If Xi Jinping is our Captain Planet, then I would have a few recommendations for his first term during the next five years.
- Convert all military forces into planeteers to clean up the debris already created and prevent future degradation of natural resources. Allocate national defense and homeland security spending to environmental protection. If Captain Xi takes the lead, I am pretty sure that quite a few nations will follow en suite.
- Convert all nationalist propaganda which decorates Chinese streets, schools, cinemas and public spaces into globalist propaganda. Change slogans from Happy National Day – Wishing the Motherland a Future of Unlimited Bliss to Happy World Day – Wishing our Planet a Future of Unlimited Bliss.
- Transform the China Dream | 中国梦into a World Dream 世界梦 and make clear to everybody that we have only one world, which is all our home.
- Transition from an industrial growth system to an integral growth system, which creates abundance instead of scarcity.
- Initiate a landslide transformation from an industrial education model to an integral education model, setting Chinese students free from the competitive drudgery of excessively acquiring cognitive skills and making space and time for the playful acquisition of collaborative social skills.
Now, some readers might think I am nuts; but be assured I am all sober and my recommendations to Captain Xi do only reflect the facts of a world in peril. Pax Americana created after WWII abundance for much of the Western world, but at the expense of the developing world and the environment. Pax Sinica is set to develop abundance for the sinocentric world at the expense of the Western world and the environment, but at a much larger and thus threatening scale considering the increase in consumption per capita and roughly one billion more human beings being added to this planet each decade, in particular in Asia and Africa, China’s second continent.
Damien Ma and William Adams captured this resource driven perspective well in the title of their 2013 book In Line Behind a Billion People: How Scarcity Will Define China's Ascent in the Next Decade. What they describe is a China which is at the center of an economic system which circulates around commodity and utility streams geared towards profit maximization; a system which in the words of yet another economist, F. E. Schumacher, does not operate as if people or other forms of life mattered. The world will thus continue to spin in the same profit driven economic system which the US has globalized; only the decision makers at the very top have changed.
There Are Many Flames, But Only One Light
Theodore Roosevelt once said that man must protect himself in new and wild communities where there is violence; and until other means of securing his safety are devised, it is both foolish and wicked to persuade him to surrender his arms while the men who are dangerous to the community retain theirs.” Henry Kissinger writes that for Roosevelt, if a nation was unable or unwilling to act to defend its own interests, it could not expect others to respect them and therefore his favorite proverb Roosevelt’s favorite proverb was “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.”
Quite frequently, I feel that Xi Jinping is like Roosevelt a realist; and what else should he be considering that China is in terms of socio-economic development where the US was about a century ago? But we have to hope that Xi considers a Great Leap Forward in Chinese international relations management. To be sure, it is a lot to be asked from him, because no other leader ever had to transform himself and his subjects within only a few decades to such an extent. If he can take though such a leap of faith he would become a Chinese Woodrow Wilson, who served as US president during WWI. He exemplified according to Kissinger idealism in international relations and it was him who initiated the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations. Wilson was much ahead of his time, but Xi would be just in time to focus all human effort on the solution of the most pressing challenges of 21st century humanity.
Is Xi Jinping, after all, the Captain Planet, the world has been waiting for? I wouldn’t know for sure, but even if I would, I wouldn’t put all my money on a single political leader but ask what I could do myself. In an era of consumer empowerment, it is my daily purchase and consumption decision that makes a small, but significant difference. Xi might be Captain Planet, but we are all: Planeteers.