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Has Xi Jinping Passed His Peak? - 30th Jul
China, for all its problems, seems set on an inexorable rise to superpower status to rival the US. On multiple benchmarks – economic, technological, military and diplomatic – Beijing is making rapid advances. We are a long way, in other words, from peak China. But that begs another question which has been sweeping Beijing over the northern summer – whether we are now witnessing peak Xi Jinping. Xi plans to be in office for many years to come. To ensure he stays there, maybe he will have to share some power along the way.
China is pursuing “opinion deterrence” - 20th Jul
The biggest worry to Beijing—and this goes back to the general influence picture—is not what Americans think about China but what Chinese think about China and what Chinese think about the Party. One of the changes in a recent important Communist Party meeting was putting the body that manages China’s relationship with Hollywood more firmly under Party control. In China, there is the Party and the government. They’re interlinked and they’re related, but they’re not the same thing. The Party serves above the government.
Xi Jinping’s Vision for Global Governance - 12th Jul
What is startlingly new about Xi’s remarks at the Central Conference was his call for China now to “lead the reform of the global governance system with the concepts of fairness and justice.” This is by far the most direct statement of China’s intentions on this important question offered so far. The world should buckle up and get ready for a new wave of Chinese international policy activism.
The future of the global order is in a state of flux. China has a clear script for the future. It’s time for the rest of the international community to develop one of its own.
Trade wars, like the current one between the US and China are easy to stop but hard to stop. Going from trade to politics is quick. Bad internal politics could result when trying to deescalate the situation. On the US-China trade imbalance and IP issues, only time will determine whether just solutions present themselves. Regarding IP, a broad approach focusing on historical US-China relations going back hundreds of years, is the Chinese mindset.
How To Avoid World War III in Asia - 6th Jul
World War II still hasn’t ended, yet World War III already looms. The recent discovery of large oil and gas reserves under the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands islands has heated up the situation dramatically, with military budgets surging, and warships, coast guards and fighter jets scrambling to assert control over the commons. Meanwhile, tensions on the Korean Peninsula have drastically escalated into the world’s most dangerous flashpoint over the past seven decades precisely because the Korean War itself was never formally ended in 1953. A multipolar world can be an unstable landscape of security dilemmas and proxy competitions à la Europe before World War I, or it can be a stable balance of power in which sufficient distance among poles and respect for their spheres of influence generates a dynamic equilibrium. If we want this kind of lasting global stability, we must permit technocrats to make the peace first.
The flattening- and by some global measures, inverting- bond yield curve suggests that the market thinks that momentum could be fragile. Inflation is a potential concern, which is one thing tariffs could help fuel. It’s something that, in the worst case scenario, could bring this cycle to an early end.
Electric vehicles have been held back by battery and charging techniques. Now a single supercapacitor technology might be able to solve both in one hit! This new material brings the new supercapacitors closer to the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries, but with the added benefits of immediate recharging and cheaper production costs.
From South Korea’s perspective, the #TrumpKimSummit is creating a chain of events that is leading the narrative in the right direction. Unless and until we run into a roadblock, a general commitment to denuclearization is an excellent first step.
The lifting of American sanctions could create a mini economic boom for North Korea. China would invest massively. It has always wanted a market economy, largely out of self interest. Its border regions with North Korea are struggling and it would be looking to tap into any North Korean boom for its own benefit.
Our military presence in Asia protects the interests of our allies. Any change in the confidence of our closest supporters could have unprecedented ramifications. The #TrumpKimSummit could undermine American history.