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February 18, 2012 / Political Fluency

Op-Ed of the Year Nominee

G-Eminem – as an ardent Ron Paul supporter – definitely needs to weigh in on this brilliant work by Robert Kagan called Why the World Needs America:

American power may diminish, the political scientist G. John Ikenberry argues, but “the underlying foundations of the liberal international order will survive and thrive.” The commentator Fareed Zakaria believes that even as the balance shifts against the U.S., rising powers like China “will continue to live within the framework of the current international system.” And there are elements across the political spectrum—Republicans who call for retrenchment, Democrats who put their faith in international law and institutions—who don’t imagine that a “post-American world” would look very different from the American world.

If all of this sounds too good to be true, it is. The present world order was largely shaped by American power and reflects American interests and preferences. If the balance of power shifts in the direction of other nations, the world order will change to suit their interests and preferences. Nor can we assume that all the great powers in a post-American world would agree on the benefits of preserving the present order, or have the capacity to preserve it, even if they wanted to.

And do the Chinese really value an open economic system? The Chinese economy soon may become the largest in the world, but it will be far from the richest. Its size is a product of the country’s enormous population, but in per capita terms, China remains relatively poor. The U.S., Germany and Japan have a per capita GDP of over $40,000. China’s is a little over $4,000, putting it at the same level as Angola, Algeria and Belize. Even if optimistic forecasts are correct, China’s per capita GDP by 2030 would still only be half that of the U.S., putting it roughly where Slovenia and Greece are today.

As Arvind Subramanian and other economists have pointed out, this will make for a historically unique situation. In the past, the largest and most dominant economies in the world have also been the richest. Nations whose peoples are such obvious winners in a relatively unfettered economic system have less temptation to pursue protectionist measures and have more of an incentive to keep the system open.

China’s leaders, presiding over a poorer and still developing country, may prove less willing to open their economy.

Read the rest here: http://www.eyedrd.org/2012/02/robert-kagan-why-the-world-needs-america.html

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Robert Kagan is the son of Professor Donald Kagan who co-wrote the AP European History textbook that opened up a new world to me.  We had to learn a lot from the Renaissance through present day — Chapters 10 through 31 with each chapter 25-35 pages long of double columned text and the few pictures were artistic portraits of notable people and not pictures of orcs and hobbits (that was the Middle Ages).

It was a few weeks before the AP exam and I had done alright in the class, but had forgotten a lot of the material for the one shot at college credit after 9 months of work. So I began reading from Chapter 10 onward and it was like reading the best novel ever written. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and the wild coincidences – like when the Spanish Armada attempted to attack England in a storm – let alone the brilliant strategic planning – from the likes of Bismarck – was riveting.

I thought US History the next year would be a letdown, but it was even more fascinating and I frequently went outside of the textbook for material for the essay homework back in the days prior to the interwebs. And auxiliary works  were necessary because there were mountains of horse manure shoveled onto the events in the textbook in order to be politically correct. That was when I discovered my drive to seek The Truth as best we can know it and eventually the desire to share it with the world.

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