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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/29/20

The China Syndrome -- Some Points to Note

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Message Arshad M Khan

China is a large country. It has a large population, a productive population. It has the largest Gross Domestic Product of any country in the world including the US on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. It was $27.307 trillion. A nominal GDP basis does not reflect the actual buying power of the currency. China's nominal GDP of $14,140 trillion is much less than the US, which is $21.44 trillion, both nominal and PPP as the dollar is the benchmark. Since 1871, the US has been the world's largest economy without question. Now there is a question although the real question might be, so what?


Britain used to be the world's foremost power. No longer, yet Britain remains wealthy and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future, as will Europe and North America. A couple of hundred years earlier to that the great powers were: China, India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire. The world changes.


Among the problems President Trump has with China is its friendship with Iran. Why that is a problem with Donald Trump is not some nefarious plan Iran has concocted to harm the US but the impression he has generated of he himself being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Benjamin Netanyahu and his LIkud party.


Thus Mr. Trump's dead-on-arrival peace plan, to all appearances, had its birth on the drawing boards of the LIkud. Iran happens to be Netanyahu's nemesis and surprise surprise is also Trump's. A perfectly reasonable nuclear agreement bearing the imprimatur of the UN and the major European powers has been jettisoned by Trump in favor of saber rattling. Europe is not cheeringly on board in this solo venture.


Meanwhile, Netanyahu feels free to start annexing the West Bank -- at least the choice parts -- and using it to shore up political support while he goes on trial for corruption. He is the first sitting Israeli prime minister to be so besmirched in the country's history.


The implacable Xi Jinping and the stubborn Donald Trump happen both to be making their respective countries great again. Donald Trump claims he has succeeded using a metric known to him alone: China's effort is more prosaic. Between 2014 and 2018 it put to sea more ships for its navy than the British, German, Spanish and Indian navies combined. And it has embarked on a campaign for tighter control of its coastal waters. The ship-building program betrays a clear intent to project power beyond coastal waters to the open seas in a challenge to the U.S., the present policeman maintaining open sea lanes. China prefers complete independence.


Then there is China's bid to be a prominent player in the world of high-tech industry, a role that can influence future economic power. Huawei and its 5G capability is one example. But the Trump Commerce Department has issued new rules designed to choke off Huawei's access to chips and semi-conductors that it needs to manufacture 5G cellphones and infrastructure. These are made made mostly in Taiwan and South Korea, and the new export rules issued May 19, 2020 forbid chipmakers from using US machines and software to make and sell chips to Huawei. It closes a loophole allowing such sales as long as the manufacture was outside US territory. While Huawei plans alternatives, its customers in Europe and globally are likely to be affected by higher prices and delays.


The cold battle goes on.


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Arshad M Khan is a former Professor. Educated at King's College London, Oklahoma State University and the University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research. He was elected a Fellow of the (more...)
 
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