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Privileged, Passing, or Persecuted? The Curious Concept of Race in America

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On a small and desolate western Virginia road, an unsuspecting driver will come upon a lonely and extremely aged bronze plaque. Commemorating a long forgotten and fairly unremarkable soldier who served in the Revolutionary War, fighting at Valley Forge under his commanding officer, General George Washington, the plaque is actually a tribute to the soldier’s effort to qualify for and receive his military pension long after the Revolution was fought and won. He walked on foot from these mountainous hinterlands of what was the far edge of Virginia (West Virginia had not yet become a state within the US) all the way to the capitol of DC, determined to not lose out on the pension he had justly earned. That soldier often got second looks in the American society of the day, largely because of a significantly darker skin than the mountain people of Virginia, though the rest of his facial features seemed decidedly European. For his part, he assuaged the suspicious looks and curious glances by explaining he was European Spanish, though in reality he was a member of a group that at the time was derogatorily and mysteriously referred to in the area as the “Black Dutch,” referencing a racial mixing of parents that involved Netherland traders deeply embedded with the West African slave trade partaking a bit too intimately with the human cargo. It must be said ‘mysteriously’ to describe the group not because of any odd behavior on its part but because of the ignorance of historians at the time who simply did not care or bother to investigate the tortured roots that produced this curious little by-product along the middle Eastern seaboard of America in the 18th and early 19th centuries. As such, little is still known about this fascinating community.

That soldier was called Gustavus “Dolphin” Crosston and he was my great great great great great grandfather directly by blood. I, of course, never knew of his existence or my own connection to this “Black Dutch” community (nor had I ever heard of that group despite having studied race and racial history throughout my life in America) until I found a need in my 30s to undergo genetic testing. Up until that spit tube, if someone had asked me my genetic background, all I could tell them was that my mother was traditionally ‘mongrelized’ across numerous Northern European mixtures as so many New England Protestants tended to be (mixing English, Irish, and Scottish on my mother’s maternal side with a dominant German streak on her paternal side), while my father, cryptically, would only say he was “100% Italian,” thus explaining why he always got so tan in the summer months and maintained a darker complexion than most even during the winter season. As I would come to learn from the genetic testing, I in fact had almost no Italian blood in me at all and, while admittedly not a mathematician, I was fairly certain that meant my father had lied to me my entire life about our family background on his side. The testing also told me I had a very curious background in my blood, one never mentioned and laid claim to by anyone in my family: a prominent 25% of Scandinavian blood mixed ever so slightly with a 1% ranking of genetic markers from Senegal, West Africa.

Obviously, this fascinated me not only because this odd mixture of Dutch and Senegalese, European and African, could be so easily traced to a sordid period of world history involving the American slave trade, but also because the testing put me in touch with living members of my ‘genetic family’ (99% certainty in fact) who were clearly African-American, with a Senegalese heritage, and from the state of Ohio, where my father’s family and many others had moved at the turn of the 20th century from what is now West Virginia, when the coal mines started to die out and the promise of new jobs and opportunity were being offered in the rubber tire manufacturing plants associated with the emerging automobile industry. Subsequent digging revealed the above portrait of Gustavus “Dolphin,” which nearly gave me a cardiac “eureka” moment when first putting eyes upon it: he was an eerie dead-ringer for my father as I remembered him in my youth.

While I am thrilled to have unearthed family I never knew about and rejoice in the new knowledge of a background and history I had been denied, I am still left with questions and queries about myself and my society that are incredibly difficult to answer as America seems to, once again, be going through yet another wave of racial violence and confusion. The chief query is quite simple: so, who am I really? In the vernacular of so much racial history and strife, am I privileged, passing, or persecuted? The only real answer seems to be, frustratingly, ‘it depends.’ And that, alas, doesn’t depend on me or what I want or how I identify personally. Rather, it depends on which America and when America is being discussed?

