China deepens ties with America's heartland

By Caleb T. Maupin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 6, 2017
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When people around the world watch American movies or TV programs, most of the time they see only New York City or Southern California. However, the United States is far bigger than that.

Its population is widely distributed across a territory. States that do not often make global headlines, places like Wisconsin, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, are often unknown to people beyond America's borders.

The values, and the way of life, practiced by people in such areas are not widely associated with the United States in global thinking. It often seems that these areas, despite being part of the richest country in the world, are almost completely forgotten.

However, China has not forgotten them. As it deepens its economic relationship with the United States, it is not focusing on business centers like Wall Street and Silicon Valley. China does not only seek to gain access to the American wallet, but also wants to win over America's soul.

The world was astounded by the results of the 2016 presidential election. How could Donald Trump have been elected? The mainstream American media seemed almost universally opposed to him, with a few notable exceptions. Trump was portrayed as a sexual predator, a lunatic, a foreign agent, and everything negative. Polls predicted a solid victory for Hillary Clinton.

However, Trump won because he spoke to certain perspectives and viewpoints often neglected and ignored. His populist style, speaking in support of the "working class" and bemoaning the hardships of de-industrialization, his disgust for foreign interventionism, his promise to build new infrastructure, all had very large appeal.

Trump knew that winning over America wasn't about winning over New York City or Southern California. It was about winning over the "silent majority" once referred to by the late Richard Nixon.

Chinese leaders, as they build deeper ties to middle America, seem to share this insight into America's unknown cultural dynamics. Xi Jinping's first visit to the United States in 1985 illustrates a grasp of this understanding.

China's current president visited Muscatine, Iowa, as a young man. Because the prowess of American farmers is known throughout the world, the future Chinese president sought to visit a major agricultural region and learn from its success. While staying in Muscatine, Xi did not sleep in a fancy hotel, but in the home of the Dvorchak family, in the bedroom of their son.

Throughout 2017, the U.S. has been plagued by a farm surplus. The price of beef, chicken, eggs, and so many other agricultural products has been dropping. The government has been rapidly purchasing milk and disposing of it, in order to keep the price from dropping further.

However, China and the U.S. are now in the process of expanding agricultural ties. The potential of exporting American agricultural goods to China, especially in light of Brazil's beef scandals, offers hope in the face of the ongoing farm glut.

Furthermore, China's businesses have been investing. Sun Paper Industry, Fuyao Glass, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., and many other business entities that function as part of the Chinese socialist economy, are establishing manufacturing plants across America. This movement may seem small and inconsequential at the moment, yet could have big results down the road.

China's vision of a connected world, in which economic ties lay the basis for peace and sustainable development, is not something with which most Americans have any deep-seated disagreement. This is a vision which can be almost universally embraced by humanity, and the residents of America's heartland are most certainly included.

Many will recall the words of Chinese leader Zhou En-Lai in 1972, when asked about the French Revolution. Instead of giving an analysis of the earthshaking historical event nearly 200 years earlier, he replied: "It is too soon to tell."

The wisdom of viewing history in long terms should not be underestimated.

Caleb Maupin is a journalist and political analyst who resides in New York City focusing on U.S. foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of

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