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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
The belle époque of the small nation is over
September 28, 2018 | Financial Times | by JANAN GANESH.

Globalisation has been the era of small countries but that time may now be passing. Ganesh raises an interesting point, what happens to small countries that, since the end of WW2, have enjoyed the protection of the rules-based system (UN, WTO, NATO, Pax Americana).

Singapore leaders were determined in their quest to that small nation be less small.....The paradox is that smallness has been an edge, not a curse, in the liberal age. For all the grandiloquence about a Washington Consensus and a Pax Americana, the US was never the principal profiteer from globalisation.....The real beneficiaries were the rapid enrichment of Ireland, the ethnic diversification of Sweden, the technological fecundity of Israel and the rise of Dubai from the sands as a shimmering entrepôt......1990-2010 was the golden age--the belle époque--of the small nation....Rules-based globalism was a precious equaliser for these places.... it also made advantages of their liabilities....Their shortage of domestic consumers was the ultimate incentive to cast around for other markets. Their lack of capital made them welcome foreign investors. Even the nicheness of their native languages (in some cases) obliged them to master English.

There is, without leaning too much on “national character”, a small-country hardiness ....an acceptance of the outside world as a non-negotiable fact: a blend of fatalism and resourcefulness that makes for formidable migrants....If small countries have mastered the global age, it is a feat that goes beyond the economic. They also have a cultural reach that was hard to picture not long ago, when nations needed the brawn of a BBC or a Canal Plus to foist their creative wares on distant audiences....all attest to what we are now obliged to call the “soft power” of small countries....The mistake is to see this moment as eternal. For those who live in or care about these places, the dread is that the coming decades will be as harsh as the last few have been kind. Almost all the conditions that allowed small nations to bloom look precarious....growing protectionism...big states throwing their weight around....Peter Thiel, in his bid for NZ citizenship, said he found “no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand”. It was telling that such a prolific maker of sound bets backed a small, open, adaptable nation.
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I am more optimistic and believe many small states will adjust just fine. Why? Think of Taleb's flexibility idea - small states are less fragile than bigger ones, more nimble, more homogenous, faster to change I like also to add that there are more smaller successful counties than the ones mentioned (e.g., Switzerland, Costa Rica).
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The flip side is that small countries may have greater ability to act thoughtfully and coherently than larger peers. But I agree - it is likely to be tough ahead.

Here in Singapore, a senior politician summed it up very well: we are just a block of granite in the south china sea, and have no God-given right to exist as a country. The only way we can survive is by being paranoid and continuously reinventing ourselves.
city-states  globalization  Iceland  Janan_Ganesh  nimbleness  Peter_Thiel  post_globalization  rules-based  Singapore  small_states  soft_power  antifragility  Dubai  Ireland  punch-above-its-weight  paranoia  reinvention 
october 2018 by jerryking
Windfall, by Meghan O’Sullivan
Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power, by Meghan L O’Sullivan, Simon and Schuster $29.00

the shale revolution has meant the US has become a leading global oil producer and net exporter of natural gas. Extraction from shale rock has upended global oil and gas markets, but could also have geopolitical ramifications. For most of the 20th century, western powers were locked in a scramble for oil across the globe. So what happens when technology unlocks substantial supply on home turf?

According to Meghan O’Sullivan, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, the answer is a geopolitical shift that should benefit the US. She provides a powerful argument for how America should capitalize on the “New Energy Abundance”. Having a domestic supply of oil and gas not only strengthens the US economy, it can also provide leverage globally......US gas has transferred low prices to Europe and also offers an alternative source of supply. That “has helped make Europe less vulnerable to one of Russia’s longstanding foreign policy tools — the political manipulation of natural gas markets”, O’Sullivan writes......the book details the benefits to US “hard” as well as “soft” power,....It will not lead to reduced US involvement in the Middle East, .....Nor can the US ever be self-sufficient to provide all the oil it needs,.....The book points out that energy is likely to be a major future determinant of geopolitics....China’s One Belt One Road project shows Xi Jinping’s intent to change the strategic orientation of the Eurasian landmass......a challenge to O’Sullivan’s thesis is that renewables and electric vehicles could drive seismic shifts. If China becomes the Saudi Arabia of batteries, will this give it greater influence? What about those who control the raw materials needed, from lithium to cobalt? O’Sullivan hints at this in her introduction, saying we should expect renewables “eventually to have major repercussions for global politics”. These could include cartels around lithium or the state collapse of some oil producers.
nonfiction  books  fracking  energy  natural_gas  soft_power  policy_tools  shale_oil  hydraulic_fracturing  pipelines  oil_industry  geopolitics  renewable  electric_cars  batteries  One_Belt_One_Road  Xi_Jinping 
december 2017 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
Joe Clark’s new book: Canada is the country that ‘lectures and leaves’ - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 01 2013 | The Globe and Mail | CAMPBELL CLARK.

