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jerryking : superpowers   27

Unsettling precedents for today’s world
November 26, 2019 | | Financial Times | Martin Wolf.

** Destined for War, Harvard’s Graham Allison
**  The Rise and the Fall of the Great Powers, by Paul Kennedy

Martin Wolf focuses on the three eras of conflict of the past 120 years. 
(1) the cold war (1948-1989) between a liberal democratic west, led by the US, and the communist Soviet Union, a transformed version of the pre-first world war Russian empire. This was a great power conflict between the chief victors of the second world war.....The cold war ended in peaceful triumph. 

(2) the interwar years. This was an interregnum in which the attempt to restore the pre-first world war order failed, the US withdrew from Europe and a huge financial and economic crisis, emanating originally from the US, ravaged the world economy. It was a time of civil strife, populism, nationalism, communism, fascism and national socialism. The 1930s are an abiding lesson in the possibility of democratic collapse once elites fail. They are also a lesson of what happens when great countries fall into the hands of power-hungry lunatics.....the interwar period ended in a catastrophic war.

(3) the decisive period 1870-1914 saw a rebalancing of economic power. In 1880, the UK generated 23 per cent of global manufacturing output. By 1913, this had fallen to 14 per cent. Over the same period, Germany’s share rose from 9 per cent to 15 per cent. This shift in the European balance led to a catastrophic Thucydidean war between the UK, an anxious status quo power, especially once the Germans started building a modern fleet, and Germany, a resentful rising one. Meanwhile, US industrial output went from 15 to 32 per cent of the world’s, while China fell into irrelevance. Thereupon, US action (in the 20th century’s big conflicts) and inaction (in the interwar years) determined the outcomes.....The pre-1914 period ended in a catastrophic war.

Today’s era is a mixture of all three of these. It is marked by a conflict of political systems and ideology between two superpowers, as in the cold war, by a post-financial crisis decline of confidence in democratic politics and market economics as well as by the rise of populism, nationalism and authoritarianism, as in the 1930s, and, most significantly, by a dramatic shift in relative economic power, with the rise of China, as with the US before 1914. For the first time since then, the US faces a power with an economic potential exceeding its own.....what lessons are to be learned from the eras above?
(A) One lesson is that one is that quality of leadership matters!!!!
Xi Jinping’s capacities and intentions are clear enough: he is devoted to party dominance over a resurgent China. But the political system of the western world and especially the US and UK, the two powers that dragged the world through the 1930s, is failing. US President Donald Trump’s erratic leadership recalls that of Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm. Without better leadership, the west and so the wider world are in deep trouble.

(B) Another lesson is the overriding importance of avoiding war.
(C) the most important conclusion is that avoiding yet another catastrophe is insufficient.......Our fates are too deeply intertwined for that. A positive-sum vision of relations between the west, China and the rest has to become dominant if we are to manage the economic, security and environmental challenges we face.
'30s  books  China  China_rising  Cold_War  Donald_Trump  geopolitics  Graham_Allison  history  Martin_Wolf  rising_powers  superpowers  thought-provoking  U.S.  U.S.-China_relations  WWII  Xi_Jinping 
november 2019 by jerryking
Year in a Word: Thucydides’s trap
December 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Gideon Rachman |

Thucydides’s trap

Coined by Harvard professor Graham Allison to capture the idea that the rivalry between an established power and a rising one often ends in war....The ancient Greek historian Thucydides had observed that the Peloponnesian war (431BC-404BC) was caused by “the growth of Athenian power and the fear that this caused in Sparta”....
Graham_Allison  op-ed  rivalries  Thucydides_trap  China  China_rising  conflicts  endgame  Huawei  security_&_intelligence  superpowers  rising_powers  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S.-China_relations  post-Cold_War  Donald_Trump  confrontations 
december 2018 by jerryking
America, China and the art of confrontation
December 17, 2018 | Financial Times | Gideon Rachman.

Tell me how this ends? was the despairing question attributed to American generals as they contemplated the quagmires in Vietnam and Iraq. The same question needs to be asked by US policymakers now, as they consider the escalating tensions between America and China.

