^

Opinion

A bipolar world

VIRTUAL REALITY - Tony Lopez - The Philippine Star

We now live in a bipolar world.

The world has been split into two factions or two superpower groupings.

The first is led by the United States.  Its allies are the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries, which means mainly Western Europe. Plus, in Asia, Japan, Australia and the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), whose two largest members (in population) are Indonesia and the Philippines.

The other bloc, which is equally powerful, if not more so, is led by China and Russia. Their allies include Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Brazil, to name some heavy hitter countries.

The rise of China and Russia means the US is no longer the world’s only superpower. America’s over three decades of hegemony, it seems, is about to end, if it has not yet ended.

The US still remains as the world’s largest economy, with $20.89 trillion worth of GDP (gross domestic production). China is still a poor second, with $14.72 trillion.

But in terms of what the dollar can buy in local goods (what is called purchasing power parity), China is far ahead of the US in GDP, $30.07 trillion vs. $25.04 trillion. Russia has a GDP of $2.133 trillion in nominal dollars, and $3.939 trillion in PPP dollars (9th largest). China and Russia are detaching themselves from the SWIFT global banking.

In terms of nuclear warheads, Russia is No. 1, with 5,977; US is No. 2 with 5,428. China is a poor third, with 350.

In effect, you have the guy with the most money, China, being barkada with the guy with the most guns, Russia.  And China and Russia have said their friendship has no limits. Money and nukes, well, that’s a formidable and dangerous combination. No wonder the two guys are in a bullish mood – they want to conquer the world.

Thirty-two years after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991and 23 years after globalization came in full swing, the US is no longer the lone superpower.

The collapse of the Soviet Union meant we have a richer, stronger and more ruthless Russia. Globalization meant we have a richer, bigger, more overarching or hegemonic China.

The taciturn men of Beijing have their mouths water at the possibility of conquering the entire Asia, not just the South China Sea. By the way, 77 percent of Russian territory is in Asia; Russia is only 23 percent Europe in terms of land mass. China and Russia have 26.685 million sq kms of land together (5.2 percent of the world), and combined population of 1.5 billion (19 percent of the world).

China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 integrated its economy into the international trading system (marked by falling tariff rates) and made it the manufacturing hub of the world and the largest exporter, beating Germany.

The US and the rest of the Western world poured billions of investments into China, which enabled the latter to rescue 600 million from poverty.

In 2016, total foreign direct investments in the US was $471.79 billion, 3.5 times those in China, $133.71 billion. In 2020, amid the pandemic, China became the No. 1 destination for foreign investments, with $163 billion, toppling long-time champion US to No. 2, with $134 billion.

Incensed by the reversal in investment fortunes, then president Trump encouraged US companies to leave China and return to the US.  Invoking national security, he gave notice to Chinese investors their acquisitions in the US would face new scrutiny. Notice the current travails TikTok has in the US.

Citing UNCTAD 2020 numbers, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2021:

“East Asia attracted a third of all foreign investment globally, its largest share since records began in the 1980s. India saw a 13 percent increase, driven largely by rising demand for digital services. In the West, the European Union suffered a 71 percent drop. The UK and Italy, which have suffered high mortality rates and deep economic contractions, attracted no new investment. Germany, which has fared better on both counts, saw a 61 percent drop.”

China plans to integrate Taiwan with the mainland, by hook or by crook. “We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary,” President Xi said last October.

The US has warned China against invading Taiwan. To backstop that warning, the US has scaled force and base buildup in Asia. In the Philippines, the US will likely get four more virtual bases (to nine) in which to park its armaments and station its troops. Just in case. The US and the United Kingdom are also arming Australia with nukes.

*      *      *

Today, March 28, I would like to congratulate:

• Benny Ricafort, 85, and Nona Ricafort, 80, as they mark their diamond or 75th wedding anniversary. They will have an enchanting Bohemian evening at the Valle Verde 4 Clubhouse in Pasig, with relatives, friends and the powers-that-be.

Benny is a long-time businessman and former CEO of Clark Development Corp. Nona is an educator (she is a former education undersecretary), a social entrepreneur and a global peacemaker.

