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What the US can learn from China



Feb 27, 2021, 12:10

Editor's note: Dennis Etler is a current affairs commentator who holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California, Berkley. He conducted archaeological and anthropological research in China throughout the 1980s and 1990s and taught at the college and university level for over 35 years. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

U.S. President Biden has declared that China is an "extreme competitor" and the U.S. has to mobilize to combat it. His statement is rather ironic since the U.S. has historically said its free-market capitalist economic system and representational democratic method of governance were models for the world, which should be emulated by one and all. The United States' belief in its own institutions has led it to try and impose its model throughout the world, provoking attempts at regime change and direct military interventions and occupations to enforce its will over others. But, it now sees China as an existential threat.

How is it then, that China has been able to become such a threat? For decades American pundits have said that China had to emulate the U.S. or it would fail. As former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "the Chinese system is doomed" and its leaders are on a "fool's errand." It is self-evident that she and the rest of the U.S. political class got it dead wrong.

Rather than taking a supercilious, holier-than-thou attitude, the U.S. should show a little humility and admit that China has succeeded beyond all expectations. It has built a modern industrial base and the world's largest trading nation. Despite those who said that "China can't innovate," it has become a leading innovator in hi-tech, including 5G, quantum computing and AI. It has constructed a 21st-century infrastructure, including the world's largest high-speed rail network, superhighways and bridges traversing the entire country. It has constructed an ultra-high voltage national electricity grid, developed alternative energy sources and deployed internet connectivity throughout the nation.

China has lifted hundreds of millions out of impoverishment and completely eliminated absolute poverty. It now provides adequate housing, education, health care and social security for its population of 1.4 billion people. In fact, it has achieved a moderately prosperous society for the vast majority of its citizens, something that no Western nation can boast.

In addition, China, a nation that has been historically invaded, occupied and plundered by foreign powers both far and near, now stands tall with a national defense force without equal. China's governance system has also shown itself an effective means to frame and implement both short-term responses to emergencies such as COVID-19 and natural disasters such as flooding and earthquakes, as well as long-term social and economic policies such as poverty alleviation and industrial planning. The U.S. has recently failed in all those efforts.

Over the last four decades, while China pulled itself up by its bootstraps, the U.S. went about dismantling its industrial base as its multinational corporations sought to maximize profits by outsourcing production. That, in conjunction with the destruction of the labor movement and deregulation of financial markets led to the growth of explosive economic inequities and a heightening of social and racial tensions.

Faced with a plethora of challenges, can the U.S. achieve success that's on the same level as China's? The Biden administration has already proposed what amounts to an American industrial policy similar to China's plan to secure domestic supply chains and subsidize new emerging high-tech economic sectors with public and private investment. Whether they acknowledge it or not, this is a page right out of China's economic playbook.

Washington has long said it needs to invest trillions of dollars in revitalizing the nation's infrastructure. The U.S. has historically invested public resources into the development of its rail and highway systems, essential components of its prior economic growth and development. Does it have the wherewithal to repeat that success? The dysfunctional political environment in Congress mitigates against it.

Support for free or low-cost universal education, including vocational, college and university, especially in STEM disciplines, as well as low-cost universal health care is another essential ingredient in China's success as it improves its human capital and makes it more competitive. Will the U.S. commit resources to do the same? It has not yet demonstrated the ability to do so.

China's policy of targeted poverty alleviation could also be something worth learning for the U.S. How about reconstructing America's cities by forming urban villages that provide the poor with new modern housing, neighborhood healthcare, social services, high-grade education and more jobs?

And finally, the U.S. has got to realize that it must take care of its own people before it goes around proselytizing its failed system and imposing its will on other people and nations. The money it spends on its bloated military budget and global troop deployments must be redirected towards meeting the needs of its own people.

The U.S. can do all of the above and more, in partnership with, not in opposition to, China. If it chooses to launch a new Cold War, it is bound to fail.

10 854
pnp post time: 2021-03-03 13:52

How many lives lost in China ? How is that local vaccine program coming along?

GhostBuster post time: 2021-02-28 13:08

Over the last two decades, uncle Sam did learn a lot from the Middle Kingdom. Unfortunately I must add.

  In the old days, only people appreciating China bothered to learn Mandarin. However, more recently-the knowledge of being able to converse in mandarin is being weaponized...

   But the fundamental understanding of Chinese Confucianism is still lacking because uncle Sam is too afraid of it.  Afraid because the supremacist terrorist hate group better known as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) founded in 1866 by ex-Confederate soldiers and other Southerners...

  It's all a matter of education...

   Perhaps we'll have to wait for the fire months, somewhere around June  2021 to make uncle Sam understand and to be full aware of something but also of its implications...


