation grieving for me.
The thought of it brings tears to my eyes.’
He dabs his moistened eyes.
‘And now this war in Ukraine. When will it end? Putin acts like he’s going to win… but it’s starting to look like he’s not. The West has got bolder… now committing to sending in fighter jets. And the Russian military may want a change in leadership… which may align with us or not.
New leadership aligning with the West would be disastrous for us… which is an argument to assist Russia win the war… but if I do… western markets may close off to us. They’ve warned us, Biden has.
Anyway, we’ve bought enough Russian oil.
Putin should be bolder… send in a team to kidnap Zelensky… take him to Moscow and try him for crimes against humanity.
I fear he’s running out of time. He may ask us for more drones, to attack Zelensky in Kyiv, like the Americans did in Kabul… but if one of our drones hit Zelensky… that would be a problem.’
He closes his eyes for a moment.
‘But I don’t trust Putin. Sooner or later, he’ll remind me that he has more nuclear weapons than I have… I know that’s coming. But what I admire in him is how he’s domesticated his people to do as he pleases. I should learn from him. And how he persuaded Donald Trump that he had nothing to do with interfering in America’s elections. That was beautiful to see.’
He returns to his paperwork, sorting out the most loyal from the less loyal.
Oscarvaldes.medium.com, anchor.fm, apple and google podcasts