The 21st Century Belongs to China
Frantic and often chaotic social and political opinions are whirling throughout American society as the USA approaches a national election for President in November 2020. These engagements or discussions are wide ranging, including presidential election integrity, rigged voting systems, government and political corruption, campaigns of misinformation, and a broken tax system that favors the wealthy over the “common man.” Americans may well be overlooking an even bigger problem. Are we unconsciously consigning the American Dream to the proverbial dustbin?
When considering how the next century belongs to China, many are asking serious questions. Has America reached the end of its journey? Is the present democracy gasping its last breath? Consider what the United States has become: a nation divided; a dysfunctional government with a corrupted congress; fragmented intelligence communities and a tainted law enforcement system. The spirit of the American dream is ceasing to exist. My purpose is not to merely paint a dark image about America, but rather to present facts as they are. I hope that doing so will help the “common man” understand and deal with the many social ills infecting his/her daily life, our country, and outlook.
Turning to China, it is my position that it will own the next century, whether we like it or not. Some Americans will disagree citing that China is not a democracy. Yet, I challenge them to explain why they stay silent when the “Electoral College” overtakes their vote in the presidential election. Yet, when it comes to China, these individuals are willing to speak vociferously.
When it comes to the debate over China’s future dominance of the world stage, there are mainly two positions: The “pro” side focuses on China’s economic rise, and the increasing gap between its economic and political development, the latter of which they contend has not kept pace with the former. Given China’s need for natural resources to fuel its economic growth, and its internal instabilities, the pro side felt China would grow increasingly belligerent and imperialist, economically if not militarily. Using history as a guide, look at the United States’ trajectory after World War II.
The “con” side attributed China’s exponential growth to a “catch-up” phase. An assessment that could not be far from the truth, in my opinion. China developed a strategy over time that is now paying off. Beijing achieved its goals, and more to come once the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is complete; its projects in the Arctic concludes; its cooperation with Russia continues, despite their historical animosity, and evolves beyond bilateral trade.
Those who argue against the inevitable rise of China have not learned enough and do not understand China’s history and civilization. Similarly, the same individuals do not recognize the gradual decline of the United States. I encourage an objective look at what is taking place in America today. Reality is setting in — the reality that a reported 20 percent of households own more than 84 percent of the wealth. The American Dream, part of our very identity, is fading amidst our recklessness, ignorance and petty obsessions. We are experiencing political squabbling, corruption, a dysfunctional congress, mediocre education systems, income inequality, lack of meaningful investments, a crumbling infrastructure and a broken tax system.
Even the US intelligence community is fragmented given its recent operation failures including the July 14, 2020 execution in Iran of an alleged CIA spy, Seyyed Mahmoud Mousavi Majd. The intelligence community’s failure to protect its human assets further undermine its future operations.
Ironically, it seems the American Dream is now more attainable for people residing outside the United States (like those in China) rather than for those living here. This suggests that little or no incentive exists for Americans, specifically the middle class, to work as hard to reach that dream. Is this defeatist attitude the result of a corrupt system in Washington? Or is it that many citizens have lost faith in the American Dream itself?
Instead of being the envy of the world, according to the Legatum Institute in London, we have dropped to No. 18 in a reliable survey (Pathways from poverty to prosperity) behind Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Luxemburg, Iceland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. It speaks volumes about how even our allies now view us. Wake up America! Evidence is becoming clearer. We are no longer the greatest country in the world.
I understand why the West, including the United States, worry about China's ascent to a global power, especially for a country once humiliated by so many foreign powers in its contemporary history. As I conduct research for my next book about China, I realize more and more that China does not seek global dominance, nor will it display its power to take revenge on those who once humiliated it in the past.
However, China will no longer accept the slow strangulation by the U.S. I believe Beijing will resist and challenge the West on all fronts including military dimensions. An outcome that I hope never emerges.