Tuesday, January 18, 2011

China as #1

Obama greets China’s President Hu. Do we really see what’s coming?

In four years, the Chinese and Taiwanese economies, measured in Gross Domestic Product/ Purchasing Power Parity (GDP/PPP), combined will be the same size as the U.S. economy, but with a far higher growth rate, with a far more favorable trade balance, with far larger foreign currency reserves, and with a much larger population. These are facts, you know.

In the recent Program for International Student Assessment’s testing of 15 year olds, Shanghai students came in first in reading, math, and science. Americans were 17th in reading, 23rd in science, and 31st in math (65 countries tested).

Now people are buzzing about Yale law school professor and bestselling author Amy Chua’s new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, with its accompanying Wall Street Journal commentary. To most Westerners, Chua is a monster, not a mother. Chua stands by her results.

Henry Kissinger has made money off his role in bringing China to the forefront of U.S. consciousness. He once wrote that an intellectual block inhibits status quo powers like the U.S. from accepting that rising revolutionary powers—powers intent on replacing the existing order altogether—really mean to “smash the existing framework.” Kissinger maintains we are lulled by the seeming permanence of the system over which we preside, and can’t bring ourselves to believe that a rising challenger truly wants to demolish an international order we so much believe benefits everyone.

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