Our country, Mr. Clark argues in How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change, should “lead from beside.”
foreign_policy  foreign_aid  diplomacy  Canada  Canadian  leadership  books  soft_power  Joe_Clark  NGOs  international_relations  Commonwealth 
november 2013 by jerryking
Militant Threats Test Pentagon’s Role in Africa
February 11, 2013 |NYTimes.com | By ERIC SCHMITT

Created five years ago to focus on training the armed forces of dozens of African nations and strengthening social, political and economic programs, the Pentagon’s Africa Command now finds itself on a more urgent mission: confronting a new generation of Islamist militants who are testing the United States’ resolve to fight terrorism without being drawn into a major conflict....challenges include countering Al Qaeda’s fighters in Mali, Islamic extremists in Libya, drug traffickers in West Africa and armed rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo....With the war in Afghanistan winding down, senior Pentagon officials are scrambling to address the growing threat in North and West Africa by repositioning spy satellites and shifting surveillance aircraft from other theaters, all at a time when shrinking military budgets are forcing the Obama administration to make difficult choices on where to accept more risk.
Africa  Pentagon  Africom  U.S._military  threats  challenges  security_&_intelligence  soft_power  Niger 
february 2013 by jerryking
Soft Power, Hard Truths - WSJ.com
February 22, 2005 | WSJ |By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
soft_power  hard_truths 
june 2012 by jerryking
Confucius Institute good exercise in soft power for China
Jun. 20 2012 | The Globe and Mail | editorials.

The Confucius Institutes are in themselves a good thing, as an international cultural presence for China and an exercise in soft power. Canadian universities and colleges, however, should refrain from partnerships with them, as they are bound to include a propagandistic element inconsistent with liberal education.

The name itself is salutary. Mercifully, they are not called the Mao Zedong Institutes. The Chinese Communist Party is now willing to associate itself with a name that suggests ethics, scholarship and traditions that go back long before Marx, Lenin and Mao. Somewhat similarly, a few years after the Second World War, West Germany renamed the Deutsche Akademie as the Goethe-Institut, with admirable connotations of humanism and high culture – rather than murderous totalitarianism or even blood-and-iron Bismarckian nationalism.

The Confucius Institutes are thus the Chinese equivalent not only of the Goethe-Institut, but also of the British Council, the Alliance Française, the Società Dante Alighieri, the Instituto Cervantes and so on. A wider and deeper knowledge of Chinese language and culture outside China is desirable for many reasons, and mutually beneficial for Chinese and non-Chinese alike.
editorials  soft_power  China  Chinese  Colleges_&_Universities  Confucius_Institutes  mutually_beneficial 
june 2012 by jerryking
Cash Fails to Win China Friends in Philippines - WSJ.com
June 7, 2012 | WSJ | By JAMES HOOKWAY
Sea Tensions Deepen With China's Rise
Philippines  China  China_rising  soft_power  Hu_Jintao 
june 2012 by jerryking
I'm Putting My Money Where the Soft Power Is - WSJ.com
February 8, 2005 | WSJ | Amory B. Lovins,CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute
Snowmass, Colo.
letters_to_the_editor  energy  entrepreneur  Amory_Lovins  soft_power 
may 2012 by jerryking
War Shifts Canada's Military Expectations - WSJ.com
April 17, 2012 | WSJ | By ALISTAIR MACDONALD.

