Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani on US-China Competition

Kishore Mahbubani, a prolific writer, speaker and former Singaporean diplomat, believes that the western domination of the world over the last 200 years is "aberrant" when seen in the context of the last several thousand years of human history.  In his book "Has China Won", he writes that "we are also moving away from a black-and-white world". "Societies in different parts of the world, including in China and Islamic societies, are going to work toward a different balance between liberty and order, between freedom and control, between discord and harmony". 

Kishore Mahbubabi

In a recent interview, Mahbubani made the following points about US-China competition: 

1. The United States with about 240-year history likes to pass judgement on China which has over 2,400 year history. What makes the US think China would listen to the American advice? 

2. The West is in the habit of judging everyone, including the Chinese. The Chinese have just had the best 30 years of their history. Would the Chinese listen to the American advice on "democracy" and political freedoms after they have seen what happened to Russia when the Russians decided to adopt democracy in the1990s and their economy collapsed? 
3. More than 120 million Chinese tourists go to other countries freely and willingly return to China every year. Would they return freely if China was an oppressive stalinist regime? The fact is that while political freedoms have not increased there has been an explosion of personal freedoms in China over the last 30 years.
Global Power Shift Since Industrial Revolution

A recent post-COVID survey conducted by the Washington Post shows that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government has jumped to 98%. Their trust in local government also increased compared to 2018 levels — 91% of Chinese citizens surveyed now said they trust or trust completely the township-level government. Trust levels rose to 93% at the county level, 94% at the city level and 95% at the provincial level. 
An earlier 2018 World Values Survey reported that 95% of Chinese citizens said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the national government. Comparatively, about 69% felt the same way about their local government. 
Here's a video of Mahbubani's interview:"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="112" src="" width="200" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" />

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  • Riaz Haq

    Richard D. Wolff - Why the Troubled U.S. Empire Could Quickly Fall Apart - Brave New Europe

    For the first time in over a century, the United States has a real, serious, ascending global competitor. The British, German, Russian, and Japanese systems never reached that status. The People’s Republic of China now has. No settled U.S. policy vis-à-vis China has proven feasible because of internal U.S. divisions and China’s spectacular growth. Political leaders and “defence” contractors find China-bashing attractive. Denouncing China serves as popular scapegoating for many politicians in both parties and as support for an ever-increasing defense spending by the military. However, major segments of large corporate business have invested hundreds of billions in China and in global supply chains linked to China. They do not want to risk them. In addition, for decades, China has offered one of the world’s lowest-cost, better educated and trained, and most disciplined labour forces coupled with the world’s fastest-growing market for both capital and consumer goods. Competitive U.S. firms believe that global success requires their firms to be well established in that nation with the world’s largest population, among the world’s least-costly workers, and with the world’s fastest-growing market. Everything taught and learned in business schools supports that view. Thus the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposed former President Donald Trump’s trade/tariff wars and now opposes President Joe Biden’s hyped-up programme of China-bashing.

    There is no way for the United States to change China’s basic economic and political policies since those are precisely what brought China to its now globally envied position of being a competitor to a superpower like the U.S. Meanwhile, China is expected to catch up to the United States with equality of economic size before the end of this decade. The problem for the U.S. empire grows, and the United States remains stuck in divisions that preclude any significant change except perhaps armed conflict and an unthinkable nuclear war.

    When empires decline, they can slip into self-reinforcing downward spirals. This downward spiral occurs when the rich and powerful respond by using their social positions to offload the costs of decline onto the mass of the population. That only worsens the inequalities and divisions that provoked the decline in the first place.

    The recently released Pandora Papers offer a useful glimpse into the elaborate world of vast wealth hidden from tax-collecting governments and from public knowledge. Such hiding is partly driven by the effort to insulate the wealth of the rich from that decline. That partly explains why the 2016 exposure of the Panama Papers did nothing to stop the hiding. If the public knew about the hidden resources—their size, origins, and purposes—the public demand for access to hidden assets would become overwhelming. The hidden resources would be seen as the best possible targets for use in slowing or reversing the decline.

