The U.S. has declared China to be an adversary.
But its economic prowess cannot be eclipsed by a nation that is addicted to provocation and war making.
This article was originally published in CGTN .
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has updated its global economic outlook for the current year and the predictions for the West remain grim. U.S. economic growth is set to slow to just 1.4 percent in 2023. The situation is worse in Europe, where leading EU countries will experience near zero growth. The IMF cited high interest rates in the U.S., as well as the economic shocks of the Ukraine crisis as reasons for the West’s economic slowdown. Nonetheless, this only tells a part of the story.
Economic growth is determined by much more than momentary shifts in the world situation. Inflation, wage stagnation and slow growth are not givens, even in difficult times. If this were the case, the IMF’s projected growth rates for China and the U.S. would be the same or similar. Yet, China is predicted to grow about four to five times faster than the U.S. in 2023.
What would explain the difference in projected economic growth between the two countries? An often-overlooked reason is their divergent approaches to world affairs. China’s global vision is undergirded by the principles of win-win cooperation and non-interference in the affairs of other nations.
Trade between China and Russia has risen by the month despite the windfall of the Ukraine crisis. Arab nations have also reaffirmed their commitment to economic cooperation with China during the historic China-Arab States Summit held in Riyadh in December 2022.
China is recognized as a leader in helping the world navigate a moment of historic change. China hosted the BRICS Summit in 2022 for the third time, with Global South nations such as Argentina, Iran, and Saudi Arabia expressing serious interest in joining the group many international observers believe is laying the economic foundations for a multipolar world. Following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping held major diplomatic exchanges in Beijing with top leadership from Vietnam and Cuba.
Chinese leadership also set an example for diplomacy at the G20 and APEC meetings. Perhaps most critically, China has expressed keen interest in following up on Xi Jinping’s conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden at the G20 Summit with good-faith efforts to bring U.S.-China relations back to a more stable and positive direction for both parties and the world at large.
China’s record of fostering cooperation with nations around the world has been crucial in its pursuit of economic prosperity. Peace and prosperity are inseparable phenomena. China’s commitment to mutually beneficial economic exchange makes it a trustworthy partner in difficult times. Nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia have looked to China for assistance in addressing their critical infrastructure needs. China providing such help is demonstrated in projects including the Sino-Laos high-speed railway and Turkey’s recently unveiled high-speed rail connecting Istanbul to the city’s international airport.
In contrast to China, Washington’s approach to world affairs is guided by an addiction to military conflicts. War is profitable for the elite corporate interests that dominate politics in the U.S. since it maintains and expands U.S. hegemony. Since the Ukraine crisis began in February 2022, the U.S. has delivered tens of billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Ukraine. A recent leaked memo from the U.S. Air Force revealed possible preparations for a war against China in 2025.
War is both a drag on economic prosperity and internal political stability. Increased weapons sales, sanctions, and war plans do nothing to alleviate internal economic problems. Persistent inflation, massive interest rate hikes, and declining living standards require a commitment from political leadership to the betterment of the people. When that commitment is spurned, political chicanery is inevitable. Leaders in both U.S. political parties thus find themselves spending an inordinate amount of time and resources scapegoating China to deflect attention from their own failures.
The U.S. has spent the first month of 2023 satisfying its addiction to war. China stands on the opposite path, injecting a semblance of stability in a period of massive global turbulence. Still, the perils of the U.S.’s addiction to war are set to become more painful as the year goes on.
Peace is not simply a value worth adopting but an essential principle for helping humanity overcome what may appear at first sight as insurmountable economic and political challenges. Unfortunately, the forces that govern the U.S. have already demonstrated that they’ve chosen hegemony and aggression over the peaceful global environment necessary to right the economic ship.