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jerryking : middle-powers   14

The U.S. is sinking. Maybe it's time for Canada to jump ship.
Oct 30, 2019 | Macleans.ca | by Scott Gilmore.

Things are not going well for American foreign policy. At the geopolitical level, tectonic shifts in world power are leading to a relative decline in American dominance.......Institutionally, the U.S. State Department is in utter disarray......Donald Trump is steering from one collision to another.....we can speculate whether the U.S. decline is an inevitable result of historical political and demographic trends. Or whether it's entirely due to Donald Trump.....whether incompetence or fate, there is no question the American ship of state is leaking badly. The question we should now be asking ourselves, as Canadians, is whether we should help bail or build our own raft.....The instinctive answer is to grab a bucket......In the halls of Global Affairs Canada, the orthodoxy is that we sink or swim with Washington, and therefore, when the Trump circus finally leaves town, we should undoubtedly be there to help rebuild American prestige and influence wherever we can.

But—what if we didn’t? What if we simply boarded our own raft, or paddled over to another ally? What if we decided to “Trump-proof” Canada? What if we consciously and ambitiously began to build a new foreign policy alignment in anticipation of the next American wreck?.....Who else supports human rights, a rules-based international system and strong Western institutions like NATO? The obvious answer is the EU......we are far more likely to achieve our common goals of multilateralism and the rule of law if we join forces more closely. As Canada’s diplomats begin to brief Canada’s next government on the menu of foreign policy options, it would be nice to think that there is a tiny footnote that points out this one small but true idea—when it comes to Washington, there are other options.
America_in_Decline?  Canada  Canadian  crossborder  beyondtheU.S.  Donald_Trump  EU  foreign_policy  generating_strategic_options  geopolitics  Global_Affairs_Canada  imperial_overstretch  international_system  middle-powers  multilateralism  retreats  rules-based  rule_of_law  Scott_Gilmore  seismic_shifts  Trump-proofing  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S._State_Department  Washington_D.C. 
november 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad - The New York Times
By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

April 2, 2019

What do the most effective leaders today have in common? They wake up every morning and ask themselves the same questions: “What world am I living in? What are the biggest trends in this world? And how do I educate my citizens about this world and align my policies so more of my people can get the best out of these trends and cushion the worst?”

So what world are we living in?

(1) We’re living in a world that is becoming so interconnected — thanks to digitization, the internet, broadband, mobile devices, the cloud and soon-to-be 5G wireless transmissions — that we are becoming interdependent to an unprecedented degree. In this world, growth increasingly depends on the ability of yourself, your community, your town, your factory, your school and your country to be connected to more and more of the flows of knowledge and investment — and not just rely on stocks of stuff........The key to creating economic value has been to acquire some proprietary knowledge stocks, aggressively protect those knowledge stocks and then efficiently extract the economic value from those knowledge stocks and deliver them to the market. The challenge in a more rapidly changing world is that knowledge stocks depreciate at an accelerating rate. In this kind of world, the key source of economic value shifts from stocks to flows......yet Britain is ruled today by a party that wants to disconnect from a connected world....
(2) Understand that in a world of simultaneous accelerations in technology and globalization, keeping your country as open as possible to as many flows as possible is advantageous for two reasons: You get all the change signals first and have to respond to them and you attract the most high-I.Q. risk-takers, who tend to be the people who start or advance new companies.....The best talent wants to go to the most open systems — open both to immigrants and trade — because that is where the most opportunities are. Britain is about to put up a big sign: GO AWAY.
(3) wise leaders also understand that all the big problems today are global problems, and they have only global solutions: climate change, trade rules, technology standards and preventing excesses and contagion in financial markets......small states/middle powers need to be part of a wider coalition like the European Union.
(4) the best leaders know a little history. Trump is fine with a world of competitive European nationalisms, not a strong European Union. So is Vladimir Putin. So, it seems, are the Brexiteers. How quickly they’ve all forgotten that the E.U. and NATO were built to prevent the very competitive nationalism that ran riot in Europe in the 20th century and brought us two world wars.
21st._century  accelerated_lifecycles  Brexit  EU  historical_amnesia  history  information_flows  interdependence  interconnections  middle-powers  open_borders  proprietary  questions  small_states  talent_flows  technical_standards  Tom_Friedman  United_Kingdom  value_extraction 
april 2019 by jerryking
Canada must not be naive when dealing with China’s authoritarian regime
March 4, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HUGH SEGAL, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Claws of the Panda, Jonathan Manthorpe’s new best-selling book, a meticulous and well-researched highly readable history of decades of Canada-China relations, is important because it's a primer on the central challenge of our era – how democracies address the scope and depth of an authoritarian wave now picking up momentum.....The Communist Party of China, its presumption of sovereignty not only at home, but also over ethnic Chinese worldwide, is not about to relinquish or dilute its central and presumptive power and control. It certainly won’t do this as a result of peaceful entreaties from middle powers, however respectful or well-meaning.....while the People’s Republic of China has every right to manage its internal affairs without interference, we also have the right to pursue our own national interest without undue Chinese influence......Manthorpe’s work clearly underlines is the economic, social and political equation at China’s core: Prosperity is the result of central control, focus and a clearly defined Communist Party and state-driven purpose. Qualities we hold as important – the right of dissent, democratic pluralism, freedom from fear – are seen by the Chinese government as weaknesses in our democratic societies to be exploited in the new great game of global trade and diplomatic competition.......Our challenge, in terms of diplomatic, trade and strategic policy, is with the Communist Party and the government and forces it controls, not with the Chinese people.........In assessing the intent of any global competitor, contextual awareness is one of the first requirements for tactical understanding and strategic planning. The revelations of Claws of the Panda offer a clear set of contextual conclusions for a well meaning middle power like Canada......We need new rules of the road.

