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Politics & Law

Beijing is staring at Bernie Sanders’ and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ ‘socialist’ agenda


Bernie Sanders is against the TTP (picture from ‘Bernie Quotes for a Better World’)

U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “Workers are often paid far less than the value they create.” What a shock!

The Business Insider immediately pointed out on March 10 that this is “essentially a restatement of Karl Marx’s Labour Theory of Value, which suggests that economies run into trouble when workers can’t afford to buy the products they’re making …”

Ocasio-Cortez, aged 29 and labeled as a socialist and Progressive Left, is now amazingly popular and “remains a media fixation”. “

A new poll finds that, according to Washington Post, “74 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults would consider voting for (her) for president if they could (minimum age for presidency is 35).

Fox News warned on Feb 17 that the ‘Green New Deal’ proposed by “socialist Ocasio-Cortez and many fellow Democrats in Congress … is a fantasy … Just trying to accomplish its absurd and harmful goals could send our nation into another Great Depression …”

Ocasio-Cortez is hardly alone. She and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders very often campaign together. “Two luminaries in the democratic socialist movement — one its national leader, the other its new star — are descending on solidly Republican Kansas” in July 2018, for example (AP report).

Sanders’ agenda has been well known to most voters in the U.S. and certainly the observers in Beijing, too. Sanders is highly critical of the big corporations and CNN highlights his attacks on “Big Banks, Big Wireless, Big Tech”. For the reason of preventing the big corporations from becoming bigger, Sanders dislikes TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) because it would reduce jobs in America.

Even the Japanese Nikkei noticed that Sanders “is a longtime critic of Washington’s free trade deals, especially with China. They have allowed big corporations to profit at the expense of American workers, he argues.”

However, as regards foreign policy, The Atlantic pointed out that “Sanders said virtually nothing about China” probably because “American hawks use China’s authoritarianism to justify higher military spending while Sanders wants to cut the defense budget. For Sanders, who wants to strengthen international cooperation on climate change and revive the United Nations, it’s crucial that this era’s new ideological struggle not promote a new cold war …”

In short, even though Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez would like to revise the trade terms with China, their macro foreign policy orientation tends to be friendly rather than hostile toward China.

Be they named as Progressive Left or socialist (or even Marxist), it is unlikely that the Far Left Democrats can master the White House in 2020. However, the persistent rise of their popularity is changing the capitalist foundation of the political dynamics in Washington, and perhaps they are able to produce a miracle by 2024. Even it could be so, it would not mean that the US-China relation may be better. This kind of Left-Right swinging policies will make Beijing distrust Washington.

To Beijing, at least two points are vital. One is that any US president, even Trump himself, may suddenly cancel a trade deal (take a look at the Iran deal) for the sake of defending the American interest, based on his/her understanding of what it is. It is why I said before that the US-China relation will hollow out rather than get closer.

Better preparation for the withdrawal of American corporations and manufacturing orders is another one. Both Republicans and Democrats are trying to move job opportunities back to their homeland. Beijing is clearly aware of this and that is why high-tech as well as low-tech competitions will inevitably sharpen in this century. Nevertheless, Beijing will continue to keep track of the Left’s development in the US, though quietly. I believe that Beijing has taken this into consideration when negotiating the trade deal with President Trump.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

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About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).

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