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RIVALS by Bill Emmott


How the Power Struggle Between China, India, and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade

by Bill Emmott

Pub Date: May 5th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-15-101503-0
Publisher: Harcourt

The East, to steal a line from Mao, is red: red-hot, that is, economically, and on the way to reshaping the global economy.

Former Economist editor-in-chief Emmott (20:21 Vision: Twentieth-Century Lessons for the Twenty-First Century, 2003, etc.) credits George W. Bush with doing one thing—one thing—right in his years in the White House: forging close ties with India, or at least attempting to do so. Though far behind many other Asian economies, by Emmott’s account, India has the wherewithal and the population to rival China and neutralize its power in the coming years. “George Bush’s recognition of that fact,” Emmott writes, “was his Richard Nixon moment”—that is, a climactic moment akin to Nixon’s rapprochement with China precisely to balance Soviet power worldwide. The playing fields are different, of course, now that China has extended itself into the global economy and the local economies of most of the world’s nations; yet, Emmott hazards, China’s economic growth will likely plateau in about 15 years to a comparatively modest but still healthy five percent per annum, whereas India’s will keep on growing at ten percent thereafter. It is no small matter that both countries may “treble their economic output” by 2025, and, as Emmott writes, “Asia is going to carry on getting richer and stronger, probably for a long time to come.” Japan fits in the scheme less centrally, but Emmott envisions a sort of free-trade zone among Japan, Korea and China, a scenario that becomes happier and more probable under the assumption that Korea unifies and that Chinese communism becomes even less communistic. Japan remains nervous, of course, about its longtime Chinese foe, one reason for “Japan’s anxiousness to involve India in regional affairs.” Emmott closes with a series of policy recommendations, including that the U.S. government declare “that it sees Asian integration and intraregional cooperation as desirable.”

Brightly written, in Economist tradition, and of much interest to fiscal wonks, geopoliticians and investors.