Why Beijing Shouldn’t Be Celebrating
By Jeffrey Kucik and Rajan Menon
U.S. President Donald Trump did not waste any time keeping his promise to kill the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP), an agreement that would have strengthened U.S. economic ties to 11 Pacific Rim nations. However, the common assumption that his decision amounted to handing China an unqualified victory, with the United States’ pulling back from global trade leadership and leaving China to take the helm, is an oversimplification.
TPP’s demise has doubtless provided China an opportunity to build greater influence in Asia. And Beijing has been quick to seize this opportunity. In his speech to the Davos World Economic Forum this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented his country as a reliable supporter, perhaps even the leader, of open markets and globalization. By contrast, Trump’s election has brought with it a good deal of global anxiety about Washington’s future commitment to a liberal economic order.
Colin Powell didn’t sign up with four stars in mind. The New York City native and son of Jamaican immigrants had a much simpler objective.
“I came in the Army to be a good soldier. And what I’ve tried to do every day of my 35-plus years in services is to be a good soldier every day, and let the Army decide how far they wanted me to go.”
As it turned out, the Army wanted him to go very far. And Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush needed him to serve further still. Today, at 80 years old and “retired,” Powell is still finding ways to serve.
The first (and so far only) African-American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first African-American to serve as secretary of state, recently shared insights from his incredible career as part of Military Times’ Black Military History Month.
Unlike other communities of color in the United States, it has not been so easy for South Asian Americans to organize and act as one. The very complexity of South Asia and the myriad of internal politics make mobilization a difficult issue. Even during my time in Atlanta conducting ethnographic research on the South Asian American sporting community, organizations like South Asians for Unity struggled to collectively engage the heterogeneous ethnic, class, and religious South Asian American community in Atlanta. Sikh American elders and I (a Christian Tamil) shared a sentiment of feeling minimally included in the discussions about peace on the subcontinent.
Thus, even the coming together as South Asian Americans during these precarious times is difficult. Similarly, in her work on Asian Americans, Linda Vo, in Mobilizing Asian America (Temple University Press, 2004), illuminates the struggle with organizing the multiple nationalities, ethnicities, languages, and histories of migration into one political voice. Taking Vo’s important work and extending it to understand South Asian American life in the U.S. proves informative and allows us to make sense of contemporary events, such as the Hindu support of Donald Trump. While South Asian America is not singular nor uniform nor tied politically to a single bloc, I argue here that the small segments who support Trump, particularly Hindu fundamentalists and nationalists, seek wages from that relationship that will not secure rights for the rest of South Asian America, especially Muslim Americans.