The China challenge is here to stay, and sentiments alone will not solve the rising problems faced by China.
China is the world’s second largest importer, positioned right behind the world’ largest importer United States. Much of China’s prominent positioning in the economic frontier is credited to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
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Historically, China’s period of reform and opening on the economic front began under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in 1978, and has followed through with the administration of Hua Zheng Tao. It was under the Hua Zheng Tao administration that China began to diverge instead of converge from the market economic model best known as the western model. Predominantly, China lost its step and missed opportunities afforded during the industrial revolution this led China towards economic destitution and backwardness. Currently, China is in the process of catching up and they are doing it quite rapidly.
The catch up would not have been possible without the leadership and support of Xi Jinping, who believed and continues to emphasize that China must exercise great potential in its rise towards becoming the world’s greatest power. It was Xi Jinping, again who influenced China to give up its hide and bide ethos. Nevertheless, the people of China did hide their capabilities, and bide their time. Consequently, China maintained a low profile, and kept its head down. Again, it was Xi Jinping who alluded China towards becoming boastful about their accomplishments, and strategic plans.
The financial crisis also played a pivotal role in China’s progressive, rapid catch up. China witnessed a global system that was collapsing. Furthermore, China viewed United States financial downturn as an opportunity to propel their economic agenda forward. In China’s defense, their intentions were always clear, that is to slash taxes and increase farm subsidies for the 800 million rural residents better known in China as peasants. The prescribed measures were designed to suppress the surge in wealth gap between the rural and urban residents.
Nevertheless, the approach has been widely viewed by the international community as that of being hostile, aggressive, and unapologetic in nature. Arguably, for the most part China has been better behaved, than most other European countries that largely went about colonizing other nations in the historical past. Therefore, U.S. and other allies and partners should credit China by orienting themselves strategically, bearing in mind the good and the bad compositions of China.
Notably, United States and most other allies and partners have been hard hit by China’s positioning as a rising world power. United States must undertake measures to strategically address the China challenge. In doing so, United States must first get its internal house in order.
Firstly, United States must revive its old, tiring infrastructure. Unfortunately, the tiring infrastructures, some of which were built over thirty years ago is not able to keep up with the demands placed on them by the public. This has less to due with the growing demands, and more to do with the capability of not being able to handle the requirements that are placed on these systems by the public. For example, the Flint Water Crisis was a unique issue faced by the resident of Flint, Michigan. Incidentally, the basic structures of the corroding pipes were largely to be the cause of public health crisis. We must avert similar public crisis in the future. Hence, United States should start reviving its failing infrastructures if we are to keep up with the demands of the public and avoid similar pitfalls in the future.
Secondly, United States education and healthcare is lagging the world. According to a recent study by business insider, US now ranks 27th in the world for its levels of healthcare and education. We need to continue maintaining and attracting the most educated and skilled workforce. Arguably, we need to keep up with a China that composes an incredible amount of internal talent, with the overall population of 1.4 billion people. China has the scale and capacity to deliver.
Lastly, U.S. policy makers will need to further streamline the countries overall economic framework to better support risk- taking and long- term research and development (R&D) investment in order to continue developing cutting edge innovation.
The China challenge is here to stay, and sentiments alone will not solve the rising problems faced by China. United States must up its game, unfortunately, there is no evidence at this point to show that United States is doing so.
The Article Written by
Anjiline Sirsikar is the Founder and CEO of North Atlantic Policy Center