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A Prophetic Pivot?

By: Cielito F. Habito, PhD
President Duterte’s pivot to China may have been prophetic. At the rate things are going, one is easily led to think that America is doing the wrong things while China is doing things right, and that a reversal of global roles for the two may be in the offing. Many see America to be wittingly or unwittingly yielding economic and political domination in the Asian region, and possibly in the global arena as well, to China. Two recent speeches delivered three days apart — by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Jan. 17 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and by US President Donald Trump on Jan. 20 at his inauguration in Washington, DC — signal what sounds like an impending dramatic reversal of roles between the countries they lead.
Consider what Xi said: “China’s outstanding development achievements and the vastly improved living standards of the Chinese people are a blessing to both China and the world. China’s development is an opportunity for the world; it has not only benefited from economic globalization but also contributed to it. China’s remarkable achievement in poverty reduction has contributed to more inclusive global growth. And China’s continuous progress in reform and opening-up has lent much momentum to an open world economy. We applaud the achievements made by others and wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others’ success; and we will not complain about others who have benefited so much from the great opportunities presented by China’s development.”
In stark contrast, Trump’s inaugural (as well as campaign) rhetoric claims: “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”
Read the full article at http://opinion.inquirer.net/101453/a-prophetic-pivot