“cannot remember a single International Crisis in which the United States had no global presence at all”

A good Anne Appelbaum read here at The Atlantic to which I subscribe to in print and via computer. The print-version makes for a brief case stuffer when I am flying somewhere far away.

The Youtube depicts China as a Lego terra-cotta warrior with a low masculine voice and the United States as a Lego Statue of Liberty with a high, squeaky voice. “The rest of the World is Laughing at Donald Trump” The official Chinese news agency “Xinhua,” is poking at Trump and the US in a comical manner or lets just say they are laughing at our president and us as we idlily standby watching this buffoon represent us. 1.6 million viewers have seen this Youtube.
The lead-in title comes from a statement made by a former (1990s) Swedish Prime Minister, Carl Bildt who was also a United Nations envoy during the Bosnian wars and a foreign minister for many years afterwards. In a comment to Anne Appelbaum, he remarked he could never remember a time over his 30 years of service to his country when the United States did not have or did not display a global presence at all during an international crisis.

“’Normally, when something happens’—a war, an earthquake—’everybody waits to see what the Americans are doing, for better or for worse, and then they calibrate their own response based on that.’”

Now they are looking to China.

By his actions, Trump has created a global vacuum which the Chinese are all too willing to fill by providing aid to countries needing it during the pandemic, exerting political influence, and providing funds for investment for other purposes. China is excelling at wielding aid, influence, and investments during the absence of the US with its public relations program.  Shameless propaganda as it may be in what is seen in the Youtube  –  can  sometime work. It works not because people necessarily believe it is all true; but because, they respect the capabilities of the nation propagandizing or fear the power of the people who produced it. Militarily and as the second largest economy globally, China can fill the vacuum left by Trump’s US.

Paul Kennedy’s  “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers,” discusses the politics and economics of the global powers from 1500 to 2000 and the reason(s) for their decline. The Wiki short summary of it; “Great Power ascendancy (over the long term or in specific conflicts) correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; military overstretch and a concomitant relative decline are the consistent threats facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide.”

Those countries who allocate more resource on defense or war rather than balance it between the domestic productivity and economic base providing the means to do so will eventually decline in status as compared to other countries. It is the old guns or butter argument which so many of us have heard in Econ 100. The US appears to be well on the road and at a much quicker pace to becoming a Tier 2 or 3 nation as we withdraw from our global presence, other nations, while China fills the vacuum we have left. A floundering Trump who is laughed at by the rest of the world and Republicans supporters have just moved it along at a faster pace.

Addition at 8:30 PM:

I just got done reading an H.H. McMaster authored piece “How China Sees the World And how we should see China.” A key comment in the “Strategic Enpathy” section III of the article; “Any strategy to reduce the threat of China’s aggressive policies must be based on a realistic appraisal of how much leverage the United States and other outside powers have on the internal evolution of China.” I believe to have such a leverage, one must engage with the rest of the world which is the exact opposite of what Trump is doing today. Our mostly free exchange of information and ideas is an extraordinary competitive advantage with other nations is an engine of innovation and prosperity for not only us but the rest of the world. However, we must protect ourselves and others from China abuse of technology and growing influence diplomatically, economically, and militarily. Read it is you can, I am not so sure I have the correct opinion of the two articles.

I am no expert on Asia or Asians other than spending weeks at a time there working to improve our supply chain of components to them, dropping off a couple of bottles of Blue Label to the plant managers, and learning about them. I never felt I might know them completely as I might Americans.  Not everything was revealed to me by them.

My inventories were shipped on time with less than 5% being late (I think I told a typhoon story here which resulted in some of our containers being delayed in Hong Kong and to which they complained. I countered with being many things to them; but, I can not command the ocean). They also complained of things arriving too early. We turned 22 times a year and kept our costs to a minimum. From listening to the debacle today on healthcare supplies, it appears my almost 50 years of experience could be put to good use again.