In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the whole world and overlapped with the world’s unprecedented changes in a hundred years, promoting the acceleration of changes in the world order, the profound adjustment of the international pattern, and the more complex international environment.
At the end of the year, “Reference News” specially launched the year-end special topic of “Changes and New Situations”, selecting articles from experts, scholars, media and think tanks at home and abroad, reviewing the risks and challenges, opportunities and changes facing the world in the past year, and looking forward to the future world development trend and prospects. Stay tuned!
In early December, the cover of Time magazine in the United States, the black font “2020” was marked with a big red cross, and the words “Worst Year” was written below. The world is experiencing unprecedented changes in a hundred years, and the plague has become a catalyst to intensify the great changes, forcing people to urgently think about where the world is going.
In the epidemic test, “China’s governance” got a high score.
The silence of the novel coronavirus is caught off guard. Wuhan suddenly encountered a disaster, and the whole country rose up to support it. The Chinese people will never forget that on the second day of the Chinese New Year on January 26, a large number of warriors flew to Wuhan in an organized and unheting way and immediately entered a life-and-death battle.
At this moment, foreign countries have sympathetic and worried eyes, as well as gloating and waiting to see China collapse. Some people in the West hope that this is the “China’s Chernobyl moment”, that is, China will collapse as it did after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986.
Days and nights in Wuhan at the beginning of the year will always be engraved in the hearts of the Chinese people. We held on, we won! From the lockdown to the lifting of the blockade, the Chinese nation has shown its strong determination, intelligence, decision-making power and cohesion to the whole world. It is really shocking and crying! The names of Vulcan Mountain and Thor Mountain have become a spiritual symbol.
The epidemic slowed down, and the Chinese people who had no time to breathe a sigh of relief, immediately extended a helping hand to the whole world, not only uploading scriptures online, but also sending medical teams and supplies, including the United States that sent special planes to China to buy masks.
By October, Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, wrote: “A pandemic that is now under control in China is still destroying the economy and citizens of the United States. Alas, we are not what we think we are. The coronavirus, once thought to be China’s Chernobyl, turned out to look more like Waterloo in the West.” America is not what Americans think, nor does many people who are used to looking up to it think.
John Micklethwaite, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, said that the heyday of the West was in the 1960s, “when the United States was busy sending people to the moon, and millions of Chinese people were struggling to feed and clothing. That was the last time three-quarters of Americans trusted their government.”
Adrian Wooldridge, political editor of The Economist, said that today’s world is turning “a great reversal of history that began 500 years ago, when China was also far ahead in the world economy – accounting for a quarter of the world economy and the most mature government at that time. We forgot these things, but China didn’t. Asia may regain its status 500 years ago – this year may be a critical year – unless the Western countries wake up.”
Many distressed Americans sighed: “We can’t even wear masks together!” Health experts clearly tell everyone that wearing masks can save lives. I protect you, you protect me. It’s extremely simple, but you can’t do it!
Although the virus is poisonous, it is also fair. It has brought the institutions and cultures of various countries to participate in a “big test”. Is it accidental that China has achieved an admirable high score in the first examination, although it cannot be said to have a full score, and now it has become the safest and fastest-recovering country in the world?” “China’s governance” has become a hot topic in the world.
The United States has always claimed to be the most civilized and perfect country in the world. After World War II, it will bring its democracy, ideology and so-called “American way of life” to the world. But when the virus comes, it forcibly turns a scientific response into a political issue of partisanship, and even wearing masks is linked to “political correctness”.
The medical sciences and institutions in the United States are the most developed in the world. If properly managed, how can it get to this point? Now more than 200,000 people in the United States are infected with the novel coronavirus a day. What is human rights?
Trump is not the only one in the chaos in the United States.
It’s almost four years since Trump came to power, and this year is another election year. In the face of the coronavirus, there is a clever trick in the Republican campaign “secret”: if anyone mentions the epidemic, immediately turn to scold China.
Trump called the virus “Chinese virus”, as if as long as he scolds China, the problems of the United States will be solved.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami commented on Trump: “In less than four years, he has done what only a devastating war in history can do: reshaping global order.
Relying on isolationism, do whatever he wants and complete capriciousness, he happily picked up a sledgehammer and hit the international system and multilateral organizations that his predecessors had established and maintained on the ruins of World War II.
For the reason, Bloomberg News’s November 8 op-ed said: “Once a long-term political order loses credibility and legitimacy in the hearts of a considerable number of the people, it will be difficult for the country to escape from clown-style political incitement. The United States reached this deadly point back in 2016.
What’s wrong with the United States? We can see a general idea from the voting situation in this year’s general election.
Most of the economically developed areas on the east and west coasts of the United States (mainly financial industry and high-tech enterprises) voted for Democratic Biden, while rural areas in the south-central region and the so-called “industrial rust belt” mostly voted for Republican Trump. Some people describe this as “country people” who oppose “city people” and fight unprecedentedly.
“Country people” scold the elites in the city for “democracy, freedom and human rights” and master Wall Street and Silicon Valley for making windfalls.
