A considerable advantage that China enjoys over its Western rivals, principally the United States, is the country’s rebuffing of neoliberal globalisation. Under its present leadership, Beijing’s influence over corporations and private power has increased substantially. In contrast to America, almost all of China’s 25 largest corporations are state-owned. The Chinese president Xi Jinping, in power since March 2013, has indeed tightened his administration’s control over big business.
Among Biden’s most pressing issues should be to safeguard and restore the weapons treaties, while establishing a civil dialogue with China and Russia.
Communist Institutions stronger compared to Neo-Liberal model
China is led through a system in which power is centralised around the government, with Xi himself possessing huge influence, more so than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. The 67-year-old Xi is to remain in control “indefinitely”, presumably for as many years as he deems fit. Beijing’s centralisation of power is consistently portrayed in a negative light by Western media and politicians – but in reality the Xi administration, and the Chinese Communist Party, constitute stronger institutions by comparison to the Western neoliberal model.
This autumn, China’s government outlined bluntly that private businesses will “firmly listen to the party and follow the party”, while president Xi stresses that “the party exercises overall leadership” through “all endeavours across the country.” The political scientist Steve Tsang, a noted professor of Chinese studies, said “Ever since the 19th congress (in October 2017), Xi has made it clear that the party would be at the centre of everything, private businesses included”.
With corporations continuing to dictate across much of the world, it has meant that governments have been unable, for example, to sufficiently address their rising carbon emission levels. Just over 97% of scientists agree that “humans are primarily responsible for recent global warming”. Global emissions reached an all time high in 2019, but during the first six months of 2020 worldwide emissions dropped by nearly 8.8%, as outlined by reports – due to a temporary slow down in human activity related to Covid-19, not because of governments tackling climate change.
Communism better equipped to deal with health crises
It can be important to provide an insight into the advantage that a non-neoliberal state, like China, has over its opposite numbers, America and Britain. Regarding healthcare, US and British hospitals have been stripped of “non-essential items” in recent decades. The result? In 1975 there were 1.45 million hospital beds in America, by 2018 it had dropped to 924,000 beds in US hospitals.
In Britain there were 240,000 hospital beds there in 2000, and by 2019 it had fallen to less than 164,000 beds in UK hospitals. Moreover, in both American and British hospitals there is often a shortage of medical equipment, from ventilators and drip stands to oxygen cylinders.
In China, through the state’s direct intervention, the number of hospital beds increased from almost 3 million in 2008, to 6.5 million by 2018, more than doubling in the space of a decade (7). Chinese hospitals are well stocked with medical supplies, ensuring they are prepared in advance for a health crisis.
China is led through a system in which power is centralised around the government, with Xi himself possessing huge influence, more so than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
Obama’s policies were those of moderate Republican
One consequence of handing power over to corporations – which are unaccountable to public scrutiny – is the rightward shift on the political spectrum across the world’s richest countries, most notably in America. Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican president from the 1950s who continued Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs including social security, would now be considered a somewhat radical figure. Mainstream democrats today, hold similar attitudes to mainstream Republicans from half a century ago. Barack Obama’s policies as president were those of a moderate Republican from two generations before.
Bernie Sanders’ political beliefs consist of a New Deal Democrat, placing him modestly to the left on the political spectrum. Many of Sanders’ policies would have been acceptable to Eisenhower, neither would they have surprised Richard Nixon, another Republican president. Yet the political elite and media commentators erroneously call Sanders “a socialist”. The establishment has been petrified of Sanders, mainly due to the popular support, which he gathered around him.
The Republican Party of the 21st century, according to veteran US authors Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein, is “a radical insurgency – ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
Is Biden a truly progressive figure?
It is quite likely that Sanders would have enjoyed a more comfortable victory than Joe Biden has in recent days, with Donald Trump officially receiving over 10 million more votes than in 2016. Yet Trump’s exit from the White House early next year should be regarded as a positive outcome. Though Biden can hardly be described as a truly progressive figure, the next US president is still moderate in comparison to his soon-to-be predecessor.
The Biden administration could prove receptive to the left-leaning mass activism mobilised by Sanders, an indication of the latter’s success. Many Sanders supporters later voted for Biden, part of the reason for the high turnout. Trump may well run for the presidency again in 2024, when he will be 78, just a few months older than Biden is now.
Will Biden lower the risk of a nuclear war?
During the past four years, Trump’s policies led most seriously to an increased risk of nuclear war occurring, while the presses were distracted with attempts to tie him to Moscow. Trump’s dismantling of arms control treaties resulted in “lowered barriers to nuclear war” according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
Entering office in January 2021, among Biden’s most pressing issues should be to safeguard and restore the weapons treaties, while establishing a civil dialogue with China and Russia. This is pertaining to global security risks and the threats posed by thermonuclear weapons and advanced delivery systems. Whether Biden will actually seek de-escalation with America’s main rivals is doubtful, however. At least a third of Biden’s 23 member Pentagon transition team has links to the weapons industry.
America to become part of Paris Agreement, Biden promised
Another critical area is to reinstate America to the Paris Climate Agreement, as Biden has promised. Yet though a warming world will negatively impact on the majority of species, some are currently thriving because of rising temperatures. These include mammals such as wild boar and red fox, both growing in numbers globally, along with increasingly common birds like Eurasian wren and long-tailed tit.
Climate change over the past 50 years has benefited much more bird species in England than it has harmed. Whereas one harsh winter always results in lasting declines in small birds, who do not have the bodily strength to withstand prolonged cold weather. A nuclear war between America and Russia or China, which within weeks would bring about the nuclear winter effect, is a death knell for the above species.
The Chinese Communist Party, constitute stronger institutions by comparison to the Western neoliberal model.
In July 1955 US president Eisenhower, addressing a Russian delegation in Geneva, said that “It is essential we find some way of controlling the threat of the thermonuclear bomb. You know we both have enough weapons to wipe out the entire Northern Hemisphere from fallout alone. No spot would escape the fallout from an exchange of nuclear stockpiles”.
Expenditure on nuclear weapons has risen noticeably under the current day US president, and the well known analyst and author Daniel Ellsberg observed that, “It didn’t start under Trump. But right now, under Trump, we are budgeting 40% higher than in the Cold War. It is obscene, it is crazy, it is wrong”.
Shane Quinn has contributed on a regular basis to Global Research for almost two years and has had articles published with American news outlets People’s World and MintPress News, Morning Star in Britain, and Venezuela’s Orinoco Tribune. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.