26 January 2018   2 comments

The US dollar has lost value over the last few weeks and the decline is beginning to worry some analysts.  The effects of the decline is to make US exports less expensive and US imports more expensive (the price of oil, which is denominated in terms of the US dollar has been rising as a result–expect higher gasoline prices).  The decline is something that one would not have expected given the evidence of sustained growth in the American economy, but it also puts the US economy at a competitive advantage over other countries and those countries are beginning to become quite concerned.  When coupled with the recent rise in US tariffs on washing machines and solar panels, there is concern that the US is engaging in a trade war.

Screen Shot 2018 01 26 at 2.10.07 PM

 

China has announced plans to develop sailing routes through the Arctic to take advantage of the polar ice melt caused by global warming.  The polar “Silk Road” could cut as many as 20 days off the current 45-48 days needed to ship goods from China to Europe.   China released a White Paper outlining its aspirations for the new route, and those plans require a great deal of coordination with other countries whose borders are close to the Arctic Circle.  One can access the Chinese White Paper here.

 

It is far to soon to begin to speculate about how US-Turkish relations will evolve given the clear conflicts between the two over the issue of Syria.  The US, however, has not counterbalanced the loss of Turkey as an ally with new relationships in the region.  The US relationships with Saudi Arabia and Israel are very strong, but the loss of Turkish support is significant.  Turkey, however, has been deepening its relationship with Qatar, Iran, Russia, and China.  Some of these new affiliations will be very difficult to sustain–the ties to Iran are very weak and the two states have many conflicting objectives.  And after the US decision on Jerusalem, it has very little public support among most of the Arab states in the Middle East.  It will take some time before the US recovers its strong position in the region.

Posted January 26, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “26 January 2018

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  1. Something interesting that I keep thinking about is that Sinophobia feels more prevalent in the U.S. than I can recall during my 30-ish years, yet no one seems to actually pay attention to China. They’ll say that we have to be afraid of China, but they struggle to articulate what that means (it’s usually a vague economic justification), and they’re usually unaware of any news about global Chinese expansion. They aren’t aware that the Communist Party apparatus and chosen commercial investors are the biggest backers in developing Africa, or that Chinese interests effectively own the West Indies now, or that a relatively insular middle-income nation officially is publishing more scientific papers than the U.S.

    The biggest film worldwide last week was not a Hollywood blockbuster, but rather a Chinese production in which a biological apocalypse of sorts breaks out across Africa, and the Chinese military rolls in to throngs of cheering crowds after the weak U.S. military/government can’t handle it. (Desperate, helpless U.S. scientists have to turn to the Chinese to rescue them.) But I’m pretty sure most people here aren’t aware that that’s the image China has been carefully cultivating of themselves — and of us.

    It seems that “We have to worry about China” is nothing more than a hollow talking point that people regurgitate, and that few want to do the hard work of actually following the news and learning what the concerns are. Do people really, truly care? Or does the general public just bring China up as a proxy for the more general fear that the U.S. is falling behind? I can’t decide.

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    • Dear Ashley,
      I agree with you that there is a great deal of China bashing going on that is remarkably uninformed about what is actually going on in China. I personally do not think that China is a “threat” to the current world order–it has too much to lose if that order changed. But China will be a decisive force in world affairs, and its values are not consistent with a number of institutions that we currently rely upon. Americans have yet to accept the fact that 20% of humanity is Chinese (and close to 50% of humanity is Asian). There is no way that the world can resist even the most peaceful or benign presence of such demographic power. We can, however, work to modify exactly those practices that directly threaten our most important values if we play the game intelligently.
      Best,
      Vinnie

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