The “globalization” they advocated hollowed out American industry and made white blue-collar workers who were still middle class unemployed, while the top rich, who accounted for only 1% of the population, owned most of the country’s wealth. Production. This is why the Occupy Wall Street movement broke out in 2011.
The Guardian website said in an article entitled “The United States is a failed country, and the established political system cannot solve the crisis”. “In the most powerful country on earth, 29.3 million people say that they ‘sometimes’ or ‘often’ can’t have enough food.
According to the United Nations, 40 million people in the United States live in poverty and half a million people are homeless. All this was true before the economic recession caused by the epidemic hit the whole board.”
In such an environment, the United States has become an “angry country”. The rage sometimes burns to immigrants and sometimes explodes among people of color. The calls of “black people’s life is also life” and “I can’t breathe” are the eruptions of this anger.
Behind all this, there is a deep anxiety among white people about their near-becoming a “minority” in the United States, which has triggered a social trend of destroying statues of white slave owners in many places this year.
It was such a restless public opinion that Trump took power. “Country people” had high hopes for him that such a rude and unconventional millionaire could really make America “great again”, so that he could have a job and a better life. Who would I have thought that this Xiaoxiong, who is good at surfing the sea, only knows how to “build walls”, “retreat” and sanctions, but does not know how to reform and build.
In the face of the coronavirus, he is even more desolate and at a loss, putting profits and partisan interests in front of epidemic prevention, making the United States encounter Waterloo.
But even so, Biden and Trump are not much different from the votes now, and the Democratic Party’s seats in the House of Representatives have decreased. Therefore, public opinion believes that “the anti-establishment politics brought by Trump are undoubtedly gaining long-term vitality in American politics and society.” If Biden becomes president, it is clear that he will govern a Trump America, which ignores the call for unity and friendship, but is determined to fall deeper into mutual hostility.” American society has been torn apart.
With the acceleration of change, where will the world go?
Americans are also reflecting on today’s chaos. Thomas Friedman wrote: “In a way, this is due to our unique culture of individualism, the highly dispersed local-state-federal decentralization system, the fragile public health system and divided political bodies, and the business model…” For international relations, Nial, a senior researcher at Stanford University, wrote Thomas Friedman.
Ferguson wrote: “As Kissinger said, the reason for promoting detente is that the world is increasingly interdependent. Now this view is more convincing. The pandemic has prompted a very deep interdependence between us and the impossible existence of a world order based on ‘all for one’.”
The world has changed, but it is difficult for the Western powers to admit it. In a recent speech in London, former British Prime Minister John Major reminded politicians not to forget that it is time to wake up.
He said, “We are no longer a big country, and we will never be again.” However, there are still many people in Britain who want to relive the dream of “sunless empire” after Brexit, and even send aircraft carriers to the South China Sea to travel. Is this still the era when gunboats can intimidate others with a few guns? Similarly, there are also some people in the United States who want to relive the dream of the Cold War and defeat China with the “new cold war”.
The world is changing, and it is also reflected in the back waves of generations. The “baby boom” generation appeared in the United States after World War II, and these people are now basically retired. By the 1960s, the United States had an “anti-Vietnam War” generation, and also the so-called “beat generation”, with drug abuse, sexual openness and hippies as their labels.
By the 1980s, they grew up “millennials” (born after 1980 and coming of age in the new century). David Howell, a member of the British House of Lords, said: “They said they are losing confidence in democracy. … skepticism also seems to extend to capitalism—especially when they feel increasing inequality and the obvious concentration of wealth in the hands of a smaller group.”
Now Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010) has come to the stage of life again. They were born in the Internet era and are known as “Digital Natives”. They had little impression of both the Cold War and 9/11, with 70% saying that “the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan were a waste of time, lives and taxpayers’ money”.
Trying to force them to believe that “the United States must form a united international anti-China group is not feasible. They have little interest in dividing up the world or forcing allies to choose sides. On the contrary, they are very interested in socialism.
At a recent symposium in the Wall Street Journal, the speaker said: “A 30-year-old Chinese has experienced a 31-fold increase in per capita GDP since birth, compared with an American born in 1990 has experienced a three-fold increase in per capita GDP.” Some people in the United States observed that Trump’s practice of “demonizing China” has “great relevance to why the younger generation of China is more patriotic and less fond of democracy and values in the West”.
However, in Asia, the Communist Party of China did not follow the Soviet Union’s old path. On the contrary, it now controls the world’s second largest economy, maintains a high degree of internal legitimacy, and manages a country closely linked to the rest of the world.” The CCP also proved that economic and geopolitical success does not require following the liberal model.”
Looking back on the road taken by the People’s Republic of China, the ups and downs are by no means smooth sailing. In the 1950s, we once thought the Soviet Union was heaven, which proved wrong. After the reform and opening up, many people thought that the United States was heaven, and now fewer and fewer people believed it.
We also passionately wanted to “run into communism”, and paid a heavy price. We are exploring a road that has never been walked by predecessors to seek the self-emancipation of mankind. Now it can be said that we are getting better and getting more confident. Regarding Sino-US relations, our attitude has always been very clear: win-win cooperation, common future, and build a community of human destiny.