America Is Nationalizing
And China Is Looking To Take Over The World
At the time of this writing, the Coronavirus Disease 2019, shortened to COVID-19 is exacerbating the rise of nationalism. Advanced and emerging-market economies are taking advantage of the pandemic to implement protectionist policies that reject multilateral institutions or cooperation.
Throughout history, superpowers have risen and fallen. From the Roman Empire, to Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire, to the British Empire and after the 2nd world war, the United States rose to the top, closely followed by Russia. Russia has seemly fallen off to the side along the way. America however, seems to be abdicating the throne.
Trump Is Trumpeting Patriotism And Nationalism.
Trump has called himself a nationalist but French President Emmanuel Macron calls nationalism “a betrayal of patriotism.” It is understandable how someone can easily get confused by these two words. Many people interchange one for the other but they are slightly different. Patriotism is love and devotion to one’s country. Nationalism is love and devotion to one’s country ABOVE ALL OTHERS. There is nothing wrong with patriotism. There is a lot wrong with nationalism, or at least the current brand of nationalism.
Novelist George Orwell was a big critic of nationalism. He once said, “A nationalist is one who thinks… mainly in terms of competitive prestige… his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs, and humiliations.” Nationalism is exclusionary. It creates a false dichotomy that justifies doing whatever possible to help just one nation and in most cases, one nation group — naturally the majority population — while ignoring, neglecting or even hurting other nations or groups of the same nation. This automatically makes every global issue an “us vs. them” issue. It feeds the mentality that if you are winning, then it means I am losing. Therefore, for me to win, it means you have to lose. It’s called a zero-sum worldview. Situations are perceived as zero-sum games, where one person’s gain would be another’s loss. Nationalism says we cannot both win at the same time.
Democratic globalization is a safeguard against corporate oligopolies, political cults and dictatorships. Now more than any other time, there is a need for a regional and global effort. This is no time for tribalism or partisanship because most of the problems we are facing are not localized problems but global ones. However, Trump does not see it in this way.
Trump’s America Is Rejecting Globalism.
On September 25, 2018, President Trump gave an address to the United Nations in which he said, “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the doctrine of patriotism.” Before this and after, he has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, Trans-Pacific Partnership, UN Human Rights Council, UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. He has questioned NATO and threatened to pull out of the World Trade Organization. Even more recently, he pulled out of the Open Skies Treaty and the World Health Organization. Not only the US but also the UK has exited the European Union.
Most of these agencies were created at the behest of the US under the Liberal International Economic Order and multilateralism was key to following global rules, defending friends and allies, finding common ground with foes, and practicing painstaking consultative diplomacy. There may be a crisis of legitimacy and relevance in which most of these antiquated and sometimes slow-growing, sometimes slow-moving international institutions struggle to tackle key global challenges. But simply disbanding these institutions without an alternative that is already in place and running is to set up the world for a spat of international disasters. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Even though China’s economy has been growing at a high rate of roughly 6 to 7% per year for the past several years, China is actually not in the top 20 list of the fastest-growing economies. The fact is, when you take a look at the top 50 fastest-growing economies, roughly 38% of them come from one single continent, a continent that is quickly becoming the economic battleground of the world — Africa.
However, with business ventures and investment deals in South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America and with a degree of alienation from dominant international society, China potentially has what it takes to challenge collective world politics. China has pumped so much money into Africa. In 2018 China announced that it would put together a 60 billion dollar financing and investment plan solely for Africa over the next decade. Roughly 15% of all African external debt is owned by the Chinese government and two-thirds of all loans given to African nations in the past three years have come from China.
China has also begun shifting a lot of its labor industries to other countries that have cheaper labor and the continent with the cheapest labor in the world right now is Africa. That is why many Chinese manufacturers have shifted their entire base to countries in Africa such as Ethiopia. It is estimated that roughly 12% of Africa’s manufacturing today is being run by Chinese companies
Economic conflict resulting from extreme protectionism is called a trade war. For the past two years, there has been one between the world’s two largest economies and superpowers, China and the US. As a result trade and transactions have been hampered. Because of this and other factors, there are signs that the Chinese economy may be slowing down. Forget the Huawei issue, regardless, to simply write China off just yet would be nothing but naive.
America’s current stance is creating a vacuum. However the foreseeable future is going to look like, it is guaranteed that China is going to be in the picture. Maybe it will not be in the front, but be sure it will be somewhere there in the background. Chances are, it is going to be pulling some strings and influencing world politics. And if things do not change, they may have Trump to thank for all of this.