The world’s two most powerful countries are locked into confrontations on a range of issues, including trade, technology, espionage and control of the South China Sea. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of interpreting these clashes. The first is that Donald Trump’s administration is determined to reset the US-China relationship. The second is that the US has now embarked on an effort to block China’s rise.

The first approach focuses on objectionable Chinese behaviour; the second objects to the very idea of China as a rival superpower.

These two ways of thinking point to very different potential endings. The first approach — the reset — ultimately ends with a deal. The second approach — blocking the rise of China — points to a prolonged and deepening antagonism......but, over the long term, both Washington and Beijing must think more profoundly about “how this ends”.

The Chinese need to recognise that there has been a profound and bipartisan shift in American thinking. So trying to hoodwink Mr Trump or wait him out will ultimately not work. Instead, China has to consider much more significant changes in its policies on everything from forced technology transfer, to the South China Sea. It could be its last chance to head off a long-term confrontation with the Americans.

The US also has some thinking to do. The hawks in Washington are relishing the more overt use of US power in their confrontation with China. But they too need to think about “how this ends”.

It is not realistic to think that the US can ultimately stop China’s rise.
China  China_rising  conflicts  endgame  Huawei  rivalries  security_&_intelligence  superpowers  Thucydides_Trap  rising_powers  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  post-Cold_War  Donald_Trump  confrontations  U.S.-China_relations 
december 2018 by jerryking
Donald Trump and the power of negative thinking - The Globe and Mail
MARCUS GEE
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Aug. 12, 2016

The United States, top dog for as long a s anyone can remember, is no exception. Every little while, Americans are seized by anxiety that they are being surpassed by people who are tougher (the Russians), cleverer (the Japanese) or harder-working (the Chinese).

Political thinkers call it declinism – the belief that your society is heading into decline – and the United States is suffering from a feverish bout of it right now. Declinism is helping to fuel the rise of Donald Trump, who whips up his cheering supporters with claims that other countries are eating America’s lunch.....Since the U.S. became the world’s pre-eminent power at the end of the WWII, it has been hit by periodic waves of insecurity. It happened when the Soviets beat them to the punch by putting the first satellite into space in 1957. It happened during the Vietnam War.

And it happened during the energy crisis of the late 1970s, when president Jimmy Carter warned that Americans were having a “crisis of the spirit.”....Although the rise of China presents another challenge, the U.S. still leads the world in military, economic and technological power. Its top universities crowd best-in-the-world lists. It cleans up at Nobel Prize time. American companies like Google, Apple and Amazon are tops in the tech field. It spends more on its armed forces than the next eight countries combined......Mr. Trump promises to put the country back on top. “We will have so much winning, if I get elected, that you may get bored of winning,” he said last September.

It’s a false hope. No country wins all the time. Even at the height of its power from 1945 to 1970, Joseph Nye reminds us, Washington failed to stop Moscow from getting nuclear weapons, Castro from taking control in Cuba and the Soviets from crushing rebellions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Donald_Trump  demagoguery  America_in_Decline?  negativity_bias  Campaign_2016  Marcus_Gee  insecurity  superpowers  Joseph_Nye 
august 2016 by jerryking
America is still great — but it needs to stay strong
May 26, 2016 | The Washington Post | By Fareed Zakaria, Opinion writer.

It is increasingly clear that the U.S. has in recent years reinforced its position as the world’s leading economic, technological, military and political power. The country dominates virtually all leading industries — from social networks to mobile telephony to nano- and biotechnology — like never before......Joshua Cooper Ramo's new book, “The Seventh Sense,” argues that in an age of networks, the winner often takes all. He points out that there are nine global tech platforms (Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Facebook, etc.) that are used by more than 1 billion people. All dominate their respective markets — and all have their epicenters in America: The dollar is more widely used for international financial transactions today than it was 20 years ago.....A better, broader measure of economic power than GDP, is “inclusive wealth.” This is the sum of a nation’s “manufactured capital (roads, buildings, machines and equipment), human capital (skills, education, health) and natural capital (sub-soil resources, ecosystems, the atmosphere).” The United States’ inclusive wealth totaled almost $144 trillion in 2010 — 4½ times China’s $32 trillion.....China is far behind the United States in its ability to add value to goods and create new products.....In the military and political realm, the dominance is even more lopsided. ....And perhaps most important, the United States has a web of allies around the world and is actually developing new important ones, such as India and Vietnam. Meanwhile, China has one military ally, North Korea....The complexity of today’s international system is that, despite this American dominance, other countries have, in fact, gained ground.......“Washington still has no true rival, and will not for a very long time, but it faces a growing number of constraints.” ....The reality is that America remains the world’s leading power, but it can achieve its objectives only by defining its interests broadly, working with others and creating a network of cooperation. That, alas, does not fit on a campaign cap.
Fareed_Zakaria  Donald_Trump  networks  epicenters  winner-take-all  superpowers  indispensable  Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  platforms  books  international_system  manufactured_capital  human_capital  natural_capital 
may 2016 by jerryking
The new game | The Economist
Oct 17th 2015 |

