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Niall Ferguson and James Fallows on 'Chimerica'

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Aspen Ideas Festival 2009

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Adam M Avatar
Adam M
Posted: 11.17.09, 08:52 AM
I don't understand why Mr. Ferguson seems to think that China doesn't need America for growth. Without America as a stable export economy many Chinese would be out of jobs and China would be forced to sell goods at much cheaper prices thus lowering GDP. They are growing and becoming a more powerful economy but they still must rely on advanced economies to purchase their goods.
cmortell1 Avatar
Posted: 11.07.09, 09:39 PM
I always find it interesting when people try and express their own opinions on a subject after watching a video like this, as if they seriously have anything they can add--beyond maybe one or two purposely insulting contrarian quirks. That being said, it was a great video. I had only moderate optimism about it coming in, but it turned out well beyond my expectations. Anything that can feed my fascination with Chinese-American relations as well as this video just has earns an "A" in my book. So glad FORA was kind enough to put this up and I seriously hope to see more on the subject in the future!
Anthony Suen Avatar
Anthony Suen
Posted: 10.20.09, 12:29 AM
So you admit that history is an bad way to gauge the future. Good for you. So I hope you agree that the China that you never visited of 2009 is a very different Nazi Germany of 1939. And simply inappropriate to use the Chamberlin (a major name which you badly misspelled)? Have you been to Vietnam or study the war in detail? It was the fear of the domino effect that lead to the escalation, not your poorly educated guilty notions about American imperialism during the 60s. Read and travel more my young friend. BTW your idol Ferguson is full of it, as most great mind from Krugman to Fallows will attest.
gcrest Avatar
Posted: 09.16.09, 02:41 PM
I have not been to China or to Germany; however, it is crucial for everyone to understand that we have to be very careful how we judge the motives of other countries..and very careful with our comparisons. At least in the U.S., we have gotten in trouble with not fully investing into understanding the cultures of other nations, and sometimes using a biased view to judge what is actually going on in the global social, economic and political market. China is experiencing an unprecedented growth; and comparing them to Germany based on motives and intentions is very biased and prejudiced at its worst. One thing that especially young professionals (ages 21-43) have to understand is that the more they invest their time into learning and avoid prejudging the nations around them, then they will be able to do well in this 21st century, a century which requires for us to become a lot more educated and open minded to the inevitable growth of other potential superpowers....America is not and will not be the sole world power any longer, those days are over....the more we understand that and adapt to that, the better off we will be..and the more intelligent solutions we will have in doing well in this new century.
Vasil Avatar
Posted: 08.19.09, 02:28 PM
@Anthony I've never been to China, but I have visited Germany several times. Getting to know German culture didn't leave me under impression that Germans are inclined towards imperialism. If we're to predict future events, I believe that "culture" is less important factor than leadership and capabilities. As for your Chaberlain's comparison, it is simply inappropriate. US foreign policy in Vietnam and Iraq was driven by ideology and imperial ambitions rather than by fear.
Anthony Suen Avatar
Anthony Suen
Posted: 08.15.09, 10:48 PM
@ Vasil. Have you personally been to China? Using one historical event as a guide is rather simplistic and limiting method to gauge the future events. Fears of repeating Chamberlain's mistakes led US leaders to disastrous adventures in Vietnam and Iraq, all without understanding the nuances of local culture.
Vasil Avatar
Posted: 07.28.09, 02:13 PM
@HerodotusWept When professor Ferguson compares China and Germany he does not emphasize intentions, but rather focuses on capabilities. China might be lacking imperial ambitions - of which i'm not fully convinced - but it strives to establish itself as both economic and military superpower. Besides its tight grip on Tibet,Taiwan and Xinjang we cannot ignore its ever-increasing presence in Central Asia. I agree that it is highly unlikely that China will risk a war with US or vice versa. Nevertheless, it's more likely that two countries will become rivals rather than friends. Niall Ferguson's metaphor of the "broken marriage" is more appropriate to me than Fallows' hope for future cooperation.
HerodotusWept Avatar
Posted: 07.26.09, 12:33 AM
I will have to side with Mr. Fallows on the China/Germany comparison as being invalid for a number of reasons, but the primary one being the lack of territorial imperialistic ambitions on the part of the Chinese. As far as territory goes, China has never wanted more than what the Han consider "the historical and traditional" Chinese territory. Now this may greatly upset those living in Taiwan, Tibet, or Xinjang, but Mongolia or say Southeast Asia shouldn't really have any fear of the Chinese army coming in to annex their country. This is certainly not the case in the Germany during the run up to WWI or WWII. Quite the opposite. That's just not how the Chinese do things. Controlling resources, yes. (as recent events in Africa certainly show) But invasion? No. Even when under control of Mao, with his complete conviction of his own military genius, his two forays into invasions, Korea and (to a lesser extent) Vietnam, ended in disaster and broke any possibility of that sort of tactic in the future. I think Mr. Fallows was 100% correct in attempting to stamp out this thread of fear (shades of the old racist "Yellow Hordes" meme?) when it comes to things like the buildup of the Chinese Navy. Are they building up? Sure. But not to attack the US, only to insure that a War over Taiwan is one that they have a good chance of winning. Who would purchase Chinese goods if they *actually*got into a war with the US? Africa? Not likely... And without its titanic economic growth figures, how is China going to keep its wildly diverse population under state control? The Chinese goal is internal cohesion above all things. Attacking the US would result in that cohesion being far more difficult, and therefore, only something like Taiwan attempting to declare independence would threaten such a beneficial relationship for both sides. Even then, I do not think the US would actually come to Taiwan's aid if it also meant war with China. Just look at how we handled the situation in Georgia...
Vasil Avatar
Posted: 07.24.09, 03:04 PM
Niall Ferguson's comparison of China and Germany (100 years ago) is frightening as much as it's appropriate. One addition to the rapid economic and industrial growth is the concept of the "peaceful rise" which is put forward by China. I wonder if Niall comparison would also apply to the Nazi Germany of 1930's. If so, we should remember how masterfully Hitler was able to hide his original motives to fool the rest of the Europe.
Nick Avatar
Posted: 07.23.09, 11:45 AM
Very excited to have two of my all-time favorite FORA personalities in one video. Great stuff.