For both China and US, greatest threats lie within
- America needs to overcome a crisis of democracy while China shifts to overt one-man rule.
Like something out of a fortune cookie, “May you live in interesting times," widely attributed to be a Chinese curse, is not colloquially used in Mandarin. Even so, going by the past couple of weeks, it applies to the dysfunctional domestic politics and economies of both the world’s superpowers, the US and China. With US mid-term elections less than a fortnight away, the high inflation of the past many months has undermined support for the Democrats and the Joe Biden administration. One observer described inflation as the “acid" that had eaten away at positive news such as high job growth and a widening of the US safety net. Just a few months ago, the Democrats looked poised to retain control of the House of Representatives, where they have 220 seats to the Republicans’ 212. Now, most polls see the Republicans taking control, possibly with a margin of 20 to 30 seats and doing well even in hitherto strongly Democrat states such as New York and Oregon. More worryingly, most of the Republican candidates are paradoxically “election denialists". They continue to profess that Donald Trump was a victim of election fraud in 2020; their supporters are openly threatening violence against those whose job is to count and certify results.