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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Anti-globalization policies continue


Will China rise as the global hegemon?

In the most recent twist to the immigration saga that continues to politically and culturally divide the United States, President Donald Trump took to the cameras on March 29 in Lake Okeechobee, Florida, affirming that his administration is cutting funding for the South American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

This move to slash more than $500 million in aid to these Northern Triangle countries highlights the Trump administration’s overarching political agenda: “America First.”

However, in time this decision will weaken America’s power on the global stage relative to our international rivals such as China.

Before continuing, it deserves note that the immigration crisis itself is a global humanitarian crisis with severe societal consequences. However, the purpose of this piece diverts from the typical emotional appeal of the immigration debate and rather focuses on the threat that this decision will cause in terms of a global hegemonic imbalance.

At the end of World War II, the U.S. emerged as the economic and therefore political superpower of the world. Although the Soviet Union presented a formidable threat throughout the Cold War, the U.S. has consistently remained unchallenged in its position of global dominance.

It is not a coincidence that the degree of global power and prestige of the U.S. correlates to the extent in which the nation interweaves itself within and among the political, economic, social and cultural interactions of other nations.

Therefore, one should be alarmed when our president boldly and sporadically announces that the U.S. will be withdrawing economic support from three of our Latin American neighbors.

This façade of “America First” is nothing more than a rally cry for voter support. In reality, it puts America last.

As the Trump administration continues to isolate the U.S. from nations with which we have interacted for decades, the potential for aggressive and tactful nations, such as China, to extend their spheres of influence to our backyard is tremendous.

The Chinese government under the leadership of President Xi Jinping announced an infrastructure development strategy called the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013. The goal of this venture is to enhance meaningful cooperation and foster cultural relationships with other nations in hopes of driving economic development.

This plan will enhance the economies of the nations that choose to subscribe to forging economic relations with one of the world’s strongest economies. Implicitly, it primarily benefits China due to the emerging necessity of its economic might that this plan imposes on other nations.

Currently, over 60 nations spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America have signed on to this agenda. China spends over $150 billion per year in order to sustain this pact.

With the U.S. announcing its plans to suspend funding to some of its Latin American counterparts, there is no reason why China would not extend financial support to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in response.

After all, if China is spending $150 billion per year on the Belt and Road Initiative, $500 million to Latin American states is a relatively small amount of money for such a strategic move.

At the root of the current U.S. administration’s problems, which is usually overshadowed by divisive and blustery rhetoric, is the turn towards isolationism and a fear of globalization.

The world will forever be interconnected through culture, trade and history. Regardless of whether the U.S. continues on this isolationist track or not, the other nations of the world will continue to interact with and depend on each other.

The main difference is that the hegemonic stronghold that the U.S. has maintained since the end of World War II will cease to exist, and China will take center stage. It is evident that this transformation from superpower to regular power is already commencing.

Over the summer in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin embarrassed the U.S. on the global stage with his political finesse. The Kim Jong-un regime in North Korea has mocked the current administration with its increasing nuclear proliferation, despite calls for it to stop.

For better or for worse, countries are not afraid of the U.S., and countries will not blindly adhere to its demands.

With the sun setting on the American-led world, other powers with vastly different agendas relative to that of the U.S. are griping for global dominance, and the Trump administration is clearing the way for such action by blindly shooting itself in the foot with its anti-globalization policy blunders.

Pulling aid from the Northern Triangle nations is simply just another step in fueling our rivals’ aggressions.

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