Photo caption: Collin Walsh ’18, Bojana Filipovska ’19, Ambassador Zhang Qiyue, Adam Youtsey ’18, and Matthew Wicks ’18
By Matthew Wicks ’18
The 17th annual World Leadership Forum held on September 28, 2017, was an enlightening event; topics ranged from U.S and China’s relations to the economic outlook on Wall Street. Matthew Wicks ’18, Adam Youtsey ’18, Collin Walsh ’18, and Bojana Filipovska ’19 attended. In addition, diplomats, investors, and writers, as well as college students from West Point and International majors from across the country, filled the audience. The forum was highlighted by two keynote speakers: Ambassador Zhang Qiyue from China and Chief Global Strategist Ruchir Sharma.
The key speakers gave a new outlook of the emerging rise of China. Ambassador Zhang Qiyue, a Chinese diplomat since 1982, spoke about China’s long and prestigious history. With the emergence of the Communist Party’s victory in 1949 and the rise of Mao Zedong, China was able to abandon its 200 years of humiliation under Western influence. Along with Mao’s leadership, over 700 million Chinese people were raised from poverty, a feat that had never been accomplished until then. Ambassador Zhang illustrated that the Chinese people have never in its history experienced so much affluence; hundreds of millions of people are classified as “middle-class.”
Ruchir Sharma, an intellectual in the field of economics, has great expertise and vast knowledge as a global investor. In 2015 he was named one of the “50 Most Influential” people in the world by Bloomberg Markets. In his speech, he cited that for every $1 of profit made in China, the Chinese had to produce $4 in inflation. A staggering amount; however, a cost that the Chinese economy could withstand. For how long this economic trend could continue, no one could tell, but Sharma illustrated that China wasn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The main focus of the conference was on U.S.-China relations. Moderated by Sarwar Kashmeri, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, and paneled by Bonnie Glaser, Dr. Yukon Huang, Orville Schell, and Susan Shirk, the panel addressed a multitude of issues involving the U.S. and China, ranging from both countries’ presidents to their foreign policy with other countries in the Pacific. The panelists agreed on one clear issue: China has a clearly stated objective to accomplish in their foreign policy, while the U.S. remains stagnant in theirs.
The overall impression left by the panelists is that China is on the rise. The People’s Republic’s reach is overwhelming, stretching east across the Pacific into South America and west to Eastern Europe. China has become a rising superpower, one that could potentially cast aside U.S. hegemony in the world.