• Retired Marine Colonel Ariel O. Querubin, who is celebrating his birthday tonight at the Tejeros Hall, AFPCOC, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Ariel was awarded “Cavalier of the Year” by his alma mater, the Philippine Military Academy. PMA’s highest award on its alumni was bestowed on him by no less than the commander-in-chief, President Marcos Jr., his “mistah” (classmate), recently at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City.

Ariel is the most be-medaled Filipino soldier. His Cavalier Award is for bravery, loyalty and integrity, both in the military and private sector service.

*      *      *

Email: [email protected]

BIPOLAR

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Latest
priority latest
Array
(
)
latest
Array
(
    [0] => Array
        (
            [ArticleID] => 2271332
            [Title] => EDITORIAL - Health specialty centers
            [Summary] => On paper, the proposal looks terrific: 231 medical specialty centers to be established, with at least one in every region over the next five years. This plan is embodied in the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which both chambers of Congress have passed and now awaits the signature of President Marcos.
            [DatePublished] => 2023-06-04 00:00:00
            [isSticky] => 0
            [Focus] => 1
            [PostType] => Standard
            [ColumnID] => 0
            [Alias] => 
            [AuthorID] => 
            [AuthorName] => 
            [SectionName] => Opinion
            [SectionUrl] => opinion
            [URL] => https://media.philstar.com/photos/2023/05/30/editorialdefault-1_2023-05-30_13-49-27_thumbnail.jpg
        )

    [1] => Array
        (
            [ArticleID] => 2271330
            [Title] => Biden: ‘It’s never a good bet to bet against America’
            [Summary] => The United States averted an unprecedented crisis after the US Senate passed on Thursday the “Fiscal Responsibility Act” that suspended the debt ceiling to 2025, a day after the House of Representatives passed the measure.
            [DatePublished] => 2023-06-04 00:00:00
            [isSticky] => 0
            [Focus] => 1
            [PostType] => Standard
            [ColumnID] => 136463
            [Alias] => 
            [AuthorID] => 1806590
            [AuthorName] => Ambassador B. Romualdez
            [SectionName] => Opinion
            [SectionUrl] => opinion
            [URL] => 
        )

    [2] => Array
        (
            [ArticleID] => 2271327
            [Title] => On ‘Succession’ and dysfunction
            [Summary] => It was a wild roller-coaster ride – entertaining and horrifying; dark and poignant; tragic and hilarious all the way to the end, and because of it, I was glued to the series, along with the rest of its millions of viewers.
            [DatePublished] => 2023-06-04 00:00:00
            [isSticky] => 0
            [Focus] => 1
            [PostType] => Standard
            [ColumnID] => 136412
            [Alias] => 
            [AuthorID] => 1804708
            [AuthorName] => Iris Gonzales
            [SectionName] => Opinion
            [SectionUrl] => opinion
            [URL] => 
        )

    [3] => Array
        (
            [ArticleID] => 2271323
            [Title] => Much ado about ChatGPT
            [Summary] => My column on artificial intelligence, including ChatGPT, elicited many comments. One of the most interesting was from my son, Roel S.R. Cruz, a creative writing mentor, an unlikely pioneer in ChatGPT technology. His response:
            [DatePublished] => 2023-06-04 00:00:00
            [isSticky] => 0
            [Focus] => 1
            [PostType] => Standard
            [ColumnID] => 133740
            [Alias] => 
            [AuthorID] => 1302661
            [AuthorName] => Elfren S. Cruz
            [SectionName] => Opinion
            [SectionUrl] => opinion
            [URL] => 
        )

    [4] => Array
        (
            [ArticleID] => 2271320
            [Title] => Philippine tourism: Wrong choice of constituency
            [Summary] => Who is the DOT supposed to serve? If your answer is “tourists,” you are wrong. The reason we want tourism is because it provides 15 percent of all employment, purchases goods and services from many other Filipino businesses and pays tons of taxes. Who does all this employing, purchasing and taxpaying?
            [DatePublished] => 2023-06-04 00:00:00
            [isSticky] => 0
            [Focus] => 1
            [PostType] => Standard
            [ColumnID] => 136581
            [Alias] => 
            [AuthorID] => 1807716
            [AuthorName] => J. Manuel González
            [SectionName] => Opinion
            [SectionUrl] => opinion
            [URL] => 
        )

)
abtest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with