Our engagement with China must set aside the temptations of presuming fair minded universal intent on the part of Chinese state-controlled instruments, economic, diplomatic or military. We must be more focused on the protection of our own security and freedoms from Chinese subversion, including the freedoms of our fellow Canadians of Chinese extraction. Countries that wish access to our resources, technology and investment on normative terms do not get to launch cyber attacks against us, from military and intelligence units controlled by the state. We must invest more with our allies in counter-intelligence and joint naval, air and cyber capacity in the Asian Pacific, not to threaten China’s legitimate regional dominance, or peaceful global economic aspirations, but to preclude illegitimate adventurism which a Chinese communist authoritarian regime might well pursue if costs and risks to them are unclear.
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Claws of the Panda gives a detailed description of the CCP's campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia. The party's aims are to be able to turn Canadian public policy to China's advantage, to acquire useful technology and intellectual property, to influence Canada's international diplomacy, and, most important, to be able to monitor and intimidate Chinese Canadians and others it considers dissidents.
authoritarian  alliances  Asia_Pacific  authoritarianism  books  Canada  Canada-China_relations  centralized_control  China  China_rising  Chinese  Chinese-Canadians  Chinese_Communist_Party  counterintelligence  cyberattacks  economic_protectionism  fair_minded  history  Hugh_Segal  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  maritime  mercantilism  middle-powers  naivete  new_rules  primers  rules_of_the_game  security_&_intelligence  situational_awareness  worldviews 
march 2019 by jerryking
Canada-China relations have entered new territory. So, where do we go from here?
JANUARY 18, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | BARRIE MCKENNA ECONOMICS REPORTER
OTTAWA.

“Kill the chicken to scare the monkey.”

Canada is the luckless chicken in this unfortunate scenario. In effect, China is making an example of us – a weaker middle power – to threaten others who stand in its way, including the United States.

So far, it has meant the arbitrary detention of innocent Canadians in China, a death sentence for a convicted Canadian drug smuggler, an official warning about travel to Canada and a barrage of verbal threats from top Chinese officials......This all could not have come at a worse time. Canada’s ties to the United States are already frayed from the bruising renegotiation of North American free-trade agreement, and we desperately need new markets, including China, to drive our export-led economy.......Canada is also facing pressure from the United States and other allies to ban Huawei from supplying technology for next-generation 5G mobile networks because of cyberespionage concerns....“Canada is in a really tough situation,” acknowledged economist Gordon Betcherman, a professor in the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies. And lashing out at the Chinese is counterproductive...... here a few understated, Canadian-style tactics Ottawa should consider.
* (1) rag the puck as long as possible on any final decision on banning Huawei products, even if that puts Canadian telecom companies in a bind.
* (2) Ottawa should do what it can to expedite the extradition of Ms. Meng, including demanding the United States produce compelling evidence of wrongdoing, or release her when the process runs its course.
* (3) work with our allies on numerous fronts. Canada needs to get other countries to publicly shame China for abusing the rule of law.
* (4) continue to talk to the Chinese in an effort to rebuild confidence. Canadian business and tourist travellers are already cancelling trips to China.

