Geoeconomics, in this book's definition, is the use of economic instruments to accomplish geopolitical objectives. This is a woefully understated areaGeoeconomics, in this book's definition, is the use of economic instruments to accomplish geopolitical objectives. This is a woefully understated area - in my brief search, the other book-length treatment on the topic is from 1985.
Each chapter provides an overview of the 'geoeconomic' landscape since the end of the Cold War. This includes, but is not limited to, the benefits of increased domestic oil and gas production, Chinese geoeconomics, and other instruments of geoeconomic policy. Tariffs and trade barriers are of course one method, as are sanctions to punish wrongdoers, but so is state capitalism, with a greater governmental control over specific industries.
Furthermore, the book makes the case that economics and foreign policy have long been linked in American history - the start is from Thomas Paine's justifications for independence and Alexander Hamilton's Report on Manufactures. The Marshall Plan is for them one of the major foundations of American diplomacy, and led to the creation of international financial institutions and the establishment of the dollar as a reserve currency.
Blackwill and Harris note the relative disuse of geoeconomics in more recent times. There are some policy thrusts, but they are reactive and often justified through preserving the international legal order, not just as ends in themselves. The recent administration's use of sanctions and advocacy of trade deals are useful and important, but not a cohesive whole. Even Donald Trump, in his own way, understands that geoeconomics is vital for American policy, even if few would agree on their future successes (dissolving NATO, hitting up allies for protection money, and encouraging nuclear proliferation are most dangerous).
The authors make a forceful case for what can and should be done, and this book is a useful primer for any policy-maker, economist, or diplomat. ...more
Japan in the 1860s, as viewed by an astute student interpreter. It's astonishing he was able to grasp the language so quickly with so few teaching matJapan in the 1860s, as viewed by an astute student interpreter. It's astonishing he was able to grasp the language so quickly with so few teaching materials available, and he has a unique (though a bit chauvinistic) view of the immense social changes from the fall of the shogunate to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. ...more
Series of eleven biographical essays on major figures in the history of modern Asia. Treads lightly with the themes of nationalism, anti-colonialism,Series of eleven biographical essays on major figures in the history of modern Asia. Treads lightly with the themes of nationalism, anti-colonialism, choice of political institutions, economic strategy, foreign policy, and the interplay between post-colonialism and tradition. Helped me think critically about figures I was already aware of, and introduced me to ones I was less familiar with.
In order: Mahatma Gandhi Chiang Kai-Shek Ho Chi Minh Mao Zedong Jawaharlal Nehru Zhou Enlai Sukarno Deng Xiaoping Indira Gandhi Lee Kuan Yew Zulfakir Ali Bhutto (Not Jinnah, interestingly enough.)...more
Engaging story of the history of Greek democracy and its legal institutions, partly drawn from Aristotle's Politics and the Athenian Constitution - aEngaging story of the history of Greek democracy and its legal institutions, partly drawn from Aristotle's Politics and the Athenian Constitution - a trial by jury and vote, ostracism, random selection of leadership, etc. Also notes the sheer number of ancient Greek polities that existed, and their political institutions were not at all alike.
The main difference between their democracy and ours (apart from theirs having a severely limited franchise) is that theirs was direct, not representative. The 'people' themselves took specific posts, and there was not so much a series of political elites or oligarchs. When democracy was 'rediscovered' in a later period, few would dare to advocate a return to this - partly from ideological fears of the mob, and partly because states back then were already so large as to make running a direct democracy more difficult....more
"A monumental undertaking (the prolific Du Fu left 1,400 extant poems), Owen spent nearly a decade working on the translation, which resulted in a 3,0"A monumental undertaking (the prolific Du Fu left 1,400 extant poems), Owen spent nearly a decade working on the translation, which resulted in a 3,000-page, six-volume book that weighs in at nine pounds."