Are USA & China bringing the wider global village back into the limelight?

Oct 12th, 2021 | By | Category: In Brief
“World News #1” by prize-winning artist Michael Seward, Toronto, Canada, October 2021.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, EAST TORONTO OFFICE. TUESDAY 12 OCTOBER 2021. Maybe it’s just interim domestic political exhaustion in the wake of the September 20 Canadian federal election. But we are coming to share a sense that the politics (and economics and even “culture”) of the world at large are, for a time at least, growing more urgent.

The most immediate issue is reflected in such recent headlines as : “In US-China clash, Taiwan takes center stage” ; “˜’This Drop Came So Quickly’ : Shrinking Schools Add to Hong Kong Exodus … The Chinese territory is experiencing its biggest population drop in decades as residents flee political repression and a new ‘patriotic’ curriculum” ; and “As CIA Warns China ‘˜Most Important’ Threat to US, Is Biden Pursuing a ‘˜New Cold War’?”

Canada, China, and the Two Michaels

Albert Einstein at 5 years old, Munich, Germany,1884.

Recent polling by Nanos Research suggests Canadians in the autumn of 2021 are less receptive to China’s contemporary attractions than they used to be.

Back in February 2019, eg, in response to the question “Should Canada proceed to negotiate a new free trade agreement with China or not?,” 47% of the Nanos sample said “Should Not Negotiate.” But a respectable 43% Canada-wide still said “Should Negotiate.”

As of early October 2021, however, a massive enough 69% are now saying “Should Not Negotiate.” Only 19% say “Should Negotiate.”

Some of this flows from the 1,000-day + Chinese detention of the Two Michaels (Spavor and Kovrig), in veiled retaliation for the Canadian house arrest of Huawei telecom chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. (Ms Wanzhou was waiting for Canadian courts to decide on a US extradition request, regarding charges of financial fraud levied by the US Department of Justice.)

The two Michaels were at last released on September 24, 2021. And they promptly returned to Canada, in the immediate wake of a deferred prosecution agreement between Meng Wanzhou and the US Department of Justice (focussed on financial penalties over the fraud charges).

Not surprisingly, the popular Canadian hostility against China that grew as the Two Michaels wasted away in something much harsher than house arrest, for more than 1,000 days, has still not quite subsided. But here as elsewhere current Chinese unpopularity also seems related to more aggressive behaviour by the government of China in the wider global village.

China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

This may or may not be the “Taobao Queen” first star of China’s biggest online shopping platform, with a masters degree in political science and her own personal jewelry brand Secret Love.

The People’s Republic of China, whatever else, does appear altogether determined to incorporate both Hong Kong and Taiwan into its mainland governing apparatus, within some more or less foreseeable future. And it sees this as just national self-determination.

Our sense as well is that, when push finally comes to shove, neither the United States nor its allies (certainly including Canada) are seriously interested in going to war with China, to preserve the current comparatively recent half-democratic societies in Taiwan (23.5 million people) and/or Hong Kong (7.5 million).

We also think this is a good thing. The era when problems between such leading world powers as the United States and China could be effectively resolved by traditional military warfare (as in World War I and World War II) ended with the invention of nuclear weapons — and their appalling actual use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945.

Our sense is that this realization about the present-day limits of traditional “great power” warfare has also now permeated even the world”™s major military establishments. (As suggested by recent revelations of US General Mark Milley’s two phone calls to his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng, to insure against any “deadly Chinese miscalculation in the closing weeks of the Trump administration.”)

China under President Xi Jinping bears watching

Hong Kong”™s “watch queen” Hu Minshan – “the most beautiful CEO in China.”

At the same time, we too are still reeling, as it were, from the long – and to us essentially arbitrary and unjustified – Chinese detentions of the Two Michaels, and we think China under President Xi Jinping certainly bears watching.

Apart from anything else, the People”™s Republic of China today is still the most populous country on planet earth. And, even more significantly, it now has the second largest national economy in a rising new global village.

Mao Zedong presciently declared that “China has stood up” in 1949. His successor Deng Xiaoping – “paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from December 1978 to November 1989” – “led China through a series of far-reaching market-economy reforms”, and became the “Architect of Modern China.”

The subsequent sudden, rapid economic growth of China over the past three decades has been utterly astounding. And it at least ought to have prompted some major reexamination of 20th century “Western” (and “American”) assumptions about real-world economic development.

China is not the only new big power in the rising global village

Telugu actress Suhani Kalita from South India.

At the same time again, we”™re against any “New Cold War” between the United States (and its allies) and China – and we hope President Biden is NOT contemplating such a thing.

As a first step in keeping watch on China in any near future we”™d urge a perspective that recognizes China is not unique as a rising new global power in the 21st century.

Consider population, eg. According to the US Census Bureau, the Top 10 Most Populous Countries of the World, as of July 1, 2021, are : 1. China, 1.4 billion people ; 2. India, 1.3 billion ; 3. United States, 332 million ; 4. Indonesia, 275 million ; 5. Pakistan, 238 million ; 6. Nigeria, 219 million ; 7. Brazil, 213 million ; 8. Bangladesh, 164 million ; 9. Russia, 142 million ; and 10. Mexico, 130 million.

And then there”™s a rather different list of the Top 10 Largest National Economies, measured by 2020 nominal Gross domestic product (GDP) in “millions of US dollars”– and as reported by the World Bank : 1. United States, 20,936,600 million US dollars ; 2. China, 14,722,731 million ; 3. Japan, 5,064,873 million ; 4. Germany, 3,806,060 million ; 5. United Kingdom, 2,707,744 million ; 6. India, 2,622,984 million ; 7. France, 2,603,004 million ; 8. Italy, 1,886,445 million ; 9. Canada, 1,643,408 million ; 10. Republic of Korea, 1,630,525 million.

Agbani Darego from Nigeria in 2014 – a former Miss World (2001).

As far as the general concept goes, Wikipedia explains that “Global village describes the phenomenon of the entire world becoming more interconnected as the result of the propagation of media technologies throughout the world. The term was coined by Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964) … Literary scholar Sue-Im Lee describes how the term global village has come to designate ‘the dominant term for expressing a global coexistence altered by transnational commerce, migration, and culture”™.”

According to the 2021 edition of the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the noun “global village” means “the world viewed as a community in which distance and isolation have been dramatically reduced by electronic media (such as television and the Internet).”

For starters, we think this broader global village should be borne in mind in all debates and discussions of relations between the United States (and its allies) and the People”™s Republic of China.

It also seems appropriate to end this already too long note by disclaiming any commercial or other association with the Global Village amusement park in the dazzling new global city of Dubai.

And it may be that people of fundamentalist Christian and other faiths among us could help by praying for the peace that passeth all understanding.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave Comment