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Opinion
Niall Ferguson

TikTok Is Inane. China’s Imperial Ambition Is Not.

The U.S. won the Cold War by exporting its values, and China has a similar plan for Cold War II.

Not making his day.

Not making his day.

Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

It’s hard to get past the initial sheer inanity of TikTok.

I spent half an hour trying to make sense of the endless feed of video snippets of ordinary people doing daft things with their dogs or in their kitchens or in the gym. I figured out the viral memes of the moment: animals dancing to Tono Rosario’s “Kulikitaka,” the suspenseful unveiling of hunks or hounds to the repeated words, “Please don’t be ugly.” I asked my eight-year-old son what I should look out for. He recommended the dancing ferret. I never found it.