Victor C. Ariole
“It is easier to make deals with China than with democrats.”
– Donald Trump
The Champion of the World, USA, is facing distress; and Donald Trump, the President, is expressing it in all manners. The fact remains that China is the greatest worry, notwithstanding the internal squabble with the Democrats led by Nancy Pelossi – another great personality with great zeal to stable the world as a grandmother and quite blissful and agile at 78. Beyond Pelossi’s worry of a president that cares more of building walls to block indirect Chinese flow of smuggled drugs from Mexican borders and human caravan inflow to USA, is the fate of over 800,000 federal workers and their dependants as well as yet to be hit food stampers come February. Come February millions of Americans who live on food stamp will feel the pains of the President’s shutdown and it, ironically, sells Republican Agenda of slim governance and slim government spending as against Democrats’ wish of keeping the poor protected. For 30 days, two pay-checks have been suspended for federal workers. Even as Trump caves in and accepts temporarily the opening of government, February 15 for him to start again is not far. This is where USA is, indeed, a leading country and the champion of democracy; either popular democracy or elite democracy, or even oligarch democracy; and mind you, Donald Trump as “White Supremacy” populist elected President, hold sway for the elitist in both white, brown, black, yellow and whatever colour USA is made of except those who claim to be in the group of the LGBTQ. His Vice President states it as he makes bold to say that core Christian values are his stance and that his wife has right to decide to teach where the LGBTQ people are not welcome. She is now teaching in Washington DC where the school boldly states that LGBTQ is not welcome there.
It seems, also, that those who advocate for core Christian values are strongly behind the President; even his Press Secretary, Sara Sander, Huchabee’s daughter, proves that, as a strong Evangelical who feels that climate change is for a greater being than humans to concern itself with not humans; even when she fails to mention God.
Indeed issues of climate change and NATO consolidation prompted Pelossi’s intended visit to the war zones and NATO headquarters to reassure them of their fate in NATO and commitment to Paris agreement on climate change. The President sees it as unnecessary and as a mere PR intent of Pelossi; hence, he asked her to cancel the trip and stay home for a deal to be struck on wall building against Mexicans. The airforce cover she needed to effect such trip was denied and that is the President’s prerogative.
Between $5.7 billion wall building vote and millions of Americans that must be disenfranchised of their wages and commitment to serve the government, USA is aloof at stating how its, about $30 trillion, debt could be reduced in the face of Chinese challenges; and here is where other groups, the business group, feel that Trump is doing well to confront China for a trade war which by no means USA is set to win as the President tackles key Chinese businesses like tech giant, Huawei, and as he frustrates out the Chinese – American World Bank President by not yielding to supports for investment in charity projects, as American capitalist allies express doubt of their relationship; and Gillian Tett in FT relates it to World Bank’s inability to raise annual $2trillion needed to fund SDG (Sustainable Development Goals).
In marketing, strategy matters; and when the champion feels threatened, extraneous factors are brought to play to muddle up the process so as to give space for re-strategising; and here, Venezuela, Syria, North Korea, Mexico and poor Americans are serving as the pawns while Russia keep-up in its continuous honest nest stirring moves to see how best it could weaken the champion, USA.
It clearly shows in what Davos turned out to be this year as the capitalist nations retreated in their hitherto valuable attendance of setting the capitalist agenda. Watching Richard Quest and Becky Anderson in Davos, where the NATO countries are missing, and the supposed agenda they had to advance, it is clear that the great ideas of Keynes of great power intervention or government intervention to steady or boost economic interest is wanning; and that confusion is about to spread to Brexit, France – German renewed alliance, USA search for Korea – Japanese and Non EU states alliance; all, muddling more the world economic and security waters.
Basically, the expression of the Russian Central Banking guru to Richard Quest for a new digital banking process is the more a strategy confusing interest which Africa must explore. To the Russian guru, the next confusion is the monetary politics and ofcourse, USA is the target.
In all the confusion, Africa has no strategic plan as hunger still bestride its populace and China seems to be its main assumed comforter as it starts writing-off its debt with Cameroun witnessing $78million write-off. And, that is nothing compared to what China has taken from Africa to seek for Helium in the moon as well as enabling its over 400million people to celebrate, joyfully, the Chinese new year that starts in February 5 to last for 15 days as flights of over 2000 criss-cross daily on Chinese skies and bullet trains and vehicles move them about as derivatives of extracted power resources – oil, uranium, cobalt etc – from Africa; no complaint as that is how elite democracy works to empower more people; and that seems to be what is draining Trump as a Republican or as he puts it “white” Nationalist not to mention his support base that believe in white supremacy. No problem if, indeed, it stays benign as against malignant; because the world still need USA to steer the ship as the alternative could be worse.
Ariole is a Professor of French and Francophone Studies, University of Lagos