America still has resources other powers lack. Foremost is its web of alliances, including NATO. Whereas Mr Obama sometimes behaves as if alliances are transactional, they need solid foundations. America’s military power is unmatched, but it is hindered by pork-barrel politics and automatic cuts mandated by Congress. These spring from the biggest brake on American leadership: dysfunctional politics in Washington. That is not just a poor advertisement for democracy; it also stymies America’s interest. In the new game it is something that the United States—and the world—can ill afford.
Asia_Pacific  China  gridlocked_politics  indispensable  influence  international_system  NATO  networks  network_density  network_power  political_power  Obama  Russia  South_China_Sea  strategic_alliances  superpowers  Syria  transactional_relationships  U.S.foreign_policy  politics  Vladimir_Putin 
october 2015 by jerryking
Choosing a Path in the World Ahead - WSJ
By PEGGY NOONAN
June 4, 2015 7

political scientist and global risk strategist Ian Bremmer, a foreign-affairs columnist at Time, has written a book asking Americans themselves to decide what our policy should be, and offering what he sees as three central options.

“America,” he writes, “will remain the world’s only superpower for the foreseeable future. But what sort of superpower should it be? What role should America play in the world? What role do you want America to play?”
Ian_Bremmer  Peggy_Noonan  strategic_thinking  superpowers 
june 2015 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
Are we witnessing a comeback of the Stars and Stripes? - The Globe and Mail
JOHN STACKHOUSE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 26 2014

America’s retreat was the central question. Had the superpower become a super-bystander? Or had the President just lost interest, energy and credibility to do more than moralize?...Mr. Obama has drawn instead on what he calls “progressive pragmatism,” which his aides claim is his nature, relying on an informal network of networks, ad hoc groups of nations taking on the challenges of the day. Some of them champion liberal values. Some are partners of convenience. Exhibit A: the coalition of willing Arab states in this week’s air strikes. Exhibit B: the network of health agencies and charities operating with U.S. support in ebola-stricken West Africa....On the grander issues of his age – climate change, cyber-security, the financial imbalance between America and Asia – Mr. Obama will need ad hoc networks like never before. The 2008 financial crisis was mitigated by a small group of central bankers, commercial bankers, regulators and finance ministers, supported but not directed by the United States. A president who is not renowned for building private-sector trust, or the loyalty of other nations, may be challenged to do that again. He also needs what America has lacked of late – for its allies to do more. Canada’s approach to carbon emissions is the sort of passive resistance the U.S. has encountered from India on trade, Mexico on immigration and Turkey on Syria. Under Mr. Obama, everyone has loved to complain about Washington, but few have been willing to shoulder their share of the costs.

Skeptics believe this is no longer possible – the world has too many strong voices, too many competing interests, too much of what physicists call entropy, the thermodynamic condition that degenerates order into chaos.
America_in_Decline?  bouncing_back  U.S.foreign_policy  multipolarity  Obama  John_Stackhouse  G20  UN  NATO  Iran  Ukraine  geopolitics  complexity  networks  interconnections  instability  superpowers  indispensable  disequilibriums  ad_hoc  nobystanders  entropy  imbalances 
september 2014 by jerryking
Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour as a Rock-Star Diplomat - NYTimes.com
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
Published: June 27, 2012

rld.

