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« Vali Nasr blasts Obama foreign policy (and team) in new book | Main | Obama's serious movement toward a genuine foreign policy legacy »
12:01AM

Nice side-by-side capture of globalization dynamics (guest post)

From Thomas Frazel of Tulane:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323478004578303733925078030.html

Heinz Sold as Deals Take Off

"We've been prospecting in the emerging world for a long time, and now they're prospecting here,"Heinz's Mr. Johnson said in an interview. "You're seeing a shrinking world and an equilibrium of wealth creation, and this kind of activity is only going to accelerate over the next five to 10 years."

In the interview, Mr. Johnson said he was surprised that firms from emerging markets would be capable of taking over America's most established companies.  "I didn't see this happening eight weeks ago, let alone five years ago," he said.

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324162304578304512387875482.html

First Bud, Now Heinz, Tycoon Grabs Brands

Though Mr. Lemann is a Brazilian business icon, he moved his family to Switzerland more than a decade ago following a kidnapping attempt in Brazil, a stark reminder of persistent problems of crime in the South American nation. Mr. Lemann's family is of Swiss descent. He declined an interview request through an associate, and has denied past requests as well.

Frazel's comment:

It was too perfect to see these things side-by-side — money in the Gap, instability in the Gap.

The more sophisticated read of PENTAGON'S NEW MAP was that the Gap would experience more instability as globalization rapidly improved things.  Change destabilizes.  It's as simple as that.  

The security challenge that results more resembles small-wars than large - thus the call for the SysAdmin force. It's about seeing the world as it is - what really matters in terms of structural change, and staying true to America's several-decade effort to replicate its core dynamics on a global scale.

What did we get for our effort?  Our blood and treasure?

The best and most radically improving period in world history.

Many other powers had their versions of globalization before ours came along.  And they were all far less fair and far more bloody. Ours is hardly perfect, but much like a democratic republic, ours is the best worst version yet.

Our challenge:  China and India will be the shapers of this system in the future - more than us. That is why understanding those two powers and joining with them in co-managing this world is America's number 1 long-term foreign policy objective.

And this is why I find Obama's Asian pivot so idiotically misguided. Scratch that - too harsh. He is ideologically misguided.  He mistrusts US power and does not acknowledge the decades of effort that I cite - nor its success.

THAT America did far more good than harm, but he does see that America.

And so he does trust the future that that America made possible.

Reader Comments (3)

I love your "ours is the best worse version yet".
CIA is almost 1/2 of the world's population.
Keep nurturing Obama's approach in your challenging way.
We all need your next book!

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElmer Humes

What if obama`s "pivot" really is intended to help improve the relationships with china and the asian countries? Maybe the intention of the pivot is to make easier the possibilities of support and cooperation.

If times and global relationships are changing at a high speed and the obama administration adjusts to these changes, why shouldt their military strategy also evolve to a level where military bases can serve more purposes than merely aggressive "box them in"/"containment" strategies?

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGG

While the US has been an integral part of the World order, I fear you are over-blowing its importance.

I live in Africa and I'm from Africa - and Africa is a part of the Globe where the US has NEVER had either the strategic interest or the imagination to do anything significantly worthwhile. It doesn't matter whether we are talking about the Cold War era or present.

We Africans remember the best deal we were offered by the US - i.e. the IMF/World Bank "Structural Adjustment Programs" of the eighties. They lacked vision/imagination and the devastation they left in their wake created space for the Chinese, Indians and other "emerging market" powers.

Africa is ground zero of the gap - and while the Chinese have creative solutions for dealing with our unique problems (e.g. commodities for infrastructure deals, longer loan gestation periods, emphasis on infrastructure), the US does not.

So even if the US were to "pivot away from Asia" would it know what to do in the Gap? I doubt it. Mali and Congo DRC are instructive; the US "trained" a bunch of thugs who either defected to the opposing side or fell apart in the face of the enemy.

The basic misreading of the fundamentals, the lack of understanding of the intersection between history, politics and culture makes people like me wish that the US just keeps a low profile in Africa - or focuses on the economics, which it doesn't want to.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaduka

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