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Teen columnist: No need to fear other nations

Beijing, August 2008: A giant TV screen telecasts highlights of the Summer Olympics. Were the Chinese "showing off"?

Beijing, August 2008: A giant TV screen telecasts highlights of the Summer Olympics. Were the Chinese "showing off"?

“One human being, one village, one city, or even one country can no longer live entirely on its own. Competitiveness – the desire to be the first, the best, the foremost, and only one – has simply become outdated as a ‘value.’ This desire may have been useful in the past. The concept of evolution describes a process from dependence toward independence, ultimately resulting in interdependence.” - Eastern philosopher Frank Petter

Healthy competition has encouraged advancement in the world and brought us to these modern times, but lately, world competition has taken a turn into jealousy and fear.

The recession has only exacerbated the problem, with a volley of pessimistic headlines announcing the U.S. is losing grip on power, competitiveness and innovation.

The undercurrent of suspicion among Americans usually stays subtle, but occasional forceful outbursts prove that the fear is real and sometimes rather extreme. One commentator on a Yahoo! online news story said, “Let’s face it, Russia and China are very jealous of the U.S. because of our wealth and power. There’s nothing more they would like to see than the U.S. burn to the ground!”

But even as sure of themselves as this person is, others just as passionately believe the exact opposite: “Russia and China owns USA. U.S. government is jealous of Russia and China for their wealth and success,” commented another.

Then there are the less outspoken, like one person who compared China’s “showing off” in the Summer Olympics with Hitler’s Germany holding the 1936 games. Uneasiness toward other countries and their rising power seems to be pervading more American feeling, especially considering that said American happened to be in the middle of “teaching” a history class. That’s not history, that’s pure political opinion.

But I see no proof of either our jealousy or the jealousy of other countries.

I prefer the comment of another: “How can a country ‘hate’? A country is a concept that can only have feelings if you anthropomorphize it.”

After all, the competition and rivalry for power and resources, the rise and fall of nations, has proven inevitable in history. Social Darwinism was a concept developed centuries earlier and still retains truth.

But what history has also proven is that nations founder under conflict.

When the concept of “nationalism” was radically born, the renewed drive for conquest and intense national pride more often than not ended in destruction.

So what exactly are we fearing? Is there really any chance the United States will be demolished as a world power in coming years just because of the growth of a few more nations?

We have nothing to fear from healthy competition, and we should keep an eye out for the xenophobia that seems to be accompanying such fear.

Fear not the countries upgrading from “developing” to “developed.” Even if it means increased “competition,” the world would be a much better place with more inconspicuously prosperous countries and fewer war-torn, malnourished ones.

Remember: Competition, not conflict.

Teen columnist Emily Hu is a sophomore at Catalina Foothills High School. E-mail: emily2_468@hotmail.com



Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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