The US can learn a thing or two from China on Covid 19 control. While China has mostly controlled the Covid 19, the US, on the other hand, is still struggling with the virus, which to date has claimed more than 500,000 American lives, and still counting!!

GhostBuster post time: 2021-02-28 11:52

 The problem is that China has a legal problem,  finding the lawyers to defend its interests abroad.

Our leadership is fully aware that Beijing is at a disadvantage in international disputes.

  Way too many foreign-related affairs of Chinese companies are handled by   EU and US-based law firms.

  The Middle Kingdom isn't worried about the Wests armies, rather international legal matters. However, it's only a matter of time and the problem will be solved...


gork post time: 2021-02-27 17:06

In US, discrimination is disguised professionally due to laws and regulations.

Unfortunately, the world believes and applies it but in their own countries to help US manages them better without need to meddle with their internal politics.

Moreover there are many who are willing to do free of charge for US remotely and courageously to show full loyalty to US with assumption that US is their master.

This is the real world!


China has a lot to learn from US.

First, US democracy did not bring prosperity but self destruction.

Ancient Chinese tradition and culture will make her strong and viable throughout the times. The West does not know it and will never understand it.

emanreus post time: 2021-02-27 15:21

Indeed! China must and have much to learn from US!

US shows the world its sitting leader of state could destroy and get away free from responsibility.

Trump drove home this message forcefully!

China cannot and will not tolerate this kind of conduct and action. Anyone who commits it will be punished regardless of all explanations however good and imortant.


They're incapable of learning anything. The decline in IQs is already palpable, hence the movie, Idiocracy.

The Biden administration revoked that order last month, however, and made ‘equity’ – equality of outcomes, which requires discrimination against some groups and in favor of others – a cornerstone of its foreign and domestic policies.
- Asian-American civil rights group blasts critical race theory as ‘hateful, divisive fraud’ in fiery letter

This is the insanity of "jewish socialism".

Standards (or lack thereof) are even worse in Poodleville: Exam boards will prepare a series of test papers for every subject, but teachers will be allowed to choose whether or not to use them to inform their predicted grades.

If teachers decide to use the papers, students will not need to take them under exam conditions. Teachers will also have discretion over whether they are taken at home or at school.
. . .
But on Wednesday night, ministers were warned that students faced a "free for all" with grade inflation so rampant as to render results meaningless.
. . .
"It sounds to me like 'have any grades you want' – in effect it will be a free for all," a former chief examiner said. "I genuinely think that students are being sold short. They will be given grades that are so devalued that they are being done a disservice."
- Summer exams to be voluntary sparking fears over repeat of last year's chaos


Standards have also been utterly jettisoned. When I went to UCL, of my class at graduation – which included, incidentally, a future Lord Chief Justice – about 2 per cent obtained a first-class degree and 7 per cent an upper second. The remainder was divided equally between a lower second, a pass and a fail, and in those days if you failed you went straight into National Service. Today, in many institutions, over half of those graduating leave with a first-class degree or upper second.

At one time, I was running Cable & Wireless and I visited Singapore to sign a new mobile contract. Lee Kuan Yew, the Senior Minister, asked to see me and, instead of asking me about the mobile contract, asked me why standards had fallen so much in British universities. He used, he said, to award civil service jobs on the basis of UK degrees. Today, the holder of a first-class degree from, and he named a university out of the Russell Group, is simply unemployable.
- We will never fix universities until we admit that too many people go to them

China still maintains high standards, however: High scorers in the gaokao go to better universities and earn higher wages
- The benefits of acing China’s most important academic exam

tenith post time: 2021-02-27 13:19

re: "Frankly it is not US which needs to learn from China for now. It is China which has much to learn about the US."

 Loud and clear I heard you;  however, I do have difficulty comprehending you.

  Should we have more as your 800 overseas military bases?

  Should we use Nukes like you did in Japan?

  Should we use unmanned drones to eliminate certain people?

  Should we use  money to infiltrate foreign governments governments to carry out regime changes?

  Dozens more questions I could confront you with, we ought to keep posting short but sweet.



Is China sure what it is experiencing now can be maintained?

3 unity programs vital to China:

- Social unity including ethnic unity.

- System unity - administration, security, education, medical, economic, social etc..

- Regional unity.

US is a collection of predatory people. It isn't a nation like China, Russia, France, Serbia, Greece or India etc. where these nations represent a unique culture of its own. Thus US psychology is definitely different every other nation. US, UK and Canada are brought together primarily because of English and territorial proximity. Of course they also touted democracy but a system may or may not necessarily contribute to such proximity.  If English is supplanted then the differences will surface.

For China working harder on its domestic and regional unity is a necessary strategy to keep US at bay. How China then moulds its economic prowess and interact into US and Canada will decide whether there is peace or not. Frankly it is not US which needs to learn from China for now. It is China which has much to learn about the US.