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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Affairs’

Without Democracy, China Will Rise No Farther

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2019

Date: 04-10-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs by By Jiwei Ci

Beijing Can’t Compete With Washington Until It Reckons With Its People

China has been busy rising, and an alarmed United States has been busy repositioning itself. Neither shows much interest in what is arguably the most important test now confronting China’s leadership, which is whether and how it will respond to internal pressures to democratize. Perhaps that is because neither realizes that how far China rises and what happens to U.S.-Chinese relations both depend more on the country’s democratization than on just about anything else.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is apparently so confident in its ability to deliver economic growth and the nation’s “great rejuvenation” that it has dispensed with the search for democratic legitimacy. The United States, having observed recent political developments in China, seems happy enough to follow the CCP in writing off the country’s democratic prospects. On this shared understanding, the supposed rivalry between China and the United States has taken on the dimensions of a contemporary Cold War. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Reckless Choices, Bad Deals, and Dangerous Provocations

Posted by hkarner - 28. September 2019

Date: 26-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Hal Brands

Trump’s Foreign Policy Is in a Downward Spiral Toward 2020

Superpowers have a lot of room for error. Unlike lesser nations, they can shrug off many of the consequences of failed policies. Their weight and influence can compensate for subpar statecraft. But bad policy eventually takes its toll on everyone. And right now, bad policy is taking its toll on the United States.

As U.S. President Donald Trump nears the fourth year of his presidency, he confronts the damage wrought by his own policies almost everywhere. The Trump administration has maneuvered itself into diplomatic cul-de-sacs with Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. It has undermined its own efforts to end the war in Afghanistan. The economic damage from Trump’s trade war with China is mounting, and Beijing shows few signs of giving in. At the same time, the president’s laceration of alliances leaves the United States weaker and more isolated. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How to Win the Battle Over Data

Posted by hkarner - 19. September 2019

Date: 17-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Eric Rosenbach and Katherine Mansted

The United States Dithers While Authoritarians Seize the Day

In recent years, a number of authoritarian governments have begun taking data very seriously. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping believe that the twenty-first century belongs to nations that control communications platforms, suppress independent media, and dominate the development of data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence. These regimes cordon off their domestic Internet space and shut off their citizens from global information flows, while undermining rival countries through disinformation campaigns and hacking. Authoritarian governments try to steal the intellectual property and databases of foreign organizations, but lock foreign firms out of their own data-rich sectors. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Coming Soon to the United Nations: Chinese Leadership and Authoritarian Values

Posted by hkarner - 17. September 2019

Date: 16-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Kristine Lee

As Washington Steps Back, Beijing Will Take Charge

For many years, the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September was a centerpiece of U.S. global leadership. President Barack Obama’s administration, for example, used the occasion to galvanize international action on issues such as climate change and refugee resettlement.

But when presidents and prime ministers gather in New York starting this week, they will do so under the auspices of an organization that is undergoing a profound transformation. The United States has let go the wheel, and Beijing stands poised to take hold of it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Italy’s Precarious Triumph Over Populism

Posted by hkarner - 15. September 2019

Date: 14-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Alexander Stille

Reports of Matteo Salvini’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

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Matteo Salvini

Last month, Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s right-wing populist Lega party, attempted a Machiavellian power move. Hoping to take advantage of his soaring popularity, he brought down his own government, with the clear intention of forcing elections that would return him as Italy’s uncontested strongman. To his own and most Italians’ surprise, his jilted coalition partner, the Five Star Movement, turned around and formed a new government with the center-left Democratic Party (DP), until then the government’s principal opposition.

And so Salvini had transformed what appeared as a moment of historic triumph for the right into a major opportunity for the left. Salvini had committed what the Italians call an autogol, a soccer term for accidentally kicking the ball into your own net.

“The idea of saving our country from a swerve into dangerous populism based on hatred prevailed,” said Nicola Zingaretti, the secretary of the Democratic Party. When the new coalition was announced, many commentators breathed a sigh of relief that Italy had prevented what some feared would be the “Orbanization” of Italy, or the emergence of a far-right government, led by Salvini, that would follow the neo-authoritarian model of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.  Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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To Counter China, Out-Invent It

Posted by hkarner - 13. September 2019

Date: 12-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson

Trump’s Trade War Ignores the Real Threat From Beijing

China’s economic strategy is no secret. In the short term, Beijing will grow the country’s economy by manufacturing and exporting cheap, globally competitive goods. Over the longer term, it will build the capital, infrastructure, and expertise necessary to make the country an innovation powerhouse.