    Decline provokes more hiding, and that in turn worsens decline. The downward spiral is engaged. Moreover, attempts to distract an increasingly anxious public—demonizing immigrants, scapegoating China, and engaging in culture wars—show diminishing returns. Empire decline proceeds but remains widely denied or ignored as if it did not matter. The old rituals of conventional politics, economics, and culture proceed. Only their tones have become those of deep social divisions, bitter recriminations, and overt internal hostilities proliferating across the landscape. These mystify as well as upset the many Americans who still need to deny that crises have beset U.S. capitalism and that its empire is in decline.

  • Riaz Haq

    China’s rise is reversing

    by Ruchir Sharma

    After stagnating under Mao Zedong in the 1960s and 70s, China opened to the world in the 1980s — and took off in subsequent decades. Its share of the global economy rose nearly tenfold from below 2 per cent in 1990 to 18.4 per cent in 2021. No nation had ever risen so far, so fast. Then the reversal began. In 2022, China’s share of the world economy shrank a bit. This year it will shrink more significantly, to 17 per cent. That two-year drop of 1.4 per cent is the largest since the 1960s. These numbers are in “nominal” dollar terms — unadjusted for inflation — the measure that most accurately captures a nation’s relative economic strength. China aims to reclaim the imperial status it held from the 16th to early 19th centuries, when its share of world economic output peaked at one-third, but that goal may be slipping out of reach. China’s decline could reorder the world. Since the 1990s, the country’s share of global GDP grew mainly at the expense of Europe and Japan, which have seen their shares hold more or less steady over the past two years. The gap left by China has been filled mainly by the US and by other emerging nations.


    This is a good example of the FT misrepresenting economics in order to fit a narrative.

    The author says "China’s rise is reversing" because "the nation’s share of global GDP" has been dropping for 2 years. He highlights that his calculations are based on "nominal GDP unadjusted for inflation" which to him is "the measure that most accurately captures a nation’s relative economic strength."

    Which is highly misleading... The whole reason why many economists, including institutions like the IMF or the World Bank, do not like to compare countries based on nominal GDP is for the very reason it makes it look like China's GDP is reversing right now... because the US has been suffering from very high inflation (when China didn't) which forced it to increase interest rates (China didn't), which strengthened the USD relative to the RMB. Hardly a sign of economic strength... If it was, Argentina's economy would be soaring...

    It's much more accurate to compare countries' GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) which reduces currency exchange bias and reflects actual relative living standards of different countries. And when you look at China's share of global GDP based on PPP, here are the numbers (pictured, extracted from the IMF database:…):
    - 2020: China is 18.3% of global GDP, the US is 15.78%
    - 2021: China 18.51%, US 15.74%
    - 2022: China 18.44%, US 15.54%
    - 2023: China 18.82%, US 15.42%

    In other words, China's share of global GDP continues to rise and the US's continues to drop.

    The FT's author concludes his article with "no matter what Xi does, his nation’s share in the global economy is likely to decline for the foreseeable future. It’s a post-China world now." I would bet the exact contrary...

  • Riaz Haq

    Arnaud Bertrand
    Incredible, Gina Raimondo implores US industry to respect her sanctions because: "America leads the world in AI… America leads the world in advanced semiconductor design. That’s because of our private sector. No way are we going to let [China] catch up."

    This is an incredible admission because the Biden administration's messaging - or shall I say propaganda - on their semiconductors sanctions has so far always been that it isn't to gain or maintain a competitive advantage over China, but solely to prevent China's military from accessing to certain technologies. See for instance what Janet Yellen said on exactly this: "[the sanctions are] tailored toward the specific national security objective of preventing the advancement of highly sensitive technologies that are critical to the next generation of military innovation and [are] not designed for us to gain a competitive economic advantage over any other country." (Src: )

    Our Anthony Blinken: "One of the important things for me to do on this trip [to China] was to disabuse our Chinese hosts of the notion that we are seeking to economically contain them... However, what is clearly in our interest is making sure that certain specific technologies that China may be using to, for example: advance its very opaque nuclear weapons program, to build hypersonic missiles, to use technology that may have repressive purposes – it’s not in our interest to provide that technology to China. And I also made that very clear. So, the actions that we’re taking, that we’ve already taken, and as necessary that we’ll continue to take are narrowly focused, carefully tailored to advance and protect our national security. And I think that’s a very important distinction." (src: )

    Pretty much everyone knew this was 100% bullshit and all done for the purpose of America maintaining a competitive advantage in the technologies of the future, like AI. But now we have the Secretary of Commerce, who implemented these sanctions, say exactly that.