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Andrew Singer Talks About China
Vol 1., Issue 4
A Note from Andrew - The U.S and China
It is hard to be optimistic about the state of the world. Increasingly authoritarian regimes are assuming commanding power in every corner of the globe. The liberal Western ideal of democracy, capitalism, human rights, respect for the other, and opportunity for all, is fading away into a twilight of gathering gloom. Taking China as just one example of many, where at one time people and countries might have forcefully cried out about how the government is acting vis-à-vis Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Minority Nationality cultures and languages, Taiwan, and surveillance of its population, today not only are strong voices not heard, there really are few strong voices that want to be heard.
The United States has ceded any moral authority that it claimed (whether real or appearance thereof that previously had real effect). We do not invest in education, healthcare, technology, infrastructure or people. We have a political system captured by an electoral college, gerrymandering, lack of term limits, money, and Supreme Court political action that has resulted in entrenched minority rule; suppression of civil rights, free speech, and free assembly; and aggrandizement and perpetuation of the elite at the expense of everyone else. We do not look to the future, cannot get a grip on the present, and look back at some nostalgic never-was for grounding.
China, on the other hand, has and is implementing a vision for the future. People are being fed and their healthcare covered. More and more of the young are receiving an education. Infrastructure is maintained and expanded. Research and development in technology is emphasized. Many have become wealthy and even more have become middle class. There is drive. There is passion. There is confidence. Say what you will about the Chinese Communist Party, its harsh, ever more totalitarian rule, and the significant gaps and risks to the country's continued rise, the government is offering most of its citizens hope and opportunity, and this engenders support among the populace, warts and all. Imagine if these same efforts were replicated in a place that truly did support democracy, capitalism, human rights, respect for the other, and opportunity for all.
I have a strong, deeply personal, vested interest in US-China relations. I do not want to see the two countries be at loggerheads, let alone enemies. Strategic partners can co-exist and undertake actions, coordinated or jointly where appropriate, to work towards a common good for their own people and for nations and the world more broadly. Strategic partners will not always agree and will push and pull each other. Whether domestically or internationally, working together holds so much more promise than working apart. We need to get our house in order and begin once again to work with the international community.
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Seminar Alert - Sunday, November 8
This coming Sunday, November 8 at 11AM EST, I will be presenting (on Zoom) at the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society Annual Convention on, "Sailing to Cathay: Maritime Trade Routes to Asia Before and After the Arrival of the Europeans at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century."
I hope you will join me if the topic interests you!
Active trade routes ran between Asia, the Middle East, and Africa for centuries before the Portuguese, the first Europeans to make it, arrived on Asian shores. One reason for the delay was that for so long many Europeans believed that there was no sea route around Africa because it connected by land to Asia. Spices, aromatic woods, porcelains, silk, information, and more were big commodities transiting the oceans. China was an active participant in this, and evidence of Europe's impact on China and China's impact on Europe is abundant, including in Chinese snuff bottles. It was a cutthroat, dangerous time to voyage the seas, but the lure of profits and conquest drove the European powers to find a way to get there. History has not been the same since.
All are welcome to attend one or more of the four days of lectures. The registration fee is tax deductible.