Balinese culture, a perpetual exercise in sophisticated subtlety, makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural – sekala and niskala.
Sekala is what our senses may discern. As in the ritualized gestures of world leaders – real and minor – at a highly polarized G20.
Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested”. And that also applies to geopolitics.
The Balinese highlight may have featured an intersection of sekala and niskala: the much ballyhooed Xi-Biden face-to-face (or face to earpiece).
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs preferred to cut to the chase, selecting the Top Two highlights.
1. Xi told Biden – rather, his earpiece – that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question.
2. Xi also hopes that NATO, EU and US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Moscow.
Asian cultures – be they Balinese or Confucianist – are non-confrontational. Xi laid out three layers of common interests: prevent conflict and confrontation, leading to peaceful coexistence; benefit from each other’s development; and promote post-COVID global recovery, tackle climate change and face regional problems via coordination.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.....Martin Luther King '63
It takes all the technical proficiency our system can provide to make up for the woeful lack of popular support and political savvy of most of the regimes that the West has thus far sought to prop up.........Bernard Fall