Counterintuitive perhaps, but Canada should encourage Washington to take a hard line with China in trade talks. Reports Friday that China has offered to buy up to US$1-trillion in more U.S. goods to eliminate the trade deficit is an empty promise that won’t change its behaviour. On the other hand, getting China to fundamentally reform how it interacts economically with the world would benefit everyone.

“The biggest non-tariff barrier in China is how China runs, as a country,” Mr. MacIntosh explained. “It’s an outlier in the world.”
5G  Barrie_McKenna  beyondtheU.S.  bullying  Canada  Canada-China_relations  China  cyber_security  cyberespionage  Huawei  international_trade  Meng_Wanzhou  NAFTA  non-tariff_barriers  middle-powers  arbitrariness  understated 
january 2019 by jerryking
Trump’s beggar-thy-neighbour trade strategy is anything but foolish - The Globe and Mail
CHRISTIAN LEUPRECHT AND ROGER BRADBURY
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

The U.S. administration’s tariffs are actually perfectly rational – from Mr. Trump’s perspective (i.e. his worldview).

The extent of the punitive tariffs Mr. Trump is imposing is unprecedented. They threaten to bring down the system of global trade – Bretton Woods' meticulously calibrated, multilateral system of rules has 164 member-states and comprises tens of thousands of products--by design.

World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunals – which are about to grind to a halt because the United States has not named a judge to the seven-member Appellate Body – were meant to ensure that everyone sticks to the rules....
The President is now intent on destroying co-operation within the WTO by driving wedges between the world’s trading blocs and countries. The United States would be in a much stronger position if it could negotiate with each trade bloc directly. ....Mr. Trump’s recent musings about replacing NAFTA with two separate trade agreements with Canada and Mexico are further evidence to that effect. Canada risks selling out the WTO by making concessions to the United States.

China, too, is negotiating bilaterally with the United States and is already caving to American demands. In the end, the large trading blocs are likely to divide up the world among themselves; countries with little leverage, such as Canada, could become collateral damage......Where once the goal of the United States was to rise to global hegemony, today its goal is to maintain that dominance.

So, that same rules-based system is now causing competitors.... Under these conditions, it is no longer in the interest of the United States to co-operate; as the global political and economic hegemon, the United States can win a strategic competition for wealth and power. Everyone ends up poorer, but the United States remains top dog because everyone else grows poorer faster than the United States. Beggar thy neighbour. Literally.

But being frank will not sit well with Canadians; painting Mr. Trump as a crazy buffoon is more politically expedient. So, along with the EU and China, Canada falls right into Mr. Trump’s bilateral trade-negotiation trap. R.I.P. WTO. Score: Trump 1; Canada 0.
beggar-thy-neighbour  bilateral  Canada  Canadian  China  collateral_damage  crossborder  Donald_Trump  EU  international_system  international_trade  Justin_Trudeau  middle-powers  multilateralism  negotiations  punitive  rules-based  tariffs  WTO  worldviews  mercantilism  zero-sum  NAFTA  Bretton_Woods 
june 2018 by jerryking
Mid-sized powers must unite to preserve the world order
Gideon Rachman

New times call for new thinking.....the world’s middle powers, Germany, France, Japan and Britain, have a dilemma: America and China are increasingly tempted to break free of the constraints of international agreements and to use their power to achieve their goals, unilaterally. Russia lacks the economic might of a great power. But it has the territorial expanse and the nuclear arsenal, and has made a mighty contribution to an atmosphere of growing international lawlessness.

The middle powers cannot flex their muscles like great powers. But they are international players, with global economic and security interests. They need a world with rules. ...What could the middle powers actually do, other than give each other consoling hugs? They should start by noting the similarity of their positions and concerns. For decades, the six middle powers have organised their international positions around two pillars: a strong relationship with the US and membership of a powerful regional grouping, such as the EU, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Donald Trump era has upended their assumptions. Whatever the Europeans, Australians, Japanese and Canadians say publicly, they are all dismayed by the current direction of the US. The protectionism of the Trump administration is a direct threat to their economic interests. (The US is likely to press ahead with steel tariffs on the EU on June 1.) The US’s current unpredictability and incipient isolationism also poses questions about the robustness of its security guarantees to its allies.

With US leadership increasingly erratic, the middle powers should do more to co-ordinate their positions and lobby on the big global issues: trade, climate change, arms control and peace efforts in the Middle East and Asia.
APEC  co-ordinated_approaches  Donald_Trump  EU  international_system  lawlessness  middle-powers  NAFTA  rules_of_the_game  rules-based 
may 2018 by jerryking
Open books, open borders
OCTOBER 20, 2017 | FT| Janan Ganesh.

