Foreign Affairs

U.S. Power Will Decline Under Trump, Says Futurist Who Predicted Soviet Collapse

Motherboard’s Nafeez Ahmed spoke with Nobel Peace Prize-nominated sociologist Johan Galtung about the future of American power.

“Galtung told Motherboard that Trump would probably continue this trajectory of accelerated decline—and may even make it happen quicker. Of course, with typical scientific caution, he said he would prefer to see what Trump’s actual policies are before voicing a clear verdict.”

Galtung: “He [Trump] blunts contradictions with Russia, possibly with China, and seems to do also with North Korea. But he sharpens contradictions inside the USA…”

“As a trans-border structure the collapse I am thinking of is global, not domestic. But it may have domestic repercussion, like white supremacists or even minorities like Hawaiians, Inuits, indigenous Americans, and black Americans doing the same, maybe arguing for the United States as community, confederation rather than a ‘union’.”

Brace Yourself: The Most Disruptive Phase of Globalization Is Just Beginning

Economist Richard Baldwin, whose new book The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization examines globalization’s undercurrents, spoke with Quartz about the future of globalization.

His argument in sum: “A better understanding of globalization is more urgent than ever, Baldwin says, because the third and most disruptive phase is still to come. Technology will bring globalization to the people-centric service sector, upending far more jobs in rich countries than the decline in manufacturing has in recent decades. (In the UK, the service sector accounts for almost 80% of the economy; less than 10% of US jobs are in manufacturing.) The disruption won’t come because people will move more freely across borders, but because technologies will provide ‘a substitute for being there,’ Baldwin says.”

Once this third phase hits, Baldwin predicts, “It will be disruptive in the G7, but instead of just in the manufacturing sector, it spreads to services. Only about 10-15% of the population works directly in manufacturing in the G7—the rest work in services. It will create great opportunities in many of the countries that have been left behind by earlier globalization, for instance almost all of sub-Saharan Africa and South America.”

The West Is Dead

Joschka Fischer: “Now that Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States, the end of what was heretofore termed the ‘West’ has become all but certain. That term described a transatlantic world that emerged from the twentieth century’s two world wars, redefined the international order during the four-decade Cold War, and dominated the globe – until now.”

“Trump does not have the luxury of an imperial approach. On the contrary, during the campaign, he heaped criticism on America’s senseless wars in the Middle East; and his supporters want nothing more than for the US to abandon its global leadership role and retreat from the world. A US that moves toward isolationist nationalism will remain the world’s most powerful country by a wide margin; but it will no longer guarantee Western countries’ security or defend an international order based on free trade and globalization.”

“But we should not harbor any illusions: Europe is far too weak and divided to stand in for the US strategically; and, without US leadership, the West cannot survive. Thus, the Western world as virtually everyone alive today has known it will almost certainly perish before our eyes.”

More Central Americans Are Giving up on the U.S. And Looking Instead to a Mexican Dream

Los Angeles Times: “The number of migrants seeking to stay in Mexico pales in comparison to the droves heading to the U.S. — more than 400,000 people were apprehended at the U.S. southern border in the fiscal year that ended in September, most of them from Central America.”

“But the burden on Mexico and other countries is likely to increase if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promises to beef up border security and deport up to 3 million people living in the U.S. illegally.”

“Asylum applications in Mexico nearly tripled over three years, hitting 3,424 in 2015. Asylum requests this year are poised to be twice that, human rights advocates say, with most filed by Hondurans and Salvadorans.”

“Even with its long-running drug war and a sliding peso, Mexico boasts a degree of safety and economic stability not seen in Honduras and El Salvador, which are among the poorest and most dangerous nations in the world.”

How China Views Trump

Keyu Jin: “Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the US presidential election has shaken the world… But one country has remained largely unmoved: China.”

“…prudence flows through China’s Confucian veins. Rather than jumping to conclusions about future US policies, much less taking premature action, China’s leaders have remained neutral in their response to Trump’s victory. They seem confident that, though the bilateral relationship will change somewhat, it will not be fundamentally transformed. It will still be neither very good nor very bad.”

“Some in the West might think that the rhetoric alone would be enough to incense China’s leaders. But the truth is that the Chinese are far more offended by national leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama, as President Barack Obama did in June. And, as past US elections have made clear, rhetoric may well bear little relation to reality. That is all the more true when the rhetoric in question includes promises that would harm everyone involved, as Trump’s proposed tariffs would.”

Why Turkey Is Salivating for President Trump

Steven Cook: “So what do Erdogan and his supporters like about Trump? What do they see in him that has made them declare, as one Turkish newspaper wrote, that ‘Turkey is optimistic about starting with a clean slate’ for U.S.-Turkish relations?”

“It’s not just that Trump and Erdogan share strongman tendencies like hostility toward the press and a belief in themselves as saviors to their respective nations, or that Trump’s designated national security adviser has cozy ties with the Turks. More important, the two leaders share an anti-establishment message that aligns in ways that indicate to Turks, at least the pro-Erdogan among them, that relations will improve with a Trump-led United States.”

