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Adam Tooze on the temptations facing a declining power

Summary:
In the most recent ChinaTalk episode, Jordan Schneider asks Adam Tooze about the cold war between the US and China: Jordan: It’s interesting thinking about the extreme Republican take on U.S.- China relations, how it almost echoes the clock running out on the U.S. We have to shut down Huawei, we have to take down SMIC, because time is absolutely not on our side.Adam: The answer to this apocalyptic thinking, which in the case of folks like Pompeo who belong to the evangelical faction around the Trump administration, they really do have a kind of end times possibility in their kind of cosmology. That’s a dangerous thought pattern. Apparently, Peter Navarro sincerely believes that there is the possibility of a shooting war with China as a realistic prospect over the next

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In the most recent ChinaTalk episode, Jordan Schneider asks Adam Tooze about the cold war between the US and China:

Jordan: It’s interesting thinking about the extreme Republican take on U.S.- China relations, how it almost echoes the clock running out on the U.S. We have to shut down Huawei, we have to take down SMIC, because time is absolutely not on our side.

Adam: The answer to this apocalyptic thinking, which in the case of folks like Pompeo who belong to the evangelical faction around the Trump administration, they really do have a kind of end times possibility in their kind of cosmology. That’s a dangerous thought pattern. Apparently, Peter Navarro sincerely believes that there is the possibility of a shooting war with China as a realistic prospect over the next couple of decades. That’s dangerous stuff, because the job is not to refuse a relative decline, because that’s necessary and legitimate and inevitable. The question is to code it as something other than end times.. .

This sort of apocalyptic thinking of a history that’s going to end with some sort of big bang, or some terrible ghastly discreditable whimper, rather than just facing up to reality in which the world is different and America’s position is not what it was in 1945. Which is not after all the end of the world.

The worry for me is more about the American side than it is about China. This is in no way to diminish the aggression that Beijing is clearly displaying, it’s determination to resolve the “Hong Kong problem,” and its very earnest commitment to finding a new solution for Taiwan in the foreseeable future. This isn’t to underestimate the seriousness of that intent on their part. But I don’t think it’s driven by the insistent ticking clock kind of logic.

As you’d expect, the entire interview of Adam Tooze is interesting.

Update: Gordon directed me to the latest issue of Politico:

WITH 40 DAYS LEFT until Election Day, it seems as though the United States is well on its way to becoming a banana republic.

I must be highly contagious. It seems like whenever I develop some sort of “hysterical” reaction to current events, the mainstream media follows along a few years later.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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