Saturday, January 22, 2005
Which country will rule the roost in the century ahead? Can you tell? Well isn’t that a game everyone interested in politics likes playing? I’m not going to give much of my own thoughts on this, but just point to these snippets:
To add to the growing chorus recognizing that China is overrated here’s John Derbyshire:
Britain... America... notice anything? The great successes of these two nations rest(ed) in the Anglo-Saxon political traditions of personal autonomy, freedom under law, representative legislatures, and limited government. China has no such traditions: has, in fact, all the OPPOSITE traditions. I see no sign that this is changing. Rather the contrary: as China becomes richer and more confident, the ancient norms are re-asserting themselves. . . . 100 years ago there were excellent grounds for arguing that the 20th century would be Germany's, or Russia's, or Japan's -- or even China's! Things didn't work out that way. Why? Politics. Before we arrive in Mr. Rees-Mogg's economistical utopia, there is still plenty of old-fashioned politics to be traveled through.
Japan is once more going from strength to strength, and this time not just on the economic front. Militarily, diplomatically and in terms of cultural influence and general global activism, Japan is transforming itself, and at speed - not merely into a "normal" country, but into a formidable player across a wide front.
But more important even than America’s dynamism and economic resilience is the durability of its central ethos: the power of freedom. The genius of the founding fathers, which was celebrated again yesterday, has created the world ’s most stable, successful, and, for all the current phobias, still the most appealing model of society for humankind. The world may grow and change around it, but I would not bet on America’s eclipse just yet.