Examples: 1. Arms race? 2. Space race? 3. Energy (pipelines) 4. Which international organizations?. 5. Trade blocks? 6. Spheres of influence 8. Who should bear principal responsibility for slowing down climate change? 9. Over seats in international organizations ? 10. Where to hold major sports events?
China, the European Union (EU), India, Japan, Russia, and the United States : contain just over half the world's people and account for 75 percent of global GDP and 80 percent of global defense spending.
Is the US unipolar position vulnerable? US military forces are stretched thin; The US is downsizing the force stationed abroad (South Korea, Japan); Difficulty in keeping some of the military bases such as Karshi Khanabad base in Uzbekistan.
In the military arena : The United States has overwhelming nuclear superiority, the world's dominant air force, the only truly blue-water navy, and a unique capability to project power around the globe. Over one half of global defense spending 70% of world R&D dominance in information-intensive warfare.
America’s economic dominance: ( Possible in a world in which the large countries were in poverty, or were experimenting with alternative models of economic development). France, Britain, Germany Japan until the 1960, Russia (between the late 1970s the early 2000s). China, India, Brazil (until recently) Some indicators: In 1950 the US represented 39% of world GNP in 1995 on 26% in 1953 the US accounted for 45% of the world manufacturing output; in 1990 only 22%
F. Zakaria: ‘the natives have gotten good at capitalism.’ Some serious problems with US economy : budget deficit, trade deficit (U.S. debt held outside the United States has surged, China, Japan, and South Korea have accumulated the lion's share of it). This is ‘not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else’.
Other challenges to U.S. primacy: military effectiveness and diplomacy. Measures of military spending are not the same as measures of military capacity. U.S. calls for others to reform will tend to fall on deaf ears, U.S. assistance programs will buy less, and U.S.- led sanctions will accomplish less. U.S. leverage in Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. The US is trying to promote universalism suggesting that the world needs a single leader and that American liberal (political) ideology must be accepted as the basis of global order but that is increasingly running into problems.
Multipolarity (Joseph Nye, Parag Khanna): What we have today, for the first time in history, is a global, multicivilizational, multipolar battle or Nonpolarity (Richard Haas)
China: Many see it as the likeliest of the usual suspects for future peer competitor status (50% Americans see China as a threat in the next 100 years, only 8% see Japan as a threat an 6% see Europe as a threat). In its annual report to Congress on China’s military strength (May 2007) the Pentagon repeated its observation that “among major and emerging powers” China has the “greatest potential to compete militarily” with the US. According to a Pew Research Center poll released June 2006, only 34 percent of the Chinese surveyed said they held a positive view of the United States.
China’s Economic Performance: Rise in the share of trade in its GDP; Surpassed Canada in 2007 as the largest exporter to the United States. Surpassed U.S. trade with Japan and S. Korea for the first time since World War II. China is pushing America aside as the world's biggest exporter of automobiles, and it now produces more cars than the United States. Trade surplus (with both the US and the EU). Rise in the share of Global GDP (from less than 5% in the 1980 to over 16% today, second only to the United States).
China is rapidly emerging as the engine of growth in Asia: Chinese economy has become increasingly intertwined with Japanese economy. Sharply increased trade with China has lifted the Japanese economy out of a decade of slow growth and recurring recession. Japanese investment totaling $31.5 billion is enabling China to learn the formidable industrial skills of its neighbor. More than 150,000 Chinese students attend Japanese universities and language schools, and a million Chinese people work in Japanese companies.
China's economic rise has altered the balance of power in Asia: China is spreading influence in its southern and western peripheries. It has considerable influence with North Korea. Half of China's foreign aid goes to its neighbor.. Eighty percent of North Korea's economic activity, comes from China. There are about 35 million ethnic Chinese well placed around Asia’s rising economies (e.g., Vietnam, Indonesia. Malaysia, Singapore ) Thailand, Indonesia, and Korea, no country wants political tension to upset economic growth.
Spreading its presence all across the globe: Africa (e.g., Angola, Chad, Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe) ; North and South America (Canada, Cuba, and Venezuela, Brazil). Middle East (Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran). Russia’s Far East.
Defense policy: Securing borders (India, Russia, Central Asia Republics); Transforming the military to fight shorter high intensity wars. Prevailing quickly in the possible crisis over Taiwan. Preempt a potential U.S.-led coalition. Pulling states like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, into its orbit. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Central Asian countries, Russia + China) -- the “NATO of the East.”
