By Paul Chong Friday 20 November 2009
President Obama would unconsciously be reminded by memories of his boyhood’s Muslim upbringing that the shortest distance between a problem & a solution is the distance between his knees & the floor. That would be kneeling down before Allah to stand up to anything in the world!
At least the Christians would believe in doing their best, and leave God to do the rest. Bur alas I have been reminded that the Americans have been throwing God out of their life’s equation. I believe that Obama, consciously or unconsciously, is living out a life of religious conflict.
He is the first American President (Afro in origin, imported from Kenya) known to bow to foreign dignitaries. First he bowed to the Saudi King & then it was a “wow bow” to Emperor Akihito. In the Los Angeles Times (November 14, 2009) he was reported as “How low will he go?”. He has aroused all sorts of sentiment among the American people.
Has the switch & change in the Democrat foreign policies brought this on? The change has meant less confrontational approach towards Iran & North Korea. This change towards a conciliatory & co-operative diplomacy is certainly apparent in Obama’s recent Asian outreach. He is obviously acting out “the call to action” since receiving his controversial Nobel Peace Prize. What has he achieved, if anything, after the initial nine months of his presidency?
Obama, for all his rhetoric, lacks the mark of a great man’s aura. He looks simply plain. At least, George W Bush exhibited the gait of a six-gun shooter. There’s the creeping question whether his “painting with words” would be matched by his action & commitments. In short, could he fulfil his dream of change? He will yet be judged by history.
However, Obama missed out one great bow – not to “who” but to “Hu”. In his address in Japan he emphasied that America was not out to “contain” China. Yet his many moves & appeals to China betrayed that intention, & it’s left to wonder whether the American generals, the avid practitioners of the full spectrum dominance doctrine were listening.
China is not a new nation nor small in status by any comparison. Foreign countries have had taken advantage of China during its past repose & rest. For a greater part of human history, China has been known to be great & far advanced than any other. China means “Middle Kingdom” – half-way between heaven & earth. It is also the centre of civilization or globalization in the present context. As in the tradition of Chinese kungfu martial arts, new skills are unmatched to the old master’s.
Obama must remember that China does not have to be dominant in order to be prominent. Co-existence, mutual help, & co-operation rather than confrontation are key pointers to peace & harmony. This is the type of foreign policies preached & practised by China since the dawn of history. Such would be the basis for the new world order. For this reason, China has surged ahead in its dealing with Africa & Southeast Asia leaving US way behind.
China & the rest of the Asian countries are no doubt pleased to hear of Obama describing himself as “America’s first Pacific president” & even of his boast of having a half-brother living in China’s glorious booming special economic zone of Shenzhen.
It would be unthinkable for China to accede to US pressure on its currency policy. At a recent Beijing forum, Liu Mingkang, Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, highlighted the fact that the very weak US dollar & low interest US interest rates are creating “unavoidable risks for the recovery of the global economy, especially the emerging economies”. This is “seriously impacting global asset prices & encouraging speculation in stock & property markets”.
The above scenario goes to show that US is more responsible for the problem than the solution. Why would or should the Chinese listen to US hectoring, when US keeps printing its “fiat” money without restraint? Should the Chinese be expected to prop them up?
In his four-day visit to China, Obama did not miss out the hallmark of China – the Great Wall of China. Taking in the sights is one thing, but having a better insight of the greatness of China is yet another! Had he bowed to Hu, Obama would have reaped greater bonuses than all the bows he had executed with the Saudi King & Emperor Akihito.
Hu Jin-tao, the Chinese “sifu” President would gladly have shown Obama what China is doing right, in contrast to US, to resuscitate, rejuvenate to recover from this economic crisis. While US “stimulus” package has largely been channelled to bailing out the greedy & seedy, China’s economic stimulus package has been towards productive economic infrastructure, creation of businesses & jobs. It is undeniably true that greed begets more greed, and seeding it will be breeding it. No end will be in sight . . . sorrowfully for US.
Let’s just roam through some vibrant economic activities in China:
- Pearl River Delta – China’s factory of the world, the hub of manufacturing & endless assembly lines.
- The Yang-Tze Delta – the hub of capital-intensive industry,car production, semiconductors & computers.
- Zhongguancun just outside Beijing – China’s Silicon valley.
- The many immense info-tech malls – bursting with smallbusinesses manned by industrious, well-educated youth, wellmotivated & eager to trade & deal.
It is not as though technology is completely new to China, rather China had never looked at it with the eyes of the Western democratic capitalism. China’s way of economic development may well be the best there is after Deng Xiaoping’s foresight & economic vision. This is totally transparent without any hidden agenda, unlike the British with their scheming, devious & hideous diplomacy & imposing an unforgivable opium war upon the Chinese in the 19th century.
The new world order, as preached & executed by China, is hopefully being heeded by US. As advocated, this will be strategically based on economic independence with due respect to cultural & political differences. The four BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) emerging economies are in accord along this economic road to development. Consolidation of Asia as opposed to fragmentation, that which the West & the Northern rich countries like to create. The former Soviet Union knows full well what it means to be fragmented.
China will not dominate to facilitate deals with other sovereignties. Loans are given without any political strings attached & accessible without any hefty corporate commissions or consultation fees & conditions. China invariably has been engaged in vast, complex infrastructure projects that result in costing not more but less than half the price charged by IMF.
In the kungfu duel, the old master or “sifu” always has more up in his sleeves to overcome his opponent, brilliant & young he may be. Trustingly, some of the Eastern upbringing in Obama’ childhood still remained intact & will serve him well as his “third” eye . . . that he may see the ills & ailments of the US state of affairs.
Ironically & symbolically, Barack Obama found himself in an unusually vulnerable position during his first visit to China . When Obama campaigned for the presidency with an inspiring message of hope and change, no one guessed that this would mean deferring to Beijing on the international stage.