The Chinese kept saying they were perplexed about the Muslim world's – particularly the Arab world's – inability to deal with the modern world.
This is interesting because the divide between the Muslim world and the Asian sphere goes right to the heart of the chaos spilling out of the region.
The non-Muslim countries of Asia have been getting their act together while the Muslim countries have been Islamizing and taking large chunks of Saudi money.
There is no telling where Indonesia might be today without the influence of Islam. And Pakistan might be closer to India, instead of a horrid backward place that murders women for minor offenses and invests money in terrorism and nuclear weapons.
The Chinese, at behind-the-scenes conferences and discussions during the past few months, kept saying they were perplexed about the Muslim world's – particularly the Arab world's – inability to deal with the modern world. The Chinese and the Muslims, they repeated, had suffered the same humiliation and occupation by foreigners over the past two hundred years, but the Chinese and Muslim reactions to these experiences seem so completely different.
"We also suffered," the Chinese said, "but now we control our destiny, and are doing everything we can to learn from these foreigners so that we can benefit from the modern world and ensure that we do not suffer this humiliation again. We Chinese 'look to the future.'"
The Muslims, on the other hand, the Chinese stated, seem to have a different approach: Instead of looking to the future, they "are mired in the past," more concerned about taking revenge against those foreigners whom they believe had humiliated and oppressed them.
It was because of this focus on the past, these Chinese intellectuals and leaders stated, that Arabs and Muslims were therefore unable to build societies which could participate in the modern world. "Revenge and victimhood," these Chinese argued, could permanently cause "the Arabs and Muslim world" to "remain behind the West and Asia."
China, which is largely secular, despite a sizable number of Muslims, has trouble understanding the intersection between religious and national imperatives.
The Muslim world doesn't really consist of nations, but of a motley collection of tribes, ethnicities and linguistic groups tied together by the Islamic expansionist mandate.
The expansionist mandate of Islam ties Islamic identity to conquest. Revenge and Victimhood is the whole point. China can function as a country without Korea, even though it might like to do that one day. However China does need to take Taiwan and Hong Kong to retain its Chinese identity.
But for Islam, their Taiwan is the entire world. Islam must rule over non-Muslims and expand its dominions or it loses touch with its Islamic identity and its sense of destiny that gives it momentum.