Winning Friends and Influencing People __ US vs China

The world is an asylum made up of players and payers. The players are few and insane, but have all the power.

The only payers that resist the players are those that cherish their God-given right to live free.


Foreign policy should be about winning friends and influencing people. .Foreign policy is or should be a tool for major powers to not only develop peaceful relations with other countries but , also, to develop trade relations and open up markets that will allow their economies to grow. This is a very big and important subject that affects all Americans whether they know it or not. For that reason, Asylum will revisit this subject often in the future. Today we will focus our attention on the US and China and explore the differences style and the results for each and we will constrain ourselves to the last twelve years. And, to keep it simple we will look at only  two  regions of the woeld. One region I will call the Muslim States, which for our purposes includes the countries from Afghanistan to the Middle East and North Africa.The other region we will look at is Africa.

The United States of America

US foreign policy since the end of the Second World War can be best describes as an interventionist policy. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, America’s War on Terror has focused our attention on the Muslim State region described aboveI Intervention and war, no matter how justified, is not conducive to winning friends and influencing people.

In response to the 9/11, 2001 terrorist attacks by a small group of Islamic jihadist by the name of al Qaeda operating out of Afghanistan, where they were hosted by the Afghani Taliban was a war that will have lasted 14 years by the time President Obama brings the troops home in 2014. Using drones, this war expanded into Pakistan.

President George W. Bush decided the War on Terror needed to include Iraq. That war lasted ten years

President Obama likes intervention almost as much as his predecessor. Whether the so-called Arab Spring was a spontaneous, as some believe, or instigated by our State Department, as others belive, our foreign policy has been one of support for the Arab Spring. President Obama demanded that Hosni Mubarak step down from power in Egypt and went to war against Libya, along with our NATO allies, to overthrow Gadaffi. Now we are supporting the rebels trying to overthrow President Assad of Syria.

Now our War on Terror is spreading to the northern half of Africa. Obama sent a small contingent of troops to places like South Sudan and the Congo and Uganda. A few weeks ago, it wae announced that we were sending troops to 35 countries in Africa. More recently al Qaeda invaded Mali and the US is playing a supporting role, so far, with France. Out going Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, testified in a Congressional hearing on Benghazi. We learned nothing about Benghazi, but we did hear more about the War on Terror in Africa.

Is the US winning the War on Terror? Well we have killed a lot of bad guys and a lot of innocent people as well. A lot of Americans are dead and a lot our treasure has been spent. But, the War on Terror is spreading and there is no reason to believe it will end any time soon.

But, are we winning friends and influencing people? Well, Iraq is now aligned with Iran. That’s not good. The governments and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan hate the US, except for our handouts of money. As soon as US troops pull out of Afghanistan, the Taliban will return with aid of Pakistan. It seems clear tha the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were prolonged to do what is called “nation building”. What that means is we try to impose our culture on their culture. IT HASN’T WORKED! Our support and intervention in the Arab Spring has not won the US any friends either. Libya has turned into lawless ungovernable place where Islamic jihadists are thriving and training to carry out more jihad, which has already begun in Mali and Algeria. And, Egypt is now governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, a very large and well organized jihadist group. The fixture of Syria appears that it will go the same way. And, we every right to assume that our War on Terror in Africa will be no more successful.


China, as it has been going through its transition from a pure communist state to what is called “state capitalism”. Prior to that China didn’t have much in the way of a foreign policy. They were to busy killing a hundred million  of their people who were slow learners in the ways of Mao. During the transition to State Capitalism, they did nothing to attract any attacks by Islamic jihadist and, therefore, they have had no war on terror.. So, while the US had been busy warming and nation building, China has been busy doing making deals in places that the US has ignored; like South America and Africa.and they are waiting to do the same in the Muslim State region as doon as the US pulls its troops out of Afghanistan. As State Capitalist, China opened their door to foreign invest and acquiring technology by hook or crook. In that way, they have become the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of consumer goods.. To maintain their fast growing economy and to support the needs of their huge population, China has had to look to other parts of the world for the resources they need; such as, oil, coal, natural gas, and various mineral resources. China does not try to export their culture and they don’t demand that the countries where they are doing business meet any Human Rights standards. In other words their foreign policy is cooperation rather than intervention.

