Tag Archives: globalization

Two views on Globalization, America, and China

Coming Anarchy:

What’s more, the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics recently reported that the Chinese economy’s dependency rate on foreign economies exceeded 60 percent. For the first time, Beijing officially admitted for the first time that China’s more than 10 percent annual economic expansion is heavily dependent on the West. How the US goes, so goes the world. A lot of countries are going to start to discover that very shortly.

The China Explat:

That’s not to say that malinvestment has not occurred thanks to false demand from America (or more accurately, false supply from the very non-free market central banks of China and the US – there are very few individual Chinese investors stupid enough to throw a bunch of money into US treasuries). But this malinvestment only creates the illusion of wealth – an illusion that is now being pierced and would be shattered if China suddenly tried to exchange all of their US IOU’s for real goods.

The moment China gives up this illusion of wealth in the form of paper IOU’s, China will be better off, even if it means a painful restructuring of Chinese industry.

When China does this, they will have even more real savings to plunge back into the Chinese economy. And that means that China’s days of growth are far from over.

The reality: the economies of China and America are intertwined to the extent that disinvestment of one from the other is economically unthinkable.

Globalization, and our wise decisions, can help China give more to her citizens and the world

This much is true: China is a large country is well on her way to being fully integrated within the Core of functioning, global states.

Flag of China

The week started with news that the US was removing China from the list of the worst human rights abuses (from DU). This is good. The most fundamental of all rights is market freedom, which most of the Chinese economy has in spades. And likewise the week ends with Tom Barnett criticizing the Pentagon’s special watch report on China. Likewise, this is wise. While of course China must be “hedged” against, this must be done in a way that doesn’t place a wedge between Chinese and American interests.

Now, to the bigger news. Tibetans are rioting in Lhasa (from Soob), while Chinese are colonizing Africa. These are both symptoms of failure, but failure, after all, is nothing more than the difference between where you want to be and where you are. The Chinese Communist Party runs an oppresive state, especially for those who live in China who haven’t been Sinicized. Likewise, most African governments run incompetent states, from the perspective of supplying their citizens with a minimum of healthcare, police, and education.

The “people powered” unrest in Tibet won’t remove the Communists from that country, but it will demonstrate to the Party that their form of rule leads to international embarrassment and problems that are more typical of a Burma than a Great Power. Likewise, the “people powered” colonization in Africa won’t completely strip the sovereignty of those countries, but will do more to rollback the disaster of the 20th century.

Improved living standards for Chinese by economic growth, and improved living standards for Africans by recolonization, both look likely. These improvements will be partially caused by the mechanics for globalization. But also importantly, these improvements will be made more or less likely by our wise decisions, our not placing a wedge between ourselves and China, and our allowing criticisms of Chinese human rights to come from individuals and NGOs, and not states.

Christopher Columbus

While some communities prefer to celebrate this week with racist themes (whether Dia de la Raza or Native American Day), it properly is held in memory of Christophy Columbus, the Admiral of the Seas and the greatest explorer of all time. (Though a good argument can be made that it should be Ferdinand & Isabella Day, in commemoration of the granting agency.)

Isabelle, the Catholic Queen of Castille, Aragon, the Isles, and the Land of the Ocean

The success of Columbus is the success of markets and globalization. As the Mamaluke and Ottoman Sultans accelerated the decline of Islam by blockading the Silk Road connecting the Occident to the Orient, the Iberian monarchies attempted to find a new, oceanic route to the largest economies of the world. (Venice’s failed strategy of negotiating via arms with the Turks to reopen the silk road ultimately becoming moot.) Christopher Columbus, granted three ships (the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria) eventually discovered the new world, though the hoped for landings in Calcutta, Nanjing, or Kyoto were not to be.

Others had crossed the oceans before. Those ex-Siberians we now call “American Indians” first of all, of course, and later Polynesians who brought chickens and endtrail readings too. The Vikings landed, fought, and died, the Basque were cathcing a lot of cod from somewhere, and there are the theories about Admiral Zheng He

But Columbus, uniquely,ended the civilizational apartheid which had separated the Americas from the Old World since the end of the stone age migrations. Because of Columbus, and of course Ferdinand and Isabelle, the world changed. The barbarous empire of the Aztecs would soon fall, and even more importantly the English would follow in time, exporting the common law to the United States and Canada.