  • 200 years ago, I would have certainly been oppressed, as the one-drop rule was in full bloom and violently dominant. My supposedly miniscule 1% of Senegalese blood would have been seen as just as black as 100% and I would have been treated just as any slave toiling torturously on the plantations of the Deep South. 200 years ago, how I looked would not have mattered as much as what my racial connection was perceived to be, no matter how small or minimal, so obsessed were Americans at the time in determining the so-called ‘purity of race.’200 years ago, I would have been only black and persecuted.
  • 100 years ago, I would have been “passing,” as it is clear from my family tree tracings that nearly every generation since my 5x great grandfather married into purely European (re: white) families, thus diluting not only the prominence of my West African lineage but physically lightening the palette of our family ancestor skin tones.100 years ago, I would have been in an American society still just as tortured and torn by its racial history as a century before, even if America was now a full two generations removed from the Civil War. This was an America splitting itself at the seams with the hypocrisy of Jim Crow legislation, de facto reinstating a pre-Civil War ethos across most of the South and more subtly embedding racist mentality in too many throughout the North. In all honesty, I might not have been able to resist the temptation in my ancestors’ place: white America might have been eager to embrace me just by me keeping hidden the family history that traced back to Africa. By then, America would have seen nothing but a white person looking at me, despite my actual ancestors. Given how America was then, can I resolutely declare I would have been true to my family history or would I have simply chosen the easier and more advantageous route? 100 years ago, I would have been neither black nor white and passing.
  • Today, I would be and am simply privileged. Today, my genetic legacy is basically ignored or is a cute and fascinating party trick to trot out at gatherings to surprise people with my “exoticness.” My family history is my own business and only something to share if I so choose and not something that can be leveraged against me in the professional sphere. Perhaps most interestingly, I am often told I am not “allowed” to claim my Senegalese ancestors today. But this is not pushed on me from racists, but rather from white liberals who claim to be fighting the anti-racist fight. In this America, with the sordid and odd stories from the Rachel Dolezals and others who attempt to pass as African-Americans by altering their physical appearance, or the countless multitudes that adopt the dress, style, music, and artistry of African-American culture without necessarily educating themselves to the continued trouble of American racism, it seems like we now have an unspoken reverse 1% rule: where a certain predominant percentage of African blood must be present and proven in order to lay claim to the racial mantel. Ironically, America has evolved to a point where there is an ambiguous but nonetheless high bar one must get over in order to be black. Thus, today, I am only white and privileged.

What a fascinating, but still tortured and twisted, evolution of concept across time and space. Race is often called the “special institution” of the United States. This is not because only America has racists or it alone has experienced systemic discrimination, but because it sometimes seems like only America goes through these violently intermittent convulsions about race, whether it is Jim Crow or the Civil Rights Movement or bussing or Rodney King or Black Lives Matter or I Can’t Breathe or whatever comes next (and truly, none of us think there won’t be a next; in America, when it comes to race, there is always a next and it is almost always negative). And while I never aspired to be a symbol of these tortured convulsions, it does seem like wrapped up in my personal history is a perfect microcosm of how America and its people try to deal with and evolve with the concepts of race, identity, and equality. My family, right or wrong, good or bad, has changed and morphed throughout history, even forgetting an entire part of itself, because of America’s problem with race. I was deprived a real and significant side of my personal history because of that legacy (with ease good old Dolphin is the most historically relevant ancestor I have found in my extensive family tree) and now, because America’s modernity is as inconsistent about race as its legacy is tortured, I literally have no idea whether I will be allowed to lay claim to my family, my ancestors, my history, my identity in full. As such, for now, I am not whole. And as long as that remains true, America – a multiracial society only getting more multi-everythinged – will also remain divided. It will never be whole, always identified by its constituent parts but never truly their sum. It will never be a society in full. Perhaps most of all, that is the damnable shame of this country’s special institution, its curious concept.

*Dr. Matthew Crosston is the first-ever Director of Academic Transformation at Bowie State University, the 4th-oldest HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in America, founded just after the Civil War. He is widely published and sought after on issues of war, intelligence studies, national security, education innovation, and change leadership. His work can be found at https://brown.academia.edu/DrMatthewCrosston.

