by Aris Roussinos
Friday, 12
February 2021

China didn’t Westernise; the West became more Chinese

by Aris Roussinos
China is forcing the West to become more statist just to keep up. Credit: Getty

Like a pistol shot in 1914 Sarajevo, Covid can be seen as a chance event ushering in the end of a tottering old world and the beginning of a new one. A historical accelerant speeding along changes that were, perhaps, always inevitable. The West’s lacklustre handling of Covid compared to China’s top-down authoritarian statism has been a wake-up call to the American establishment; a sobering dry run for the period of “extreme competition” we have now entered. Joe Biden’s note of alarm yesterday, after his two-hour phone call with Xi Jinping, that “if we don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch,” marks a shift of historic proportions.

In his detailed analysis for the New York Times Noam Schreiber notes that Biden’s new Build Back Better industrial policy is “deviation from the free-trade gospel” calling for $400 billion in government procurement of American-made equipment, $300 billion for research and development, and hundreds of billions more in subsidies to promote domestic manufacturing.

As the article notes:

 “China is effectively forcing other countries to adopt some of its own industrial policies, because a free market in which only one side plays by the rules isn’t so much a market as a sucker’s game… after decades of free-market orthodoxy in which protectionism became taboo among both parties’ elites, it is the rise of China, above all else, that is bringing nationalistic management of the economy back into the political mainstream.” 
- Noam Scheiber, The New York Times Magazine

We’ve been here before, of course. The world before 1914, as Keynes famously observed, was one of globalisation overseen by British imperial hegemony, the first End of History when the economic and political liberals of the day, like those of our own time, “regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the direction of further improvement, and any deviation from it as aberrant, scandalous, and avoidable.” Yet great power competition brought the first age of globalisation shuddering to a halt, in a catastrophic collision with reality from which Britain and Europe have never recovered.

America’s political and defence establishment is now trying to turn around the great ship of state at breakneck speed to avoid their own empire-sinking collision with reality. As the analyst Matt Stoller notes, the Pentagon has realised with a juddering lurch of anxiety that the neoliberalising trends of the past few decades have simultaneously exposed the American defence industry to fragile and overextended supply chains — often rooted in China itself— and to a form of monopoly capitalism that leaves the US taxpayer paying over the odds for inferior products.

With even Lockheed Martin’s CEO urging replication of the China model— in Stoller’s words, to “mimic authoritarian societies in the way we run our commerce,” China’s already winning the economic Cold War.

This is surely the great irony, and supreme historical significance of Covid: for decades, America’s establishment, not least Biden himself, earnestly believed that globalisation would move China in a liberal direction. Instead, the wealth, ambition and power of the rival superpower unleashed by globalisation is forcing the West to become more statist just to keep up.

Join the discussion

  • Biden is a bought and paid for CCP Stooge. “The Big Guy” and his family are just a family of money grubbing virtue signalling phoneys as his son smokes meth with underage girls.

  • There’s a big group of people, including some that have passed on that could tell all the Globalist politicians and fans a big “We TOLD YOU SO”. As mentioned bellow, when President Trump wanted to do something about it the howls of “Xenophobic”,”racist” were amplified all over the media. Now, it’s absolutely HILARIOUS if not pathetic, that Pres Biden has had to eat his own 2019 words: “China eating our lunch? Come on man.”
    His latest pronouncement about China: “Last night I was on the phone for two straight hours with Xi Jinping…if we don’t get moving they’re going to eat our lunch.”
    Not a peep from the MSM calling these words, and his “America First” (stolen from Trump, I might add) policy “Xenophobic” or “Racist”.

  • Of course, because bold predictions of simple and clean victory have such a great track record in history.

    But never mind, China has certainly has enough nukes officially to make the US think twice, and who knows unofficially.

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