The globalised Booker also confirms this medium-sized country’s knack for cultural decorations — degrees from its universities, air time on the BBC — that are coveted worldwide. The unfakeable emotion from Saunders and Beatty upon receipt of the prize was a larger compliment to Britain and its soft power than a Booker for one of its own would have been.....There is a strategic imperative to open up that goes beyond the aesthetic one. As the gap narrows between the superpower and the rest, it becomes more important for America to understand the outside world. Better foreign news coverage can help, but mere politics is downstream of culture. The real prize is to comprehend another country’s thought patterns, speech rhythms, historic ghosts and unconscious biases — and these seep out from the stories it tells and the way it tells them....Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker cites the spread of literacy as a reason for the long-term decline of human violence. To read another person’s story is to end up with a larger “circle of sympathy”. But even if America’s concern is the narrowest raison d’état, rather than world peace, it would profit from reading beyond its borders.

The minimum return is that more American readers would have more fun. The headiest writing tends to come from places that are ascendant enough to matter but raw enough to retain some measure of dramatic chaos: 19th-century Britain and Russia, mid-20th-century America, and now, perhaps, early 21st-century Asia. It is not just in economics that protectionism stifles.
books  cosmopolitan  cross-cultural  cultural_products  empathy  fiction  George_Saunders  Janan_Ganesh  literature  Man_Booker  middle-powers  national_identity  novels  open_borders  open_mind  parochialism  prizes  protectionism  reading  soft_power  storytelling  United_Kingdom  writers 
november 2017 by jerryking
Britain resigns as a world power
May 21, 2015 |The Washington Post | Fareed Zakaria
"I was struck by just how parochial it has become. After an extraordinary 300-year run, Britain has essentially resigned as a global power.

Over the next few years, Britain’s army will shrink to about 80,000."... Why does this matter? Because on almost all global issues, Britain has a voice that is intelligent, engaged and forward-looking. It wants to strengthen and uphold today’s international system — one based on the free flow of ideas, goods and services around the world, one that promotes individual rights and the rule of law.

This is not an accident. Britain essentially created the world we live in. In his excellent book “God and Gold,” Walter Russell Mead points out that in the 16th century many countries were poised to advance economically and politically — Northern Italy’s city-states, the Hanseatic League, the Low Countries, France, Spain. But Britain managed to edge out the others, becoming the first great industrial economy and the modern world’s first superpower. It colonized and shaped countries and cultures from Australia to India to Africa to the Western Hemisphere, including of course, its settlements in North America. Had Spain or Germany become the world’s leading power, things would look very different today.
BBC  books  cosmopolitan  cost-cutting  cutbacks  David_Cameron  drawdowns  EU  Fareed_Zakaria  foreign_policy  forward_looking  geopolitics  globalization  industrial_economy  international_relations  international_system  internationalism  leadership  London  middle-powers  parochialism  punch-above-its-weight  retreats  rule_of_law  superpowers  United_Kingdom  Walter_Russell_Mead 
may 2015 by jerryking
Ottawa’s diplomatic approach to China naive, says former ambassador - The Globe and Mail
CRAIG OFFMAN
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Mar. 02 2015

In his coming book, Middle Power, Middle Kingdom, Mr. Mulroney takes issue with the federal government’s cultivation of the ambassador and his close working rapport with political staffers in the foreign affairs department.
diplomacy  China  books  John_Baird  foreign_policy  naivete  middle-powers 
march 2015 by jerryking
All he is saying is give war a chance: Democracy and world peace are really not such great ideas. Just ask author Robert Kaplan
11 Mar 2000| National Post pg B5 |Alexander Rose.

Whatever else journalist Robert D. Kaplan picked up during his sojourn in the Great Back of Beyond, it wasn't universal love, touch-feely harmony and a We-Are-The-World attitude. In this newspaper last weekend, reviewing The Coming Anarchy -- a collection of his recent assays he was in Canada to promote this week — Misha Glenny aptly remarked: "If you want to feel uplifted about the human condition, you should steer clear of Kaplan's work as a general rule." An example; The way to make this world a better place Kaplan casually proposes in his new collection of essays (named after his famous 1994 article in The Atlantic Monthly predicting cultural clashes, tribal and widespread environmental meltdown), is for Congress to reauthorize assassination as a political instrument to grasp that democracy is not suitable for everyone; and that world peace would actually make war likelier.

