Tue | Sep 27, 2022

Norris McDonald | Progress from poverty, China’s BRI versus America’s ‘one don’ mentality

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2022 | 12:09 AM
Children in Mali, West Africa whose lives are being improved with solar-powered devices. Global cooperation is needed to help improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty.
Children in Mali, West Africa whose lives are being improved with solar-powered devices. Global cooperation is needed to help improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty.
Norris McDonald
Norris McDonald
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Extreme hunger and poverty affect four out of every 10 persons in the world, and it is worsening. And there are many other major problems, such as drought, soil erosion, agricultural food crisis, and other negative impact of climate change.

The world is in a deep ecological crisis, with many of these issues worsened by changing weather patterns.

Human diseases and increased health risks to humanity are directly caused by germs that have been more rapidly replicating because of negative climate change, said the Guardian newspaper.

“Diseases such as Zika, malaria, dengue, chikungunya and even COVID-19 have been aggravated by climate impacts such as heatwaves, wildfires, extreme rainfall and floods,” the Guardian said.

PROGRESS FROM POVERTY

Meanwhile, poverty rates are rising in underdeveloped countries. Over 689 million people live in extreme poverty, subsisting on US$2 per day. In America, too, the 2020 US Census data reveal that just about 37 million people face extreme poverty.

Given all these problems, why are the world’s political leaders not addressing these urgent issues?

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ‘AMLO’, is asking the same question. Despite being America’s next-door neighbour, he has rejected hegemonic politics and called for a “five-year world truce” between the conflicting parties in the world.

AMLO says the world must seek to allow urgent focus on the most sustainable economic development. I agree. Don’t you?

It certainly makes more sense for the nations and people of the world to be making this common human space more environmentally sustainable.

My friends, there are rising risks of a nuclear war breaking out, but it does not appear to matter to the global forces behind world hegemony.

What we are seeing instead, in my opinion, is a provocative ‘one don’ mentality, wars and conflicts. We are seeing the global imperialistic desires – the ‘one don’ mentality of keeping Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea in their ‘facetious place’.

The policy of imperialist dominance and containment is clearly doomed to fail, because more and more countries are resisting such vainglory dictates.

CHINA AND THE BRI

China has emerged as a powerful force in international affairs. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, China has emerged as a dominant world power that American policymakers see as a major threat to global dominance.

China’s US$5-trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought modernisation to many countries. Over 147 countries have signed agreements to get development assistance under China’s BRI.

America, while not being a part of China’s BRI, has reaped tremendous job-creating, financial benefit.

This is not trumpeted by the forces braying about “containing China”.

Over 40 US States have profited from the US$145 billion that China has pumped into America between 2000 and 2022, publiccitizen.org says.

Chinese government companies have been responsible for pumping 60 per cent of this money into America.

In addition, the US owes China US$1 trillion. So why is America telling countries of the world not to deal with China, while they are reaping so many benefits?

Are they not being extreme hypocrites?

‘ONE DON’ HEGEMONY

There you have it, my dear friends, the US is busy taking billions of China’s money while telling the poor nations of the world ‘to steer clear of China’.

One would think that America would first pay back China the US$1 trillion in debt before bad-mouthing them.

Don’t tell developing countries to steer clear of China, while begging NIO, the Chinese electric carmaker, to build an American factory. They demand, too, that China’s biggest battery maker also build a US factory.

Maybe they think the money is gonna run out, so they want China to spend it all in the US!

What do you think?

Then, as if taking the poor nations of the world as ‘kunumunu’, ‘poppy-show’, Western countries are now telling the developing nations that America and her European allies are going to cough up US$600 billion as investment.

Are they serious!?

Maybe the Western countries will cough up debt forgiveness and reparation for slavery. But even if they do that, there is no logical reason for developing countries to stop their participation in China’s BRI.

Many deep rural African villages are in a better position than these former colonial masters.

China has provided most of the development assistance to many African countries. This includes solar energy development that helped to improve the quality of life of many rural African poor people.

The China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company has been a driving force in helping many African countries with solar projects.

Many non-governmental organisations in America and Europe have helped, too. This is what is required – more international corporations to help poor nations escape poverty.

CARICOM AND THE ‘ONE CHINA’ ISSUE

My dear friends, the political conflicts between America and China – and Russia, Venezuela and Cuba, too – are of strategic importance to CARICOM.

CARICOM countries must not be bamboozled (again) and follow erroneous foreign policy dictums, such as ‘being with the West’.

Over 400 years of slavery and imperialist underdevelopment came from ‘being with the West’. That is an unchallengeable, historical, and political economic fact.

The Caribbean region, therefore, must not be drawn into the ridiculous ‘we are with the West’ ideal that has not helped us. All this has done is to keep the Caribbean locked into political underdevelopment and dependency.

On the issue of China-CARICOM relations, I believe this issue was wisely addressed at the CARICOM April 28 virtual meeting with China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yang Yi.

The countries that were gathered thanked China for her principled assistance to the region, and, in general, stands guided by the United Nations General Assembly position on the ‘One China’ principle.

That is just the ‘bitta’ truth!

Norris McDonald is an economic journalist, political analyst, and respiratory therapist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and miaminorris@yahoo.com.