Chinese President Emerges World’s Most Powerful Person

Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has emerged the World’s Most Powerful Person according to the 2018 Forbes The World’s 75 Most Powerful People ranking released on Tuesday.

Under his administration, China’s Congress amended its constitution in March, broadening Xi’s influence and eliminating term limits, thereby giving him life presidency. This is the Chinese president’s first time in the top spot.

He displaced Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who has been relegated to second place.

President Donald Trump falls to the No. 3 spot.

Newcomers to the list include Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia (No. 8), who has risen to power and will be the fulcrum around which the region’s geopolitics move for the next generation

Vladimir Putin And Xi Jinping: The Rise Of New Presidents For Life By Tony Ogunlowo

Just as Africa is busy clearing its stables of despotic Presidents-for-life, China and Russia are busy installing their own.

President Vladimir Putin has a won a new term in office in an election that was marred by vote rigging and intimidation of opponents. In China the constitution has been changed to allow incumbent President Xi Jinping to serve more than two consecutive terms in office.

From a Western, and the rest of the world’s point of view, it means both leaders will remain in power for as long as they wish leading to abuse of power, corruption and abolition of democratic rule.

On the international scene it’ll mean dealing with two difficult men who are set in their ways: their policies regarding trade, dispute-settling, arms build-up (most importantly nuclear) will not change. Already Russia has started a throwback to its Cold war tactics: poisoning its dissidents abroad, rebuilding and advancing its nuclear arsenal and antagonising the West at every opportunity.

Both leaders have seats on the United Nations Security Council and their GDP far exceeds that of the West and their policies can make or break the world especially when Donald Trump, leader of the free world, is indecisive and unpredictable.

On the international scene, a Third World country dictator poses no threat except to his own country and people. But when these dictators happen to be the leaders of Russia and China the whole world is potentially in line for a lot of trouble.

The idea of holding elections periodically is to enable a new leader to emerge with new ideas and policies: when the same person stays in the job for too long he’ll be practicing the same old stale policies over and over again.

We are all aware of what Presidents-for-life get up to once they’re in office for a long time: they become complacent, suppress free will and public opinion, resort to dictatorial tactics to rule and will indulge in cronyism and nepotism. Both Presidents have, over the years, embarked on crackdowns on dissidents: thousands who have opposed their rule have been locked up or murdered and have surrounded themselves with ‘yes’ men.

They ‘win’ elections to make themselves look democratic and respectable but the reality is they will exploit their status and the system to become dictators. Even though in their constitutions there are checks and balances that can mean they can be impeached and removed from office but when they control the judiciary they become effective above the law.

But the biggest problem here is trade and armed forces: China and Russia have sizeable armies equipped with the latest technology which they can unleash at a minutes notice: since Putin became President the probability of another World War has greatly increased as he continues to get involved in conflicts in Syria, the Crimea and elsewhere. He alone can start a war without the backing of the Russian parliament which makes him a very dangerous person.

The current US-China trade war also shows how vulnerable the rest of the world is: without trade with China, which manufactures 47% of our goods from buttons to cellphones, cars, computers… (you name it, it’s made in China!) we’ll be in trouble. With Trump sparking conflict putting up tariffs the Chinese can follow suit with all of us paying the price when things start costing more than they should. And China ‘owns’ America if you consider the fact China holds more than $1.2 trillion in US treasury bonds.(I don’t think Trump knows this!)

And right now these two men who have set themselves up as Presidents-for-Life, have the military and economic clout to change the course of the world. Two men who will not abide by the rules and will do as they seem fit.

China Ready To Hit Back At US

China, the world’s second biggest economy fuelled fears of a trade war when it warned that it is ready to hit back at the United States if it harms its economic interests.

It was China’s first response since President Donald Trump unveiled steel and aluminium tariffs.

Trump’s announcement on Thursday sparked a flurry of counter-threats from other nations but its main trade rival, China, had avoided any overt warnings of potential retaliation until now.

“China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States,” Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People’s Congress, told a news conference on Sunday, the eve of the rubber-stamp parliament’s annual session.

“But if the US takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly by and will take necessary measures.”

Zhang warned that “policies informed by misjudgement or wrong perceptions will hurt relations and bring consequences no side wants to see”.

Trump’s announcement came as President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide, Liu He, met with US officials at the White House this week to discuss the fraught economic relationship.

During his visit, according to the official Xinhua news agency, Liu and his hosts “agreed that the two countries should settle their trade disputes by cooperation rather than confrontation”.

Since announcing plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, Trump has shrugged off threats from other nations, boasting on Friday that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”.

China has been the main target of Trump’s ire over the US trade deficit since his presidential campaign, but its steel and aluminium exports to the United States are minimal.

While China is the world’s largest steel producer, it accounts for less than one percent of US imports and sells only 10 percent of its wrought aluminium abroad.

Steel producers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey rely far more heavily on the US market.

“The American action to put sanctions on other countries’ reasonable steel and aluminium exports in the name of harming national security is groundless,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.

Some US allies, like Canada and Australia, had hoped to be spared the tariffs. A US official said Friday no countries will be exempt, but added that possible exemptions to the measures would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Australia warned that a trade conflict could put the brakes on global economic growth.

“That’s what concerns me, if we continue to see an escalation of rhetoric and, ultimately, action around tariffs applying for imports and exports across multiple economies… this will lead to a slow-down in growth,” trade minister Steve Ciobo told Sky News Australia Sunday.

Trump ratched up the rhetoric on Saturday, threatening a tax on cars from the European Union if it enacts retaliatory measures.

On Friday, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU was drawing up measures against leading US brands such as Levi’s and Harley-Davidson.