Clinton dismissed this when I asked her about it in an interview in her large office on the seventh floor of the State Department. She started by noting that NATO and the military alliances with Japan and South Korea have been bedrocks of national security through every Republican and Democratic administration since World War II. In “21st-century statecraft,” though, “the general understanding, which cuts across parties, is that the United States can’t solve all of the problems in the world,” she said. “But the problems in the world can’t be solved without the United States. And therefore, we have to husband our resources, among which is this incredibly valuable asset of global leadership, and figure out how we can best deploy it.” She cited the role of the Arab League — once marginal and mostly dysfunctional — in forging international consensus for the intervention in Libya. “The Arab League was not prepared to work with NATO, work with the United States,” she explained of nudging others to the forefront of international action. “But we’ve worked very hard, and I certainly have worked hard, to create an openness to that, and I think it’s in America’s interest.”
diplomacy  U.S.foreign_policy  Hillary_Clinton  indispensable  superpowers  21st._century  statecraft  alliances  NATO 
july 2012 by jerryking
The causes: The roots of hatred
September 20th, 2001| The Economist

America defends its interests, sometimes skilfully, sometimes clumsily, just as other countries do. Since power, like nature, abhors a vacuum, it steps into places where disorder reigns. On the whole, it should do so more, not less, often. Of all the great powers in history, it is probably the least territorial, the most idealistic. Muslims in particular should note that the armed interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, both led by America, were attacks on Christian regimes in support of Muslim victims. In neither did the United States stand to make any material gain; in neither were its vital interests, conventionally defined, at stake. Those who criticise America's leadership of the world's capitalist system—a far from perfect affair—should remember that it has brought more wealth and better living standards to more people than any other in history. And those who regret America's triumph in the cold war should stop to think how the world would look if the Soviet Union had won. America's policies may have earned it enemies. But in truth, it is difficult to find plausible explanations for the virulence of last week's attacks, except in the envy, hatred and moral confusion of those who plotted and perpetrated them.
cold_war  root_cause  anti-Americanism  disorder  international_system  national_interests  superpowers  leadership  U.S.  virulence 
june 2012 by jerryking
This is no time to give up on the U.S., Mulroney says - The Globe and Mail
tu thanh ha
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011

Canada has a privileged relationship with the United States that shouldn't be squandered, even at a time when U.S. world leadership is waning and new superpowers are emerging, Brian Mulroney says.

“The resilience of America should never be discounted,” the former prime minister said in a luncheon speech on Thursday.

“The need for Canada to safeguard and nurture our interests vis-à-vis America will always – certainly in my lifetime and the lifetime of my children – be the top foreign policy priority of the prime minister of Canada.”
Brian_Mulroney  crossborder  superpowers  leadership  America_in_Decline?  Canada  foreign_policy 
october 2011 by jerryking
Hating America – until you really need help - The Globe and Mail
CHRYSTIA FREELAND | Columnist profile
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Sep. 15, 2011
superpowers  Chrystia_Freeland  schadenfreude  indispensable  America  Ian_Bremmer  G-Zero  America_in_Decline? 
october 2011 by jerryking
Rumsfeld: Know the Unknowns - WSJ.com
APRIL 4, 2011| WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ. Before 9/11,
Rumsfeld distributed to colleagues a comment about Pearl Harbor by
economist Thomas Schelling: "There is a tendency in our planning to
confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Rumsfeld focuses on
unknown unknowns in order to encourage more "intellectual humility" ."It
is difficult to accept—to know—that there may be important unknowns."
"In the run-up to the war in Iraq, we heard a great deal about what our
intel community knew or thought they knew," he writes, "but not enough
about what they knew they didn't know." Policy makers can't afford to
be paralyzed by a lack of info., inaction by the world's superpower has
its own risks. Instead, Rumsfeld says the known known of info. gaps
should force a more robust give-and-take between policy makers &
intelligence analysts, allowing analysts to understand what policymakers
need to know & policymakers to understand what info. they can and
cannot get from intelligence.
Donald_Rumsfeld  superpowers  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  memoirs  decision_making  security_&_intelligence  information_gaps  humility  uncertainty  cost_of_inaction  unknowns  Thomas_Schelling  improbables  quotes  unfamiliarity  SecDef  policymakers  policymaking  intelligence_analysts 
april 2011 by jerryking
We’ve Only Got America A - NYTimes.com
Dec. 14, 2010|NYT|TOM FRIEDMAN. If the U.S.weakens & can't
project power the way it has, kids won’t just grow up in a different
America. They'll grow up in a different world. You won't like who picks
up the pieces. Glance at recent headlines. The world sys.is being
challenged by 2 new forces: a rising superpower, China, & a rising
collection of super-empowered individuals, e.g. the WikiLeakers.
Globalization, tech. integration & the general flattening of the
world have super-empowered individuals to such a degree that they can
actually challenge hierarchies — from global banks to nation states — as
individuals...But here’s the fact: A China that chokes off
conversations far beyond its borders, and super-empowered individuals
who expose conversations far beyond their borders — are realities as
rising powers. A stable world requires getting the best from both &
limit the worst; it'll require smart legal & technological
responses...For that job, there's no alternative to a strong U.S.
Tom_Friedman  China_rising  WikiLeaks  globalization  indispensable  rising_powers  superpowers 
december 2010 by jerryking
Dean of Ivey's Hong Kong campus: 'Canadians are missing the boat' - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 01, 2010 | Globe & Mail | GORDON PITTS. We’re not
preparing the next generation for a time when China will be a
superpower. What are we doing to teach people about China? We still have
people calling us and saying ‘I’m going to China – what should I wear?’
In reality, Hong Kong is a sophisticated city. And when you land in
Beijing, you’re in an enormous city where people are master consumers.
And we are focusing all our attention on languages that might not be as
useful as Mandarin in the future.

