China, since its emergence in 1949, worries many. Today, it worries too many. Mr. Joe Biden, the US president, is also worried with China.
“We’re kind of at a place where the rest of the world is beginning to look to China,” Biden said. “The most devastating comment made after I was elected – it wasn’t so much about me – but it was by the Irish taoiseach (prime minister) saying that ‘Well, America can’t lead. They can’t even get their arms around Covid.’”
According to an interview with The New York Times, the US president said: “We’ve gotten to a point where I think our economic competence has a gigantic impact on our international influence and capacity.” (David Brooks, “Has Biden Changed? He Tells Us”, May 20, 2021)
Mr. Biden believes, according to the NYT, that “in a post-Trump world [the US are] fighting not just to preserve the middle class, but to survive as the leading nation of the earth.”
The NYT said: Mr. Biden “grew up when America was the undisputed world leader and now he sees that rapidly slipping away, failing to invest enough in research and development.”
The US daily quoted Mr. Biden: “We’re eating our seed corn.” In this statement, the US president quoted corporate executives who talked to him about how the private sector wasn’t looking to the long term. He said: “If we stay small, I don’t know how we change our international status and competitive capacity.”
Significant are the US president’s sayings. These sharply tell condition of the state, its economy, and the world the state is facing today.
Already Mr. Biden is worried. It’s not the US president’s limitation. It’s the condition and character of the economy and politics – the interests these uphold – of the country, once considered super-powerful and the sole determining factor in the world politics.
The ongoing pandemic has played a crucial role in exposing the state of the state – the politics, the economics, the management including decision-making process in the state, and the pushes and pulls of interests the state machine experiences.
The number of US citizens died in the pandemic is higher than the number of US troops killed during World War II. It was during the time Trump left the White House. The whole world has seen the level of politics in and efficiency of the state during a period of pandemic. The powerful state lost its image. More important than losing image is exposure of the state. It was not only an exposure of capacity; but, more than that that encompassed the society and related classes.
On the opposite, there’s China, the country that began a historic journey in 1949. A section of observers has always brushed out China. But, that task of brushing out couldn’t hurt the country’s journey. That task of that section was a Curtain of Ignorance. Still, that practice – propagating lies about China – prevails among a sub-section of that section. That’s living in a fool’s paradise. That living doesn’t benefit that section.
But, Mr. Biden understands the reality. The US president has repeatedly expressed his concerns about China.
Mr. Biden, in his first speech to Congress in April, said: “We’re in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century.”
Biden said in March: “They [China] have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world.”
To many, China was not appearing so significantly only two years ago. Only five years ago, it was the same. But, today’s China isn’t a two- or five-years’ planning and work. It took many years’ planning and work for China to appear in such a way. It’s, so, difficult to foresee: How will China appear five, 10 and 20 years’ later.
Now, China is a global leader in a number of important areas. The country appears determined also; not like the Gorbachev-days-Russia – more than over-prepared to sale everything including dignity. Domestically, China’s strides in a number of areas are significant. In some areas, the country has outpaced major global competitors. In some areas, it’s difficult for the US now to be at par with China.
However, some areas including propaganda are still dominated by the US. One such area is marketing of “democracy”-US version – an arrangement for other countries to toe the US – its ideology, method and regime for “free” market, actually an arrangement for exploiting resources freely in subservient countries. The tools, etc. for implementing this design are the NED and all sorts in the family; and imperialist interests/organizations finance these, and create “crusaders for democracy” – proxies. China explicitly opposes this design.
China is trying to widen internal demand of consumer products. A vast opportunity will open if it’s successful. All signs show China is overtaking the US economy. Consequently, changes in many areas including possible producers and investors in other countries are going to appear. Europe shall not give up its interests for the sake of grand US strategy of strangulating China.
The country is striding to surpass the existing leader in the area of science and technology. Already the country has made big leaps in the area. In this area including military science and technology, China is closing in gaps with the US fast.
The country’s political leadership has taken decision to be self-sufficient in all areas so that it need not depend on external market for survival.
Contemporary history tells China’s moves have not ultimately failed. It surmounts all difficulties and obstacles. Its speed – China Speed, a coinage now – is now a modern-myth.
Handling of the pandemic is a show of skill and efficiency of the country’s political leadership along with its organization.
The moves China is taking, no doubt, worries US. It’ll be more worrisome if China’s moves sustain. Allies and possible allies of China are regularly watching the moves in their interests.
Mao once said that either wind from the west would subdue wind from the east or the opposite. [It’s not the exact quotation.] The flow of wind is changing. The wise keeps self updated with news of wind flow as that helps sailing.
Therefore, the contain China strategy that includes the much discussed Quad. But, there’s the question – how far shall the Quad turn functional and effective? China’s trade ties with a number of Quad members are an important factor determining the Quad’s effectiveness. There’ll be tough competition.
The U.S. is entering a period of intense competition with China, the White House’s top official for Asia said. “The period that was broadly described as engagement has come to an end,” Kurt Campbell, the U.S. coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the National Security Council, said Wednesday at an event hosted by Stanford University. U.S. policy toward China will now operate under a “new set of strategic parameters,” Mr. Campbell said, adding that “the dominant paradigm is going to be competition.” (Bloomberg, “Biden’s top man in Asia says the era of engagement with China is over”, May 27, 2021)
The statement is an echo of already stated position of the US.
Mr. Campbell admits: “China is determined to play a more assertive role.” The US official’s statement also tells a truth, as he said the US would need to dispel fears of US decline in Asia. He also suggested: The US will need to offer a “positive economic vision” for the region. But how far can the power dispel the fear and how much can it offer? It’s a question to ponder!
Whatever happens, it’s certain that the region will find aggressive role by the US, as Mr. Campbell said: “For the first time, really, we are now shifting our strategic focus, our economic interests, our military might more to the Indo-Pacific.”
This reality is going to raise crucial questions for the democratic movements in the region. There’s no scope to avoid the questions, as democratic movements in countries are for a democratic life of the people in the region; and democratic life is needed for making people’s life better.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.