Rice in China – What Susan Found on Her Doorstep

Susan Rice has just completed her visit to Beijing to prepare for Obama’s November visit. She arrived as the envoy of the President of the Indispensible Nation and was greeted at the very highest level by Xi Jinping himself, president of one of the many Dispensible Nations.

Susan probably conceives this as an advance visit in more ways than one since Beijing is the final scheduled stop on the U.S. Empire’s march through Eurasia – after sacking Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran and Russia.   Or so the plan goes.

But Rice might surely was given considerable pause on her visit.  Just as she arrived China Daily, the English version of which was surely dropped outside her door in the morning, carried a front-page story, headlined: “China ‘largest economy’ by 2024.”  And with it was carried the striking graphic:

f04da2db11221579ff164a Reader, take note of the phrase “Nominal GDP.”  This means GDP in real dollars.  The alternative measure and the one more often used is given in terms of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), which corrects the value of the dollar for purchasing power from country to country.  By the PPP measure China is already the equal of the U.S. or will be so within a year’s time according to the World Bank.

In my recent visit to Beijing I was given some lessons in PPP.   For example a one-hour to trip in a very comfortable taxi as a solo customer to the airport from downtown Beijing was approximately 15 U.S. dollars.  In NYC, the equivalent taxi ride would cost roughly 75 U.S. dollars sans tip.  (The Chinese do not expect tips and often will not take them.) The PPP measure is important, because it indicates how much some very important things to those with Susan Rice’s mindset would cost in China – like a soldier’s salary or a submarine.

But “nominal” GDP equality as shown in the graph above paints an even more stunning picture of China’s rise since it is given in absolute dollars not relative ones.  Moreover, this prediction came not from the Chinese government but from the highly respected U.S. firm of IHS Inc., headquartered in Colorado and“one of the top 10 Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM) Information companies in the world.”

If Susan had continued with her complimentary China Daily, she would have read: “’Over the next 10 years, China’s economy is expected to rebalance towards more rapid growth in consumption, which will help the structure of the domestic economy as well as growth for the Asia-Pacific as a region,” Rajiv Biswas, IHS’s chief economist for Asia-Pacific, said…”  Biswas continued, ‘The transmission effects of the strong growth in Chinese consumer demand are already being felt throughout the APAC (Asian PACific) region.  Rapid growth in Chinese consumption drives demand for exports of commodities, manufactured goods and services from other APAC countries to China, with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries expected to be major beneficiaries of the growth in Chinese consumption.’’

IHS expects China’s GDP to be 20% of the world’s total by 2024 which is about the percentage the U.S. now holds, a percentage that is declining as that of the non-Western nations contributes a greater share.  Biswas added:  “”Science, technology and innovation, these are some of the key sectors that will be crucial in helping to transform China’s economy from the low-cost manufacturing, export-driven economy of the past three decades into a higher value-added economy driven by domestic consumer demand.  In 2025, if we were to take a global economic snapshot, China’s economy will play an even bigger role as a key driver of global trade and investment flows.”

Simply put, the great economic engine of the planet is now in East Asia, with China at its heart.   Now consider how the nations of the region must view the U.S. alternative to China, the Trans Pacific Partnership which would pair those nations with the U.S., a stagnant economy, and Japan, a declining economy.  Which side to choose?  That question gives a whole new depth of meaning to the phrase “no brainer.”  One might also ask why should Russia cling to Europe and the West when the dynamism and wealth creation now lies to the East.  All this is not lost on Russia.  The disaster that was the Sino-Soviet split is not likely to recur in the form of a Sino-Russian split, and that is due in no small part to U.S. policy.

As Rice looked a little farther into her China Daily, she would have found some news that might cheer her up, if she did not think too deeply on it.   This piece was headlined “China’s Poverty Cut Off Too Low: Expert.”  It would certainly surprise anyone who thought that self-criticism was to be found “only in America.  The article reports that China has more people living in poverty than was thought, according to Wei Shanghan of the Asian Development Bank.  So while China now has a middle class of 400 million, exceeding the entire U.S. population, it also has another 400 million in poverty.  And although Mr. Wei states, “China’s achievement in poverty alleviation is the largest in the world” (in fact in world history), much remains to be done.  Wei urged the Chinese government to foster the development of social insurance and subsistence security systems that are accessible to the poor.

Rice might rejoice at this new found weakness in the target of Obama’s Asian pivot, but she would be mistaken.  China’s goal is to get rid of all that poverty, and as its record shows, it is deadly serious about that.  (The U.S. press would put that another way.  It would contend that the Chinese leadership does all that only out of fear of losing its governing role.  You see only the Indispensible Nation and a few of its allies act altruistically or patriotically.)  And as that 400 million escapes poverty in the coming years, the Chinese market will grow much larger and Chinese economic power will grow mightier.

Perhaps it is time for Rice, her boss and their clique to think more about the Chinese idea of win-win among nations and less about U.S. domination of the Eurasian land mass.  But the prospects for that new thought among the U.S. imperial elite look frighteningly dim right now. Get ready for a rough ride, world.

And as Susan Rice surely knows, since it has been evident since Thucydides put scribe to parchment that military power is a function of economic power.

There was no kowtowing  by the Chinese and no sign of trepidation.  In fact in this writer’s opinion the Chinese are a little too confident; they seem to have forgotten the unspeakable cruelties the Anglo-Americans visited on their country in the past and the efforts to destroy their drive for liberation from the West.  Perhaps they should do a refresher on the speeches of Chairman Mao.

John V. Walsh, @JohnWal97469920, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for several independent media. Read other articles by John V..