World Community Agog Over China Overtaking US Economy In 2014
Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic.\r\n
He attended Edinburgh University, Fudan University, Tokyo University, and Harvard University, and earned his doctorate degree from The Institute of World Literature at Peking University. He studied under the guiding stars of Ji Xianlin, Gu Zhengkun, and Tu Weiming, whom he considers his spiritual masters.
Dr. Pattberg is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo; and a former Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Peking University. He is the author of four monographs 'The East-West dichotomy,' 'Shengren,' 'Holy Confucius,' and 'Inside Peking University,' and some of his representative articles are 'Language hegemony – It’s shengren, stupid!,' 'Long into the West’s dragon business,' 'China: Lost in Translation,' and 'The end of translation.'
“We, The US And Our Allies…” –Wait A Minute, What Allies?
NEWS just spread through the international media that China may be overtaking the United States on GDP terms by the end of this year, making it the World’s Biggest Economy –much earlier than economists had expected.
IT IS a clever rhetorical device to employ the conniving “We” as in “We, the international community…” when it is supposed to feign global unity, say, against a “pariah” state like Russia, when it really is all about US geopolitical interests and how to maintain its global hegemony. It feels cozy and warm –“We.” Alas, we can't be so sure that the US has any true allies; for all we know they might be looking out for their own interests from now on:
Living With America As #2
For starters, no one loves the American government, letting alone trust it -not even its own people. The US is highly corrupt (e. g. not much better than everyone else), a notorious aggressor (over 176 military operations on foreign lands in 200 years), a bully that threatens, sanctions, tortures, and terrorizes (says Noam Chomsky, the US philosopher and dissident) other states in a way that makes the British in their heydays look like fair and gentle men. The US sports over 700 military bases in more than 80 countries and regions. Deep down, are those nations really happy with this over-the-top form of cultural imperialism, letting alone this physical occupation?
World historians like Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor, or Kishore Mahbubani, the Singaporean diplomat and scholar, would have us to believe that the US Empire is likely to collapse or retreat back to its pre-20th Century’s significance, but not without a clash or two. It is constantly wagering the use of military strike capabilities against whatever steps into its light, since it assumes the world can’t be run without Washington policing it. That said, every conflict in Asia, or between Asia and Europe, may prolong America's quick demise just a little bit longer. Alas, the law that empires must fall pulls this heavyweight down like gravity.
The Obama administration, and its successors, will likely do everything to destabilize or contain China, Russia, Japan, India, or the Middle East, to patronize the European states, or to belittle the lands of South America. Not a week passes without a new threat, a new demand, a new warning to some government that doesn't play by US rules. Needless to say, the grace and easiness of America has gradually disappeared. People don’t respect it anymore unconditionally as they used to.
US analysts will have the unenviable task of searching someone to blame. It must be the Muslim world and its tens of thousands of terrorists. It must be the evil Russians. The Persians (Iran) are to blame –they hate us. Ah, and those torpid Europeans -they can’t put their stuff together. China is manipulating its currency. Japan is re-militarizing even if we told them not to do it. The whole word is conspiring toward America’s downfall.
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Whom to punish first? Sanctions against the Kremlin for stalling NATO expansionists’ dreams over Ukraine? Supporting separation movements in China’s Xinjiang and Xizang (Tibet)? More US troops to Okinawa just to agitate Tokyo? Instigating fear and terror in Pakistan, or across the Straits of Taiwan? Forcing regime change in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Russia, or even Japan? By the way, do the French behave? If not, reward the Germans!
The New World Order, American exceptionalism, God’s favorite nation, the Dictatorship of Western Universalism, Fox News, the American dream, the End of History –all our pomp and agitprop of yesterday –gone!
China as #1
Some commentators will be curious: “How on earth could that happen?” You made the rules, you exploited the system, you controlled the world’s currency and the financial system –you still do. You spied on the human race, you surveilled their leaders and their citizenry, you control space, time, and the internet, and you have all potential troublemakers and dissidents either incarcerated or on our payroll. "What else could you have done to prevent this “global conspiracy” against you?"
The answer is, you could have done everything better and twice over, but it would still be the total end of your supreme reign by mid century. All imperialism, no matter how well meant, must come to an end eventually, and there is no reason why the US should dominate the human race.
“No, wait a minute!” some will say: “We can fix this! It’s all but a misunderstanding. It was all Bush’s fault, that warmonger and his clique. And president Obama was an accident; a socialist, but wait for the next president! We will re-invent ourselves, grow again, we will innovate ourselves out of this defeat…"
To this we reply that world historians make quite good psychotherapists: "It’s all right," they'll tell you. The US isn't going to slide into penury. It will still be #2 for many years. It will still shine, in 50 years, like Britain shines today. It will have a superb story to tell -like the Germans, the Japanese, the Han, the Mongols, the Persians before them. America had its glory days. Look at it like our division of labor. Finally, US culture will become wiser and more mature. You will always be a great country. Be content with what you have achieved.
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Meanwhile, humanity has got to go on. History must repeat itself –the eternal return. The US had a blast at our planet in the 20th Century when everyone else in Eurasia was looking down the gutter. Now, everyone has recovered, and a new champ has arrived who will bring all the new theories. The world spirit is now in Asia. And that’s a good thing.
Image credits: Sam the Eagle, The Muppet Show/Parody