Dr. Matthew Crosston is Executive Vice Chairman of ModernDiplomacy.eu and chief analytical strategist of I3, a strategic intelligence consulting company. All inquiries regarding speaking engagements and consulting needs can be referred to his website: https://profmatthewcrosston.academia.edu/

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U.S. And Its Allies Try to Split The World in Two

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America’s response to the increasing economic success of China and other nations that until recent decades were impoverished former colonies is to organize its own allies — especially the English-speaking countries — to become a totally separate global economic trading and military alliance standing against that “third world” — and thereby force all non-aligned nations to have to either choose to be allied with the United States or else become conquered by the U.S. and its allies. It’s “Us,” or “Them,” all the way. The top “enemies” (the “Them”) are the same countries that America and its allies were against during the anti-communist Cold War, Russia and China, even though Russia is no longer communist, and China has become a mixture between communism and capitalism. 

America has on its side Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, UAE, and all four of the fascist nations during World War II: Germany, Japan, Italy, and Spain — as well as many other nations.

Russia and China were both allies of the United States during the war against Hitler and his allies, but Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to fight against considerable American support for the fascist powers (overwhelmingly coming from Republicans) during the years before Japan’s Pearl Harbor attack on 7 December 1941. (In fact, on 23 November 1937, Hitler’s agents Kurt von Tippleskirch and Manfred von Killinger, two Barons, were secretly negotiating with top Republicans — including the racist Irénée du Pont — what would have been the Duponts’ second coup-attempt against FDR, but neither attempt succeeded.) As soon as Harry S. Truman (whom the Democratic Party’s billionaires chose to be FDR’s VP in 1944) became President on FDR’s death on 12 April 1945, the alliance with the Soviet Union ended, and the Cold War gelled in Truman’s mind on 25 July 1945 because of advice from General Dwight Eisenhower, whom Truman practically worshipped. On 19 June 1945, Truman wrote to his wife, Bess, “He’s done a whale of a job. They are running him for President, which is O.K. with me. I’d turn it over to him now if I could.” And, on 25 July 1945, Ike told Truman that either the Soviet Union would conquer the world or else America would — and this apparently convinced Truman to go for global empire and to conquer the Soviet Union.

America’s increasingly used method for conquest is the method that was first done against Iraq starting in 1991: international sanctions, followed by coup-attempts that, if unsuccessful, are then followed by an outright military invasion — with or without U.N. approval. More recently, this stepwise method (sanctions, failed coup, then invasion) is being used against Syria, but America no longer applies its own troops for its invasions, and instead uses hired proxy-forces (mercenaries), such as, in Syria, jihadists who are hired from around the world and paid for by the Sauds, and also uses separatist Kurds who are hired who have long wanted to break away from Iraq, Syria, and Turkey in order to establish their own Kurdistan nation, and who are controlled more directly from Washington (since the Sauds don’t control Kurdish forces). America’s troops in Syria train and arm (usually with money being supplied by the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar) the jihadists (who are Al Qaeda-affiliated) and the Kurds.

Right now, America is using its post-WW-II position of being the world’s hegemon or globally dominant nation, so as to, basically, compel every other nation either to join them (as a banana republic or vassal nation) or else to become their enemy by destroying them, as Washington and its allies have done to Syrians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Ukrainians, Venezuelans, Bolivians, Ecuadorans, and, before that, Hondurans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Argentinians, Chileans, Iranians, and many others in what Washington calls “The Free World.” Ideology is no longer the excuse. Now the excuses are “democracy,” “human rights,” “fighting against corruption,” and, of course “national defense” (which likewise was Hitler’s main excuse).

In other words: America is trying to do everything it can to avoid becoming downgraded to become the world’s #2 nation, in terms of power. America’s billionaires are behind this; America’s Government is controlled by them.

The best single statement of America’s position is the speech that Barack Obama gave to the graduating cadets at West Point Military Academy on 28 May 2014, saying:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. … It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.