"I've spent a great deal of my life covering wars," he says. Moreover, "unlike a lot of journalists, I read -- I read a lot, a lot of history, a lot of philosophy.

Look at Livy (the ancient Roman historian)...'Drew him to classical philosophy. ''If you read the ancient Chinese, or Cicero, Machiavelli or Herodotus, these a strain running through them - which is that if you always think about might go wrong, things might start going right and you can avoid tragedy.'' Thus, ''tragedy is avoidable if you always maintain a sense of it.''

The problem, however, is that "the times we live in are so prosperous for us that it's hard to think tragically." And, most alarmingly, "Revolutions and upheavals happen when things are getting better, not worse."

...When Mr. Kaplan speaks of "realists" he is describing the Hobbesian view that man has a rapacious, brutal, selfish nature. On the world stage, this translates as furiously competing sovereign states battling over their respective interests, many of which are intractable. Realists therefore believe eternal and armed vigilance, not highfalutin UN declarations, are the key to ensuring "human security". ...Kaplan believes that there are three strands of "realism" battle for supremacy...."You don't have to believe in global warming, but we're entering a world in which there will be six billion of us and you have to realize that there are now enough of us living in urbanized conditions that we're occupying zones which are climatically and tectonically fragile. "Now, we've got 70% of the Chinese population producing two-thirds of the industrial output living in flood zones. Forget about Mozambique -- that's a sideshow."...So what advice would he give our Department of Foreign Affairs so that Canada could punch above its weight in the world?

Says Kaplan, without skipping a beat: "It's hard for a country of 30 million to have a pivotal impact. So the way to do it is to get behind an idea everyone knows is smart but nobody has the time or the inclination to push."

Is Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy's position on human rights and human security one such "smart idea"? Mr. Kaplan gives it short shrift (actually, no shrift at all). "It's far too flaccid and formless to be taken seriously because all he's really stating is a kind of easy truth. Tough truths, on the other hand, are things like when and where you intervene and under what circumstances.

"So, I would say Canada needs to go on fast forward to a Global Constabulary Force. NATO, with all its problems, worked well in Kosovo and Bosnia. So, we [i.e., Canada] will create an out-of-area military branch of NATO with some non-European members -- such as Japan, Australia, India, Brazil -- to form the core of the GCF." Then "we'll have a wider range of options during the next Rwanda, or next time something happens in a place with no strategic interest to anyone but where there's an overwhelming sense that we should 'do something.' But just talking about human security ... The minute you have something that everyone agrees with you know it's useless."

A lesson from the master himself.
floodplains  Greek  hard_choices  hard_power  hard_questions  hard_truths  history  human_rights  human_security  journalists  middle-powers  Niccolò_Machiavelli  political_theory  punch-above-its-weight  rapaciousness  realism  realpolitik  Robert_Kaplan  Romans  thinking_tragically  the_human_condition  world_stage  worst-case 
july 2012 by jerryking
Canada is 'back' on the world stage? Hardly
Jun. 13, 2012 |The Globe and Mail |Jeffrey Simpson.

"It is all so penny-wise and pound foolish, especially for a country that once prided itself on punching above its weight and, more important, understood that this is a relatively small country with huge international interests. Now, Canada has retreated into an anglospheric worldview coupled with a focus on trade deals, but lacking any sense of a wider conception of international affairs.

Hectoring and lecturing undoubtedly appeals to the Conservative Party's core voters. It does not impress other governments, including friendly ones."
Jeffrey_Simpson  Canada  foreign_policy  worldviews  punch-above-its-weight  middle-powers  world_stage 
june 2012 by jerryking
They're Mars, we're Venus
21 Mar 2003| The Globe and Mail pg.21 |Jeffrey Simpson.

if foreign policy were only about interests, Canada would urge even closer economic integration (customs union? continental perimeter? harmonized standards?) and would line up with every U.S. foreign policy objective.

But foreign policy is also about instincts -- and Canada's cannot be squared with those of the Bush administration. Canada sees the world, as modest-sized states do, in terms of influence; the U.S. now sees the world almost exclusively in terms of power. Robert Kagan, a conservative U.S. analyst, observes that the U.S. is now Mars and Europe is Venus -- as is Canada.
ProQuest  Jeffrey_Simpson  crossborder  foreign_policy  Canada  U.S.foreign_policy  values  national_identity  hard_power  soft_power  middle-powers  Robert_Kagan 
october 2011 by jerryking

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