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International Politics Nations, Their Interests, and Their Competitors.

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Old 02-06-2016   #1
Bill Moore
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Default The Paradox of the Rise of the Rest

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/a...4de47-62731673

Conservative Globalizers: Reconsidering the Rise of the Rest

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The current downgrading of the BRICS’ economic prospects and their future global role has probably overshot reality. Although China’s boom is over and its high-growth years are unlikely to return, these economies, after a difficult adjustment, are likely to outpace their industrialized counterparts, which face their own demographic and economic barriers to sustained growth. Furthermore, the BRICS’ global ambitions—economic as well as political—are unlikely to disappear, even though their economic clout may be temporarily diminished.
This is a thought provoking article that is difficult to summarize. IMO the implications are worthy of consideration, especially the impacts of globalization facilitating power shifts between people, businesses, and their governments when it comes to influencing policy.

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Even before China’s recent economic slowdown and the collapse in commodity prices, however, all three countries faced daunting domestic agendas—economic and social inequality, environmental degradation and political corruption—impeding their rise as a force in global politics and governance. Meanwhile, more-open economies and globalized politics produced an army of actors and audiences with a stake in their external relations, meaning that foreign policy could no longer be managed as a purely elite operation. These limitations on the expansion of their global influence became more apparent with the end of the China-driven boom.
Quote:
Foreign policy activism played well to nationalist audiences at home, but the recent record of India, China, and Brazil reinforces their earlier role as conservative globalizers. Their political leadership continued to consider economic success—and domestic support—as inseparable from integration with the international economy and participation in a reformed global order.
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This difficult political and economic environment could produce three possible outcomes
Increased nationalism focused on risks posed by outside actors.

Retreat from claims of global leadership.

Revert to free riding on the existing global order.

While the article focused on China, India, and Brazil (provided numerous examples for each), when it discussed U.S. options, many of the same factors limiting options for the rising powers are impacting the U.S. and Europe.

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Given the rise of populist and nationalist political forces in Europe and the United States, such efforts may not be politically feasible, and even if they were, they may not be adequate for the rough economic and political waters that may lie ahead.
The author doesn't pretend to know how the future will unfold, which is refreshing, but he does point to some very credible potential risks. Strategy is much broader, or shall we say grander, than the employment of the military to achieve a political object.
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Old 02-06-2016   #2
davidbfpo
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Bill,

Wondering aloud late PM. Doesn't history show that 'old' powers rarely understand the 'new'?

The 'old' powers in Europe (France, Spain & UK) watched the US Civil War, some in the UK even thought of intervening on the Confederate side. Only in 1917 did France & the UK really learn the power of the USA, although it took time to mobilize effective military power.

Do the BRICS have all-round power? With one exception, the 'old' power, Russia; the others have very different capabilities. Brazil and South Africa might want to exert power, there's not much indication all-round they can.

I think that as the UK, once Great Britain and before that the British Empire, has steadily declined in being a power.

Will achieving power - in whatever mode - always follow the same pattern? South Africa for a several years had moral power when Mandela strode into power. What about non-state power?

Enough for now.
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Old 02-08-2016   #3
Bill Moore
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Bill,

Wondering aloud late PM. Doesn't history show that 'old' powers rarely understand the 'new'?

The 'old' powers in Europe (France, Spain & UK) watched the US Civil War, some in the UK even thought of intervening on the Confederate side. Only in 1917 did France & the UK really learn the power of the USA, although it took time to mobilize effective military power.

Do the BRICS have all-round power? With one exception, the 'old' power, Russia; the others have very different capabilities. Brazil and South Africa might want to exert power, there's not much indication all-round they can.

I think that as the UK, once Great Britain and before that the British Empire, has steadily declined in being a power.

Will achieving power - in whatever mode - always follow the same pattern? South Africa for a several years had moral power when Mandela strode into power. What about non-state power?

Enough for now.
I am not downplaying the value of hard power, but as you suggest there are other forms of power that also shape behavior of states and non-state actors. Not all countries have the means to challenge us militarily. However, some have the means to provide alternative economic models that pull states away from our sphere of influence. In a sense they are subverting our power, by making our economic power less relevant. I'm still wrestling with ideas of non-state actor power. Of course that exists, but is it more powerful today than yesteryear? Does social media really enable non-state actors to effect change more effectively, or is it just the ability to network and make more collective noise that has little influence on states?
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Old 02-08-2016   #4
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Default Power is ever changing

Cited in parts:
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Not all countries have the means to challenge us militarily.
Bill,

I think that is a moot point, as the Taliban (with some Pakistani help) and North Korea recently appears to exhibit with a missile launch.

Perhaps it is the ability to cause pain and the prospect of there being no clear victory that affects the USA militarily. Not every challenge to the USA warrants a military response - as Bob Jones keeps on reminding us IIRC.

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However, some have the means to provide alternative economic models that pull states away from our sphere of influence. In a sense they are subverting our power, by making our economic power less relevant.
I assume you are only referring to the BRICS, rather than other nations. I am not well versed in economic power and economics, but the USA's claim to economic power is rather thin. The USA has the global trading currency, albeit with a few 'old' power currencies and coming up - fast is moot - China's Rembi. It does not trade on the scale others do, although it has niche products: jets, media, films, weapons and satellites. Not so sure about overseas investment.

Quote:
I'm still wrestling with ideas of non-state actor power. Of course that exists, but is it more powerful today than yesteryear? Does social media really enable non-state actors to effect change more effectively, or is it just the ability to network and make more collective noise that has little influence on states?
Thanks to a recent Cambridge University seminar the domestic audience now have a plethora of media sources, not just for news; a good number of sources are web-based and others satellite. It is far easier now to get contrary viewpoints and information - even if not verified or of course impartial. I think this affects Western governments freedom to act, as their actions may not be seen by a minority as effective, let alone legitimate.
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