The prospects for the US look bleak. With continuing rapid decline, rampant inequality, falling living standards, rising unemployment, and China becoming the world’s largest economy, the divisions will grow ever greater. The Capitol Hill insurrection was more like the beginning than the end of the polarisation and turmoil. The US is in danger of imploding, which will only hasten its decline. My latest column for the Global Times.
We are approaching the end of December. The pandemic struck Europe and the US in March. That is now 10 months ago. Much of Europe is once more in varying degrees of lockdown. In the US, COVID-19 continues to spread unabated. The situation in the West is now as bad as at any time since it all began. With the honourable exception of New Zealand, the West has singularly failed to quell, let alone eliminate, the virus. Without a vaccine, evidence suggests that the West will have to learn to live with the coronavirus indefinitely. Read more >
As UK-China ties continue to deteriorate, in this exclusive interview with the Chinese and English editions of Global Times, Martin Jacques shares his perspective on the UK decision to ban Huawei from its 5G network, its harsh stance on the national security law for Hong Kong, and the escalating tensions between the US and China.
GT: In your latest tweet, you described the Huawei ban as “an exercise in national suicide.” Could you elaborate further? What would the Huawei ban mean for the UK in a technological, geopolitical, and economic sense respectively?
Jacques: This is the context: Britain is leaving the European Union. This is to be finalised on January 1, 2021. And the European Union was by far Britain’s biggest trading partner. So suddenly, there’s a big hole as a result of that. Now Britain has decided to end the relationship with Huawei and remove all Huawei equipment, and not have any Huawei 5G equipment. Inevitably, this affects in a very negative way the economic and trading relationship between Britain and China.
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After many months of rioting and unrest in Hong Kong, it was patently obvious that the Chinese government would have to introduce national security legislation. The Basic Law required its introduction, and the SAR government had sought to do this in 2003, but large-scale opposition scuppered those plans. Its absence left the authorities badly exposed in 2019. Every modern country has such laws. No Western country would tolerate the kind of violence and rioting that scarred Hong Kong in 2019. Given the failure of the SAR government to introduce national security legislation, it became essential for the Chinese government to do so. The outcry in the West reeks of hypocrisy. The British, after all, enjoyed sweeping draconian powers in colonial Hong Kong.
In 1953 Stirling Moss befriended a little boy of 7 who idolised him. We exchanged many letters and met regularly at race meetings. He was so kind to anonymous little me. And he was also one of the greatest drivers of all time. My appreciation of the great man.
During January the onslaught in the Western media, notably the US and the UK, against the Chinese government’s handling of the Covid-19 epidemic, was merciless. The Chinese government stood accused of an inhumane attitude towards its people, secrecy, a cover-up, and an overwhelming concern for its own survival above all other considerations. The actual evidence was thin bordering at times on the threadbare but this made little difference to the venom and bile of the assault. Read more >
Martin Jacques Photo: Sun Wei in London/GT
1. After more than a month since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, the epidemic has been coming under control inside the country. How do you evaluate China’s efforts in the fight against the epidemic?
Judging by the situation now, China seems to have got on top of it, with the number of new cases declining. By and large, it looks as if China has managed to restrict the worst of it to Wuhan in Hubei Province. I think that the situation is looking encouraging.
2. Some people view the epidemic as an assessment of different political systems. How do you evaluate the measures taken by different countries such as China, Japan and South Korea?
Martin Jacques assesses the role and continuing rise of China in the decade 2010 to 2019 in an article published in the Guardian on 31st December 2019.
By 2010, China was beginning to have an impact on the global consciousness in a new way. Prior to the western financial crisis, it had been seen as the new but very junior kid on the block. The financial crash changed all that. Before 2008 the conventional western wisdom had been that sooner or later China would suffer a big economic meltdown. It never did. Instead, the crisis happened in the west, with huge consequences for the latter’s stability and self-confidence.
This is the transcript of a talk Martin Jacques gave at a Forum organised by China Daily at the G20 in Osaka on 25 June 2019.
There is no point in building castles in the air. We must live in the here and now. I am sure the great majority of us wish we were not where we are. We would prefer that the era, beginning in the late 1970s, of globalisation and multilateralism, and that was characterised by relative stability and cooperation in the relationship between the US and China, was still in place. It is not. And it will not return for a very long time. The reason for the breakdown in that old order is profound, as is invariably the case with great historical shifts. We need to understand the causes. Read more >
This article was published in JPI Peace Net and presented to the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity in May 2019, South Korea, in the opening plenary session “Destined for War?: The Future of US-China Relations and its Implications for the Korean Peninsula”. Speakers included Martin Jacques, Prof. Graham Allison and Mr. Li Zhaoxing. The panel was moderated by Prof. Chung-in Moon. Read more >