America “responds” to the rising power of nations that formerly had been colonies, by means of offering them this choice: Join with us, or else be destroyed.

As the U.S. Establishment presents and promotes this, it is ‘justified’ because only America is “indispensable”: all other nations are “dispensable.” (Hitler, too, felt that way about all other nations — and most Germans endorsed that supremacism then, just like most Americans support it today.) FDR had planned a non-fascist future for the world, but then he died and (because of whom FDR’s successor was) we got a fascist future, instead, and that’s what we have. Mussolini called fascism “corporationism.” And America is more and more corporationist every decade that passes.

Under the bigoted Hindu-nationalist Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is now clearly part of the U.S.-UK-led alliance. On 4 March 2021, Munira Lokhandwala headlined “Google Invests Billions in India as Modi and Allies Stage Corporate Takeover of Agriculture” and reported that

In particular, Google’s multi-billion dollar investment in the telecommunications company owned by oil and gas billionaire Mukesh Ambani shows how US Big Tech will stop at nothing to make a bigger profit, even if this includes legitimizing a key supporter of the authoritarian-leaning government that is now a target of mass revolt. Ambani is India’s richest man and a strong corporate ally to BJP leadership, perceived by many as a major beneficiary of the hated agricultural reforms.

In September 2020, the Indian Parliament approved the Indian Agriculture Acts of 2020, also known as the “Farm Bills.” In response, Indian farmers who opposed these bills launched one of the largest protests and series of cross-sectoral strikes that the world has ever seen. 

It’s estimated that over 250 million people have participated in protests against the passage of these bills that Indian farmers see as another phase in the continued attack on their livelihoods and an attempt to deregulate the farming industry to allow for greater private-sector control of food distribution. These changes would favor large corporations like Ambani’s Reliance Industries, who would thrive under the free market conditions that these Farm Bills would create.

India, in the Rhodesist plan, would be a major counter-weight to China.

Japan is another. On 23 April 2021, Craig Mark bannered “From Five Eyes To Six? Japan’s Push To Join The West’s Intelligence Alliance”, and he reported that

As tensions with China continue to grow, Japan is making moves to join the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance. This week, Japan’s ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, told The Sydney Morning Herald he was “optimistic” about his country coming on board. “[I] would like to see this idea become reality in the near future.”

This comes as New Zealand voices its concerns over using the Five Eyes process to pressure China.

What is this spy alliance? And what are the benefits and risks to bringing Japan on board?

What is the Five Eyes?

Beginning as an intelligence exchange agreement between the United States and United Kingdom in 1943, it formally became the UKUSA Agreement in 1946. The agreement then extended to Canada in 1948, and Australia and New Zealand in 1956.

UK has gotten Japan’s Ambassador to Australia to assist Australia to pressure progressive New Zealand to remain in the Rhodesist alliance and thereby help to bring Japan into the Rhodesist core as being the first-ever non-English-speaking country to be admitted into the Rhodes-core (and thereby turn the “Five Eyes” into six). That would achieve what David Rockefeller and his sidekick Zbig Brzezinski (who was a member of Poland’s nobility) had been attempting to do by means of their Trilateral Commission, which was intended to expand beyond the Bilderberg group of NATO countries so as to include also Japan.

On 30 April 2021, the geostrategic analyst Alexander Mercouris headlined a video “Blinken Goes To Ukraine With A Tough Message For Zelensky” and explained that because Putin recently established “red lines” that would provoke a direct military conflict between Russia and the United States if violated by the U.S., Biden has refocused America’s top target to be conquered as being no longer Russia but instead now China. Mercouris says that Ukraine’s U.S.-stooge President Volodmyr Zelensky will probably now be forced to stop threatening to invade the breakaway formerly Ukrainian Donbas region.

However, whereas the U.S. aristocracy’s main medium-term objective is to retain control over Ukraine so as to become enabled to blitz-launch missiles from there to eliminate Moscow’s ability to retaliate against America’s first-strike hit (the U.S. alliance’s updated version of the Nazis’ Operation Barbarossa), the UK’s main medium-term objective is for the U.S.-UK-Saud-Qatar alliance to arm and train jihadists and separatist Kurds to conquer Syria so that the Sauds will control that country. The long-term objective, both of America’s and UK’s aristocrats, is their shared dictatorship over all nations.

