The U.S.-led intervention in Libya is now in full swing, thanks to a 10-0 vote by the U.N. Security Council in favor of authorizing military force. But the seeming unanimity of the vote belies key abstentions from a wary Germany as well as Brazil, Russia, India and China — the four emerging economic powers known as the BRICs. The BRICs’ abstentions raise difficult questions about the future of a rules-based international order at a time of relative U.S. decline. The BRICs’ move seemed to be grounded in their longtime allergy to Western-led military operations. Couched in language of humanitarian concern, […]
Last week it seemed like even the intervention of U.S., British and French airpower might not be enough to enable the Libyan rebellion to regain the momentum against Libyan government forces. Now it looks like the balance has shifted in the rebels’ favor, if not yet decisively so. For me, as a supporter of the intervention, that makes this week an even better moment than last to emphasize that we should not be judging the wisdom of our involvement based on the latest isolated news accounts from the front, and that it is wildly premature to assess any ultimate outcomes. […]
While many in the West fret over the challenge of “rebalancing” the global economy after the recent global financial crisis, several trends suggest that the field of supply chain management could offer a key advantage for an America eager to double its exports by 2014. On the surface, supply chain management might not sound too sexy, but understand this: In today’s globalization, neither companies nor countries compete — supply chains do. Companies like Wal-Mart have known this for some time. Thus, positioning America to be the world’s pre-eminent provider of secure, transparent and efficient supply chains will ensure that our […]
A number of attempts to create alternatives to the U.S. Global Positioning System are underway. Russia is close to completing its GLONASS system, which India plans to join, while China is working on developing its own system. In an email interview, Charles Vick, senior technical and policy analyst for GlobalSecurity.org, discussed global satellite navigation systems. WPR: What countries are currently pursuing a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability and what is the status of their programs? Charles Vick: The Global Positioning System (GPS), the global navigation system developed by the U.S., remains the primary system used by both the military […]
One of the most revealing features of today’s international system is that only two nations, America and China, possess sufficient power to truly disrupt it — either directly, through the application of military force, or indirectly, by unleashing an uncontainable economic crisis. In fact, to truly derail globalization in its current trajectory, the two would need to act in concert, either by fighting each other directly or experiencing simultaneous economic collapses. Short of those two scenarios, modern globalization remains highly resilient to shocks of all sorts. That resilience is the only power that really matters in this world. It defines […]
There is no popular or expert consensus about which actors possess economic power in the 21st century. Public uncertainty is reflected in the April 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey, which reveals interesting cross-country discontinuities in the perception of power. When asked to identify “the world’s leading economic power,” a majority of respondents in a diverse array of developing countries — including Brazil and India — name the United States. On the other hand, in the developed world, the results look dramatically different, with strong pluralities in five of the original G-7 economies — including the United States, Japan and Germany […]
A majority of Tibetan parliamentarians-in-exile oppose the Dalai Lama’s decision to step down as their political leader. The political future of the Dalai Lama was on the agenda Tuesday when the Parliament-in-exile met in Dharamsala, India.
For the authoritarian leader, holding onto power is both an art and a science. Much depends on crafting a strategy to deal with the unique social and political characteristics of a given country. However, autocrats also take cues from events in foreign countries and build their institutions accordingly. Many observers of global politics are watching China and North Korea to see if protests and unrest currently roiling the Middle East will spread there. The leaders of China, Myanmar, North Korea and other authoritarian states are watching North Africa just as closely, in order to learn what to expect next. One […]
Over the weekend, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered a glimpse into China’s apprehension toward the popular uprisings in the Arab world when he rejected comparisons between China and the Middle East. “We have followed closely the turbulence in some north African and Middle Eastern countries,” said Wen, according to the Associated Press. “We believe it is not right to draw an analogy between China and those countries.” His remarks coincided with two worthy op-eds in the U.S. media questioning the likelihood that unrest may spread to China. “The communist government in Beijing is clearly worried,” wrote Francis Fukuyama in the […]
With Indian newspapers still carrying obituaries of the country’s strategic doyen, K. Subhramanyam, who passed away in February after almost a half-century at the forefront of New Delhi’s strategic debates, it is worth considering the object of Subhramanyam’s concern during his final days: the implications for India of a proposed U.S.-China grand strategy agreement hammered out by a group of policy experts in Washington and Beijing. The document proposed a series of strategic compromises between China and the U.S., including a massive Chinese investment in the U.S. economy in return for an informal nonaggression pact, particularly with regard to the […]
Last month, the Philippines deported 14 Taiwanese citizens suspected of fraud to China, a move largely seen in the international community as legally justified but diplomatically tone-deaf. The Philippines justified the decision by claiming that the 14 were Chinese, not Taiwanese, in a de facto denial of Taiwan’s separate sovereignty from the mainland. Manila’s snub of Taipei, its longtime friend and partner, speaks to an Asian region increasingly willing to accede to Beijing on issues touching on Taiwan’s sovereignty. Legal issues aside, the row has exposed how much the self-ruled island’s already minimal global leverage has dwindled beside that of […]
A tense encounter on the South China Sea found a Philippine survey ship approached by two Chinese vessels, threatening to ram the survey ship. The area where the conflict happened contains large oil and mineral deposits and is claimed by many countries as their own. The Philippines is demanding an explanation from China over an incident.
BEIJING — An emerging consensus holds that domestic price bubbles and the high degree of nonperforming loans littered throughout China’s financial system represent imminent threats to China’s continued economic rise. However, doomsday evocations of a Chinese crash ignore the fact that, if and when a day of reckoning arrives, China may be able to use its sovereign wealth to engineer a soft landing, thereby avoiding the more-apocalyptic scenarios often predicted. Indeed, a controlled bust may even yield benefits by moderating subsequent growth, and many analysts remain bullish on China’s long-term fundamentals. This market sentiment has been buoyed by recent evidence […]
Great powers are sometimes molded by events as much as, if not more than, by grand strategy. In 1898, the United States — at the time an isolationist and anti-colonial power — entered onto the world stage after Spain allegedly sank the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. The commercial adventures of the East India Company compelled the British state to intervene in China, sparking the Opium Wars, while in 1850, the British foreign secretary, Lord Palmerston, ordered the British navy into the Aegean in order to protect a British subject, Don Pacifico, and reclaim his lost property. All were defining […]
A recent visit to China by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev resulted in deals that further expanded China’s extensive energy and infrastructure investments in the Central Asian country. In an e-mail interview, Niklas Swanström — director of the Institute for Security and Development Policy and executive director of ISDP’s Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and its Silk Road Studies Program — discussed China-Kazakhstan relations. WPR: What is driving the recent expansion of China-Kazakhstan trade relations, on both sides? Niklas Swanström: The most obvious factor behind the expansion is China’s willingness and ability to invest in economies in the region, particularly in energy-rich Kazakhstan. […]
With the aftershocks of the global financial crisis continuing to rumble, leaders of the world’s major economies have struggled to define a meaningful role for the G-20. Meanwhile, the European Union has been pushed to the limit in efforts to address a gathering debt crisis among members of the eurozone. And the threat of a currency war has strained relations and tested the role of the dollar as global reserve currency. In this special report, World Politics Review considers global finance through articles published in the past year. Below are links to each article in this special report, which subscribers […]