Why the 21st Century Will Not Belong to China

July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following is an edited transcript of Fareed Zakaria’s opening and closing statements at the Munk Debate where he joined Henry Kissinger in arguing against the proposition: “The 21st Century will belong to China.”

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

China is not going to be the dominant power of the 21st century for three reasons: economic, political and geo-political.

Economic

One thing we’ve realized over recent years is that nothing goes up in a straight line forever. China looks like it is about to inherit the world, but Japan looked like that for a while. Japan was the second largest economy in the world. We were told that one day the world would be run by Japan. It didn’t turn out that way.

Most Asian Tigers have grown at about 9% a year for 20-25 years and then shifted downward to 6% or 5% growth. I’m not predicting any kind of Chinese crash. I am simply saying that China will follow that law of large numbers and regress at some point to a slower growth rate – perhaps a little bit later than the others because it is a much larger country.

But it is also worth pointing out that there are massive inefficiencies built into the Chinese economic system. They have a huge property bubble. Their growth is highly inefficient. In terms of foreign direct investment, China attracts every month what India takes in every year.

Still China only grows two percentage points faster than India.

In other words, if you think about the quality of Chinese growth, it’s not as impressive as it appears. They are undertaking massive investments – huge numbers of airports, eight-lane highways and high-speed rail. But if you look at what you are getting in terms of the return on investment it is not as impressive.

China has another huge problem. The UN just came out with a report that pointed out that China is going to have a demographic collapse over the next 25 years. It is going to lose 400 million people.

There is no point in human history in which you have had a dominant power in the world that is also declining demographically. It simply doesn’t happen. And if you want to look at what a country in demographic decline looks like, look at Japan.

Political

Let’s say that China does become the largest economy in the world: Does it have the political capacity to exercise the kind of leadership you need?

Remember, Japan was the second largest economy in the world for decades and I didn’t see any kind of grand, hegemonic design. You need to have the political capacity to be able to exercise that kind of leadership.

China is a country ruled by a political system that is in crisis.

It is unclear whether the next succession that China goes through will look anything like this current one. China has not solved the basic problem of what it is going to do when it creates a middle class and how it will respond to the aspirations of those people.

When Taiwan went through a similar process, what you saw was a transition to democracy; when South Korea went through it, you saw a transition to democracy. These were not easy periods. They were fairly bloody and chaotic.

Geopolitics

People like to talk about the rise of Asia. But there is no such thing as Asia. There’s China; there’s Japan; there’s India. And they don’t much like each other.

You are going to find that as China rises there is going to be a spirited response in India, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea and others. You already have begun to see the stirrings of this. China is not rising in a vacuum. It is rising on a continent in which there are many, many competitors.

Bet on Freedom

We are going through a crisis of confidence in the Western world. This has been true often when we have faced these kinds of new and different challenges and when we have faced nations that seem on the rise and on the march.

George Kennan, the great American statesman, used to write routinely about how he thought the United States would never be able to withstand the Soviet challenge because we were weak and fickle and we changed our minds and they were far-sighted and strategic. We were tactical and stupid. But somehow it worked out all right.

I think there is a tendency to think the same of China – that they have this incredible long-term vision and we are bumbling idiots. There is a wonderful story that encapsulates this:

When asked, “What do you think of the French Revolution?” Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai is supposed to have answered, “It’s too soon to tell.”

Everyone thought, “Oh, my goodness, he’s such a genius; he thinks so long-term – in centuries.”

Well it turns out that in 1973, Zhou Enlai meant the French revolution of 1968 – a student revolution. It was perfectly rational at that point to say: “It’s too soon to tell.”

So don’t believe that the Chinese are these strategic masterminds and we are bumbling. We have managed to bumble our way to a rather advanced position despite the challenges from the Kaiser’s Germany, from the Soviet Union and from Nazi Germany.

In fact, I think what you will find is that the United States and North America are creating an extraordinary model in this new world.

We are becoming the first universal nation, a country that draws people  from all parts of the world – people of all colors, creeds and religions and finds a way to harness their talent and build a kind of universal dream. It happens over here and it draws together people from all over the world.

Don’t lose faith in free and open societies.

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Houstonian Corner (V12-I6)

February 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Picture AS Picture AT

HHRD in Houston Recently Did A Successful In-Kind Donations Campaign For A Container to Pakistan…

METRO Light Rail In CBD Houston

HHRD Sending in Mid-February In-Kind Donations Container to Haiti

With the dedicated help and support of International Courier Services (ICS), Helping Hand For Relief & Development (HHRD) is sending a Container from Houston for the dire needs of Haiti. Since there are many useful things from USA, which are not readily available around Haiti, this will indeed be a kind-hearted gesture on part of all Americans to our fellow human-beings in Haiti, who are in dire situation.

Please take all your stuff in boxes (do not seal the boxes) and DROP off on: Saturday and Sunday; February 13th & 14th, 2010 between 10 am-4 pm at the following location: ICS Shipping Co. – 6160 Westview Dr. – Houston, Texas 77055 – DIRECTIONS to ICS Shipping: From Inside the 610 loop / Go on I-10 West, Exit Silber Street / Make a right turn on Silber / Make a right on Westview, go about ¼  mile / 6160 Westview is on the left / For directions, one can also call Khurram Iqbal 281-793-8455 (Cell).

For any other questions please call: Maaz Adil 281-468-2238 / ILyas Hasan Choudry 832-275-0786.

Each donor will be issued a receipt at the site for their In-Kind donations (which is necessary as per HHRD In-Kind Giving Policy).