China’s foreign policies in Africa are a good model for us to look at, because they have used in South America very successfully and as soon as the US war in Afghanistan is over and the Arab Spring has run its course, they will no doubt apply the same model to that region. If you would, it would be helpful for our discussion if you opened this map of China’s investment in Africa on another page. First note the number of countries the are where they are active and the number of projects (demonstrated by all of the different symbols). Then, on the left, look at what those symbols mean. Much of what China is doing is investing in infrastructure that the host countries need; like water wells, hydroelectric dams, railroads, airports, and sea ports. China also invests in developing natural resources; such, as oil, gas, copper, iron, and other minerals. The host country then repays China with their  resources, instead of money. Where a host country has developed resources, China buys the resource using their  own currency, the Yuan, which the host country can use to buy consumer goods from China..So, in that way, China gets the resources it needs and develops markets for their exports at the same time.

Is China making friends and influencing people? It would certainly seem that they are.

So, while the US is busy making war and enemies, China is busy making trade deal and friends.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?


14 thoughts on “Winning Friends and Influencing People __ US vs China

  1. The sleeping dragon lays in wait. Their view of time is very different than our culture. China will rise again to do battle. This time in a very different form, as you described,

  2. Nation building? Never will work. I am getting more isolationist as I get older. Is that a practical foreign policy? I don’t know.

    As for China, they are many problems, demographic, debt, etc. I wouldn’t count on them to get too powerful. Eventually the Chinese House of Cards will come crumbling down.

    1. I agree, the older I get the more I want to see us pull out of all these countries. We hav our own problems we should be focused on rather than on the problems in other nations.

  3. China has a poor reputation in Africa, and is generally hated, if I can believe what I read. South America is a different story, because they use different tactics there.

    Latin America does an incredibly good job assimilating people. Look at all the people there with Arabic last names whose families haven’t been Muslim in generations. By appearances, the same is happening with Chinese in Panama. The country is absorbing them and turning them into Spanish speakers who adopt the local culture.

    As for Afghanistan, and that whole region, I say we hand it to them and run.

  4. We are witnessing a political and social Paradox. China is discovering how liberating a productive society can be come after it embraces some aspects of Capitalism into its political and foreign policies. America’s government, without objection of a majority of its citizens [a seeming consent of the governed] with a history of embracing free markets, capitalism and individual rights are just as quickly moving away from a proven political system that has provided over two hundred years of security, comfort and accessibility to anything they desired based on their talents, ability, intellect and desire to achieve are now finding themselves working 6 months a year to serve the government instead of having the government serve them by keeping out of their lives unless invited by request or lawless behavior. That’s my worldview of the moment. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the excellent comment, Rick. I am an expat who has lived in Venezuela for the last two decades. It pains me to watch from afar how America is giving up the principles that made it the greatest country on earth. China is a centrally planned economy and will surely fail some day. But, they could teach the US a few things about foreign affairs, it seems to me.

      1. Agreed on all points, but don’t you see China as moving ever so slowly toward a more decentralized economic system; particularly as more companies grow and more individual entrepreneurs grow rich and reinvest those riches helping to develop a China reach the point where it can feed all of its people while doing what it can to stand as an equal among the giants economically, politically and socially [the last being the least important to them at the moment].

      2. In my opinion, Rick, and that is all it is, China will become the dominant economy in the world very soon. However, as they begin addressing their demographic problems, the demands of their growing middle class in the citties, aa wel as, the demands by those living in the rural areas for the things the people in the cities have, and they have horrible environmental problems that must be addressed soon, their competetive advantage will decline over time.. The same could be said about Indua. I do not believe that China will ever become a constitutional republic. The trend that I see for China and all of the major economies, including the US, is a move toward a governmental strucure very similar to fascism or state controlled capitalism. But, like I said, it is only my opinion.

      3. It’s a valid opinion as there is no evidence to dispute your position. At this point, just as throughout most of China’s existence, it remains an enigma and only time will tell what direction economic forces and constituent demands will require. My best to you and yours and thank your putting together such a thoughtful and stimulating posting.

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