Humanity will emerge stronger from the pandemic if it works together, respecting the differences between countries without ideological prejudices and promoting multilateralism as opposed to the “arrogant isolation” which leads to a new cold war.
After all, we only have one planet Earth and a common future.
Historically, such words would have suited a US president like John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his famous 1963 Washington speech. On Monday (25), however, they left the mouth of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He spoke by video at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), which is in virtual mode in this issue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
His speech was a continuation of the historic first speech he gave at the event, a kind of gathering of those who matter in global economic policy. In 2017, Xi was the head of the communist dictatorship for five years and made a strong case for globalization and free trade, while strengthening his autocratic yoke.
It was the start of the era of Donald Trump in the United States, the dominant power threatened by the rise of Chinese power. The legacy of belligerency of the president who stepped down last week was shattered by Xi in Monday’s speech.
Under Trump, the United States created a Cold War 2.0 with the Chinese in areas ranging from 5G technology and domination of the South China Sea, to Hong Kong autonomy and trade disputes.
“Each country is unique and none is superior to another. There is no human civilization without diversity, our differences are as old as human societies,” said the Chinese.
For him, “arrogance and hatred are alarming”. “Sanctions, isolation, a new cold war have only led to confrontation,” he said, listing the usual menu of American and Western allies against his adversaries.
Obviously, Xi didn’t name the United States by name, but his speech was aimed at Joe Biden, the Democrat who took over the seat from Republican Trump last week.
The Chinese know that Biden doesn’t exactly have much leeway to exit the predecessor’s policy of confrontation with China. New US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that he sees the Asian dictatorship as his country’s main rival.
Xi played music for the apologists for globalization. He said only “win-win games” would take humanity out of the Covid-19 pandemic and he tried to set an optimistic tone – the pandemic has emerged in his country and has been largely controlled, despite a few recent outbreaks virus.
He outlined four priorities for the world to emerge from the crisis: macroeconomic coordination, cooperation without prejudice, reducing the North-South divide in the economy and global unity against threats such as Covid-19.
“The divide is perpetuated with the pandemic, global economic governance is needed,” Xi said. For him, there is no way out of multilateralism. “No global problem can be solved by one country,” he said.
Xi argued that the G20, the group of the world’s most developed economies, must be strengthened as the main global forum, and that international law under the United Nations mandate must be sovereign.
“Without it, it’s the law of the jungle, with devastating consequences,” the Chinese said.
With this, the Chinese are asserting themselves as the main defender of globalization and multilateral instruments of conflict resolution in the world. This is again an obvious irony, given that it was always the foundation of the West before the totalitarian communist societies of the Soviet Union and China.
The difference, also evident, is that Beijing embraced capitalism in the late 1970s, in a transmutation that created the world’s second largest economy without abandoning the dictatorial regime in politics.
Comes the part of Xi’s speech about respecting the way each country governs itself. “We came to a society [na China] moderately prosperous. We are a modern socialist country, ”he said, defending inclusive policies.
A critical observer will note that the Chinese leader’s speech does not exactly apply to his country’s Uyghur Muslim minority, which earned him a serious accusation of genocide by Trump on the last day of the US mandate.
Or even the harsh crackdown employed by Beijing against pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong, the citadel of a hybrid regime that seems doomed to become a big Chinese city like Shanghai.
It is necessary, Xi said, “to avoid meddling in the affairs of other countries.” Clearer message to Biden, impossible.
Such a contradiction is a courtesy of our time, in which an American president has spent four years defending virulent isolationism. “Inter-state relations must be regulated,” Xi said, denying “showing muscles or clenching big fists.”
For Xi, who in 2019 obtained the right to remain indefinitely as secretary general of the Communist Party of China and therefore head of the country, the pandemic is an opportunity.
“We cannot reject the changes. This is the biggest transformation in a century,” he said, listing China’s cooperation measures in the field of vaccines. Coronavac, currently applied in Brazil, was created in Beijing, and the country is facing problems receiving inputs to formulate more immunizing agents from China.
Xi called for the strengthening of entities such as the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.
“It is of no use to anyone using the pandemic to reverse globalization. China will continue to open up and keep global supply chains open,” he said of a problem that hit the country at the start of the health crisis.
Since no politically correct and up-to-date speech would be complete without reference to the environment, Xi pledged sustainable development and a carbon-neutral economy in China until 2060. “
“It is in everyone’s interest. China will do the job,” he said, pleading for greater South-South cooperation to “eradicate poverty.” In his JFK moment, who nearly 60 years ago said that “we breathe the same air,” Xi said, “We have only one earth, a shared future for humanity. the hand”.