HHRD is collecting the following (brand new items are being encouraged – if used items, please make sure they are clean and in usable conditions – medical centers, clinics & doctors can be requested for bulk medical supplies donation):

1) Tax-Deductible Monetary Donations (will be used to ship the container and for the HHRD Base Camps in Haiti and Dominican Republic);

2) Medicines (For list call 832-275-0786 or visit http://www.muslimsforhaiti.org/);

3) Medical Supplies (For list call 832-275-0786 or visit http://www.muslimsforhaiti.org/);

4) Protective Eye Goggles & Glasses;

5) Bottled Water;

6) Hygiene Products for Whole Family especially Ladies;

7) Non-Perishable Food Items, including Ready to Eat Food Items, but no staple items like rice, wheat, flour, etc;

8) Sleeping Bags, Tents, etc;

9) Home washing things like bath soaps, detergents, plastic tubs, buckets, etc;

10) Flashlights, Batteries, Small Generators, etc;

11) Warm Weather Clothes like T-Shirts, Pants, Jeans, Children Clothing, etc;

12) Linen like Bed-Sheets, Pillows, Pillow-Sheets, Towels, Blankets, Comforters, etc;

13) Shoes, Socks, etc;

14) Household items like Kitchenware (unbreakable), Pots & Pans, etc (at an appropriate time, these will be given to Haitians, who have lost everything in the rubble);

15) Bikes, Toys for Children, etc;

16) Few computers, printers & accessories (needed for the Base Camps in Haiti and Dominican Republic)…

NOTES

1) Please bring brand new items if easily possible – No Junk or Unusable Items, as we need to maximize the valuable shipping space;

2) Use separate boxes for different items, especially clothing for women, men, boys and girls, and properly note down the contents & their amounts with a marker;

3) Tie Shoes, Socks, Sandals Pairs to ensure that they stay together. Any other things that have pairs, again tie them;

4) Tightly fold and secure the clothes;

5) Fitted / Flat sheets, comforters, quilts, towels etc. should be tightly rolled and secured.

6) All household items in separate boxes from clothes, etc. HHRD CANNOT Accept any Appliances;

7) In addition please make a donation of any amount ($50-and-above) that will help cover the shipping, port clearance, inland transportation, other distribution costs; plus HHRD Base Camps in Haiti and Dominican Republic – Check should be made payable to: Helping Hand For Relief & Development (tax-deductible receipt will be issued) – To mail the checks & or money-order, use this address: 11945 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77099.

VOLUNTEERS

We need at least 30 volunteers each on February 13th and 14th, 2010. Please call us and let us know which day you can help. Food and community service hours’ letter will be given to all the volunteers.

For any other questions please call: Maaz Adil 281-468-2238 / ILyas Hasan Choudry 832-275-0786.

METRO Rail Survives Any Cuts

Officials at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) are happy with what they have seen in President Obama’s upcoming budget, although not yet a final agreement. Continued funding for light rail in Houston is on the way, with an estimated $150 million dollars in federal money, to go for the north and southeast rail lines, connecting public transit in a more effective and efficient manner with the two major airports Bush Intercontinental and Hobby.

It has been said that in north Houston, in neighborhoods along Fulton Street, the rail project is seen by many as a service that’s badly needed. The north rail line will run from downtown to Northline Mall, which will then be connected to good transfer service to Bush Intercontinental Airport.

But the construction has been frustrating for businesses along the construction route. Metro is rolling out a small business assistance program to help those affected by rail construction. Metro says the new rail line will be ready for riders within five years. For more information, one can visit http://www.ridemetro.org/

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Strained Ties Between Israel & Turkey

October 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Independent UK

‘This is incitement of the most severe kind… it isn’t worthy of broadcast even by enemy states’

Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Foreign Minister

Israel’s increasingly troubled relations with its main ally in the Muslim world took a turn yesterday when it formally protested to Turkey over the “incitement” generated by a television series featuring fictional scenes of barbaric acts by Israeli soldiers.

The airing of the series, on Turkish state television, coincides with tensions triggered by a decision last week by Ankara to exclude Israel – which it has severely criticised over last winter’s war in Gaza – from a planned NATO air exercise.

The acting Turkish ambassador, Ceylan Ozen, was summoned yesterday to the Israeli foreign ministry in protest at the drama series Ayrilik which shows soldiers brutalising Palestinians. In one abbreviated sequence shown on YouTube, a soldier is seen gratuitously shooting a girl at close range, killing her. In another, Palestinians are apparently about to be executed by a firing squad.

Mr Lieberman said this week that the broadcast was “incitement of the most severe kind… under government sponsorship,” and added: “Such a drama series, which doesn’t even have the slightest link to reality and which presents Israeli soldiers as murderers of innocent children, isn’t worthy of being broadcast even by enemy states and certainly not in a state which has full diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Relations between the two countries have been severely strained by Turkish criticism of the military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

In January, Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, walked out of a televised panel discussion in Davos in Switzerland, in which Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, had been defending the military operation.

The air exercise planned for this week was cancelled after the US and Italy refused to take part in response to the Turkish decision to bar Israel. Mr Erdogan said later that “diplomatic sensitivities” had led his government to stop Israel participating.

Naor Gilon, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s deputy director for Western Europe, told the Turkish diplomat that “this kind of incitement is likely to lead to physical harm being done to Jews and Israelis who arrive in Turkey as tourists”.

Selcuk Cobanoglu, the producer of the television series, told the Israeli media yesterday that it was made clear before each episode that the production was was fictional.

The series had not intended to denigrate the Israel Defence Forces as a whole but only a group who had killed Palestinian children.

He said: “It is very important that I stress that we love the people in Israel. We love the Israelis.”

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