January 8th, 2014
in Op Ed
Written by Frank Li
Are people all the same? No! Are countries all the same? No!
Which country is the best on earth today? The U.S., without question!
Which country has proven to be the greatest in human history? Is it the U.S.? No, not to me, at least! Which one is it then? I believe it is China as well as the U.K.!
Here is my 3-tier classification for the greatest countries in human history:
- The 1st tier: China and the U.K.
- The 2nd tier: Japan, Germany, the U.S., and Russia as a junior member.
- The 3rd tier: ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and even ancient Egypt.
Let me explain ...
1. First tier
China leads the world in civilization with more than 5,000 years of history. China also led the world in economy during much of the first 1800 years of our 2014-year-old calendar. Very importantly, after failing badly for about 200 years, China is back, well on her way to becoming, again, the largest economy on earth by 2030. Two pictures below show one perspective.
The picture on the left shows the Great Wall built more than 2,000 years ago, while the picture on the right shows today's Shanghai. Did you know that there are more skyscrapers in Shanghai than in Manhattan? Moreover, most of them were built over the past two decades! For more, read: America: What is China, Anyway?
As a Chinese-American, I am very proud of my Chinese heritage. However, I must admit that the U.K. can match China in historical greatness. The U.K. substantially expanded her territory and influence, via imperialism followed by Commonwealth, like no other nation in human history. The image below highlights Commonwealth, geographically - What "an empire the sun never sets" and all the "red" countries speak English, in addition to the U.S.!
2. Second tier
This tier is composed of four countries: Japan, Germany, the U.S, and Russia as a junior member.
Japan and Germany are alike in three aspects at least:
- They both are creative and productive.
- They both tried to expand via world wars, without success.
- They both have succeeded economically via globalization.
But they are not even close to China or the U.K. in terms of overall greatness. Therefore, they have to settle in the second tier. For more, read:
Unlike Japan and Germany, the U.S. has a very short history, although the U.S. has already proven itself to be at least on par with Japan and Germany in terms of creativity and productivity, with a far larger economy. Unfortunately, the U.S. is being destroyed by democracy, as we practice it today. As a result, it's becoming increasingly doubtful whether American democracy can even out-last Soviet communism in longevity (Longevity: American Democracy vs. Soviet Communism). Unless the U.S. can prove itself in the coming decades as a country built to last, it must settle in the second tier.
Finally, why Russia, albeit as a junior member in this tier? Russia is a great country for three main reasons:
- It's a vast country with huge amounts of natural resources (e.g. oil and gas).
- Russia has proven to be unbeatable! Any doubt? Ask the French (French invasion of Russia) or the Germans (WWI and WWII)!
- Although Russia is a badly self-destructed country, thanks to communism for 74 years and democracy now, Russia seems to be gradually getting back on the right track. I believe Putin will prove to be very good for Russia.
3. Third tier
In this winner-take-all world, it does not really matter who is in the third tier. However, some amount of respect is deserved by the earlier civilizations in ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and even ancient Egypt.
Unfortunately, unlike China, these countries are not on their way back to the top.
Finally, let me honorably mention the Saracens. They had an early civilization equally impressive with China's. For example, one of their chief inventions is still widely popular today: Arabic numerals! For more, read: Saracen.
Aside from having some fun, this article has two loud messages to the U.S.:
- The U.S. is a very young country with,hopefully, a long future ahead. Once again, the U.S. has yet to prove that American democracy will out-last Soviet communism in longevity (Longevity: American Democracy vs. Soviet Communism). So stop further indulging in American Exceptionalism! It is no longer true!
- Do not underestimate China's comeback! When a giant like China wakes up, it can shape the world, as it once did (e.g. China Lands On Moon While U.S. Shuttle Sits On Museums). Specifically, here are three important factors:
While the Chinese political system may only be slightly better than America's, China's emphasis on education is profound and in-grained in its culture!
History is always the best judge of greatness, for both individuals and countries.
The U.S. is the most powerful country on earth today! But the U.S. has been in a steep decline for the past decade, at least. To stop the decline, the U.S. must learn from human history, especially from China: how it led the world; how it fell from heaven to hell; how it is coming back. In other words, reform our political system now or be prepared to fail, like China did from 1800 to 1976! For more, read my book: "Saving America, Chinese Style".