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 have a declining standard of living since 1989 . US at the same time is living under the delusional ideological certainty (American Exceptionalism) that when a thriving democracy takes-on a geopolitical struggle against a commi system, the thriving democracy will always win. According to Kishore If we dig deeper and try to understand what is the core situation of American society today and the core situation of Chinese society, we could easily 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: According to Kishore, 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. 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. 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 case , 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. Kishore “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.”

Watch the Interview Here

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