Asian Americans (AAs) are not only a fastest growing group of minority but also have the highest educational qualifications among America’s major racial categories. Chinese and Indians have over 50% of their population having bachelor’s degree versus 27% for all Americans according to the 2010 census. By 2012 statistics, 61% of all Asian adult immigrants have a bachelor or higher level of education. AAs are the largest group on campuses of some of the best universities in the United States, for example, 28% at MIT and 39% at UC Berkeley. AAs have been regarded as a "model minority," with high achievement in school and doing well overall, particularly at the top of the curve. AAs enjoy also high achievement in employment with 45% of AAs in management, professional, and related occupations, a figure that is much higher than the same categories in the total population. More than one third of AA families earn $15,600 more than the national median income for all households. So AAs are making a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, undoubtedly a key support to making America great again.
However, despite of the hard working culture and mental drive for high achievement, a bamboo ceiling seems to be hanging over AAs as exhibited by some statistics. First, AAs’ average life-time earnings are $400,000 less than that of Caucasians which is one convincing data supporting the bamboo ceiling. Second, less than 2% of AAs fills the top corporate C-level positions in Fortune 500 companies; in contrast the number of women leading companies (CEO) in the Fortune 500 has grown to 6.4 percent in 2017 from 2.6 percent a decade ago (but has dropped to 4.2% in Fortune's 2018 list). Third, discrimination practice in college admission against AAs, especially in Ivy League schools (as claimed in a lawsuit against Harvard) is extremely disturbing to AAs. What is more alarming to AAs is that the current U.S. Asia Policy and China Policy are bringing more discriminations against AAs, for example, like restricting admission of Asian immigrants to the U.S. (reducing visa quota), discouraging Asian Immigrants/Americans to pursue hi-tech career (not hiring them in R&D positions) and bringing charges against AAs for suspicion of espionage (apparent increase in cases and false charges). The above data and facts alone should make AAs realize that they have a responsibility to themselves to pay attention to the U.S. Asia and China policies and make their views publically known.
The AAs, came to the U.S. and stayed as immigrants, were motivated to do so because of two fundamental reasons. One is that the U.S. has provided opportunities for work and wealth creation (based on US stable and healthy economy) and the other is that the American Constitution respects individual’s freedom and rights (the American value). These two reasons are vitally important not only to Asian immigrants but also to all Americans/immigrants. Therefore, the AAs like all Americans have a citizen’s responsibility to safeguard the American value and demand their government to maintain a healthy economy offering sufficient employment opportunities. In today’s globally interconnected environment, the U.S. economy is intertwined with other economies, Asia (GDP $30,220B, 2018 IMF), N. America ($23,550B), EU ($21,820B), S. America ($3,610B) and Africa ($2,330B). The U.S. trade with the five key Asian regions already amounts to 27.6% of her total world trade with a breakdown as follows: China (Total 15.5%, Export 7.3%, Imports 21.1%), Japan (T 5.1%, E 4.5%, I 5.6%), South Korea (T 3.1%, E 3.3%, I 2.9%), India (T 2.1%, E 1.9%, I 2.2%) and Taiwan (T 1.8%, E 1.8%, I 1.8%). The above data shows that Asia has the largest GDP and is the biggest trading partner of the U.S., thus, it should be obvious to AAs that maintaining peace in Asia would be beneficial to the U.S. and the world. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that AAs, for their own as well as for all Americans’ benefit, have a dual responsibility in this world, that is to keep America great with a sustainable healthy economy and to keep Asia in peace so that the Asian economy and the world economy will be stable.
The current trade war initiated by the U.S. against China is obviously damaging the economies of the U.S., China and the entire Asia even the entire world. As we discussed in part I, the AAs may have a different view on the current US-China conflict which is not revealed by the U.S. mainstream media. The AAs’ input was hardly sought or considered especially on the assumption that China is destined to be the enemy of the U.S. and Asia must be interfered by the U.S. for Asia’s sake. No Asian American wants to see Asia to become a battle ground like the Middle East. The AAs’ voice and their opinions must be reported to influence the U.S. administration’s policy making. The AAs must make efforts to reach out to the think-tanks on the issue why it is beneficial to the U.S. to keep Asia in peace rather than creating and engaging in wars in Asia.
Unfortunately, very few avenues are made available to AAs to express their concerns in foreign policy. Recently the Asia Society - Center on US-China Relations (Asia Society was founded in 1956 by John D Rockefeller III, initially established to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the U.S., today it is a global institute with a mission to promote mutual understanding between Asia and the U.S.) in partner with UC San Diego -School of Global Policy and Strategy had made a study: ‘Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy’. The subject is important and timely. However, the entire task force group does not have a single Asian American scholar. It is no surprise that its conclusions and recommendations reflect only the view on what changes in Asia and between the U.S. and China were observed rather than trying to understand in depth why and how Asian countries, particularly China, had changed. It is the rate of change that has frightened the U.S. and caused rash reactions even though the present differences can be traced and understood.
The task force should have investigated what policies have triggered reactionary opposing policies which then in turn triggered further reactionary policy changes. Without making a thorough analysis on the causality relationship of the US Asia/China policies and the China/Asia US policies, one can not suggest any sound course correction. The Asian Americans with their close attachment to Asia and the U.S. can offer a deeper insight to why Asia has changed and why China has changed so fast as well as the reactionary nature of the past policy changes. Targeting China as an enemy rather than a strong healthy competitor is definitely resulted from the legacy strategy used in the Cold War days. Asia is a very different continent, more countries, more people, more diverse culture and a long history available for studies and references. The Asian philosophies are far broader and deeper than the ‘Thucydides trap’ theory which is apparently influencing the U.S. national security strategy. AAs are assets in the U.S. for understanding Asia, its culture and philosophies as well as the changes happened in the past century. Seeking AAs’ input and making an understanding of the cascading policy reactions, the U.S. will be able to make a right Course Correction leading to China and Asian countries to correct their policies. Whining, complaining and blaming the Asian/China changes to unfair competition practices are too naïve not a productive solution to eliminate the economic competition from China/Asia because of their people, culture and drive for a better life. According to a Rand 2018 report, China’s behavior over the past two decades does not mark her as an opponent to the post war international order. I urge all AAs carry their dual responsibility seriously by speaking out thus helping the U.S. to make a course correction which will make America great again and maintain Asia in peace.