Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Discussion of current events
User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 7809
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by Sertorio » Thu Jun 23, 2022 2:04 am

How the US Could Lose the New Cold War
by JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ - Jun 17, 2022
https://www.project-syndicate.org/comme ... tz-2022-06

NEW YORK – The United States appears to have entered a new cold war with both China and Russia. And US leaders’ portrayal of the confrontation as one between democracy and authoritarianism fails the smell test, especially at a time when the same leaders are actively courting a systematic human-rights abuser like Saudi Arabia. Such hypocrisy suggests that it is at least partly global hegemony, not values, that is really at stake.

For two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the US was clearly number one. But then came disastrously misguided wars in the Middle East, the 2008 financial crash, rising inequality, the opioid epidemic, and other crises that seemed to cast doubt on the superiority of America’s economic model. Moreover, between Donald Trump’s election, the attempted coup at the US Capitol, numerous mass shootings, a Republican Party bent on voter suppression, and the rise of conspiracy cults like QAnon, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that some aspects of American political and social life have become deeply pathological.

Of course, America does not want to be dethroned. But it is simply inevitable that China will outstrip the US economically, regardless of what official indicator one uses. Not only is its population four times larger than America’s; its economy also has been growing three times faster for many years (indeed, it already surpassed the US in purchasing-power-parity terms back in 2015).

While China has not done anything to declare itself as a strategic threat to America, the writing is on the wall. In Washington, there is a bipartisan consensus that China could pose a strategic threat, and that the least the US should do to mitigate the risk is to stop helping the Chinese economy grow. According to this view, preemptive action is warranted, even if it means violating the World Trade Organization rules that the US itself did so much to write and promote.

This front in the new cold war opened well before Russia invaded Ukraine. And senior US officials have since warned that the war must not divert attention from the real long-term threat: China. Given that Russia’s economy is around the same size as Spain’s, its “no limits” partnership with China hardly seems to matter economically (though its willingness to engage in disruptive activities around the world could prove useful to its larger southern neighbor).

But a country at “war” needs a strategy, and the US cannot win a new great-power contest by itself; it needs friends. Its natural allies are Europe and the other developed democracies around the world. But Trump did everything he could to alienate those countries, and the Republicans – still wholly beholden to him – have provided ample reason to question whether the US is a reliable partner. Moreover, the US also must win the hearts and minds of billions of people in the world’s developing countries and emerging markets – not just to have numbers on its side, but also to secure access to critical resources.

In seeking the world’s favor, the US will have to make up a lot of lost ground. Its long history of exploiting other countries does not help, and nor does its deeply embedded racism – a force that Trump expertly and cynically channels. Most recently, US policymakers contributed to global “vaccine apartheid,” whereby rich countries got all the shots they needed while people in poorer countries were left to their fates. Meanwhile, America’s new cold war opponents have made their vaccines readily available to others at or below cost, while also helping countries develop their own vaccine-production facilities.

The credibility gap is even wider when it comes to climate change, which disproportionately affects those in the Global South who have the least ability to cope. While major emerging markets have become the leading sources of greenhouse-gas emissions today, US cumulative emissions are still the largest by far. Developed countries continue to add to them, and, worse, have not even delivered on their meager promises to help poor countries manage the effects of the climate crisis that the rich world caused. Instead, US banks contribute to looming debt crises in many countries, often revealing a depraved indifference to the suffering that results.

Europe and America excel at lecturing others on what is morally right and economically sensible. But the message that usually comes through – as the persistence of US and European agricultural subsidies makes clear – is “do what I say, not what I do.” Especially after the Trump years, America no longer holds any claim to the moral high ground, nor does it have the credibility to dispense advice. Neoliberalism and trickle-down economics were never widely embraced in the Global South, and now they are going out of fashion everywhere.

At the same time, China has excelled not at delivering lectures but at furnishing poor countries with hard infrastructure. Yes, these countries are often left deeply in debt; but, given Western banks’ own behavior as creditors in the developing world, the US and others are hardly in a position to point the finger.

