Apr 9, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

I have to add.

At one of the Munk Debates several years ago, with Niall Ferguson, Fareed Zakaria and Henry Kissinger, Kissinger said, China is used to being a large powerful country surrounded by little ones, and it will have to adapt to being confronted by a world power, and the US is used to being THE world power, and is going to have to adapt to another world power. It will require great diplomatic skills on both sides.

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Apr 9, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

Great podcast. Kudos to the brain trust. I learned so much.

The pictograph discussion was fascinating and nuances of ethno-nationalism and the Marxist Leninist back and forth were new to me.

One point. Graham Allison never said war was inevitable. Adam could not have read the book. He took care to examine the 4 of the 16 cases of rising powers challenging established ones that did not result in war to suggest means of avoiding it. Some of the strategies he suggests:

Accommodation ( As when Britain accommodated an impatient and aggressive US early in the 20th century)

Find common interests - ie avoiding nuclear war, avoiding accidental misunderstandings, environmental concerns ( The Chinese talk a good line on Climate Change but do not walk the talk)

Determine what exactly are the key Western interests, ie what is the West prepared to go to war over. Clearly not Hong Kong. How about the flouting of American embargos of Iranian oil? Taiwan?

Alliances, but with caution. Allies can provoke war.

Undermine - The Chinese have vulnerabilities. Find them and work on them.

New questions:

Is Japan re-arming? Should they?

What are China's vulnerabilities?

Looking forward to more.


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Apr 9, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

Thanks for a very interesting cosmopolicast. While it was about China, a thread that ran through it was an assumption that China mattered because of how it affected America's place in the world. Arguably important for the world, but I'd have appreciated an articulation of what America's place in the world should be (and how). America became "big" (dominant) at a time when (most) other countries were "small"; destroyed by war, hollowed out by colonialism, economically stunted by socialism. How does America retain its relative position (MABA?) when other countries are not destroyed by war, colonialism, etc? And won't other large countries (like China) aspire to dominate once they are able - regardless of their system of government?

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Apr 9, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

Best podcast so far (and they’ve all been first rate).

Here’s what I don’t understand; given the centrality of Taiwan to the future of peace in Asia, wouldn’t the United States and Taiwan both be far better off if Taiwan possessed its own nuclear deterrent?

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Apr 8, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

Excellent podcast! I learned so much from this, and I'll be listening to it again just to try and absorb more of it.

The only real point I disagreed on is how the point is strongly made that the clash between China and the West / Liberal Democracies is not a new Cold War. I know there's are many differences from Cold War 1.0, and if this current discord ends it will not be by the economic collapse of China. Unless a democratic revolution occurs, we'll be dealing with a totalitarian China in one form or another for centuries or longer. Important to remember (as was pointed out) that China as a fairly unitary state is ancient. They aren't going anywhere.

Another difference alluded to during the podcast is that China doesn't care whether liberal democracies exist—though it's probably in their best interest that healthy ones are extripated—whereas the USSR absolutely did care. The ideology of the USSR precluded the existence of freedom anywhere, whereas China doesn't require that.

But I still think there are still some parallels. The similarity of West Berlin and Taiwan as tempting targets for the USSR and China respectively for instance. Both represent prosperous, free societies, right on the doorstep of a totalitarian superpower that would love to swallow them whole.

I just finished listening to a truly excellent series of podcasts called 'The Cold War: What We Saw.' I'd recommend listening to them to help understand China. Not that it's the same situation, but history is always informative, and tends to repeat, even if never exactly the same way twice.

Regardless of whether you think it may illuminate things with China or not, the series is an excellent piece of historical research, portrayed in a way to make it both fascinating and understandable.


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I agree. The US/Chinese faceoff isn’t THE Cold War, but it is a Cold War of a kind. And the history of the Cold War does supply lessons for today’s policymakers. If that were not the case, why study history...?

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Oh and yes, I thought it was a pretty good podcast: quite thought provoking.

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A couple of comments on what I've just heard:

(1) Geography is one of the key elements of naval power, e.g. Britain's geographical position astride Germany's route out of the North Sea, which largely determined both countries' wartime naval strategy, not once but twice. Today in the Pacific, geography mandates a forward deployment of US naval forces, whereas Chinese Navy has the advantage of operating close to its home base. And as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor demonstrated, a forward deployment of naval forces is inherently hazardous. In which connection, this may be of interest:


(2) I agree that historical analogies can be superficial and misleading, but this discussion of China's motives made me think of post-1870-71 Germany: a new country, conscious of past slights and humiliations, a latecomer to great power status, seeking what it considered its rightful place in the sun, whose rise upended the old European diplomatic order. I think we're seeing much the same thing in the case of China: a grab for Weltmacht.

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Apr 8, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski

Of course we'd like to hear the Aftercast, Claire.

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Apr 8, 2021Liked by Claire Berlinski, Rachel motte

A book on China, well worth a look:

David P. Goldman’s, “You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-form the World”


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Oh, yes! He's our old colleague from Asia Times. I thought that was an interesting book, too. I should have mentioned it. Well, you did. Thanks!

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Apr 7, 2021Liked by Monique Camarra

Something I wanted to throw back at the panelists is how much of the procurement problems of the US military are centered around that procurement is increasingly used in of itself as means of so-called alliance building and management. For example, my view at least is a lot of the problems with the F-35 fighter jet we specifically constructed in a way to encourage our allies to buy instead of building their own indigenous fighter jets as France does. In fact Macron's defense minister I think has made reference to the fact that the US implicitly uses the F-35 cudgel against France and its defense industry such as Dassault Aviation at least in the European sphere. Would this apply to South Korea and Japan too?

**One reason I bring up Dassault Aviation and the Rafale fighter jet literally has no American parts(actually more like no non French parts) hence there is not even a screw on the plane that is "Made in America" thus the United States loses a lot of the control it has over almost every other ally other than France through defense exports when France uses the Dassault Rafale instead of the F-35 or even another plane like the Eurofighter Typhoon or Saab Gripen that have US parts contained in them.

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