Potential problems for China: 1. Unemployment, poverty and social unrest 2. Corruption ; 3. HIV/AIDS and epidemic disease; 4. Water resources and pollution; 5. Energy consumption and prices; 6. Fragility of the financial system and state owned enterprises; 7. Inadequate social safety and inadequate infrastructure 8. Taiwan and other potential conflicts.
The European Union: The US economy is four times larger than that of Germany’s, but the EU economy is larger than the US economy. The EU has a considerably larger population and a larger share of world exports. European technologies more and more set the global standard. The EU has more men under arms (some 1.8 million compared to US 1.3 million), and includes two countries with nuclear weapons (Britain and France, the world’s third and fourth biggest nuclear arsenals).
The EU effectively constrains the US: Within the WTO, Europe is the equal of the US; The European role in monetary affairs and the IMF is nearly equal to that of the US. London is trying to replace New York as the most important financial center; American firms seeking to merge have had to seek approval from the European Commission ; Peaceful conflict resolution. Reluctance to increase defense budget.
European and Americans clash over strategic matters such as: the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, regime change in Iraq, perceived American unilateralism, various social policies (e.g., abortion, death penalty, and same sex marriage). The Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The International Criminal Court. Trade disputes: hormone-treated beef, GM foods. There are significant differences between the US and EU with regard to homeland security.
Some foresee a progressive erosion of ties across the Atlantic: S. Walt: the lack of a common threat reduces cohesion in the alliance; the US now trades one and a half times as much with Asia as with Europe; and there are growing cultural differences among elites on both sides of the Atlantic.
Key question : Will the EU develop enough political and social-cultural cohesion to act as one unit on a wide range of international issues, or whether it will remain a grouping of countries with significant foreign policy differences. But the integration of foreign and defense policy has been especially contentious.
Overlapping interests of the EU and the US: Direct investment in both directions is higher than with Asia. Together the US and Europe account for 70% of world trade (about similar percentage of FDI). Western governments have unanimously authorized a dozen humanitarian interventions over the last ten years. They work together on many other issues (e.g., human rights, environmental policy, disease control, and financial regulation).
American conservatives like to point out that the EU still lacks a common army: But in fact the EU doesn’t really need one. Europeans use: intelligence and the police to apprehend radical Islamists, social policy to try to integrate restive Muslim populations, and economic strength to incorporate the former Soviet Union and gradually subdue Russia. Europe may possess weaker military forces that does the US, but on almost every other dimension of global influence (trade, 70% of global foreign aid, peacekeeping [UK in Sierra Leone, France in Cote d’Ivoire, Italy, in Albania, and Germany in Afghanistan, in Kosovo 84% pf the troops are non-American], monitoring, and multilateral legitimation) it is stronger.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left Russia significantly shrunken in: territory (76% of the USSR’s), population (50%), economy (45%) and military personnel (33%).
A formidable opponent of the US during the Cold War period: Still poses a threat to the US because of its nuclear arsenal. Also: educated population, skilled scientists and engineers, and vast natural resources (oil, gas, minerals, diamonds). Because of its residual strength, its proximity to Europe, and the potential of alliance with China or India, Russia can choose to cooperate or to cause problems for the US.
Russia, enriched by high oil prices, is becoming more aggressive abroad: Georgia in August 2008. Putin and others have denounced the possible arrival of missile- defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia in the Middle East: the talk about setting up a “gas OPEC”. Russia's real means of projecting power is not its armed forces, but its sale of cheap advanced weaponry to other countries. Major arms deals in Latin America: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Japan: In the 1980's and early 1990's, Japanese companies claimed a sizable chunk of the American car market and purchased Rockefeller Center and the Pebble Beach golf course. Japan was producing 15% of the world product. It became the world’s largest creditor and largest donor of foreign aid. (US is the lowest aid donator among 21 largest industrial countries). Its technology was roughly equal to that of the US and even slightly ahead in some areas of manufacturing (mobile Internet application).
Japan's foreign policy agenda and regional ambitions: Since it lacked strong military since the end of World War II, Japan has relied on its economic might to shape and protect its security interests. But China's recent resurgence has diminished Japan's economic stature in Northeast Asia compared with what it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Unable to use its economic muscle as effectively as it did in the past, Japan is resorting to a new form of nationalism as a way to shape and protect its security interests.