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jerryking : thought-provoking   3

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 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
The last days of the middle-class world citizen
October 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Janan Ganesh.
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what I think Janan Ganesh is talking about; the divide between the globally mobile elite and the locally restricted peasantry is getting increasingly stark, and the middle class is being hollowed out.
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'10s  Big_Tech  climate_change  decline  deglobalization  disposable_income  downward_mobility  dystopian_futures  frictions  future  globalization  Janan_Ganesh  lifestyles  middle_class  millennials  pessimism  societal_choices  subtractive  The_One_Percent  thought-provoking  travel 
october 2019 by jerryking
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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