China, which at the onset of the pandemic in February looked like it was on the verge of an abyss, bounced back. It seems to be faring quite well although it’s still too early to speak of a renaissance.
The Chinese trade surplus, the main bone of contention with the U.S. and the thing that triggered like a landslide this new Cold War, is higher than ever. In August 2020, it amounted to approximately 58.9 billion U.S. dollars, beating the $50.5 billion economists expected. China’s trade surplus was $62.33 billion in July and it may well rocket over $500 billion by year’s end.
The growth in exports was at the fastest pace in one-and-a-half years, according to Reuters records.
Moreover, the epidemic is gone from China, and the country is safe from the disease that started there possibly sometime late last year. More security means also more control. In fact, here is virtually total control of personal life. The state knows everything about you: whom you meet, for how long, doing what. There is no privacy. Going in and out of buildings, bars, cinemas, trains, and buses, one has to show an ID on the phone. Plus, there is a complete network for facial recognition. Anything can be used to track you, and virtually save you from possible contagion. It won’t necessarily be used for ulterior motives, but it can be. Beijing has reestablished a social contract, similar to the ones existing also in neighboring countries, where the state provides health security in exchange for personal privacy. Personal freedom can be guaranteed as long as there is no political “interference” by the individual.
This provides an effective social platform for economic recovery ahead of everybody else.
Because basically, despite the very early warning, the U.S. didn’t manage and isn’t managing Covid yet. Epidemics are social diseases and China coped with its recovery in a way that may sound objectionable to some Western countries. But looking at things from China, the U.S. didn’t have a recovery and it’s not clear when or how a recovery from Covid will occur in America and the West. Moreover, logically, the American position didn’t cut much ice in China.
The U.S. blamed China for Covid, claiming it was a terrible disease in China, but in the West many politicians underestimated its gravity and took little or no care for its prevention. Therefore, it raises the questions, is Covid bad or not? Was China right when it didn’t take preventive measures or when it took them? From Beijing it’s not clear.
This is possibly becoming the real Sputnik moment for America and the world, independent from who will be the next U.S. president. Practically and strategically, China is sophisticated and reacts more promptly than the cumbersome Soviet bureaucracy. At the beginning, some non Chinese assumed Covid could be China’s Chernobyl moment (when the 1986 fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear plant cut off the USSR at its knees), it is now conversely showing to China how Western countries are slow and inefficient.
China lonely success
China did it all alone just because it was isolated, without a network of allies or associates. So its victory is also the seed of a big problem. How can you win a confrontation with the U.S. and its allies when China is virtually quarantined? To get to Beijing, one needs de facto over half a month, between indirect travel and quarantine, plus other requirements. Moreover, as the graph below shows opinion in western countries is rapidly turning against China, and Beijing seems unable to address the issue, and perhaps it is even oblivious of its indirect massive danger.
Courtesy – settimananews.it