More widely, Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, sought to justify this concept by claiming that "American pre-eminence safeguards rather than impedes global progress."
From a more popular perspective, the logic behind frequent U.S. statements implying that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, and even that the U.S. is the greatest country that has ever existed in history, essentially states that other countries, including China, are inferior. If the U.S. is the "greatest" country, others are by definition less good. In such a framework, the situation is not one of equality and mutual benefit but is seen by the U.S. as a zero-sum game, wherein any establishment of equality with the U.S. means the United States has necessarily lost its position as the leader that others are destined to merely follow.
Not accidentally, such concepts are linked to a different U.S. economic analysis. Despite occasionally rhetorically invoking Adam Smith's name, the U.S. long ago abandoned his economic views on mutually beneficial division of labor (the U.S., of course, never claimed to adhere to Marx, who had the same ideas). Instead, in the "neo-liberal/neo classical" economic analysis which in the U.S. long ago replaced the "classical" economics of Smith and those who followed him, the economy is supposed to consist of isolated competing units.
Smith's great economic insight provided the basis for understanding why the development of the individual and the development of humanity were not antagonistic but complimentary, because only via collaboration in division of labor could a high standard of living and the adequately fulfilment of individual needs be achieved. U.S. neo-liberalism replaced this with the empty and false concept of a competitive war of "all against all."
China's concept is mutual benefit, of "win-win" in economics, culture and civilization. The U.S. concept is competition, zero sum games, and United States supremacy.
Not only is China's concept more correct from a fundamental theoretical point of view, but as the AIIB shows, it is increasingly more effective. Other countries don't want to be followers of "U.S. leadership," creating win-lose outcomes for themselves in order to meet U.S. interests. Neither do they consider themselves inferior to the U.S. They want the win-win outcomes proposed by China, and the mutual respect which its foreign policy concepts involve.
Not only were China's concepts expressed in Xi Jinping's speech to the Boao Forum but they were also the reason why, more immediately, the U.S. suffered what the The Economist magazine has rightly termed the "fiasco" over the issue of the AIIB.
The writer is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/johnross.htm
Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.