How to make America great again?

By Jia Wenshan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, January 19, 2017
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The turn of 2016 and 2017 has witnessed a tectonic change of the world order. The United States of America, known as the shaper and leader of the existing liberal world order, has switched to nationalism/Americanism from globalism; whereas China, a country known as a defender of nationalism while having been joining the world trade order since 2002, has decisively embraced and championed for new globalism. Donald Trump, a flamboyant business man in New York City, USA, won the populist ticket and will become the master of the White House on January 21, 2017. His stated mission is America First and "Make America Great Again".

As the host of the G20 Hangzhou Forum in early September 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping has not only proposed a vision to propel new globalization and global governance by harnessing the power of innovations, but also proposed a series of time-tested solutions to both globalization and global governance based on the Chinese experience drawn out of Chinese history, revolutions and modernization.

In contrast to Trump, Xi's mission is to make the world better by making China great again or vise versa. Xi's vision to create a community of a common human destiny (renlei gongtongti) is getting more and more global support while Trump's vision of "America First" is sending shocking waves across the world, sinking the global village into a high degree of disappointment and uncertainty.

Luckily, "The Belt and Road Initiative" for new globalization presented by the Chinese Government to the world, for example, a major means to create such a community beyond the global village, has been endorsed by both the United Nations, and APEC, and is endorsed by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where Chinese President Xi Jinping further expounds his vision for new globalization and global governance.

While the sentiment of the populist movement in the US both supported and led by Donald Trump is understandable, the proposals of the incoming Trump Administration of the US Government to help the losers of the US-led globalization in the US during the past three decades appear to be ill informed, ill thought out and short-sighted.

The Trump proposals such as restoring the US as a major base for manufacturing, increasing trade tariffs by 43% for goods to the US market from China, and increasing the US Pacific Fleet of 272 warships to 350, and so on are not only outdated, but also would be self-damaging if implemented. While the first two is isolationist in nature and against the laws of capitalism, the third one is both militaristic and unrealistic. Instead of making America great again, they would make America lose again.

In contrast, as noted American architect of soft power and smart power Joseph Nye stated: "Globalization is the growth of global network of interdependence." Nye's definition of globalization resonates with Chinese President Xi Jinping's concept and theory of a world dream to create a community of a common human destiny consisting of both common interests and common security resting upon jointly carrying out a common responsibility for sustainable co-prosperity, peace, and harmony on the globe.

In addition to the new theory of globalization by Xi, Xi has also been proposing a practical instrument to achieve such visions and goals which is called "the Belt and Road Initiative". This initiative, inviting all nations, especially the United States, is to encourage all parties to participate in creating world-wide connectivity in politics, infrastructure, currency, trade, and culture-spirituality-faith. Such a five-dimensional global connectivity, if realized, would bring a new era of civilization for humanity. Instead of walling herself up against the outside world, particularly Mexico and China, and elevating her naval buildup in the Asia-Pacific, it would be wise for the USA under the leadership of the Trump Administration to actively participate in the most economically lucrative Belt and Road Initiative and have a fair share of the pie.

To fully participate in this global initiative would not only put America first, but also a short cut to the goal of making America great again. These are both central promises President-Elect Donald Trump promised to his electorates while he was running for President of the United States. While the reconstruction of the American infrastructure would create lots of jobs and wealth for Americans, to invest and participate in the USD 8-10 trillion infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region alone would help Americans reap a sizeable amount of wealth besides landing on more jobs.

Trump is wise in saying that America is not great anymore, but he is wiser in stating that America can be great again. However, the proposed measures to make America great again, are unfortunately not great! Trump would be wisest in actively participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and accepting Xi Jinping's proposal to partner with China across the Asia Pacific Region and beyond. This, perhaps, would be the most intelligent strategy.

America cannot be made great by America alone. It can only be made great again when it joins China in China's effort to make China great again and the world great again simultaneously. In fact, Trump's smartness is already shining through by accepting Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma's proposal to set up E-commerce platforms in the US, particularly in the Midwest, and create 1,000,000 jobs for Americans.

The American elites, including Trump himself, members of the Trump family clan, and most of Trump's cabinet members and advisors, have been beneficiaries of the US-led globalization during the past decades and indeed globalization itself.

To blame China for the American job losses and the American economic woes is not only bad judgment, but also bad policy. It is self-evident that the lack of rigorous regulation for fair and equal distribution of wealth and opportunities in the American society and beyond in the US-led globalization and America's self-centered global governance during the past several decades are to blame, not globalization itself.

Fortunately, built upon a creative synthesis of Marxism, Chinese all-under-heaven globalism, and the Western neo-liberalism, Xi Jinping's visions and measures for both globalization and global governance, characterized by innovations and entrepreneurship, fairness and equality, peace and justice, is ushering in a new era of the global world both more Eastern and Western as well both beyond the East and the West. It is time that the US woke up and caught up! Welcome to a new era and welcome to a new world.

Jia Wenshan, Ph.D., Professor of Communication, Chapman University and Research Associate, National Academy of Development & Strategy, Renmin University of China


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