Thank you, Christopher Columbus.

Globalizaiton and Genocide

My friend Jason of SDP emailed me yesterday, asking about genocide, globalization, and ideology. Specifically, considering that neither race nor society are going away, does globalization have a chance to end genocide?

My answer: Yes.

Genocide — purposefully killing a large fraction of your own population — only works when you can get away with it. This means that it has to be either profitable or at least not terribly costly. In Rwanda, for instance, the massacred Tutsis didn’t just leave bodies behind — they also had farmland that needed to be disposed of. (In parts of Rwanda where there were no Tutsis, the Hutu hordes helpfully killed fellow Hutus, accomplishing the same land reform without the ethnic overtones).

Likewise, the German attacks against the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s were enabled by the disintegrating world economy that allowed Germany to “go it alone” away from the discipline of international capital markets. In the first phase, the Nazi regime confiscated wealth from the Jewish upper-class to fund a growing welfare state. (If 1990s Rwanda was “land reform,” then 1930s Germany was “capital reform.”) After the War had started, Hitler’s regime faced roughly equal costs in interning Jews and killing them. They chose the latter.

Certainly there are genocides — mass butchery — today. In Darfur, a nasty party of the nasty non-integration gap — people kill each other as they have for the past few thousand years. In much of the western world, late-term abortion puts Herod to shame. But a Darfuri and an infant a month from birth have the same economic value to you — zero — so they aren’t protected by the globalized order.

Best Globalization Pundits Agree

The Book Is Flatulent: A Brief Review of Thomas L. Friedman’s “The World Is Flat” Op-Ed,” by Thomas Barnett, The Newsletter from Thomas P.M. Barnett, 20 June 2005, http://www.newrulesets.com/journals/barnett_20jun2005.pdf.

Friedman’s excellent capture on why Iraq still matters–and still must be won,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 26 May 2006, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003299.html.

After ‘s scortched earth review of ‘s The World is Flat, I was defensive. I had enjoyed the book, and expected Barnett (whose work is obviously influenced by Friedman’s) to pen a positive review. Reading World was a wonderful vacation, and Tom Friedman and Tom Barnett are the two authors I advice my international relations students to read.

In particular, to this section:

Friedman is stupefying in his efforts to interpret everything in terms of flatness (Southwest lets you print your boarding tickets online? “Yet another brilliant example that the world is getting flat!”; You can eat sushi in a small Midwestern town? “OMYGOD the world is sooooo flat!”) that by the end of the book you have no idea what the terms means anymore. Flatness is a euphemism for everything from “cool” to “new” to “high-tech” to “competitive” to “innovative” to “globalization” to “flat” (no, wait a minute, that last one doesn’t work . . . or does it?) am not kidding you, as you read this book you’re so trained, almost in a Pavlovian sort of way, to see the word “flat” that when you go more than a paragraph or two without seeing it, you start to get anxious.

I responded by giving a detailed description, with charts, of what Tom Friedman means by flat. I found Barclay’s Bank using the term the same way.

Happily, things have changed. From a recent Barnett blog post:

Friedman remains one of our best analysts on the Middle East. It’s been so long since he was known for just that, thanks to “Lexus and the Olive Tree,” that you tend to forget that that is where he cut his teeth.

The killer line here: “Every major transformation since Napoleon in this part of the world has been the function of an external jolt,” Mr. Ibrahim said.”

That, in a nutshell, is why Bush’s Big Bang strategy was so visionary and so bold–and so dead-on.

Put Friedman’s op-ed on Iraq together with Ignatius’ (above) on Iran and you basically have why I still support the Big Bang strategy and favor the soft-kill option of connectivity with Iran. Taken together, you might it call it a blueprint for action in the GWOT (except I’d add strategic alliance with China and building an East Asian NATO on Kim Jong Il’s empty throne; then it’s on to Africa!).

