Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
Whether it is planned or a mere coincidence, it was interesting to read the American National Security Strategy issued by the White House in October 2022 and to follow at the same time the speeches and steps taken by the Chinese Communist Party at the 20th Congress convened in Beijing on 16-22 October. Starting from the title, we only read “National Security Strategy” on the American document, while what we read in Beijing’s case stipulates the vision of global partnership in a new era of Global Development.
The US is, or appears to be, concerned about its own security and the security of its allies who share its vision: mainly western countries or satellite states. The way they perceive maintaining this security is to keep the rest of the world either under their hegemony or contained within their borders and never daring to get close to international resources tapped only by the West through its hegemony or occupation of other countries. When it comes to American global priorities, things are defined by outcompeting China and constraining Russia. This explains that the inclusive world and the prosperous world they talked about earlier in the strategy is the world of their coalitions and partners and not the entire human world as we know it.
Here lies the crucial difference between the Western vision presented by the United States and the vision desired by the rest of the world, presented by China and its leader Xi Jinping on more than one occasion. The difference is that the West sees in its partners and subjugates the entire world. They see themselves as the whole world as if other countries, peoples, and visions that do not agree with theirs are non-existent. This is certainly the core of the countries with a colonial mentality that occupied so many countries on earth under the pretext that they are there to civilize them while in fact, they were eroding some of the most ancient and richest civilizations and depriving humanity of a very rich cultural, spiritual, and human heritage.
The core of the American strategy is competition not cooperation, and it is based on dividing the world into democracies and autocracies. Any system that is considered a partner or a friend to Western systems is considered “democratic” and any system that rejects Western hegemony or the western example and decides to build a system based on its own cultural and historical values and civilization is considered “autocratic”. The democratic systems even include well-known autocratic regimes and even racist powers of occupation such as the Zionist entity occupying Palestine.
For those who are happy that this new American strategy stated that “they will not use their army to change regimes or reformulate societies,” I say this was announced in the American strategy in 1997 in a concept paper produced by a number of think tanks titled “A Clean Break; a New Strategy for Conducting the Realm,” but what was the alternative to using American armies in changing political systems? The alternative was “colorful revolutions” led by their allies and partners in the targeted countries. Here is what they state on page 16 of the National Security Strategy October 2022:
“The United States’ unrivaled network of allies and partners protects and advances our interests around the world. Building on this network, we will assemble the strongest possible coalitions to advance and defend a world that is free, open, prosperous, and secure. These coalitions will include all nations that share these objectives.” What they mean here are either partners (though even those like Europe today are paying a heavy price to American hegemony) or satellite states run by their agents who believe in the superiority of the Western Hemisphere.
If we take for the sake of comparison quotes from speeches given by Xi Jinping or strategic plans and visions put for the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party or for the “conference on a New Era of Global Development,” we find that Beijing speaks about a vision that addressed the global community, taking the Chinese experience in eradicating poverty and achieving prosperity for the Chinese people as an example to transcend to other countries across the world that Beijing always refers to as partners and equals in rights and integrity without ever dividing the world into West and East and insinuating the idea of superior and inferior.
Beijing speaks about a truly free world in which there is no place for Apartheid walls and fences built on the confiscated land of the indigenous people; a world imbued with true cooperation among all nations, not a world where a certain number of countries impose random sanctions on other people against all human and international laws; a world based not on division, confrontation, and competition, but a world based on an ancient faith in humanity, all humanity and a real urge to “promote global development and foster a development paradigm featuring benefits for all, balance, coordination, inclusiveness, win-win cooperation and common prosperity; a world that is not based on the vague and strange invention of the phrase “Rules-based Order” that no one knows what it means, but a world in which “the North and the South need to work in the same direction to forge a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership in which no country or individual should be left behind.”
In comparison with Western countries who hastened to send billions of dollars to feed the war in Ukraine, which is destroying the Ukrainian people and posing a real threat to world peace, China has allocated 4 billion dollars to upgrade the South-South cooperation fund and deepen global cooperation on poverty reduction and eradication. The narrative Beijing uses is all-inclusive of every country and of every person in the world, while Western narratives always divide the world into Western, meaning superior, and others, meaning inferior. Xi Jinping is inspired by the Chinese ancient, peaceful, and truly inclusive Chinese civilization where the Chinese adage goes by, “with one heart and one mind, we can accomplish everything we aspire for.” This is exactly what the entire humanity aspires for and badly needs at this dangerous juncture of human history.