The great challenge for the United States today is not Russia, although Putin manages to put the entire world in check due to his impact and the tenor of his threats. The truth is that the European giant no longer has the effectiveness of the USSR, but neither does it have the will of that union that divided the world, until 1989. After focusing its attention mainly on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has as its balance the death of Hundreds of civilians and military personnel, on a daily basis, the North American President met with representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where he affirmed the beginning of a “new era” in the relationship between the American giant and the block of 10 nations.
The White House announced on Thursday, May 12, the total investment of 150 million dollars in the region, of which 60 million will be allocated to Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei, with the objective of improving maritime security, combating illegal fishing and working in areas of cooperation due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The commitment of the North American power to consolidate its relations with the Asian regions is strengthened with the formal presentation of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a regional cooperation initiative designed to promote trade and investment between the United States and Asia , and strengthen the resilience of supply chains.
The president of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, also referred to the importance of the meeting, in the global context of the Russian attack on Ukraine and the latent threat of invasion of other territories: “If we are not careful, we will leave the door open to further aggression, including maritime issues and other issues in the South China Sea,” the Democrat said.
In short, the American leadership is challenged by the Chinese power, a republic that is determined to realize its ambitions in Asia, including the creation of a Sinocentric order where the rest of the nations are peripheral to it.
the North American President met with representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where he affirmed the beginning of a “new era”
Of course, no other country wants to see these two powers embark on a spiral of strategic rivalry, but the high levels of economic interdependence between them and the existence of nuclear weapons add to the tension. In turn, the pandemic has forced the closure of borders around the world. And the harshness of the Chinese quarantine is impossible to avoid.
According to data from the European Chamber of Commerce, 40% of expatriate foreign professionals have left the Asian country. This, together with the measures adopted due to the impact of the virus, have also caused problems with food supply and the arrival of basic products. Barriers have fragmented the world. And it is difficult, in these circumstances, to guarantee a completely normal flow of production.
In a conference given in March at Florida International University, Professor Fabián Calle assured that the arrival of the COVID pandemic generated a “substantial change” in China. According to the analyst, China abandoned the soft tones to enter the era of the ‘warrior wolves’”. This last characterization was shocking to me in the face of the crudeness of the possible conflicts that this generates and the demand for concrete actions that preserve the lives of millions of people who are exposed to danger.
My experience in Florida, United States
I remembered, when in 2020 I was invited to participate in the weekly conferences with the White House to talk about the impact of the pandemic, that I met to work on a solidarity mission together with the philanthropy team and social impact of Hasbro Toys, to assist the Global Empowerment Mission and the Little Lighthouse Foundation in preparing aid for families in South Florida.
The current international scenario requires leaders with a broad humanitarian vision and nations that jointly demand the cessation of conflicts and the signing of peace agreements.
I am glad to read that the leaders of the European Union urged China to remain neutral regarding the invasion of Ukraine. In principle, the Europeans are content with China not helping Russia, but it is a first step.
“China and the EU trade daily with goods and services worth almost 2 billion euros, in comparison the trade between China and Russia is only 330 million euros per day, therefore the prolongation of the war and the havoc benefits no one, least of all China”, said Úrsula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
An old Chinese proverb says: “If you want to requisition, first build roads.” And so Xi Jinping advances. 2,300 years ago, trade flowed between old imperial China, Asia, and Europe. The current one intends to finance a gigantic global network of sea and land routes where the center will be occupied by the big Chinese companies, to increase the gigantic volumes of products between Beijing and distant markets.
Based on great agreements, China went in four decades from being a marginal player in international affairs to becoming the world’s largest trading nation, the second largest economy and the second country that spends the most on defense behind the United States. and the most proactive market in Asia.
There are already 140 signatory countries, of which 21 are Latin American.
This gigantic investment is seen as the Marshall Plan of the 21st century, alluding to the program launched by the United States after World War II to help European countries recover from the destruction caused by the conflict. Between now and 2025, the cost of this megaproject will be 5 billion dollars.
The New Silk Road (BRI) is the central strategy of Chinese and essentially consists of a massive investment in physical and digital infrastructure in Asia, Africa and Europe.
According to EFE, the benefits of the plan are clear: expanding roads to the west allows it to develop its western regions, which are more impoverished; it stimulates its industrial sectors at a time when its economy is entering a stage of lower growth; it opens markets for its products; it makes it easier for other countries to adopt its technological standards, for example in 5G telephony; and, in general, expands its international presence and influence.
The keys to China
One of the great obstacles for companies in the world is the regulatory regime. In China, investors are hedging against potential losses stemming from the “controlling” power exercised by the Chinese government over technology companies.
A company like Didi, the Chinese “Uber”, is in the process of leaving the US stock market to move to Hong Kong. Weibo, the Chinese “Twitter”, faces fifty fines for “non-compliance with regulations related to content”.
But in the face of possible threats, are multinationals leaving China? No, they are betting more and more on the Asian giant as a fertile ground with a huge global impact. investment in China is well over 150 billion dollars a year. According to data published by the Ministry of Commerce, the flow of foreign direct investment in sectors such as high technology grew by 25% during 2021.
China also hopes to achieve carbon neutrality before the year 2060. But before that, it must overcome geopolitical challenges such as the Taiwan issue. Or the “strategic competition”, especially within the commercial field, raised from the US
On the other hand, the production of industrial robots increased by 27.9%. And the manufacture of electric vehicles 112%. As for the macroeconomic variables, inflation, although much less of a concern than in other countries, is around 2.5%. And the annual GDP growth of 2021 was around 8%.
In line with his unwavering thought, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, for the first time in the succession plot of presidents, will extend his mandate for a period greater than ten years, and perhaps for many more, because it will be renewed indefinitely.