Dr Odera Outa’s article “DO NOT WRITE OFF AMERICA JUST YET”[Star May 22,2012] is indeed dogmatic and oblivious current development in Asia and Kipling’s warning against British imperial hubris seen relevant to America to-day.
As Paul Kennedy a professor of History at Yale University has observed in Newsweek of February 2003,”the U.S. Military budget will soon be equal to that of all countries in the world combined.” Yet hawkish policy makers in Washington are concerned that the U.S. defense forces are dangerously thin and overstretched. How can both facts be true?
A book by Martin Jacques, “When China Rules the World” provides adequate and sacinet answers to economic rise in Asia. The book is a compelling and thought provocative analysis of global economic trends that defies the common western assumptions that to be fully modern, a nation must become democratic, financially transparent and legally accountable. Jacques argues persuasively that China is on track to take over as the World’s dominant power and that when it does, it will make the rules on its own terms, with little regard for what existed before.
Even before Jacques’ analysis, The Economist Magazine had pointed out that China was growing at a tremendous rate. In 2009 when the G.7 economies declined by 3.5% and the U.S. GDP fell by 1% China’s GDP grew by 15%, Korea’s by almost 10% while in Singapore, the economy soared by 21%. In May that year, IMF had predicted that Asia’s economies would be weak and tepid due to economic downturn in the west. It can be seen that forecasters in the west underestimated the ability of Asian tigers to rebound from recession.
Prof. Mike Buchanan, an economist with Goldman Sachs took exception to this underrating of Asian economies when he said that he expected China’s economy to grow at 9.4% in 2008 and 11.9% in 2010. China exceeded Buchanan’s optimism when its economy registered a 15% annual growth that year. Perhaps I should conclude this debate by what an economist Lawrence Lau said when he intimated that China’s GDP will equal that of United States in 2026. Elsewhere others predicted that by 2040 China’s economy will have surpassed the U.S. economy.
The Chinese Professor of economics at Hong Kong University is not alone at particularly when one observes China’s advances in space, oil exploration in Africa and other deals the worldwide. In 2004, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest oil importer-trailing only the United States. Now China is in Africa and everywhere for energy resources it requires to feed its feverish economic pace. Indeed the country’s blistering growth of more than 10% per year is making China’s energy needs more and more acute.
After a deal between China’s state owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Russia’s largest Oil Company-Yukos, the Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a deal for the construction of a 2400 kilometer pipeline to Beijing. This $150 billion deal will move a half a million barrels of oil from Siberia to Beijing daily.
Besides the Yukos deal, China’s hunger for energy is seen in oil deals in Iraq, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, a 30 year deal to buy Gabonese Crude, oil exploration, oil explorations in Ghana, Kenya , Sudan, Angola, Niger and Ethiopia. The rise of China may well prove to be the defining economic and geopolitical change of our time, which very few scholars have given enough thought or illuminating analysis. The advantages that China has vis a vis the U.S. are its unique location, size and population and cultural continuity that surpass that of the United States. Maco Polo, Confucius and Nicollo Machiavelle will attest to these advantages better than I can.
Elsewhere in our local press, an eminent Scholar, Prof. Makau Mutua questions China’s global ambition while in the same Vein former South African president; Thambo Mbeki wonders whether “China could recolonize Africa through its easy money”. Chinese imperial history is not hidden. From a more recent Minq Dynasty 1634 to Qing Dynasty that ends in 1911, China had colonies for the reasons the west colonized Africa.
If African leaders acquiesce to China’s domestic need for raw material, the consequences of China’s moves in Africa will be catastrophic. The Chinese annual Oil consumption is estimated at 10%. As a result Beijing’s interest in Sudan’s six billion barrels proven reserve and the other oil producing states like Angola, Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroon and Kenya cannot be minimized since 45 percent of the world’s oil reserve in Saudi Arabia and Iraq is a monopoly of the United States. China has its national interest. African leaders should guard the Continents’ interest.