Eyewitness: New war…Hot and Cold

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Well, if former World Bank chief economist Stiglitz can talk about it, your Eyewitness guesses the sky won’t fall if he talks about the new Cold War that’s upon us – even as a very hot one’s playing out in Europe. This new Cold War, we’re told, is between the US plus its “Western allies” and the rampant China out in the East. And while the “West is west, and the east is east”, it does look like the twain are meeting in several theatres – hot and cold!!
Now this is the weirdest Cold War ever!! The first one was between the US/West and the USSR where the latter presented an in-your-face challenge to the former on all fronts – militarily, ideologically, politically, economically and every other “ally” you could think about, after WWII!! We natives in the colonies during that Cold War were used as proxies to fight most of their battles. Our riots of the sixties that spit us apart to this day is a grim reminder that when the elephants fight the grass gets crushed!!

Now this Cold War’s weird because up to the seventies, China was wallowing in poverty like the rest of us that they called the “Third World”. The USSR and her satellites in Eastern Europe were the “Second World”. But it was President Nixon of the US who flew to China in 1972 and brought them out of the cold and into the UN system of nations. But more than that, they allowed their industrial companies to set up shop in China to “exploit” its cheap labour. And before you could say “chow mein”, China had become the “factory” of America and the West!!

And since China was shipping oodles more goods to them than they to China just as quickly China had trillions in credit (represented by their currencies as “foreign reserves”) sloshing around in their pockets! So, rather than taking on the West in a military hot war – like they did in 1950 in the Korean War – China launched a Cold War on the economic front with something called the “Belt and Road Initiative”!! And the irony is the US and EU allowed their factories to rust away so Walmart and Amazon are still stocking their shelves and warehouses from China!!

So, even as they try to pummel their old adversary Russia in Europe in a hot war, the West just fired a salvo at China in the Cold War. US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders relaunched the newly-renamed “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment”. They said they’ll fund infrastructure projects to the tune of US$600 million in the Third World.
They were kind, however, and said, “lesser developed countries”!!

…against corruption

In the Bible, the head Honcho, his heir, and his prophets assure us: “the poor will always be with us”. And they’re just as grim about corruption. Right there in the first book, the Big Guy “… observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt”. And to make sure we understood corruption was a hydra-headed monster, in Timothy, there is a pretty graphic description: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unfeeling, uncooperative, slanderous, degenerate, brutal, hateful of what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, and lovers of pleasure.”

But we can never give in, can we?? Just as they’re fighting poverty, our Finance Minister took on corruption: “We in this Government believe very strongly and we are fully committed to the importance of the fight against corruption in all of its forms and we believe equally …the most effective instruments in the fight against corruption (are) openness, transparency, and accountability…”
La luta continua!!

…against the US$

So, China wants to replace the US$ as a reserve currency?? Well, they gotta run massive, sustained trade deficits (like the US does) to get its currency held widely abroad. That means exporting jobs.
Nah…didn’t think so!!