Sunday, November 14, 2010

Joseph Nye: Return of Asia

During and after the G-20 this week, much of the media has attributed the US inability to get its way on every issue as a sign of the decline of the US. Naturally, one has to view this sort of quickie analysis with a skeptical eye.

Last July, Joseph Nye made a presentation at TED discussing global power shifts in two aspects: the shifting power of states from west to east (i.e. US-China), and what he calls the diffusion of power---the shift of power from states to non-state actors. Rather than calling the shift of power "the Rise of Asia," he calls it the "Return of Asia."

"...this metaphor of [US] decline is often very misleading ..." ..."cycles of belief in American decline come and go every 10-15 years or so..."

"Why does it matter? Who cares?... ...It matters quite a lot, because if you believe in decline and you get the answers wrong on this, the facts, not the myths, you may have policies which are very dangerous... Joseph Nye

Remember the late 80s/early 90s when Japan was going to surpass the US and the fear, fear-mongering, and overreaction? Oops. Slight miscalculation. (apx 18 minutes):

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