On 30 April 2021, the international investigative journalist Finian Cunningham interviewed at Strategic Culture the former UK Ambassador to Syria, the astoundingly courageous Peter Ford, and headlined “Syria Regime Change Still on Western Agenda – Ex-Ambassador Peter Ford”. This whistleblowing former UK Ambassador opened his comments by saying:

The Western powers are like dogs with an old bone on the subject of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. There is no meat on it but they continue to gnaw away. Why? Because the trope that “Assad gasses his own people” has become a cornerstone of the whole Western propaganda narrative on Syria. Without it, justifying the cruel economic war on Syria, largely through sanctions, would be harder to justify. And with military efforts at regime change having failed, economic warfare is now the last hope for the Western powers of destabilizing Syria enough to topple the government. For this strategy to work the Western powers are more than ready to undermine the credibility of the OPCW by abusing their ability to manipulate it in the Syrian context.

The interview closed with:

Question: Finally, Syria is holding presidential elections on May 26 in which incumbent Bashar al-Assad is running for re-election. The Western powers disparage Syria as an “undemocratic regime”. How do you view Syria’s polity? Is Assad likely to win re-election?

Peter Ford: Of course Assad will win and of course the Western powers will try to disparage his victory. But I can state with certainty that if you could offer the Conservative party in Britain a guarantee of achieving in the next general election anything anywhere near Assad’s genuine level of support, albeit some of it reluctant from a war-weary people, the Tories would bite your hand off for such an electoral gain. Much of the current Western propaganda effort against Syria is geared at trying to spoil Assad’s victory and deny it legitimacy. But inside Syria itself, the people will see the election as setting the seal on 10 years of struggle, and Assad will emerge strengthened as he faces the next phase in the Western war on Syria.

Furthermore, just the same as the U.S. and their allies were funding, training, and arming jihadists (technically called “Salafist Muslims”) in order to bring about regime-change in Syria, they’re doing the very same thing in order to bring about regime-change in China — in that instance by propagandizing ‘human rights’ for Uyghur Chinese who have been indoctrinated with the Sauds’ extremist-Sunni variant of the Islamic faith (Salafism). (Many of those Salafists, because of their Turkic culture, have recently become more favorable to Turkey than to Saudi Arabia, and therefore on 18 July 2019, Reuters headlined “Saudi Arabia defends letter backing China’s Xinjiang policy”, and reported that the Sauds “defended signing a letter along with 36 other countries in support of China’s policies in its western region of Xinjiang, where the United Nations says at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained.” The U.S. and UK were now backing pro-Turkish jihadists, instead of pro-Saudi ones. Turkey is a NATO nation; and, so, the Rhodesists don’t care which brand of jihad they are backing in order to break up, or bring regime-change to, China.)

So, even if the U.S. regime might be placing Ukraine onto the back burner, the UK regime, apparently, is unwilling to place the conquest of Syria onto its back burner. And, for both American billionaires and UK billionaires, China is unrelentingly in the gunsights of both aristocracies, to conquer. In fact, on 10 April 2021, Strategic Culture issued an editorial, “Ukraine, Taiwan… Two-Prong U.S. Aggression Toward Russia, China”, which noted: 

Biden is advancing the same policy under the previous Trump and Obama administrations of military buildup near China’s territory. This week saw the fourth U.S. guided-missile destroyer passing through the Taiwan Strait since Biden took office. That narrow sea separates the breakaway island from China’s mainland. Beijing has sovereign territorial claim to Taiwan which is recognized by the vast majority of nations, including up until recently the United States under its so-called “One China” policy. Biden, like his predecessor Donald Trump, is deliberately eroding the One China policy by sending delegates to the island on official visits, increasing weapons sales and most provocatively making public declarations that the U.S. will “defend” Taiwan in the event of “an invasion” by Chinese forces.

