By Liu Zhiqin Source: Global Times Published: 2019-8-26
What will the world be like without the US? So far no think tank has touched this topic and no one has been seriously considering it. However, it is a question which calls for attention and in-depth study. It will be a big challenge, but one that is unavoidable.
First, we need to clarify what the US has brought to the world. What has it created for people around the world?
That the US is a great nation is clear; it has made tremendous contributions to human civilization. Most Chinese people's knowledge of the US is based on World War II. During this war, the strong will and dedicated spirit the US demonstrated were among the driving forces that ended World War II. The technology development on the US side also helped lead the war to a just end. People around the world have thereby gotten to know the US. Together with the Soviet Union, China and other countries, the US contributed to the victory of World War II.
China has a proverb that says anything will reverse its course once it reaches an extreme. This philosophy is applicable to the US as well: When the US developed into its prime, reaching a tipping point, it started to fall to the opposite side. It's like playing racket ball - hitting the wall and bouncing back. The harder you strike the ball, the stronger its rebound.
However, it seems that the US does not understand, or ignores, this logic. When it proceeds arbitrarily and willfully, the US often finds itself encountering equivalent resistance.
After World War II, the world witnessed US technology development making great contributions. People around the world enjoyed and were awed by the US' then-leading technologies, and they also realizes the US' strength in technological research and development.
However, the same logic as before also applies to the technology field. As technology development in the US reaches its peak, the US has forgotten why they began in this field in the first place. The US has turned the technologies it invented into instruments to rule the world; it has weaponized technology. It has utilized advanced technology to spy on its people, to intervene in other countries' domestic affairs and to punish countries who do not follow its orders.
Despite the contributions the US has made to the world, it has also dealt the same amount of damage. It will be a long and painful process for those who once blindly admired the US to gradually become able to analyze it objectively. After comparison and examination, the truth is: while the US can create social progression, it is at the same time an agitator.
It appears that even if the US continues to advance its technology, whatever is created will not be shared with the world, but instead will be reserved for US use. In the future, the US will no longer be a land of innovation that is open, inclusive and diverse.
Some may worry that the world will become insecure and fall into turmoil without the US. Others believe that the US is at once the world's anchor and the source of its unrest. A world without the US can be more easily managed and harmonious.
Thus far, the world has started to contemplate how can we survive or live better if there is no United States of America. This has become a pressing question. Even the US' traditional allies, including Germany, France and Japan, have been preparing for the depletion and decay of the US. What will follow is an era in which countries cooperate and collaborate to overcome any difficulties that may arise.
In fact, what the world needs is a new US - a country without prejudice and ruthlessness, a country that consistently acts on its word, and a country that respects others. The world will be fortunate if the US can become this country.
The US is now accustomed to giving orders. Pushing the US to redefine its role on the international stage will not be an easy task. It is only through open and fair dialogue that the US can achieve necessary transformation.
The US should understand that it is facing an unprecedented crisis. If it doesn't initiate a change soon, the country will be left behind in the wake of new, global trends. It will be too late by then.
The world cannot go on without the US, but it is a new US that is needed. By dividing the world, the US will be unable to sustain itself.
The author is a senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.