Monday, February 23, 2009

Two Reads, Like Battery Posts, Negative and Positive

Niall Ferguson has an article at, where he warns about new and larger dangers facing President Obama and sounds a clarion call to the nation that we may be facing an upheaval of unprecedented challenges.

Ferguson begins.

Seven years ago, in his State of the Union address on Jan. 29, 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush warned of an “axis of evil” that was engaged in assisting terrorists, acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and “arming to threaten the peace of the world.” In Bush’s telling, this exclusive new club had three members: Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. Bush’s policy prescription for dealing with the axis of evil was preemption, and just over a year later he put this doctrine into action by invading Iraq.

The bad news for Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, is that he now faces a much larger and potentially more troubling axis—an axis of upheaval. This axis has at least nine members, and quite possibly more. What unites them is not so much their wicked intentions as their instability, which the global financial crisis only makes worse every day. Unfortunately, that same crisis is making it far from easy for the United States to respond to this new “grave and growing danger.”

Read More:
The Axis of Upheaval

And in a related article from the same issue is this piece entitled Globalization by Moisés Naím editor and chief of Foreign Policy Magazine.

Globalization Is a Casualty of the Economic Crisis.” No. That is, not unless you believe that globalization is mainly about international trade and investment. But it is much more than that, and rumors of its demise—such as Princeton economic historian Harold James’s recent obituary for “The Late, Great Globalization”—have been greatly exaggerated.

Naim stakes out the following positions.

Globalization Is Nothing New.” Yes it is.

Globalization No Longer Means Americanization.” It never did. For some critics, globalization has been little more than an American project aimed at expanding U.S. economic, military, and cultural dominance. Yet, since the 1980s, Japanese sushi has gone as global as Latin American telenovelas or fundamentalist Islam, while massive inflows of Hispanic immigrants have had a huge impact on U.S. society.

“Great Power Politics Are Back.” They never went away. We only thought they did.

Globalization Is by and for Rich People.”Go tell the Indians. Or, for that matter, the Chinese, or the emerging middle classes in Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam, and countless other countries that owe their recent success to trade and investment booms facilitated by globalization. Until the financial crisis broke out in 2008, the middle class in poor countries was the fastest-growing segment of the world’s population.

Globalization Has Made the World a Safer Place.” Not really. It’s true that in the past 20 years, the number of armed conflicts between countries has plummeted.

“The Financial Crisis Is a Symptom of Globalization Run Amok.” No, you just think it is.

An interesting take on the same subject that this blog has been covering the past few weeks as part of an sharing ideas from Great Powers: America and the World After Bush. Many of Mr. Naim's points are in concert with what Tom Barnett has been talking about for the past half decade.

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