A year or so ago I wrote about the different ways the United States and China were trying to win the hearts and minds of the world’s populace as well as compete fairly in the world’s marketplaces. Many people now seem to be concerned that this competition, along with currency manipulation and human rights concerns has caused such hostility that it will lead the two countries into becoming armed enemies. But, in fact, I have figured out that far from being enemies, we are partners and should be friends.
The U.S. has become a warfare state and China has become a we-fare-well state. One is spending its treasure and people to fight two worldwide wars – the war on drugs and the war on terrorism and taking other military actions to bring peace and calm to countries. The purpose is to make the world safe for democracy and global commerce. China, thanks to the U.S, and by taking a page from American capitalism, is using its money and people to insinuate itself into countries around the world by building hotels and businesses, roads and sports arenas and making loans to the developing Third World countries, especially in Africa and Latin America.
The real problem is not that China refuses to revaluate its currency or treat its people more humanely, but that it does not share the cost of making the world safe for free enterprise. And to add to this, countries seem to appreciate what China is doing more than what the U.S. is doing. If both countries recognized this, they would realize they are partners and could work matters out from there.
Case in point is right here in Costa Rica. The U.S. has sent equipment for the police and to help fight the war on illegal drugs, even anchored a navy carrier in the port of Limon where doctors brought medical help to some poor people who needed it. But Ticos were suspicious and not all that appreciative since they really do not like even a lamb dressed in military trappings and the crackdown on illegal drugs is more according to the dictates of the U.S., not necessarily that of other countries.
Meanwhile, the Ticos love the sports and entertainment stadium built and paid for by the Chinese. I keep mentioning this structure because it is so in my face every day, and I worry about the inadequate parking and the noise when it opens so I don’t appreciate it as much as the Ticos do. One can only wait to see what follows either the wars (if they ever end) or the largesse of the Chinese.
I also find it ironic that Iran (not beloved by the U.S.) has adopted an idea from capitalistic entrepreneurship for which the United States is famous. They opened an ice cream parlor (serving something like 34 flavors) in the Green Zone of Baghdad! Why didn’t some American company figure out that there would be a demand; people tire of war, but never get tired of ice cream.
We know we can’t blame the Chinese for all of our problems. We can’t expect them to dumb down their educational system or stop their investments in other countries, especially those with energy sources. But we can improve our own population of truly educated people and refuel our own creativity.
And we might question the cost of being the world’s only superpower that is first in everything. Throughout history other countries have survived after no longer being first. Let’s not forget that China is about 2,000 years older than the United States. It has had its ups and downs throughout this long history and is facing necessary changes today, much like we faced in the 1950’s and 60’s. Both countries should be wary of making mistakes vis a vis one another. And speaking of mistakes,
I did just that in last week’s column when I gave the wrong location for the Women’s Club Used Book Sale. It is going to be the same date, (tomorrow, Jan. 22) but it will be held at the Pan-American School in San Antonio de Belen, which is 300 meters south of El Rodeo.