Opinion | The U.S. and China: More Alike Than We’d Like? – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“It is impossible to visit China these days and not compare and contrast the drama playing out in Beijing politics with the drama playing out in Washington politics. While the differences are many, I am sorry to report that some of the parallels are getting too close for comfort.

Let’s start with the fact that the anti-corruption crackdown by President Xi Jinping has created a climate of fear in China these days — whether about interacting with foreigners or saying the wrong thing or behaving too extravagantly so as to attract the state “anti-corruption” detectives.

But because “corruption” has not been clearly defined — and can be used to get rid of anyone for any reason — people don’t know where the line is, so they’re extra cautious. That’s why during a week in Beijing the most frequent expression I heard was, “You’re not quoting me on this, right?”

But if the Chinese are afraid to talk to one another, in America we’ve forgotten how to talk to one another.”

Source: Opinion | The U.S. and China: More Alike Than We’d Like? – The New York Times

 

Thank you Thomas Friedman, for another good op-ed.

I found very intersting the following. All in the first paragraph was news to me.

“On this I often pushed back on my Chinese interlocutors to be humbler and warier of what the future may hold. Their one-party, one-man decision-making system can make big decisions fast. But it can also make big wrong decisions fast. For instance, Bloomberg News reported in February: “In 2008, China’s total debt was about 141 percent of its gross domestic product. By mid-2017 that number had risen to 256 percent. Countries that take on such a large amount of debt in such a short period typically face a hard landing.”

But Xi and the Chinese Communist Party at least stimulated their economy in order to avoid a real economic crisis — for themselves and the world. Trump and his Republican Party just added $1.5 trillion to America’s debt to pay for tax cuts for businesses and individuals at a time when our economy was already on the rise. Trump did so knowing that he would be here to take credit for any boom — and be long gone when we have to do the belt-tightening necessary so that interest on the debt doesn’t devour all nondefense spending and lead to a bust.”

Here are some of the comments I particularly liked:

Brian Bailey
Vancouver, Canada

OK – where to begin. I’m a Canadian who lives and works in China. I teach a high school prep program for students who want to study in North America. These are bright students and some of them will be future leaders in China. Last week one did an excellent presentation on why gay marriage should be legalized in China. Another student did one on the big problem of air pollution in China and he pulled no punches. Like I said, these students are bright and opinionated and aren’t afraid to express themselves. There is an adoration for foreign products here. Half the cars on the street are foreign imports with many Buicks as they have a factory in my Chinese province.People here are getting rich and they can literally see improvement from year to year. This is a GREAT thing for the world, not a bad thing. When people have more money they can start to think about other things, like cleaning up the environment or improving human rights – just like my students sentiments in their presentations.There is no sense amongst many Chinese that the US is their enemy, unlike in the US where many Americans think exactly that. Here, education is highly valued and teachers are respected. Sorry America, you are behind the 8 ball on that one. China will kick you in the rear if you don’t start spending more on public education. The China that I experience and live in bears little resemblance to what gets portrayed in western media. I’d be much more worried about Putin’s Russia.

John Brews ..✅✅ commented May 9

John Brews ..✅✅
Reno NV
Times Pick

Some parallels between China and Trump’s USA have been mentioned. But there is one big difference: China has a long-term plan for advancing its influence and is pursuing it. Trump has no ability to plan and wouldn’t know if it was being followed if there were one.

Possibly the Mercers and Kochs and Wilks etc have a plan and are using Trump as their puppet. But whatever they think of the narrow-minded “Christian” Theocracy they favor, it ain’t gonna make America great again.

Posted in: China, Thomas Friedman

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