Similar to the Ukraine, the Biden administration’s rhetoric and conduct is serving to fuel an ever-more provocative stance by the Taiwanese leaders. This week, a senior official warned that the island’s forces would shoot down Chinese aircraft that approach the territory. This is nothing but a flagrant challenge to China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. As in the case of the Ukraine and Russia, it is Washington’s words and actions that are inflaming the tensions between Taiwan and China. Yet the Americans accuse others of “aggression” and claim to be providing “defense”.

The only entity that could possibly stop all this would be the U.S.-created European Union. Either they will turn against their creator, and join with Russia and China against U.S. and UK (which would put an end to the Rhodesist team’s insanity), or there will be World War III (though probably not in the near-term future), in which the U.S. regime will blitz-nuclear attack Russia, though that would destroy the planet.

If the EU does break away from the U.S., then it will also be able to relocate the U.N. out of NYC to Europe and reform the U.N. in what had been its inventor’s, FDR’s, intention, that the U.N. become the democratic global federation of nations controlling all nuclear and other geostrategic weapons and forces, and that serves as the sole and authoritative executive, legislative, and judicial, authority for all international-relations issues throughout the world, the democratic federal world government. That’s what Truman and Churchill prevented, and what would produce a world that will have no future world wars, no future wars between empires, because there would no longer be any empires, nor any imperialism.

Either there will be FDR’s intention, or there will be nuclear annihilation. The EU will decide. For the EU to impose FDR’s intention would be for the EU to turn against its creator, which was Truman and all subsequent U.S. Presidents (and their Congresses, which likewise have been controlled by America’s billionaires). However, a likelier alternative would be for some nations to do as UK did and break away from the EU, but for them to do it as UK did not, to realign themselves with Russia, China, and Iran, and away from the U.S. That, too, might prevent WW III and enable the U.N. to be reformed as FDR had been intending it to be: as the global democratic federal republic and sole source and judge and enforcer of international laws — the post-imperialist world, which FDR had planned for. If FDR’s plan doesn’t happen, then WW III will happen, and this was the reason why he had been planning the U.N. as he did. But as soon as he died, on 12 April 1945, the billionaires’ agents worked on Truman, who finally, on 25 July 1945 (based on General Eisenhower’s advice), decided to go for America’s global conquest; and, so, the ceaseless string of subversions, coups, and invasions, by the U.S. (the permanent-warfare state), started. The first coup was 1948 in Thailand, in order to install rulers who would let the OSS-CIA skim from the international narcotics traffic so as to supply the needed off-the-books funding for the CIA’s Special Operations

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

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Weakness or calculation? How the pandemic undermined the US world leadership

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Anyone watching the numerous doomsday movies, happily churned out by Hollywood, will see American doctors saving the planet from space-borne viruses and the plague epidemic that turn people into zombies. However, the very first serious test in a decade has shown that the US healthcare system is actually inferior even to the Russian one, created during the Cold War years. And this despite the fact, that for the past 30 years, the Russian medical system has been suffering from “optimizations,” cuts and underfunding. Moreover, while the Kremlin, even for propaganda reasons, has managed to provide real assistance to a number of European countries, and has been the first to launch a vaccine on the market, Washington’s actions can be regarded as a sign of weakness, and a very dangerous one to its allies at that.

More than a year after the start of the global lockdown, we can already sum up the initial results, which look disappointing to Washington. The US healthcare system has collapsed under the pressure, thus laying bare the country’s inability to bring the outbreak of a less-than-deadly disease under control. As for Russia, despite its lack of America’s vast resources, it still managed to win the vaccine race and become the first to come up with a viable antidote.

More importantly, Moscow has also come out on top in the information “war” with the West, with its Sputnik V vaccine proving to have far fewer side effects than its Pfizer and Moderna counterparts. Therefore, the US and British lobbying of their own vaccines, and their attempts to close the European market for the Russian vaccine look unethical, to say the least, all the more so amid numerous European media reports about people having  died from side effects after being inoculated with Western vaccines. At the same time, there are simply no reports about similar complications caused by the Russian vaccine, even though the European Commission and Brussels have been keeping a close eye on the effects of its use in European countries, including Serbia and Hungary, which have already taken the first deliveries of the Sputnik V vaccine.