I could go on, but the point should be clear: If the US is going to embark on a new cold war, it had better understand what it will take to win. Cold wars ultimately are won with the soft power of attraction and persuasion. To come out on top, we must convince the rest of the world to buy not just our products, but also the social, political, and economic system we’re selling.

The US might know how to make the world’s best bombers and missile systems, but they will not help us here. Instead, we must offer concrete help to developing and emerging-market countries, starting with a waiver on all COVID-related intellectual property so that they can produce vaccines and treatments for themselves.

Equally important, the West must once again make our economic, social, and political systems the envy of the world. In the US, that starts with reducing gun violence, improving environmental regulations, combating inequality and racism, and protecting women’s reproductive rights. Until we have proven ourselves worthy to lead, we cannot expect others to march to our drum.
This is opinion, not fact, but the author may have some credibility, bigger that that of any of us. And it shows why the US is doomed to fail in its obsessive confrontation with Russia and China.

User avatar
SteveFoerster
Posts: 3526
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:17 pm
Location: Probably DCA, YYJ, or DOM
Contact:

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by SteveFoerster » Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:28 am

Stiglitz is right (for a change) when he says that to remain influential the US must amp up its use of soft power.

But he also being a partisan hack, it's no surprise that after managing to make a decent point about something else, he decays into ending with a litany of Democratic domestic policy proposals about which most people in lower income countries couldn't care less.
Writer, technologist, educator, gadfly.
President of New World University: https://newworld.ac

User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 7809
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by Sertorio » Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:33 am

SteveFoerster wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:28 am
Stiglitz is right (for a change) when he says that to remain influential the US must amp up its use of soft power.

But he also being a partisan hack, it's no surprise that after managing to make a decent point about something else, he decays into ending with a litany of Democratic domestic policy proposals about which most people in lower income countries couldn't care less.
Do you mean...

"...reducing gun violence, improving environmental regulations, combating inequality and racism, and protecting women’s reproductive rights..."

Most people do not care about these issues?...

User avatar
SteveFoerster
Posts: 3526
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:17 pm
Location: Probably DCA, YYJ, or DOM
Contact:

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by SteveFoerster » Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:55 am

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:33 am
SteveFoerster wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:28 am
Stiglitz is right (for a change) when he says that to remain influential the US must amp up its use of soft power.

But he also being a partisan hack, it's no surprise that after managing to make a decent point about something else, he decays into ending with a litany of Democratic domestic policy proposals about which most people in lower income countries couldn't care less.
Do you mean...

"...reducing gun violence, improving environmental regulations, combating inequality and racism, and protecting women’s reproductive rights..."

Most people do not care about these issues?...
You have to read all the words.

I did not say that most Americans do not care about these issues. I said that whether or not the US implements these policies is not a significant factor in the ability of the US to project soft power in lower income countries.
Writer, technologist, educator, gadfly.
President of New World University: https://newworld.ac

User avatar
cassowary
Posts: 5811
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:30 pm

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by cassowary » Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:13 am

I don’t agree with Stieglitz when he said the US fails the smell test because it supports Saudi Arabia. The US supported Saudi Arabia in Cold War 1 too and nobody said anything at the time. Supporting just one country out of necessity to gain an advantage is better than what it’s opponents have done. They supported so many more authoritarian regimes.
The Imp :D

User avatar
neverfail
Posts: 8614
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Australia

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by neverfail » Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:52 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 2:04 am
How the US Could Lose the New Cold War
by JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ - Jun 17, 2022
https://www.project-syndicate.org/comme ... tz-2022-06

NEW YORK – The United States appears to have entered a new cold war with both China and Russia. And US leaders’ portrayal of the confrontation as one between democracy and authoritarianism fails the smell test, especially at a time when the same leaders are actively courting a systematic human-rights abuser like Saudi Arabia. Such hypocrisy suggests that it is at least partly global hegemony, not values, that is really at stake.
Hypocrisy? Were I leader of the United States or any one of the other Western democracies there would be no reason for me to love Saudi Arabia, its methods nor its ruling princes. But national interest, especially in the light of most of America's allies' reliance on the Middle east for supplies of oil (more so in these days of boycott of Russian oil) indicates that the West should at least have a good working relationship with the Saudi government.

