Kishore Mahbubani talks about his book “Has China Won?”

Three things which i find interesting about this interview:

  1. American decline after Ronald Reagan era structural change: Half the American population having a declining standard of living since 1989 . In the case of US it is taken as a given, the ideological certainty that when a thriving democracy takes on a geopolitical struggle against a communist party system, the thriving democracy will always win. If you dig deeper and you try to understand what is the core situation of American society today and the core situation of Chinese society, you discover that the United States is actually having to deal with some major structural challenges, and one of the key structural challenges is that the average income of the bottom 50% has been sliding down over a 30 year period. Deep structural forces in American society that have moved America away from being a thriving democracy towards becoming a plutocracy. By contrast, China in the same 30 year period bottom 50% have had their best 30 years in 3,000 years.
  2. USA vs China is not a fight of democracy vs communism, but Plutocracy and a Meritocracy: The Chinese communist party may possibly be the most meritocratic political party in the world. And the selection process results in the best minds running China today. You know how brilliant these people are by going into this whole ideological reflex and saying, hey, democracies can always overcome communist parties. This is not a contest with a democracy and a communist party system, it’s a contest within a Plutocracy and a Meritocracy.
  3. The Bloated Military: Instead of China behaving like the Soviet Union, It is the United States that’s behaving like the Soviet Union with its bloated military budget. The contest between United States and China, will not take place in the military sphere. In a nuclear war between United States and China, there will not be a winner and loser, there will be a loser and loser.1 So logically, it should be in the interest of the United States therefore to reduce its defense budget and take the money and invest in R&D because that’s where the real contest is. But the United States cannot reduce its defense budget because the process of deciding where to spend money is locked in by the US Congress and allocations are made to each constituency by the congressmen and therefore the defense budget is large, irrational and unnecessary. If the United States was serious about taking on China, it should cut its defense budget in half but that’s impossible. And in that so , it’s like the old Soviet Union that also couldn’t cut its defense budget into half. So in that sense the United States hasn’t thought very hard and very deep about how different this contest with China is whereas by contrast, the Chinese are quite happy, they’re growing their defense budget, but at a fixed percentage of their GNP and not increasing it( Think also about Chinese PPP) . And the Chinese are very happy that America has 13 aircraft carrier fleets because each aircraft carrier fleet is draining millions of dollars away from the US Treasury every day and paradoxically, in military terms, an aircraft carrier today is a sitting duck and as an American professor, Tim Colton of Harvard told me, it just takes $100,000 hypersonic missile to bring down a billion dollar aircraft carrier. It doesn’t make sense anymore.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s