War Shifts Canada's Military Expectations
After Key Role in Afghanistan, Government Envisions Expanded Presence Overseas, but Also Contends With Budget Cuts..."There is a sense that there has been too much soft power, not enough hard power, and Afghanistan has recalibrated that equation," said Fen Hampson, director of Carleton University and a member of a task force that advised the prime minister's office on Afghanistan's School of International Affairs.

That adjustment came at significant cost. Canada's 158 dead, out of 38,000 people who were deployed to Afghanistan at some point over a decade, represent one of the highest per capita casualty rates in the Western coalition.
Canada  Afghanistan  Stephen_Harper  veterans  expectations  soft_power  hard_power  budget_cuts 
may 2012 by jerryking
How China Can Defeat America - NYTimes.com
November 20, 2011 | NYT| By YAN XUETONG, who is the author of “Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power,” is a professor of political science and dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University....The pre-Qin period of Chinese history-- before China was unified as an empire more than 2,000 years ago — was a world in which small countries were competing ruthlessly for territorial advantage. It was perhaps the greatest period for Chinese thought, and several schools--ancient Chinese political theorists like Guanzi, Confucius, Xunzi and Mencius--competed for ideological supremacy and political influence. They converged on one crucial insight: The key to international influence was political power, and the central attribute of political power was morally informed leadership. Rulers who acted in accordance with moral norms whenever possible tended to win the race for leadership over the long term.
Confucian  Henry_Kissinger  soft_power  alliances  foreign_policy  moral_authority  values  China  China_rising  philosophy  political_theory  power  political_power  leadership  APNSA  political_influence  U.S.-China_relations 
november 2011 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
PM brings soft power and firepower to bear in the North - The Globe and Mail
Aug. 21, 2011 | G&M |GLORIA GALLOWAY. “I
would say within the last year and a half he has become more pragmatic,”
said Shelagh Grant, a researcher from Peterborough, Ont., whose book
Polar Imperative talks about the need for Canada to exert its sovereign
control over the vast expanse that holds so much potential for wealth
and development.
“For the first time,” she said, “I think he understands that you can’t
just send the army in camouflage rolling across the tundra and say we
are protecting Arctic sovereignty.”
Those who study the North say infrastructure – including ports,
search-and-rescue units, and navigation aids to be used by foreign ships
plying the Northwest Passage – will effectively tell other countries
that the Canadian Arctic is ours more forcefully than moving troops into
the region.
Artic  sovereignty  canadian  canada  Stephen_Harper  soft_power  infrastructure 
august 2011 by jerryking
The Gates Farewell Warning
MAY 28, 2011 |- WSJ.com |..As Reagan knew, America's global
power begins at home, with a strong economy able to generate wealth. The
push for defense cuts reflects the reality of a weak recovery and a
national debt that has doubled in the last two years. But the Obama
Administration made a conscious decision to squeeze defense while
pouring money on everything else.
***"More perhaps than any other Secretary of Defense, I have been a
strong advocate of soft power—of the critical importance of diplomacy
and development as fundamental components of our foreign policy and
national security," Mr. Gates said at Notre Dame. "But make no mistake,
the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators and
terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power—the size,
strength and global reach of the United States military."
Robert_Gates  speeches  Pentagon  soft_power  debt  editorials  rogue_actors  U.S._military  hard_power  SecDef 
may 2011 by jerryking
Crovitz: How the U.S. Is Losing the Information War - WSJ.com
APRIL 18, 2011

The VOA Is Losing Its Voice
Hillary Clinton: 'We are in an information war, and we are losing.'

By L. GORDON CROVITZ
L._Gordon_Crovtiz  soft_power  propaganda  information_warfare 
april 2011 by jerryking
U.S. Africa Command Seen Taking Key Role
March 22, 2011 | TheLedger.com | ERIC SCHMITT.

When the United States Africa Command was created four years ago, it was the military’s first “smart power” command. It has no assigned troops and no headquarters in Africa itself, and one of its two top deputies is
a seasoned American diplomat.

