by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Bashing the Americans is not uncommon.  The modern Roman Empire has historically been the repeated object of criticism. Now however the preferred attack is upon the Chinese, the world’s rising Agamemnon.  It is unavoidable to make a comparison of the two cultures.  The exploitation of resources and energy is shared ground, involving the control of foreign assets and commodities.  But the Chinese have infamously exceeded the boundaries of acceptability in some instances.  The Chinese are for example very big in Africa where it appears they are handily taking advantage of what are largely uneducated and impoverished people.  Africa, pay-offs and corruption seemingly go hand-in-hand, much as the Chinese citizens are now discovering about their own billionaire politicians. As one example of their treachery in South Africa, the Chinese are routinely killing elephants for their ivory. It is speculated that by 2015 the elephant population will be effectively eliminated.  The Chinese are capitalizing upon the need of the desperately poor people in Africa to risk their lives to provide this “treasure“ to the rapacious Chinese.  The authorities police the poaching, but they have an unbelievably difficult job of it and they too – like the poachers – risk being shot on sight.  Similarly why do the Chinese scandalously thrive upon weird medicinal remedies and exotic foods that involve the death or mutilation of harmless creatures?

The Chinese are increasingly rich.  They own tons of debt from North America.  Greedy Wall Street banks have sold their debt to the Chinese who have no intention of compromising it.  America has encumbered itself for generations and relief from foreclosure has no appeal to the sometimes sinister Chinese businessman.

But the most disturbing fact about the Chinese is that they have billions of people who are clawing their way to the top.  In the scramble, matters of energy or conservation have little meaning to them.  They are intoxicated by their new-found prosperity and acquisitiveness, having turned their backs upon their erstwhile rural employments.  And what is more central is that China hasn’t the resources to support its own population so it is exporting its people to other countries.  In return for capital and weapons (and cheap Chinese toys and goods), the Chinese are bringing home essential resources like oil and timber, in many cases hinting at massive deforestation.  All this on the backs of an underpaid local population which is at times excluded from the Chinese gated communities.

Granted there is some satisfaction in blaming the Chinese for all that is wrong in the United States of America.  Even Charlie Rose (the highbrow television personality) relates that the Chinese are a “rising culture” which translates into world dominance of GDP, military size, technology spending and population.  To accomplish this ascendancy the Chinese will drain the resources of the world to their advantage without the spin-off of local employment in the places they ravage.  Not so long ago it was considered that the three superpowers of the world were the Soviet Union, the British Empire and the United States.  The first two have since lost that merit.  China is now nipping at the heels of the United States, competitively extending its influence into Latin America and South America.

The shift to what is expected to be the continued rise of Asia’s economic and political influence obviously diminishes the supremacy of the United States of America.  Even in cultural matters Asia is rapidly emerging thanks to technology. The latest business of Korea’s Psy –Gangnam Style illustrates the world-wide influence of Asia’s pop culture.  Given the huge population of Asia, the anticipated profits are unimaginable. The vulgarity of the youth culture coming out of Asia surpasses even the glitz and bling of hip-hop artists in the United States.  It is almost a ruthless arrogance, the product of money and in some cases intellectual superiority.

To hear the Americans repetitively discourse about debt, the fiscal cliff and unemployment is the new argot for a once unflappable nation.  It’s like hearing daddy has lost his job, not exactly the colloquium of your rich cousins.  We as Canadians have unwittingly shared in the former glory of the United States; but as things continue to change we too, like the Americans, may be obliged to adopt a more obeisant posture. There are countless changes ahead.  Some of those vagaries may strike at the very heart of our psyche.