I know, it's Their America, but since (1) the PRC is already laying the foundations for being the new 'other superpower', yin to America's yang, (2) Africa is the most open 'playing field' for increasing geo-political dominance on a large scale without (yet) directly challenging the US, (3) the question of Africa has been raised by Wyatt and Geoff in the other thread (and I don't agree with Wyatt), and (4) I have raised the question of China vs. US 'cold war' competition in the "Asian secession" thread, I think I will start this thread, based on the interesting China Daily article below, though I don't know much about Africa--but I hope to learn more from people who do!
The American Dream seems to be a nightmare for most people lately, so here I wish to introduce to Their America, the Chinese Dream.
Here is the article: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2013-09/24/content_16991600.htm
It begins like this: "Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and Africa have always been a community of shared destinies and that neither side can grow without the other."
Pretty hard to believe, no? Just diplomatic posture.
"'No matter what changes take place in the international situation, China will stand side by side with its African brothers and sisters,' said Wang, who accompanied Chinese President Xi Jinping on a trip to Africa in late March, less than two weeks after the new government was inaugurated.
Wang described it as unprecedented for a Chinese president to make Africa the destination for a first trip abroad. 'It sent a strong message to the world that China is paying top attention to Africa and is actively promoting cooperation there,' said Wang."
Still think it is just posture?
"China is now Africa's largest trading partner. Bilateral trade approached $200 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, Chinese direct foreign investment in Africa reached $15 billion by the end of last year."
But maybe it is just the China perspective?
"Writing in China Daily late last month, Asha-Rose Migiro, former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations [and former Foreign Minister of Tanzania], said Africans and Chinese have much in common in their dreams.
She praised President Xi for China's 'commitment to connecting its development with that of Africa, aligning the interests of the Chinese people with those of the African people, and combining China's development opportunities with those of Africa.'"
"In a recent co-authored paper, Fantu Cheru, an Ethiopian economist, and Cyril Obi, a Nigerian political scientist, argued that China has become Africa's preferred partner at a time when Africans are engaged in a major soul-searching exercise to find out what went wrong with Africa's development in the past half century.
The two believe China's development experience is attractive to Africans, and lending with no strings attached has helped build much-needed infrastructure, which Western policy lending has not done.
'China's view of a dynamic Africa also contrasts sharply to the West's doom and gloom analysis of Africa,' they wrote." (See also their book, with reviews: http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/the-rise-of-china-and-india-in-africa.)
But maybe, like Wyatt says, the PRC is just interested in getting some more oil and making a shallow investment in Africa?
"She [Migiro] rebuked the saying that China and other emerging economies are in Africa just to grab resources, citing recent figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which show that about 75 per cent of the value of the BRICS foreign direct investment projects in Africa for the period 2003 to 2012 were in the manufacturing and services sectors. Only a meager 10 per cent and 26 per cent of the number and value of projects, respectively, were channeled to natural resources." And the PRC is the self-styled leader of the BRICS.
But maybe it is just realpolitik again, as Wyatt suggests.
"It is in this regard that the Chinese dream has received immense appeal in Africa. It conjures a vision of collective achievement and resonates with the continent's dream," said Migiro.
"We in Tanzania know that the Chinese dream espouses the same objectives that we are striving to reach - poverty alleviation, economic growth and attainment of sustainable development as articulated in the country's National Development Vision 2015," she said.
I think she is choosing her words very carefully.
It never mattered whether the American Dream was true or real or achievable by anybody. All that mattered was how many people were dreaming it, who they were, where they were, and how much it shaped the way they saw their future.