Friday, November 29, 2019

Don't Blame China for America's Failings

America is working itself into a frenzy over China. I am sure you have noticed. When people become emotionally overwrought they lose perspective. We all root for the home team but we should never underestimate our competition.

Anyway, Newt Gingrich has written a new book, entitled Trump vs. China. In it, he tries to debunk some of the many narratives swirling around our competition with China.

David Goldman offers an apt summary:

Some rhetorical flourishes aside, [Gingrich] rejects the ubiquitous American view that China is about to collapse under its own weight, or that China inevitably must become a Western-style democracy, or that the Chinese people are waiting for a wave of America’s hand to overthrow their evil communist overlords, and so forth.

We would take one more step toward rationality if we got over our habit of blaming China for our own failings. A cold eye tells us the following. Gingrich writes:

“Some of the greatest failures and weaknesses in American can’t be blamed on China. Rather, we have to look at ourselves and our own mistakes and failures. The burden on us to modernize and reform our own system is enormous.”

“It is not China’s fault that in 2017, 89% of Baltimore eighth graders couldn’t pass their math exam…

“It is not China’s fault that too few Americans in K-12 and in college study math and science to fill the graduate schools with future American scientists…

“It is not China’s fault that, faced with a dramatic increase in Chinese graduate students in science, the government has not been able to revive programs like the 1958 National Defense Education Act…

“It is not China’s fault the way our defense bureaucracy functions serves to create exactly the ‘military-industrial complex’ that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about…

“It is not China’s fault that NASA has been so bureaucratic and its funding so erratic that… there is every reason to believe that China is catching up rapidly and may outpace us. This is because of us not because of them

“It is not China’s fault that the old, bureaucratic, entrenched American telecommunications companies failed to develop a global strategy for 5G over the 11 years that the Chinese company Huawei has been working to become a world leader…”

These are but a few. Perhaps some of us will recognize that, however bad the Chinese system is—and it has achieved an extraordinary level of economic growth in a very short period of time—it would not be a bad idea to heal ourselves. None of the problems that Gingrich identifies makes us a more fearsome competitor. None makes it more likely that China or other countries around the world will want to adopt the American system.

1 comment:

UbuMaccabee said...

We cannot fix ourselves, because...slavery.

Our core institutions are corrupt, and the universities are the most corrupt. They are making our kids much dumber and, as a result, our nation is less competitive. The Chinese has already noticed, and that is why they do not see the US as a viable competitor. They know we have fatal glitches in our cultural OS. And yet no more than 5% of Americans have any consciousness that our prestigious universities are the problem; they think we need more of it to regain health, like bleeding a patient further to remove too much yellow bile. To find someone in the US who is even inclined to see our ‘education’ critically is as rare as a unicorn. Suffering will have to suffice to instruct us.