What is the reason for the US demonstrating its weakness? How come that in the midst of the epidemic Washington was unable to find the resources to demonstrate its readiness to lend a helping hand to its European allies? Unfortunately, one of the reasons was that the Americans simply freaked out. The truth is, the US healthcare system is rather decentralized and unorganized. People with good health insurance have little to worry about. However, in a situation of a pandemic, the US medical facilities are pretty hard to manage, so one has to do it manually. Compounded by the general atmosphere of panic and the fact that the poorest strata of society, who have no health insurance and constitute the main risk zone (obesity due to malnutrition, advanced chronic diseases and other COVID-inducing conditions), the system simply collapsed. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Trump administration tried to keep maximum resources at home. Moreover, the businessman-turned-president, who had openly spoken about “exporting security,” never missed a chance to make it clear to his allies that US assistance is never free. As a result, he was replaced by Biden, a Democrat who advocates maximum support for all democratic forces. However, Democrats usually provide moral or military support, but they have proved equally unprepared to line up any serious assistance to the countries hit the hardest by the pandemic.

Moreover, it was actually at the suggestion of the United States and the UK that the COVAX system, a global initiative aimed at providing equitable (but not free) access to COVID-19 vaccines for countries in need, stalled. It turned out (who might have guessed?) that both the US-developed Moderna and the British AstraZeneca vaccines are primarily needed by their own electorates, and only then by countries that need them, but are unable to produce their own vaccine. Meanwhile, India with a population of over 1 billion, managed to fulfill its obligations, and Russia is ready to launch the production of vaccines in Europe. However, bending under Washington’s pressure, the European Union has banned the import of Russian, Indian and Chinese vaccines, without bothering to explain the reasons for this ban.

A country, claiming world domination cannot lead in everything, of course.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the healthcare systems of many European countries, like Sweden and Switzerland, are way better that what they now have in the United States. That being said, the world leader still bears full responsibility for its allies and cannot leave them to their own devices, not only in the event of a military conflict, but also in the midst of a pandemic. However, this is exactly what it did…

From our partner International Affairs

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The legacy of 2020, and 2021 in the prospects of the United States and China

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usa-china
image source: cnn.com

2020 was a crucial year because of Covid-19, which disrupted the evolution of the world order in the direction of differentiation and transformation. This is the most severe crisis the human world has faced since the Second World War.

As of 10 May 2021, According to the Hopkins University Global New Crown Epidemic Statistics Report, as of May 10, 2021 there have been 158,993,826 confirmed cases worldwide and 3,305,018 deaths.

The pandemic is like a fatal global social test. On the basis of a world order that has already undergoing a crisis, it has not only caused a pause and thus a deceleration of economic development, but it has also stepped up social division and the transfer of power from the political to the technical sphere.

Although the most experienced analysts and leading research institutions have published various reports, currently none of them can accurately predict in detail the huge impact of the pandemic on the history of the 21st century.

The pandemic, however, will bring about major changes in four areas.

Firstly, it will accelerate the general trend of global economic recession and differentiation. This is due to the currency over-issue policies adopted by several countries and to intensified domestic social polarisation. Since 2018 the global economic and financial crisis has not yet been solved. On the contrary, the crisis has only been concealed by the short-term response of monetary policy.

Secondly, the pandemic will speed up internal changes and the reorganisation of the international political and economic order precisely due to internal social differentiation. Owing to the turbulent influence of domestic and international policies, economic and political risks in fragile regions of the world will intensify or have knock-on effects.

Thirdly, the pandemic will strengthen the digital society and competition between countries in building new technologies will become more intense. The most significant impact of digital society is the silent arrival of a transparent society that exists but has no human contacts.

