Monday, July 3, 2017

Make China Great Again

Every Chinese knows the outlines of Chinese history from its founding four thousand years ago as the most advanced civilization in the world, to its decline under Western imperialism in the 19th century, to its rebirth in the late 20th century.

Beginning with paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in the late 1970s, continuing through the presidencies of Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping, China has been transformed from an impoverished, backward nation into a modern economic, military, and political powerhouse.

President Xi does not wear a baseball cap with the words “Make China Great Again” stitched on the front.  But he has a Trumanesque wooden desk sign with the characters “Make China Great Again” carved into it.

Think about it.  President Trump’s keywords are “Make America Great Again,” to fix what ails the United States after the past two presidencies of continuous war, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and subpar growth.  Opposing Trump’s agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, and reducing government intervention in private affairs are all Congressional Democrats, many House and Senate Republicans, establishment Republican politicians who lost to Trump in the primaries and their donors, government bureaucrats, the media, the professoriate, liberal and conservative think tankers, Hollywood, and many foreign leaders who want the United States to pay for their defense and climate agenda.

Now look across the Pacific.  President Xi’s keywords are “Make China Great Again,” to the restoration its dominant historical position in Asia.  Supporting him are tens of millions of Chinese Communist Party members, the People’s Liberation Army, the media, and the vast majority of hard working Chinese people who want a better life for themselves and their families.

The American commentariat is working overtime to explain away and cover up the failures of the past 16 years.  President Trump is working hard to create an environment conducive to sustained higher growth through lower tax rates on firms and individuals, reducing burdensome regulations on economic activity, and limiting the intervention of the federal government in private affairs.  He is running a high hurdle race hoping to get through the first heat in his first two years without tripping over every hurdle.

Meanwhile, President Xi wakes up every morning knowing that he has five more years left in the ten-year term of a Chinese president to “Make China Great Again.”  If all goes as planned, in October 2022 he will hand power and his desk sign to the next decade of Chinese leadership that will strive to "Make China Great Again."

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