In the last Democratic Party’s presidential debate of 2020, former United States Vice President Joe Biden told the American people that his running mate was going to be a woman. This was a mistake. To begin, it must be acknowledged that the single most important aspect for choosing a vice-presidential candidate should be the qualifications the person has to fulfill a job. Qualities like experience, wisdom, temperament, intelligence, integrity, fortitude, justice, courage, vision; all should take precedence regardless if the person with these attributes is a woman or a man. It is surely absurd to prequalify someone as being suited for the job on the basis of sex, race, or any other political division one could invent.
Secondly, the United States needs to step up. The country cannot focus on choosing a woman vice president, simply because it is not important enough for the future well-being of the world. There are other pressing matters, one of which is the rise of a communist power. For those committed to freedom and democracy, the person that brings the muscle to tackle this predicament must take precedence.
It is not hard to find reports of China’s efforts to gain ground in the world stage. The mammoth undertakings of the Belt and Road initiative have been grabbing headlines for years, and casualties like the fiasco of the signature construction project in Ecuador (a hydroelectric power dam) should not deter the United States from taking the initiative seriously. A vice president should understand the implications of soft power in establishing labor and construction standards. Is a Chinese system for workers’ rights really want we want for the world?
And now the Covid-19 pandemic. It has given the Asian country the opportunity to side-step the United States as a global leader. It has presumably contained the virus while the United States is being overrun with it. It has addressed issues with foreign debts repayments, and it has undoubtedly taken a leadership position in working to produce a vaccine. Moreover, the Chinese government has taken action in helping other nations with the woes of the disease.
China’s financial system is increasingly taking a larger part in the world stage through generous lending to its multinational companies for the purpose of international expansion. It is also giving the yuan a more prominent role in global trade by pressuring companies to conduct deals in it. And recently began offering oil futures in this Chinese currency, effectively challenging the U.S. dollar as the default currency for international trade.
But perhaps most interestingly, Chinese technology firms specializing in mobile payments have successfully implemented a financial ecosystem where transfers of money are not routed through traditional U.S. dominated banks and credit card companies, but through digital wallets used by the consumer and capable of paying for virtually anything. Though the dollar and the American economy still hold a strong position, it bears noticing that the value of Chinese sovereign bonds are steady even in times of pandemic. This indicates investors’ confidence in the economy that is administered in Beijing.
The future vice president should also understand the challenges of the ecological crisis. Though the lockdown produced by Covid-19 might have given the planet respite, the executive branch of the most powerful country should understand that to tackle the climate crisis all nations must work together. An expensive “green new deal” stimulus package might help, but it is certain that lasting change can only come about through the coordinated efforts of a globalized world order.
To be clear, it is not that the United States should continue to pursue the deterioration of relations with China, but rather recognize that the world needs a vice president that understands that the world requires the United States to engage internationally and lead at a global level. Because a fractured world, particularly a fractured financial system, will hurt everyone. Having different spheres of influence could potentially make trade and international relations sclerotic, unprofitable, and dangerous. The United States does not need a woman as such, it needs a vice-president of any sex that can efficiently help tackle the post Covid-19 world order that is already showing signs of shifting into a multipolar one, with China rising up to fill the vacuum left by the current superpower.