These are seriously good signs: serious consensus emerging among the nation’s top opinion leaders (a strategy of connectivity and System Perturbations) and among the nation’s top military generals (the Long War and the “first war of globalization”).

This makes me extremely happy.

Maybe even… thrilled.


Shrinking the Gap with Allies (Capitalism and Democracy)

The Wave Theory of Core and Gap,” by David, The Glittering Eye, 28 March 2006, http://theglitteringeye.com/?p=1870 (from ZenPundit).

When the Chinese were our friends…,” by Tom Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 4 April 2006, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003131.html.

In Pictures: French Protests,” BBC News, 4 April 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4876616.stm.

In the Second World War, China was our ally:


In this global war on terrorism, she is again.

Shrinking the gap — lifting countries up from “third world” conditions to modern ones — is the grand strategy of the United States. This plan includes regime changes to take down bad actors, and may eventually include political union to reward good ones. Another part is the reverse domino theory, where one state is globalized, and that state in turns helps others globalize.

Today I was lucky to hear an American diplomat stationed in Africa talk about China’s investments in that continent. China is wisely transforming some of her wealth to connect with other states, building up infrastructure spreading globalization. China is a natural ally in shrinking the gap, not just because of her economic wisdom but also for her people’s ideologies. When the Chinese people are asked whether they support capitalism, they respond “yes!” even more than Americans — and much more than the French:


Yet France has a role to play, and in at least one way is more important than China. Yes, even though French has huge protests






crushed by Communist Tanks


France is a natural ally in shrinking the gap, not for her economic foolishness, but for her people’s freedoms.

What does this mean? France and China are allies, but in different ways. France is an ally because she is democratic, and if we are successful all people can, like the French, protest for any reason they want without being gunned down by “People’s Liberation Army” soldiers. China is an ally because she is capitalist, and if we are successful all people can, like the Chinese, lift themselves out of poverty.

What does this mean? We support both France and China — but in different ways. We will stand by France when her democratic traditions are attacked by Muslim ghettoists, while working to minimize her harmful effects on globalization (such as her attempts to prop-up Middle East dictators). And we will stand by China in building connectivity, while maintaining a military that minimizes her harmful effects on globalization (by assuring the world a democracy like Taiwan can never be invaded by a dictatorship).

We Can Win a Global War with Two Fronts. We Will Lose a Global War with One.

Full Spectrum Struggle Is Not MBA Struggle,” by Dan, tdaxp, 8 May 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/05/08/full_spectrum_struggle_is_not_mba_struggle.html.

QDR: China Tops Iraq, Osama?,” by Noah Shachtman, Defense Tech, 23 January 2005, http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002110.html (from DNI),

The Counterrevolution in Military Affairs ,” by Ralph Peters, The Weekly Standard, 6 February 2006, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/649qrsob.asp (from TPMB).

Months ago, I wrote:

Whether you are an army or a movement, you are attacked where you are weakest by someone else where they are strongest. They will exploit their advantage over you where they chose. Over and over again, this is how wars start. It’s how battles start. It is how any conflict starts.

It’s still true. Even if it means agreeing with the and Rumsfeld. Even if it means disagreeing with Shactman and Peters

The details of my thinking have changed slightly, but the message is the still the same: we must win. We are trying to win the Wars for Globalization, to finally end all wars as we have known them and spread prosperity and happiness throughout the world. We have two strategies for doing this:

  • first, keep global capitalism so countries will suck each other into the global system,
  • and second, “take care of” states that treat their people horrifically, or their neighbors badly

We will never be perfect in either of these, but we must maintain our leads in both. Our ability to keep global capitalism going will be better than the enemy’s ability to harm it, and our ability to process rogue regimes will be better than their attempts to spread. Not perfect, but enough to keep the correlation of forces going with us and maintain forward progress.

The greatest threat from rogue states comes from infiltration by terrorist groups like al Qaeda. The greatest threat to the world economy comes from a large nation doing something stupid and dangerous, like China invading her neighbors in a conventional war.

