How anti-China sentiment will be the hinge that makes America’s decline irreparable
The way civilization has proceeded through history has been cyclical. Empires rise and fall.
America is in decline, and it would take a substantial thickness of skin to refute that. Our social unrest will eventually — and may well have already started to — tear our nation apart. Then, what started out as social and political issues, will become economic ones. We are seeing this with the way our hyperpartisan political dynamics have resulted in ineffective handling the COVID epidemic, resulting in mass unemployment. Our deep-rooted polarization, as well as an inequitable history gone too long unaddressed, is catching up with us. This is the beginning of a turning point American society. We are starting to wake up to the deep-rooted problems rampant in our society.
Yet America is also suffering from a shortsightedness which will come back to bite it very hard in the near future. As much as we are starting to acknowledge and address the shaky foundations upon which our country has been running for decades, we have so far been unwilling to accept the fact that other nations are doing better. We want the best for ourselves, of course. But fighting for it won’t make it so by default.
The idea of a zero sum game for America has been the norm when in comes to geopolitics — the success of any other country automatically means that the stability of our nation is threatened.
But we will soon see that the opposite is true, and that by rejecting the reality, we are putting ourselves in very a difficult position.
That reality is as follows:
China, and neighbor beneficiaries in Asia, are thriving. This is not a disputable fact. It’s in the numbers, clear as day. Arguing that said parties do not deserve to be thriving is a question which has nothing to do with the economic situation at hand, and would be better investigated through a historical lens. The fact is, the East is rising, and it’s being fueled by a newly strengthened China.
Yet America refuses to acknowledge this. Not only do we ignore the success, but we try to invalidate it. We try to convince ourselves it’s not true. We insist on only looking at numbers, facts, and figures which hint at an opposite picture. We speculate upon an invisible, lurking evil, which will so conveniently deliver justice in our favor — the possibility of a sudden and rapid fall of our supposed “enemy” is put forward with enthusiasm, despite being in defiance of all conventional indicators.
But economies are not powered by ill-will.
While we are rooting for China to fail, it will continue to succeed, and we will continue to decline.
If we were smart, we’d be translating our acknowledgement of our nation’s decline into a plan to prevent that decline from being irreparable.
Such a plan would involve diversification — the basic principle of risk management in economics. Diversification in the geopolitical context then, would mean making an investment of confidence into parties which have a trajectory independent of our own. If we go down, we don’t take them with us. More specifically, it would involve putting at least some faith in a nation or set of nations whose success does not rely upon our currently collapsing system. The logical place to put that confidence then, is China.
Americans, however, are refusing to diversify. We are stubbornly putting all of our confidence in America, despite all signs pointing to a major shift in global economic dominance.
We are wholeheartedly taking a bearish position on China despite all logic. We are digging ourselves so deep in this bearish position that, should it be wrong, we will find ourselves unable to dig ourselves back out. Because while in monetary investments, there are only financial assets at stake, in geopolitics, relationships are at stake. And relationships are much more important than finances. The stock market will not get angry at you if you make a poor investment decision. As long as your account still holds any amount of funds, you will be able to continue to trade. The stock market has no feelings. Nations do.
With recent tariffs, and less formal blame for various issues and crises of abstract and complex nature, we are expressing our stubborn defiance toward logic and rationality. Investing our confidence solely in another nation’s failure, despite that confidence being solely based on hope, and nothing but hope.
Putting all our confidence in a failing China will prevent us from having a constructive, collaborative relationship with the nation in the future, when we might need it most.
Our insistence on this irrational view of global affairs will mean that, if our country continues in it’s current trend — i.e. if inflation and unemployment continue at unprecedented rates — that support which could have been there to prop us up will no longer be available to us. We will have given up the chance to leverage global prosperity for our own, personal (national) prosperity.
Such is the way anti-China sentiment will be the hinge upon which America’s decline will become irreparable.