To the Melians the Athenians declared “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” This observation from Thucydides 2,400 years ago echoes down to the present because it reflects much of the world we see around us. The ancient Athenian wisdom clearly come naturally to the government of the People’s Republic of China:
At this point, I’ll reiterate the wisdom of Thucydides. It’s not like on a deep level Muslims don’t know how the People’s Republic of China treats its co-religionists. So why the quiet? Because they know that their bleating and remonstrations against China will fall on deaf ears. A nation like Pakistan needs China far more than China needs it, and China and the oil kingdoms need each other mutually and are aligned on other salient geopolitical issues. In contrast, remonstrating against India or the West will obtain results.
Notice with China there are two issues. First, its raw power insulates it from external moral pressures. China’s concessions to morality are a matter of its own choice, its own agency. Second, there is the axis of self-interest. Self-righteous social justice warriors like NBA coach Steve Kerr balk at criticizing China’s atrocious human rights record because the economic carrot and stick dynamics loom large. Rather than a matter of practicality, where protestation would have no effect on China, the calculus of decision-making is on self-interest for much of the American corporate elite. They wish to become richer, so they turn a blind eye. Obviously, these two are often comingled, especially in the case of small Muslim nations who may empathize with the Uyghurs, but know their protests will have only negative impacts geopolitically and economically on themselves.
From this one might conclude that I’m a cold rationalist, espousing Nietzschean amorality. But 2,400 years on, despite all its flaws, the legend of Athens shines brighter than the militaristic ethos of Sparta. The victors lost in the halls of memory. 2,200 years ago the First Emperor of China crushed the power of the classicists and literati, only to have his image and name tarred by their depictions of him in future ages. The Christians were a pacific and marginal group for the first two centuries of their existence, but within a few generations, they captured Rome and became synonymous with Western civilization. The martial ethos of the Vedic Kshatriyas is not what undergirds Hindu civilization, rather, it is the pacific ritualists and the philosophers, the Brahmins, who turned away from animal sacrifice in the first millenium AD.
Blood wins the battles, but ideas win the war.