Collaboration does not necessarily signify approval.

Stiglitz's analogy is therefore spurious.
For two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the US was clearly number one. But then came disastrously misguided wars in the Middle East, the 2008 financial crash, rising inequality, the opioid epidemic, and other crises that seemed to cast doubt on the superiority of America’s economic model. Moreover, between Donald Trump’s election, the attempted coup at the US Capitol, numerous mass shootings, a Republican Party bent on voter suppression, and the rise of conspiracy cults like QAnon, there is more than enough evidence to suggest that some aspects of American political and social life have become deeply pathological.
I agree with the final sentence but that does not mean that the economic model is fundamentally unsound. The problem (as I see it) lies in the political model. I have raised this issue in postings before.

User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 7809
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by Sertorio » Sat Jun 25, 2022 12:57 am

neverfail wrote:
Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:52 pm
Were I leader of the United States or any one of the other Western democracies there would be no reason for me to love Saudi Arabia, its methods nor its ruling princes. But national interest, especially in the light of most of America's allies' reliance on the Middle east for supplies of oil indicates that the West should at least have a good working relationship with the Saudi government.

Collaboration does not necessarily signify approval.
In your sentence try and replace Saudi Arabia with Russia and see how it sounds to you...

User avatar
SteveFoerster
Posts: 3526
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:17 pm
Location: Probably DCA, YYJ, or DOM
Contact:

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by SteveFoerster » Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:21 am

cassowary wrote:
Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:13 am
I don’t agree with Stieglitz when he said the US fails the smell test because it supports Saudi Arabia. The US supported Saudi Arabia in Cold War 1 too and nobody said anything at the time. Supporting just one country out of necessity to gain an advantage is better than what it’s opponents have done. They supported so many more authoritarian regimes.
Not enough people, but not nobody. Some of us have pointed out the hypocrisy of a close relationship with a medieval monstrosity like the House of Saud all along.
Sertorio wrote: In your sentence try and replace Saudi Arabia with Russia and see how it sounds to you...
That's a fair point.
Writer, technologist, educator, gadfly.
President of New World University: https://newworld.ac

User avatar
cassowary
Posts: 5811
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:30 pm

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by cassowary » Sat Jun 25, 2022 9:41 am

Sertorio wrote:
Sat Jun 25, 2022 12:57 am
neverfail wrote:
Fri Jun 24, 2022 11:52 pm
Were I leader of the United States or any one of the other Western democracies there would be no reason for me to love Saudi Arabia, its methods nor its ruling princes. But national interest, especially in the light of most of America's allies' reliance on the Middle east for supplies of oil indicates that the West should at least have a good working relationship with the Saudi government.

Collaboration does not necessarily signify approval.
In your sentence try and replace Saudi Arabia with Russia and see how it sounds to you...
Saudi Arabia is not a threat to the world nut Russia is because it has nukes.
The Imp :D

User avatar
Milo
Posts: 4015
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:14 pm

Re: Joseph Stiglitz a propos the Ukraine Conflict

Post by Milo » Sat Jun 25, 2022 9:45 am

SteveFoerster wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:55 am
Sertorio wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:33 am
SteveFoerster wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:28 am
Stiglitz is right (for a change) when he says that to remain influential the US must amp up its use of soft power.

But he also being a partisan hack, it's no surprise that after managing to make a decent point about something else, he decays into ending with a litany of Democratic domestic policy proposals about which most people in lower income countries couldn't care less.
Do you mean...

"...reducing gun violence, improving environmental regulations, combating inequality and racism, and protecting women’s reproductive rights..."

Most people do not care about these issues?...
You have to read all the words.

I did not say that most Americans do not care about these issues. I said that whether or not the US implements these policies is not a significant factor in the ability of the US to project soft power in lower income countries.
Yes.

You only get soft power when you have hard power.

Furthermore, China will not ‘dethrone’ the US just because it manages to slave labour its way into exceeding the size of the US economy, while many of its citizens live in abject poverty without basic rights. And maybe it won’t get there; the closer it gets, the harder it will be.

Post Reply