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Opinion | The Real China Challenge: Managing Its Decline - The New York Times
By Bret Stephens
Opinion Columnist

Nov. 29, 2018

.Bret Stephens read a deeply reported and thought-provoking series in The Times about another country of the future: China. The phrase “rise of China” has now become so commonplace that we treat it more as a fact of nature than as a prediction of a very familiar sort — one made erroneously about the Soviet Union in the 1950s and ’60s; about Japan in the ’70s and ’80s; and about the European Union in the ’90s and ’00s.....Beijing has ignored orthodox economic nostrums about the need for ever-greater market liberalization and fewer state controls while still managing to thrive. ....cruelty.... forced laborers....Tyrannies do not work in the long run....capital flight.... 46 % of wealthy Chinese wish to emigrate, most of them to the U.S.....individual rights, democratic choices, rule of law, competitive markets, high levels of transparency, low levels of government corruption, independent news sources, and freedoms of thought, conscience and speech are assets beyond price.....If you define power as the power to attract and not simply compel [jk: that is, soft power], then Beijing — with its dystopian vision to fully surveil and rate all citizens by 2020 — isn’t a rising power at all. It’s a collapsing one.......What about the skyscrapers of Guangzhou? What about the world-beating test scores of students in Shanghai?.....China’s rise is not some kind of mirage. But what matters is the future, not the past, and whether a nation built on constraining the freedoms granted to ordinary people can outpace, outsmart, and outlast another nation built on defending and broadening those freedoms....American policymakers and pundits often talk about the challenge of managing China’s rise. They had better start thinking instead of the challenge of managing its decline, beginning at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires this weekend. Japan and Europe went gently into eclipse, and the Soviet Union surrendered without a fight (at least until its current revanchist phase).

Will China’s current leadership accept the possibility of their own decline so philosophically, after having convinced themselves of their rapid rise to primacy? Nobody should bet on it. A wounded tiger is rarely a placid one.
Bret_Stephens  capital_flight  China  China_rising  clichés  counterintuitive  decline  institutional_integrity  op-ed  rule_of_law  soft_power  thought-provoking  U.S.-China_relations 
november 2018 by jerryking
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