Why moving from a USA-led path to a China-led path will not resolve the basic problems of our troubled world

USA China

As during the last 80 years or so the USA has been the most powerful and dominant country leading the world on a path which is exploitative towards most people and towards nature, it is only to be expected that most of those persons and groups who look for alternatives to this path are generally extremely critical of the policies and priorities of the USA.

Equally well-founded is the sympathy and concern for the countries and people who have been at the receiving end of the aggression of the USA. Hence there has rightly been much support and sympathy for the people of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan in recent times even though there may be many reasons also for criticism of the regimes of these countries.

The reason why Russia deserves much support in the middle of its present difficulties is not because of any supposed virtues of its rulers or governing systems, but because it is being targeted in a highly unjust way by the USA/NATO dominant force which wants to weaken, bleed and destabilize Russia with the ultimate aim of being able to access its vast resources at its own terms (a more polite expression for grabbing) as well as rendering ineffective a rival with a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Similarly China will deserve our support and sympathy whenever it is threatened by the present day dominant imperialist force. Several well-informed strategic experts have already described how China has been encircled by the USA and some of its important allies in recent years, and like Russia it has been also at the receiving end of several unjust policy decisions and sanctions. In all such matters of injustice and aggression, China deserves the sympathy and support of all those people and groups who want to create a new world based on justice, peace, equality, true democracy and environment protection.

Such support for China is well-justified. However some of the more enthusiastic and misguided supporters of China are going a step too far ahead by also more or less advocating for a new path and a new world led by China. This is evident in the frequent exaggerated praise for several real as well as imagined virtues of various development and diplomacy efforts and initiatives of China.

This reminds one of the time when millions perished in famine in China at the time of ‘the great leap forward’ (1959-61), very much a man-made tragedy with the ruling regime contributing the most to it, but many outside observers continued to retain their lavish praise for the ‘revolutionary achievements of China’ even at that time! By now of course the grave harm caused to the people (particularly rural people in remote areas) at that time is even officially acknowledged in China.

In recent times, by present standards of globalized economic development and growth, China has been called the biggest achiever. But let us not forget that in the process China has been increasingly and deeply integrated with the globalized capitalist system. This inevitably brought in problems such as increasing corruption, ever-increasing displacement of rural communities, ecological disruption caused by giant infra-structure projects, drawing in of weaker countries to use their resources and land for meeting the ever-increasing consumption in China while ignoring the priority needs of weaker countries.

The Chinese economic growth successes are based on an aggressive pursuit of the interests of China within a globalized capitalist system with greater integration with the same, and these should not be confused with creating an alternative to the globalized capitalist system. This is such an obvious fact which unfortunately is missed by some of the China enthusiasts within the alternatives movement. Integrating with the globalized capitalist systems in a huge way, taking great pride in creating the biggest infra-structure and industrial projects in a hurry without considering wider issues, is inherently destructive for environment, and no amount of solar power or electric vehicle data can obscure this basic reality. What the world needs are alternatives to the globalized capitalist system, not further strengthening of this or integration to this.  Such a path of increasing integration to globalized capitalist system, with the inevitable fostering of values conducive to this, has within it seeds of future conflicts, future wars, future imperialism.

Those China enthusiasts who ignore all this are doing a great disservice to the alternatives movement, despite the short-term resources they may be bringing in for the movement and thereby gaining influence. It is very important for the alternatives movement to remain deeply committed to its basic principles of justice, equality, true democracy, peace, environment protection and protection of other life forms; in the middle of its various struggles also keep searching for the path which best integrates these basic principles in a harmonious way. This is not the present-day Chinese path; the present day China has not been created on these principles.  The alternatives movement must find its own brave new path.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children, Earth without Borders and A Day in 2071.


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