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Dec 14, 2006


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John Lunt

The US has been dismissed as being on the decline before when the Soviets seemed to be rising.

While I know the situation isn't exactly the same, China will be facing some of their own challenges. There will be expectations at home for goods, land, and more freedom. Some of that is already beginning to stir from things I've read.

How they handle those issues will decide how big a superpower they are likely to become.

Michael W. Kruse

I think you are right on John. Will the pressures for change provoke a totalitarian retreat from markets or will it cause such totalitarian powers to crumble? I think that is the big question. I think the next decade or so is going to be very hairy. I can see anything from a thawing of totalitarian control to the world economy plunged into chaos for multiple generations.

Dana Ames

I have heard from two reputable eyewitness sources that the Chinese are all over *Africa* and making various kinds of economic inroads.

Are our business and political leaders paying attention??? Won't they ever see that it's in our *self-interest* to help people there? Sheesh.

Not to make China the Bogeyman, but it makes me wonder.


Michael W. Kruse

Dana, here is how I see the problem. Many of these nations, especially in Africa, have little respect for property rights, rule of law, democratic institutions, etc. Countries that have reformed in these aspects have tended to prosper. So it is not just a matter of pumping in aid. The system is broken and the aid only ends up keeping destructive people in power. Western nations have tried to use aid to persuade these nations away from corruption so they can genuinely prosper.

Meanwhile, China enters the picture and they have zero concern about dealing with dictators and despots as long as something is to China's advantage. Envision having a parent trying to instill discipline in an unruly child. Then enters the other parent that says, "Kid do whatever you want just so long as I get some benefit out of it." Who is the unruly child going to pick?

I'm oversimplifying but I really think that is the nature of what is happening.

Dana Ames

I get what you mean about aid, but I'm not talking just about that- I mean whatever help will actually *help* them.

With me and economics, oversimplification is good!


Michael W. Kruse

I agree. As the aricle notes, our preoccupation with terrorism in the Mid-E to the exclusion of dealing with China could be a major mistake.

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