The solution is obvious: keep weakening al Qaeda and similar groups while keeping China at peace. This is a much smaller task than the two ocean war America fought in the 1940s, or the two hemisphere stand off she faced for forty years. With minor restructuring, we can even make victory easy — if imperfect.

Yet now two critics both argue that we should abandon one fight, in order to focus on the other.


There is, in short, not a single enemy in existence or on the horizon willing to play the victim to the military we continue to build. Faced with men of iron belief wielding bombs built in sheds and basements, our revolution in military affairs appears more an indulgence than an investment. In the end, our enemies will not outfight us. We’ll muster the will to do what must be done–after paying a needlessly high price in the lives of our troops and damage to our domestic infrastructure. We will not be beaten, but we may be shamed and embarrassed on a needlessly long road to victory.

We must be realistic about the military requirements of a war with China, but we also need to grasp that, for such an enemy, the military sphere would be only one field of warfare–and not the decisive one. What would it take to create an atmosphere of defeat in a sprawling nation of over one billion people? A ruthless economic blockade, on the seas, in the air, and on land, would be an essential component of any serious war plan, but the Chinese capability for sheer endurance might surprise us. Could we win against China without inflicting extensive devastation on Chinese cities? Would even that be enough? Without mirror-imaging again, can we identify any incentive China’s leaders would have to surrender?


But it does not require, apparently, a wholesale change of direction. Terrorist-type threats will get some new attention. But the Defense Department isn’t about to optimize for that threat, the way it did for the Soviet Union. Big money will continue to be spent on fighter jets designed to duel with the Soviets and destroyers designed for large-scale ground assaults. Grunts on the ground won’t get much more than they do now. The war on terror may be “long.” But, apparently, it’s not important enough to make really big shifts.

Schactman’s paper is the easiest to deal with. Of course we aren’t optimizing for one overarching challenge: because there are two overarching challenges. Focusing on one core-competency might be the MBA way of doing things, but it would be deadly for a great power. In warfare, optimization isn’t about being the best you can be in one thing: it’s about being better than your enemy in all things.

Peters’ claims confuse our goals with China, and so require some unraveling. Peters plans for a war that would require US occupation of China: an impossible task. The purpose of building up to deter China isn’t to conquer her, but to prevent her for attacking her neighbors. The war with China, itself, would be the disaster, nearly as much as allowing her to occupy whatever neighbor she wished. Our build-up should thus be geared to avoiding the need for a war with China, by maximizing our ability to destroy her offensive forces rapidly.

Mother’s MILC and the Department of the MISCellaneous

DoD Directive 3000 put in the context of Iraq,” by Thomas Barmett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 4 January 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002778.html.

Viral in-coring: Seoul to Beijing,” by Thomas Barmett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 4 January 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002774.html.

The China trajectory the hawks never see,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 6 January 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002782.html.

In Embracing Victory, I argued that the main engine of globalization is the civilian-led reverse domino theory. A Military-Industrial-Leviathan-Complex prevents a country from spending the wealth it gains from globalization on a war which would threaten globalization. From time-to-time, however, we want to protect the innocent without having middle class people sacrifice For these times when is needed, we need a Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex to give us the freedom to act. Recent posts by Dr. Barnett support this view.

On the need for a Military-Industrial-Leviathan-Complex

From clothes to hairstyles, music to television dramas, South Korea has been defining the tastes of many Chinese and other Asians for the past half decade. As part of what the Chinese call the Korean Wave of pop culture, a television drama about a royal cook, “The Jewel in the Palace,” is garnering record ratings throughout Asia, and Rain, a 23-year-old singer from Seoul, drew more than 40,000 fans to a sold-out concert at a sports stadium in Beijing in October.

But South Korea’s “soft power” also extends to the material and spiritual spheres. Samsung’s cellphones and television sets have grown into symbols of a coveted consumerism for many Chinese.

Christianity, in the evangelical form championed by South Korean missionaries deployed throughout China, is finding Chinese converts despite Beijing’s efforts to rein in its spread.

