Monday, 31 August 2009

Passing Thoughts


A universally acknowledged truth is that a great power will never voluntarily surrender pride of place to a challenger.

The United States is the pre-eminent great power. China is its potential challenger.

For the Americans and the Chinese are different from the rest of us. Every state in the world may harbour ambitions to have the autonomy of the archetypal nineteenth century nation-state, but most come to terms with the constraints of their relative small size compared with the scale of global markets. Only China and the United States, with their continental economies, vast populations and huge military machines, can genuinely think in old nation-state terms.

They calculate their spheres of military, diplomatic and economic influence. They are prepared to use military powers to secure national ends.

Each believes its civilisation and culture have a special destiny. They are intensely nationalistic. They are, in short, the last genuine great powers.

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