China is not the first to adopt this strategy. The same measures powered the rise of countries such as Germany, France, and Japan over the last 70 years. And even then they caused considerable trade friction with the United States. Washington accused all three of those countries of unfair trade and monetary policies—Germany and France in the 1970s and Japan in the 1980s. Recent U.S. administrations have accused China of the same. But this time around, the tension is more concerning. China is much more populous than Germany, France, or Japan, and its economy could easily become the world’s largest. Beijing also projects influence beyond its borders, sharing technology with smaller countries and endeavoring to create a set of close trade and investment relationships—ones that may one day be based on Chinese renminbi instead of the U.S. dollar. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Self-Inflicted Recession

Posted by hkarner - 12. September 2019

Date: 11-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Jared Bernstein

The Next Downturn Will Be Political—and Tough to Escape

The United States is in its 11th year of uninterrupted economic expansion, unemployment has hit a historic low, and growth, while decelerating, still hums along. Yet anxiety about the next recession seems to mount with each new tariff or tweet that President Donald Trump lobs at China as part of his trade war—and for good reason. The president’s policies are clearly hurting tradeable sectors of the U.S. economy, especially manufacturing, which must contend with the double whammy of U.S. tariffs on imported inputs and Chinese tariffs on exports of finished goods. U.S. producers of vehicles, electronics, and agricultural goods, among other things, are all scrambling to disentangle their supply chains from China. But doing so is costly and complicated, and many of them are suffering as a result.

The trade war may not be enough to tip an otherwise healthy U.S. economy into recession. But if it does, the United States will be in a uniquely bad position to fight its way out again. The country is almost certain to enter the next downturn with historically high levels of public debt. That is worrying because governments in this position have historically failed to apply enough fiscal stimulus—that is, boost the economy through increased government spending as well as indirect measures like tax cuts—to counteract recessions. At the same time, short-term U.S. interest rates are already relatively low, meaning there will be limited room to cut them—the other main tool that governments have to battle downturns. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Great-Power Competition Is Washington’s Top Priority—but Not the Public’s

Posted by hkarner - 12. September 2019

Date: 10-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Richard Fontaine

China and Russia Don’t Keep Most Americans Awake at Night

For all the acrimony in Washington today, the city’s foreign policy establishment is settling on a rare bipartisan consensus: that the world has entered a new era of great-power competition. The struggle between the United States and other great powers, the emerging consensus holds, will fundamentally shape geopolitics going forward, for good or ill. And more than terrorism, climate change, or nuclear weapons in Iran or North Korea, the threats posed by these other great powers—namely, China and Russia—will consume U.S. foreign-policy makers in the decades ahead.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been a prime mover in setting this new agenda. Its National Security Strategy, published in December 2017, portrayed China and Russia as seeking “to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests,” with Beijing displacing the United States in the Indo-Pacific and Russia establishing spheres of influence near its borders. When he presented the new National Defense Strategy in January 2018, then Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that “Great Power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said much the same in April, when he told NATO foreign ministers that the world had entered “a new era of great-power competition,” adding separately that “China wants to be the dominant economic and military power of the world, spreading its authoritarian vision for society and its corrupt practices worldwide.” GPC has become the Pentagon’s newest acronym. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China’s Long March to Technological Supremacy

Posted by hkarner - 30. August 2019

Date: 27-08-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Julian Baird Gewirtz

The Roots of Xi Jinping’s Ambition to “Catch Up and Surpass”

Signs advertising 5G and China Unicom go up in Shanghai, April 2019

Until recently, American perceptions of Chinese technology tended to be either hopeful or dismissive. On the hopeful side, the information revolution was taken as a sure drive of greater freedom. “Imagine if the Internet took hold in China,” George W. Bush said in a presidential debate in 1999. “Imagine how freedom would spread.” Some observers noted considerable theft and imitation of U.S. technology firms, but Chinese technology was generally thought to represent little or no competitive threat, with analysts explaining—as a 2014 Harvard Business Review headline put it—“why China can’t innovate.”

But China has quickly moved up the value chain, creating world-class industries in everything from 5G and artificial intelligence to biotechnology and quantum computing. Some experts now believe that China could unseat the United States as the world’s leading technological force. And many U.S. policymakers view that prospect as an existential threat to U.S. economic and military power. “Very dangerous,” President Donald Trump said recently when talking about the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei; National Security Adviser John Bolton has warned of a “Manchurian chip.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Sources of Chinese Conduct

Posted by hkarner - 24. August 2019

Date: 22-08-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs by Odd Arne Westad

Are Washington and Beijing Fighting a New Cold War?

In February 1946, as the Cold War was coming into being, George Kennan, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, sent the State Department a 5,000-word cable in which he tried to explain Soviet behavior and outline a response to it. A year later, the text of his famous “Long Telegram” was expanded into a Foreign Affairs article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.” Writing under the byline “X,” Kennan argued that the Soviets’ Marxist-Leninist ideology was for real and that this worldview, plus a deep sense of insecurity, was what drove Soviet expansionism. But this didn’t mean that outright confrontation was inevitable, he pointed out, since “the Kremlin has no compunction about retreating in the face of superior force.” What the United States had to do to ensure its own long-term security, then, was contain the Soviet threat. If it did, then Soviet power would ultimately crumble. Containment, in other words, was both necessary and sufficient.

Kennan’s message became the canonical text for those who tried to understand the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Always controversial and often revised (not least by the author himself), the containment strategy that Kennan laid out would define U.S. policy until the end of the Cold War. And as Kennan predicted, when the end did come, it came not just because of the strength and steadfastness of the United States and its allies but even more because of weaknesses and contradictions in the Soviet system itself. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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