For a country that traditionally received culture, especially from China but also from Japan and the United States, South Korea finds itself at a turning point in its new role as exporter.

You laugh, but when you’re moving as fast as China, you’re bringing up a whole lot more than incomes; you’re raising an entire society, in effect schooling it on how to behave with its new-found wealth.

I stick with my prediction in the “Blogging the Future” afterward in BFA: we will be amazed at how religious China is within a generation. And we’ll have South Korea to thank for it.

This is why the Reverse Domino Theory is Barnett’s most important strategy. We must keep encourage China to grow richer and discourage China from growing more belligerent. Encouraging China to open up to her neighbors let’s us do the first part of this. Maintaining a Leviathan that can easily blow the Chinese fleet out of the water is the second. And we maintain a Leviathan with a Military-Industrial-Leviathan-Complex which incentivizes politicians to keep our “big stick” strong.

Dr. Barnett correctly sees where China is going

Me, I see a clear trajectory with China: day-in and day-out it slowly but surely opens up its precious “communist” economy to outside economic influence and connectivity. Its political leadership, which is clearly autocratic, increasingly lets that process of growing connectivity drive a comprehensive and profound transformation of its internal economic rule sets, while trying desperately to keep itself insulated from the pluralistic impulses that process inevitably unleashes throughout society, but especially among the youth.

Our Leviathan is like mother’s milk to peacefully rising China: the MILC of our Military-Industrial-Leviathan-Complex. Instead of trying to “shake” the greed from our system, the MILC funnels it into deterring a violent China from ever emerging.

On the Need for a Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex

In the future, there is always going to be a need for a lot of deployable civilian capacity,” said Jeb Nadaner, deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations. “Think of all capabilities you need in stability missions.” He envisions the new State Department office coordinating contributions from departments as diverse as Treasury, Commerce, Justice and Agriculture.

Almost like a virtual department? Hmm, my dream for the DoEE.

Instead of a shapeless, “virtual” Department of Everything Else, Barnett’s should focus on the need and not the obvious bureaucratic solution.

The need is a lot of deployable capacity for nation-building-type work. We need networks of private sector security contracts. The Department of Defense should be the hub for this, but saying it will have “departments as diverse as Treasury, Commerce, Justice and Agriculture” is like saying “A Free Market is run by bureaucrats as diverse as Treasury Commerce, Justice, and Agriculture.”

For everything else, we don’t need a department. We need a MISC: A Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex.

Ch’ao Tsu on Connectivity and Control

A House Divided, by Pearl S. Buck, pg 176, 1935.

Thus spake Ch’ao Tso:

Crime begins in poverty; poverty in insufficiency of food; insufficiency in neglect of tilling of the soil. Without such tilling, man has no tie to bind him to the soil. Without such a tie he readily leaves his birthplace and his home. Then he is like the birds of the air or the beasts of the field. Neither battlemented cities nor deep moats, nor harsh laws, nor cruel punishments, can subdue this roving spirit that is strong within him.

Exactly. Barnett’s connectivity shares a lot with control. Horizontal connectivity — information flow — can open a man to the wide world or close him to his physical neighbors. Vertical connectivity — security flow — can provide safety or destroy social bonds.

Much of the world is being disrupted by globalization. In the short term we are seeing an ugly side of it — horizontal connectivity destroying horizontal control (the erosion of traditional cultures), and vertical connectivity building vertical controls — (the worse parts of neocolonialism).

Ch’ao Tsu’s quote ties economics into our efforts. The Gap’s blasted economies prevent strong horizontal ties and leave the region in chaos. But reckless food distribution would be just as bad. Mass welfare to a third of teh world would wreck what little horizontal control there is. A stable world requies a stable economy: globalization is the solution to the Global War on Terrorism.

Last, the philosopher reminds us that horizontal ties are stronger than vertical ties. We need to remember this, and beware of vertical measures that harm horizontal society. Health mullahs, by converting implicit horizontal rules into explicit vertical ones, weaken society and threaten to destroy our culture.