Fourthly, the pandemic promotes the rise of vaccine nationalism and accelerates the revival of the community value of East Asian countries, which has epochal significance from the perspective of the history of world civilisation.

The most influential political and economic event in 2020 was the US elections and the related change of Administration. The US elections represented the sharpest but also the most frustrating change in US history. Although Donald Trump lost the election, 74,216,154 citizens voted for the outgoing President.

For the United States, the change in direction cannot be seen as the advent of a resolute and determined policy along one single line, as the basic reality of the highly divided American society was not changed, but indeed strengthened due to the general election. The huge impact promoted the spread of political violence and protests in the United States.

Source: The US Crisis Monitor, Bridging Divides Initiative, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs’, Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination.

First of all, Donald Trump lost the election, but the spectre of Trumpism has remained in the United States and even in Europe, which is generally not conducive to advancing the strategy of developing relations with China.

Secondly, the “antagonism” of the US strategy towards China has not changed radically. Trump hadopened a political-economic dispute with China. Itisparticularlynoteworthythat the younger generation of the Republican leadership isgraduallybecominghostile and negative towards China, and exertsgreatinfluence in Congress.Thisdoesnotfavours world peace.

Thirdly, if this attitude is not contained, it will lead to negative long-term impacts between high-tech decoupling and ideological competition. Finally, China’s policy towards the United States has been perfected and refined: although the government is still adopting a wait-and-see attitude, the voice of seeking cooperation and being rational and pragmatic is still the mainstream in China.

Besides the issue that China will reduce its dependence on the world and increase world’s dependence on China itself, China will reduce its dependence on traditional growth models and increase its care for social, green and environmental sustainability.

The year 2021 is proving that the focus of the analysis of global political and economic trends will still be competition between China and the United States. President Biden’s Administration still regards China as its main strategic competitor, but the methods of addressing the issue are quite different from those of Trump’s Administration. The main difference lies in the fact that President Biden focuses on solving domestic problems and does not exclude the most important issues with China.

President Biden’s Administration has adapted its strategy for China as the influence of major lobbies and interest groups – such as the US finance and military industry – on policy is constant compared to the previous Administration. Nevertheless, the Chinese factor in the chain of global interests keeps higher levels.

Indeed, voices from both parties in the US Congress calling for curbing China’s rise are also increasing.

In short, in terms of China’s policy direction, President Biden’s Administration is expected to oppose a trade war because it harms the core interests of the US business community. However, there are likely to be problems for Taiwan, Xianggang (Hong Kong), Xinjiang Weiwu’er (Uyghur), South China Sea, Xizang (Tibet), as well as other issues.

The possibility of renewed trade negotiations between China and the United States is expected to increase significantly in the future and the US strategy of constructive competition will be reformed.

Regardless of changes in Sino-US relations, China will certainly promote greater bilateral and multilateral investment cooperation, while seeking new development and shaping new models of cooperation.

The key areas which are currently the most important and noteworthy are, firstly, China’s joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and seeking to adhere to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which shows that China’s top leadership has decided to continue the reform strategy of internal and external promotion.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region between the ten States of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and five of their free trade partners: Australia, China, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Japan and New Zealand. These Member States account for approximately 30% of world’s population and GDP, thus making it the largest trading bloc.

The CPTPP, instead, is a draft regional investment and regulatory treaty in which negotiations, until 2014, twelve Pacific and Asian countries participated: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the USA and Vietnam.

Indeed, between the RCEP and the CPTPP, there is not only the interconnection of the industrial chain and commonality -and more reasons for unity than differences – but also the influence of great powers’ strategic factors.

The main difference between the two is that the CPTPP has higher economic quality requirements, while the RECP is more inclusive. Secondly, the China-EU trade and investment agreement is likely to be signed, which has clear short-term interests for Europe and long-term strategic interests for China. China, however, still needs to take a cautious attitude towards European policy and its legal systems based on double standards. Thirdly, China and Russia are strengthening comprehensive strategic cooperation and there will be new opportunities for their cooperation in the energy and military sectors.

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