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ACCIDENTAL CONFLICT

AMERICA, CHINA, AND THE CLASH OF FALSE NARRATIVES

A timely, fluid, readable assessment of a testy and rapidly changing global relationship.

Thorough analysis of the current uneasy relationship between the U.S. and China.

Roach, a senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and author of the prescient book Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China (2014), finds the two largest world economies in a clash of dueling and incorrect narratives each holds about the other. Not so long ago, the U.S. and China needed each other to prop up their own flagging economies—China required external demand to support its “export-led” development strategy, while Americans relied on low-cost goods from China—but in recent years, they have undergone a trade war and a tech war. Now, argues the author, they face a new cold war. Both countries constantly seek economic growth, but they both have a savings problem: The Chinese have excessively high savings and low internal consumption, while Americans have little savings and high debt. In illustrating his theme of codependency, Roach breaks down the reasons behind this disparity, fed by the different “national dreams” of the two countries and the persistent “false narratives” they entertain about each other. Harkening back to the mid-1980s, U.S. officials have, for purposes of “political expediency,” often blamed China for many economic problems in the form of intellectual theft, predatory tech practices, and cyberhacking. The author stresses that many of these issues are overblown, and he suggests three areas of focus for conflict resolution: climate change, global health, and cybersecurity. He also suggests “re-opening foreign consulates in both countries…loosening visa restrictions for students and journalists, and restarting educational exchanges like the US Fulbright Program.” Finally, Roach delivers a thoughtful framework for moving from codependency to interdependency, involving a bilateral investment treaty and the establishment of a U.S.–China Secretariat. He concludes that “there is ample opportunity to exercise good faith.”

A timely, fluid, readable assessment of a testy and rapidly changing global relationship.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-300-25964-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A JEW

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

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Two bestselling authors engage in an enlightening back-and-forth about Jewishness and antisemitism.

Acho, author of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, and Tishby, author of Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, discuss many of the searing issues for Jews today, delving into whether Jewishness is a religion, culture, ethnicity, or community—or all of the above. As Tishby points out, unlike in Christianity, one can be comfortably atheist and still be considered a Jew. She defines Judaism as a “big tent” religion with four main elements: religion, peoplehood, nationhood, and the idea of tikkun olam (“repairing the world through our actions”). She addresses candidly the hurtful stereotypes about Jews (that they are rich and powerful) that Acho grew up with in Dallas and how Jews internalize these antisemitic judgments. Moreover, Tishby notes, “it is literally impossible to be Jewish and not have any connection with Israel, and I’m not talking about borders or a dot on the map. Judaism…is an indigenous religion.” Acho wonders if one can legitimately criticize “Jewish people and their ideologies” without being antisemitic, and Tishby offers ways to check whether one’s criticism of Jews or Zionism is antisemitic or factually straightforward. The authors also touch on the deteriorating relationship between Black and Jewish Americans, despite their historically close alliance during the civil rights era. “As long as Jewish people get to benefit from appearing white while Black people have to suffer for being Black, there will always be resentment,” notes Acho. “Because the same thing that grants you all access—your skin color—is what grants us pain and punishment in perpetuity.” Finally, the authors underscore the importance of being mutual allies, and they conclude with helpful indexes on vernacular terms and customs.

An important dialogue at a fraught time, emphasizing mutual candor, curiosity, and respect.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668057858

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon Element

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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