Sunday, March 20, 2005

Cognitive Dissonance

How do we square these two things: First,
John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago ha[s] flatly proclaimed that China cannot rise peacefully, and predict “the United States and China are likely to engage in an intense security competition with considerable potential for war.” Optimists point out that China has engaged in good neighbour policies since the ’90s... sceptics reply that China is merely waiting for its economy to lay the basis for future hegemony.
Second, this:
The results of China's 15th Urban Child Lead Poisoning Survey were announced yesterday for the first time. Among 17141 children under the age of six, the average rate of lead poisoning was 10.45 percent
A country with high rates of lead poisoning (one in ten children!) is going to have serious health and mental problems down the road. Moreover, it points to China's persistent poverty.

No one wants to see a peaceful, prosperous China more than I. But they're not there yet. Worrying needlessly about impending war with "generalissimo nazi communists" is just going to make things worse. Do read this Joseph Nye piece - he's the guy who coined the phrase "Soft power". It's pretty good, and is close to my views than some alarmists.

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