A famous Chinese proverb says that “An ant may well destroy an entire dam.” Nothing could be more apropos when describing China’s global policy. One small step at a time, they’re buying their way to world dominance. A food production company here, a port there, a politician here, a hedge fund manager there, the Chinese have all the tools they need: patience, perseverance, diligence, and money, lots and lots of money.
But as ominous as China may appear, I think it poses much less of a danger than other countries with ambitions to take over the world. Even if their plan succeeds, it will be nothing more than economic dominance. They have no religion, they’ve abandoned communism, and they have no other ideology in place besides the craving for power.
Over the past several decades, they have amassed gargantuan amounts of money and economic power, which they have translated into political clout the world over. There are great forces at play here, far stronger than China or any other human made entity. These forces, which come from the kernel of reality, are driving China’s dominance forward. I don’t think it’s to our detriment.
In fact, if I needed to choose between being under the influence of an ideological or a religious power, or a power whose ambition is only power, I would choose the latter. Moreover, even the independence we think we have right now is utterly illusory. We are dependent on the world, and on the powers of the world, in every aspect of our lives, so fearing that we might be taken over is nonsense since we’ve already been taken over, we just don’t know about it.
However, if we want independence, we can certainly achieve it. To do this, we have to rise above calculations of power struggles. When these are the calculations, we see that countries rise and fall; it is the nature of reality and history has proven that this is what always happens. On the worldly level, it is certain that America will fall and another country, or several countries, will take its place at the helm of the world. It is simply how things work.
However, when it comes to Israel, we have a choice. If we choose to be Israel, in the deeper sense of the word, we will always be free. In fact, the nations themselves will guard and cherish our freedom.
Being Israel has nothing to do with financial or military power; it has to do with our nature as Israelis. Currently, we are treating each other with selfishness and alienation. This weakens us and degrades us in the eyes of the world. The world examines our every step, but mostly how we treat each other. When we are mean and display deplorable relations to our neighbors, the world despises us and hates us. When we treat each other with respect and warmth, the world relates to us likewise.
We are the nation that coined the proverb “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which, as hard as it is to do, is still the most noble notion that has ever been conceived. And although we are completely opposite from it, the world does not forget where the idea came from and expects us to set an example.
If we, for the first time since the ruin of the Temple, manage to rise above our petty selves and truly feel concern for one another, the world will envy our ability. It will look to us in awe and seek to be like us. We, in turn, will open our arms and hearts to everyone, and become the role model, the “light unto nations” that sets an example of true peace—not truce, but peace!
This will be our true freedom, this will be our triumph over domination, and this will be our ticket into the global family of nations.
[A large screen in a press center in China’s southern island province of Hainan shows the country’s president, Xi Jinping, giving an online speech at the Boao Forum for Asia on April 20, 2021. (Kyodo)]