“These parallels do not in and of themselves explain the enthusiasm with which Trump’s election was met in Turkey, however. The answer, in fact, lies in another parallel between Erdogan’s Turkey and Trump’s America: Turkey’s pro-government press and the people they represent hate the American establishment almost as much as the folks who want to ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Growing Out of U.S. Leadership

Adair Turner: “Donald Trump’s election has been greeted around the world with justifiable bewilderment and fear. His victory – following a fact-free, vicious election campaign – has trashed the brand of American democracy. But, while Trump is impulsive and occasionally vindictive – a potentially fatal mix in an already fragile world – his election should be a spur to challenge failed ideas and to move beyond excessive reliance on the United States’ inevitably imperfect global leadership.”

“Few of Trump’s campaign comments can be described as insightful and fair, but he had a point when he suggested that Europe cannot rely on America to defend it if it remains unwilling to make a fair contribution to military capability. America spends close to 4% of its GDP on defense, and accounts for some 70% of total military spending by all NATO members. Most European countries fail to meet the Alliance’s 2%-of-GDP target for defense spending, but still expect America to provide security guarantees against, for example, Russian adventurism. A credible commitment by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany to increase defense spending not just to 2% but to 3% of GDP, would at least reduce the dangerous imbalance at NATO’s core.”

The Worst-Case Scenario for the Economy Under Trump Just Happened in Another Country

Washington Post: “While there are a number of important differences between the Brazilian and U.S. economies, Rousseff’s policies arguably offer a cautionary example for newly empowered Republicans in Washington.”

“More than any U.S. politician’s platform, Trump’s agenda on the economy resembles those of populist leaders abroad. In particular, the policies he has proposed are very similar to those of Dilma Rousseff, the former president of Brazil who was ousted from office in August.”

“As Trump has planned to do, Rousseff enforced restrictions on imports. She promised new spending on infrastructure and granted generous subsidies to corporations with the goal of stimulating the economy, especially manufacturing.”

How Trump’s Victory Could Give Russia Another Win

Eric Edelman and David Kramer: “The Obama administration has worked closely with the European Union to ensure trans-Atlantic unity on sanctions, arguing that they are crucial to containing Russia. But Trump’s victory threatens this tenuous agreement by providing skeptical European nations with a credible argument against renewal: Trump will lift U.S. sanctions soon anyway. Thus, before even entering office, Trump may cause the sanctions regime to crumble, reducing pressure on Moscow and emboldening Putin.”

“Even before Trump’s victory, the sanctions already faced deep suspicion among certain European countries. Leaders in Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus have argued that not only are sanctions not working but, combined with the drop in oil prices, they are hurting EU members economically. Any single one of those countries could upend the current sanctions regime because renewal requires agreement among all 28 EU member states.”

“Thanks to diligent work by U.S. and EU officials, that consensus has held so far, but it is likely to dissolve in light of Trump’s expressed intentions toward Moscow. Even among the staunchest supporters of sanctions — Germany, Poland, the U.K. and the Baltic states — maintaining such measures will become untenable if it looks like the United States will break ranks.”

The TPP Is Dead, Long Live the TPP

Brookings Institution: “The election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States seems to have sealed the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

“We should not jump to the conclusion, however, that a TPP without the United States is without value for the remaining members. In fact, a relaunched TPP could be the best vehicle for these countries to adapt to the new—and harsher—reality of international trade in a world increasingly consumed by populism, especially considering that Trump may feel compelled in the early stages of his tenure to deliver on the disruptive elements of his trade agenda…”

“In this new world of resurgent protectionism, the value of the TPP rises significantly.”

Is Brexit Over After Today’s British High Court Ruling?

Quartz: “A huge obstacle just landed in the way of Brexit.”

“The UK’s High Court has ruled that the government cannot trigger Article 50—the official notification to leave the European Union—without a vote in Parliament.”

“Could this stop Brexit from happening?”

“Theoretically, yes. That’s because—assuming the government doesn’t win its appeal—a bill to trigger Article 50 will now have to pass through both houses of Parliament; there is a small chance that it might not.”

“That said, lawyer Joylon Maugham thinks there is little or no enthusiasm’ in Parliament for rejecting a bill that goes against the wishes of people as expressed by the result of the referendum. There is, however, enthusiasm to scrutinize whether the May’s negotiations with the EU are satisfactory enough before Article 50 is triggered.”

China’s Millennials Are Risk Takers, and They’re Dreaming Big

Bloomberg Markets: “Meet China’s millennials — a generation that’s more risk-taking and idiosyncratic than its predecessor. And they’re dreaming big.”

“Having grown up in a booming economy that grew nine-fold since the turn of the century, China’s 7.5 million school leavers this year are intent on forging paths very different from their parents, who defaulted to the factory floor, construction site or staid state-sector job.”

“‘This is a good sign for the economy as it shows that they are finding new growth engines and the economy is getting more market-oriented,’ said Iris Pang, senior economist for Greater China at Natixis SA in Hong Kong. ‘But in the longer term, startup failure rates are very high, and those who take the risk should bear the risk.'”

Recently on Wonk Wire, a relevant contrast: Millennials Aren’t Big Spenders or Risk-Takers, and That’s Going to Reshape the Economy