Indeed, the command, known as Africom, is intended largely to train and
assist the armed forces of 53 African nations and to work with the State
Department and other American agencies to strengthen social, political
and economic programs in the region, including improving H.I.V.
awareness in African militaries and removing land mines.

Now the young, untested command and its new boss, Gen. Carter F. Ham,
find themselves at their headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, setting
aside public diplomacy talks and other civilian-military duties to lead
the initial phase of a complex, multinational shooting war with Libya.
Africa  Libya  conflicts  Africom  U.S._military  soft_power 
march 2011 by jerryking
The Crossroads Nation - NYTimes.com
Nov. 8, 2010 By DAVID BROOKS. What sort of country will
America be in 2030 or 2050? Nobody has defined America’s coming
economic identity. ....We’re living in an information age. Innovation
and creativity are the engines of economic growth. ...Creativity is not a
solitary process. It happens within netwks. It happens when talented
people get together, when idea systems and mentalities merge....."In
2009, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dir. policy planning at the State Dept.,
wrote an essay , “America’s Edge.”" for Foreign Affairs in which she
laid out the logic of this new situation: “In a networked world, the
issue is no longer relative power, but centrality in an increasingly
dense global web.” the U.S. is well situated to be the crossroads
nation. It is well situated to be the center of global ntwks and to
nurture the right kinds of ntwks Building that US means doing everything
possible to thicken connections: finance research; improve
infrastructure; fix immigration; reform taxes;
R&D  infrastructure  immigration  creativity  future  David_Brooks  networks  soft_power  U.S.foreign_policy  synchronization  orchestration  centralization  Anne-Marie_Slaughter  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  network_density  network_power  op_ed 
november 2010 by jerryking
Book Review: Monsoon - WSJ.com
OCT. 16, 2010 | WSJ | By GURCHARAN DAS.The 500-yr. domination
of Asia by the West is ending. Kaplan suggests that it's in the Indian
Ocean where history will be made & where the global struggle for
democracy, energy, religion & security will be waged, where the
rivalry between China & India will play out, & where America's
future as a great power depends on its ability to command a place on
this new center stage of history...The msg. of "Monsoon" is that the
economic impulse is likely to prevail & in the long run even the
more extreme Islamic nations will turn middle class. Al-Jazeera, the Mid
Eastern TV netwk, is symbolic of this bourgeois Islam...the U.S.should
continue to protect the vital trade routes of the Indian Ocean for the
benefit of all, in alliance with the navies of the new powers of the
Indian Ocean world...To this end, , the U.S. can learn "soft power" from
India. "Monsoon's" premise is that the Indian Ocean is "more than just a
geographic feature, it's also an idea."
Robert_Kaplan  geopolitics  mapping  Indo_Pacific  maritime  soft_power  book_reviews  China_rising  India  PACOM  Indian_Ocean 
october 2010 by jerryking
America's Invisible Export
August/September 2000 | Civilization Online | By Bernard Avishai
U.S.  exporting  multinationals  soft_power 
april 2010 by jerryking
Lockheed Eyes Broader Role in Liberia Under Government's "Smart Power" Plan - WSJ.com
MARCH 21, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by By AUGUST COLE.
Defense Industry Pursues Gold in 'Smart Power' Deals. The U.S.
government is hiring the defense contractors to test an emerging tenet
of its security policy. Called "smart power," it blends military might
with nation-building activities, in hopes of boosting political
stability and American influence in far-flung corners such as Liberia.
Secretaries Clinton and Gates have called for more funding and more
emphasis on our soft power, and I could not agree with them more," Adm.
Mullen said. "Should we choose to exert American influence solely
through our troops, we should expect to see that influence diminish in
time." The economic and political tenets of smart power are in many ways
a modern extension of past U.S. foreign endeavors such as the Marshall
Plan that helped rebuild Europe after World War II.
Lockheed  security_&_intelligence  Michael_Mullen  nation_building  Africa  soft_power  Liberia  U.S.foreign_policy  SecDef  Robert_Gates 
march 2010 by jerryking

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