China’s Meteoric Rise Towards Global Hegemony and the Decline of the United States
In the shifting balance of global power, the narrative of a rising China juxtaposed against a waning United States has become a focal point of discussion among academics and policymakers alike. Navigating an evolving world order, fraught with military realignments, economic sanction strategies, and political intricacies, the debate opens up on the future direction of dominance in international affairs.
Reassessing Global Dynamics at Havana’s International Gathering
After a ten-year hiatus, an event originally founded in 1999 by Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has reconvened at the Palace of Conventions in Havana. It has brought together researchers and scholars of diverse ideologies, orchestrated by the Association of Economists and Accountants of Cuba along with the Association of Economists of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Sino-American Power Struggle
Salvador Ferrer Ramírez, a professor at the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico and participant in the gathering, points out that the present global scenario is marked by the economic, political, and diplomatic tug-of-war between Washington and Beijing.
The researcher signals the United States’ role in perpetuating a volatile and complex international situation, characterized by rising inequality, poverty, and exploitation of labor. Concurrently, China has pursued an alternative project over the past five or six decades, encompassing production, education, technological developments, and cooperative initiatives.
China’s Leap From Agrarian State to Technological Leader
Ferrer recalls China’s evolution from a technologically backward, agrarian society at the dawn of the 20th century to becoming the world’s second-greatest power. Notably, it eradicated extreme poverty a decade sooner than the United Nations’ proposed timeline and has constructed a vigorous technological apparatus poised to make significant impacts over the coming decades, in addition to advancing an industrial policy.
China’s Economic Ascendancy: A Multisectoral Crisis for Capitalism
Dr. Elaine Valton Legrá, a researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Havana and an economist, underscores the prevalent crisis undermining capitalism. She emphasizes China’s continuous economic growth, powered by its strategies in science, technology, and innovation, especially in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, and aviation technology, which poses a challenge to U.S. global hegemony.
To counter China’s momentum, the White House has imposed economic sanctions and restrictive measures, alongside its support for Taiwan—which most nations regard as a Chinese province. China is seen as a beacon for developing countries, advocating for multilateralism and inclusive, sustainable development, while also strongly positioning itself in the Asia-Pacific arena.
Technology as a Geopolitical Weapon
Technology’s role as an instrument for international power projection and economic and social standing is crucial in the dispute. China’s Belt and Road Initiative particularly symbolizes a threat to U.S. geopolitical and strategic regional dominance, Valton asserts.
The Geopolitical Transition From West to East
Dr. Faustino Covarrubias Gómez, a leading economic scientist at the Center for World Economy Research (CIEM), relates that we are witnessing an eastward shift in geopolitical dominance. This transition features a novel set of dynamics manifest in the technology and trade battles between the United States and China.
He proclaims, “We are in an era of disorder within an almost senile capitalism that musters strength from its remnants.” The United States employs economic sanctions in a sign of decline and weakness, while some nations craft independent solutions, including conducting transactions in their national currencies rather than the U.S. dollar—the mainstay of America’s hegemony along with its military prowess.
Imbalance and the Search for Solutions
Contradictions and rivalries weigh heavily on underdeveloped nations. Thus, an urgent need for inclusive dialogue arises, transcending systems and frameworks to address global human survival.
CIEM advisor José Luis Rodríguez posits China’s capability to contest the economic prowess of the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe. Amid an economic war led by Washington since 2018, a rift between American interests and the European Union’s dependency on China—as well as its need for Russian fuel—has emerged.
Rodríguez highlights that the competition from those in less advantageous positions economically is mounting, leading to increasingly stark disparities between the global south and the developed world.
In response to perceived threats, such as aggression towards Taiwan, the U.S. opts for militaristic pressure. While Beijing avoids provocation, it recognizes the necessity to bolster defense spending—indicated by the $225 billion military budget allocated for 2023—to meet security challenges.
In this intricate and contentious landscape, the central underlying question remains whether an emergent eastern hegemony led by China can establish a new world order that can both coexist with and challenge the existing western-centric paradigm.