CanChinabecome agloballeader?

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Special Article
ABDUL SATTAR

THE Western capitalist world seems to have failed on all fronts.The recentCo- rona outbreak has proved that it does not have enough capacity to grapple with the situation arising out of the cri- sis. Italy,Germany, France,the US, the UK and a number of other states championing the cause of unbridled free market economy are scrambling around the ways to deal with a health catastrophe that has befallen upon humanity. Only nonwestern South Korea and Japan managed to deal with the outbreak in an effective way to some extent. The callousness of this system is more visible in the US than any part of of the earth. Millions of Americans could not be tested for Corona or looked after because of greedy insurance companies and mandarins of the corporate world who do not want to address the crisis but are interested in devising ways to make money out of this outbreak. The most powerful country on the earth that is brimming with missiles, nuclear bombs and other lethal arms could not come up with a vaccine to stamp out the disease. The war-mongers sitting in power corridors of Washington are not opening up their treasure to help millions of poor Americans who may be hit hard by the outbreak. They have pumped over three trillion dollars into wars of Iraq andAfghanistan that gave nothing to the invaded states but death and destruction. This is the story of a country that contributed more than 40 percent of the world’s GDPin 1945 and still contributing 25 percent to globe’s GDP. It has the largest number of the super rich in the world and close to half of the top 500 companies are from the land of freedom but despite all that it miserably failed in tackling Corona. President Donald Trump first kept on dismissing the pleas of health experts who asked him to takeit seriously andlatertheincumbent of Oval Office tried to give it a racist colour by calling it a Chinese Corona. But such attitude added to the woes of Americans. Thousands ofthem have beentested positive while over 100 have also losttheirlives. UnliketheWest and America China dealt with the crisis in an effective manner. It is true that the country did not make hectic efforts in the beginning fearing it could create panic which would not only affect China but the entire world. Beijing is a crucial part of the world’s supply chain. It is one of the biggest producers, consumers and importers of various commodities. So, in the beginning it moved cautiously and slowly but once the scale of outbreak was clear, it sprang into action taking drastic measures to first contain the virus and later eliminating it from several parts of the country. Even Wuhan that was epicentre of the infection is more or less purged of the disease. Beijing has now extended a helping hand to other states providing free kits to Pakistan, Italy and several other countries. Unlike western capitalists, Chinese business tycoon JackMa has donated generously so that millions of Corona kits could be provided to the affected countries. Chinese health experts are also offering help and succour to any country that may be willing to avail this assistance. The US and other Western countries should not exploit this issue for political reasons and should rather accept the generous help that the Communist country has offered in battling this global outbreak. This all shows that the Socialist country has the capacity to be a global leader but the question is: What type of leadership could it offer? Will this leadership be good for humanity?What will Beijing have to do to attain this global role? These are some of the questions that need a bit discussion. When the global leadership fell into the hands of the US after the World War Two, it handled it in a responsible manner at some places. It played an important part in the reconstruction of western countries and Japan pumping billions of dollars under Marshall Plan but in the third world countries its policies wrecked havoc with their economies and societies. Most of the American dollars that landed in the developing states, ended up in the hands of dictators who brutally crushed their own people. The most democratic country on Earth was also accused of toppling elected governments in Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Indonesia and several other countries of the global south. If China really wants to be the leader of the world, the first thing that it needs to do is to help the world in general and developing states in particular tide over Corona outbreak. It should collaborate with other countries in scientific fields to develop vaccine not only for Corona but other incurable diseases as well. If the West is reluctant in such collaboration, Beijing should train scientists of the countries like Cuba which has almost 100 percent literacy but lacks resources to do research on medicines and other fields. The giant Communist country should also help the global south stamp out measles and other diseases that can be eliminated with concerted efforts. The second largest economy has suffered a lot financially because of the crisis but the dire situation would also create investment opportunities for the economic giant. Beijing should give preference to third world countries in matter of investment. It is true that China is surrounded by a number of hostile states but if it really wants to be different from the US, it must launch a global campaign for denuclearization and disarmament of the world. The world needs a leader that can purge it of lethal arms that are not leading to death and destruction but also causing the squandering of precious resources which could be diverted to human development like health and education. The EU, Russia and other global powers should be consulted on this issue because Beijing cannot do it alone. The success of such campaign will greatly help the socialist country become a global leader. —The writer is freelance columnist