It’s really about fixing young people’s attention on the fact the
economic powerhouse is not the U.S. any more. It is China and it is
India and we don’t know enough about this side of the world.
Hong_Kong  China  Ivey  Gordon_Pitts  China_rising  America_in_Decline?  superpowers  Mandarin  languages  young_people 
november 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - Superbroke, Superfrugal, Superpower? - NYTimes.com
September 4, 2010 ! NYT ! By Tom FRIEDMAN. Builds on the
message contained in “The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership
in a Cash-Strapped Era” a very timely book by Michael Mandelbaum. How
to mitigate this trend? Mandelbaum argues for 3 things: (1) we need to
get ourselves back on a sustainable path to economic growth and
reindustrialization, with whatever sacrifices, hard work and political
consensus that requires. (2), we need to set priorities. We have enjoyed
a century in which we could have, in foreign policy terms, both what is
vital and what is desirable. e.g. with infinite men & money we can
succeed in Afghanistan. But is it vital? it may be desirable, but
vital? (3), we need to shore up our balance sheet and weaken that of our
enemies, and the best way to do that in one move is with a much higher
gasoline tax. ..There was a time when thinking seriously about U.S.
foreign policy did not require thinking seriously about economic policy.
That time is also over.
Tom_Friedman  U.S.foreign_policy  imperial_overstretch  cash-strapped  geopolitics  austerity  economic_policy  priorities  sacrifice  reindustrialization  frugality  superpowers  hard_work 
september 2010 by jerryking
FT.com / Comment / Opinion - Obama is right to be hard-nosed on China
August 30, 2010 | Financial Times | By Minxin Pei. ``Mr
Obama has reverted to long-standing American principles in dealing with a
rising great power. For while the US can confidently manage China’s
mounting economic prowess, and count on economic progress to liberalise
the Chinese political system, the world’s sole superpower can ill-afford
to allow its new rival to become Asia’s hegemon. ``
China  China_rising  geopolitics  realpolitik  rising_powers  rivalries  superpowers  Thucydides_Trap  U.S.-China_relations  U.S.foreign_policy 
august 2010 by jerryking
'When China Rules the World - The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order,'
December 31, 2009 | - NYTimes.com | By JOSEPH KAHN. Reviews
WHEN CHINA RULES THE WORLD
The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order By
Martin Jacques. argues that China will not just displace the United
States as the major superpower. It will also marginalize the West in
history and upend our core notions of what it means to be modern.

Illustrated. 550 pp. The Penguin Press. $29.95
book_reviews  China  China_rising  superpowers  America_in_Decline?  displacement 
january 2010 by jerryking

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