IT CANNOT be denied that United States of America was the dominant world power in the 20th century. As one of the victors of World War II, it swaggered its military might in all corners of the world to promote its capitalist ideology, Western democracy and the American cultural brand. It engaged both in overt and covert wars to maintain its leadership role.
But while its military might remain superior to this day, democracy and capitalism, the bedrocks of its existence, have shattered the American Dream big time. Captained by a shrewd businessman in the person of Donald Trump, USS America is drifting in the high sea of uncertainty as its neighbors and allies keep safe distance in their respective ports. Democracy is in tatters: popular vote makes not a president; Congress’ vote to impeach isn’t enough to oust a president; good policies of the previous administration are dismantled; and public opinion are poles apart and can’t find a common ground. Capitalism has gone bonkers. Greed has taken over ethics. Big government is partial to the rich. Consumers are swamped by marketing come-ons for non-necessities. Banks and finance companies strangle borrowers. And yes, the USA has lost its ability to compete in manufacturing.
Two decades into the 21st century, China has become the second largest economy in the world and the largest in the world by purchasing power parity. It has yet to match the military might of the US, but it has started throwing its weight around among its neighboring nations. In its Jan. 2, 2020 issue, The Economist, in the article, “Don’t be fooled by the trade deal between America and China,” said that the planet’s biggest break-up is under way. No longer will the US be leading the world in many aspects, and countries may have to decide which of the two they will side with.
As President Trump continues to unfriend most of the allies of the US, China has warmed relations with Russia, island nations in the Pacific, countries in Africa and South America and the European Union. Monetary diplomacy has worked magic for China. China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China are now the world’s biggest development lenders, eclipsing the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The coronavirus outbreak may be a setback for now, but China will weather the storm.
No great empire lasts forever, and the USA will not be an exception. If it fails to learn from its mistakes and continues to sit on its throne as the superpower without care for other nations, then the Great Divide will come into being.