Courtney Kidd LCSW

Courtney Kidd LCSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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China’s Superpower: Is There A Threat?

There is a line from the presidential debate that I cannot seem to get over. It concerns the fear of China as a world’s superpower.  It has popped up in the past four or so years as a warning, a bogey-man to keep us fearful of our own declining power. The main reason is due to how much debt we, as the United States, owe to the Chinese government.  Even so, I had to ask myself, is this fear rational?  The United States has been in debt to another government for the large majority of its short existence.  Our country was born on the loan from the French, Spanish and Dutch governments and we have owed money to some foreign power up until present day.  So why are we so afraid of China?  The talk seems to circle around the fact that China is groomed to become a world superpower.

In many American’s minds, this means that we are in danger of become a colony of the Emperor.  There are constantly throw away comments made by hateful individuals claiming we “might as well start learning Mandarin.”  Up until recently, I couldn’t figure out my innate dislike for these arguments besides the fact that they are grossly bigoted and have never been backed with any sort of silly thing such as proof.  Then Martin Jacques, a world economist helped shed some light on the thing nagging my side.  China has never been like European powers.  Their history and their present is dictated by a separate set of governing rules. To attach our European /American mindset, which is racked with colonialism and take-over to it, would be incorrect.  Social workers are constantly taught cultural competence as a mandatory part of practice.  We are not employing that here.

The first thing we should do then is to look at the history and cultural dynamic of the Chinese system to look towards what their goals are.  Despite many times in history when China was at the height of the civilized world, they have never taken opportunity to conquer their numerous neighbors, but instead allowed their neighbors to look to them for example.  Yes, China holds our nation’s debt, and will eclipse us shortly as an economic superpower.  But unlike what our history shows, China’s doesn’t support an aggressive military take-over. As Mr. Jacques states, “We should not expect China to behave in the manner of the US. It will be very different. And nor should we assume that it will necessarily be worse.”  The western world is usually more concerned with the immediate; we are an immediate-gratification society who can only understand short-term implications for actions.  China is richly intertwined with their history, and a sense to have their actions remain stable for generations to come.  As the article quotes, Zhou En Lai was asked in 1972 what he made of the French Revolution, Zhou En Lai replied, “It’s too early to know.”


china-social justice solutions Public Domain By English: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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