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Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decadeby Bill Emmott
Synopses & Reviews
The former editor in chief of the Economist returns to the territory of his best-selling book The Sun Also Sets to lay out an entirely fresh analysis of the growing rivalry between China, India, and Japan and what it will mean for America, the global economy, and the twenty-first-century world.
Though books such as The World Is Flat and China Shakes the World consider them only as individual actors, Emmott argues that these three political and economic giants are closely intertwined by their fierce competition for influence, markets, resources, and strategic advantage. Rivals explains and explores the ways in which this sometimes bitter rivalry will play out over the next decadeand#8212;in business, global politics, military competition, and the environmentand#8212;and reveals the efforts of the United States to manipulate and benefit from this rivalry. Identifying the biggest risks born of these struggles, Rivals also outlines the ways these risks can and should be managed by all of us.
"Over the past 20 years, some of the most striking economic growth in history has been taking place in Asia, and former Economist editor-in-chief Emmott (The Sun Also Sets) combines solid economic and political analysis with entertaining personal accounts to discuss three countries in the center of the phenomenon. Emmott paints richly detailed portraits of China, India and Japan, examining the global implications of their growing rivalry while remaining attentive to issues that extend beyond the region, such as the environment and nuclear weapons proliferation. Several of his conclusions are familiar: China's rapid economic growth is coming into conflict with its political authoritarianism; there is vast potential for India's growth if public policy can properly encourage it; Japan's aging and shrinking population could lead the country into further economic decline. The true strength of the book lies in Emmott's ability to guide the reader through the intricate — often fraught — relationships between these countries without losing focus. Particularly welcome is his ability to discuss potential trouble spots in the region without degenerating into alarmism. This serious and stimulating book will be indispensable to anyone interested in where these countries are headed — and where they might take us." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Asia's re-emergence has been a long time coming. Before the industrial revolution, India and China accounted for nearly half of the world's output of manufactured goods. After a long hiatus scarred by colonial rule, two bloody world wars, civil strife and revolutionary upheavals, the continent began its painful crawl back to the forefront of the world economy. Japan had already emerged from the ashes... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) of war to become a leading economic power by the 1980s, at which point Deng Xiaoping set China on its amazing trajectory. In 1991, with national bankruptcy looming, India also undertook free-market reforms. Numerous books, from William H. Overholt's "The Rise of China" (1993) to Peter Engardio's "Chindia: How China and India are Revolutionizing Global Business" (2006), have expressed breathless enthusiasm over Asia's rising powers. Yet others, such as Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro's "The Coming Conflict with China" (1997), have foreseen disasters just around the corner, from regional conflict to environmental catastrophe to war with the United States. In "Rivals," Bill Emmott splits the difference, offering a sober, nuanced assessment of the opportunities and dangers that Asia's rise presents. Two-handed economists — those who relentlessly deliver optimistic and pessimistic scenarios about everything — are boring. But because so much writing about Asia is either celebratory or alarmist, this cautious, hedging, not-sure-how-it-will-turn-out book is refreshing. Emmott, a former Tokyo correspondent and editor of the Economist, starts by noting an important U.S. foreign policy achievement that has been overlooked in the general dismay over the war in Iraq. He credits the Bush administration for spotting the shifting regional balance produced by China's phenomenal economic growth and for embracing India as a counterweight. Though lacking the drama of Nixon's 1972 visit to China, the (yet to be implemented) U.S.-India nuclear agreement, he says, was "an act of grand strategic importance." Emmott proceeds to explore the dynamics of economic and demographic change in China, Japan and India. In his view, ancient rivalries and mutual suspicions among the Asian powers, aggravated by their expanding populations, could spoil the happy march toward prosperity. Although Asia may not be in a full-fledged arms race, he says, it is certainly in a "strategic-insurance-policy race," in which China's military spending has been rising 18 percent a year and India's has been going up 8 percent. "It will be quite a surprise if China does not have aircraft carriers by 2020 or so," he notes, "and India has already announced that it will have at least three." Japan, too, would be building up its military insurance policy if it did not have constitutional constraints on its armed forces and a close military alliance with the United States. But "the main problem in Asia," Emmott concludes, "is fear and suspicion of China. It is not going to go away." So what should be done to avoid conflict? Emmott offers a series of recommendations for the United States, the European Union and the rising Asian powers, some of which may strike readers as worthy goals that have little practical chance of attainment. The next U.S. administration, he says, should negotiate a new nuclear nonproliferation treaty — "one that India, Pakistan and Israel can be persuaded to sign." Also, the United States and the European Union should urgently "scrap or reform all the top organizations of global governance in which China, India and Japan are not properly and fully represented," including the Group of Eight leading industrial countries, the U.N. Security Council, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Japan, with help from its former enemies, should leave behind its bitter history and acknowledge its wartime atrocities. India should rise above its suspicion of its neighbors and develop cooperative relations. China's "main weakness is its authoritarian, unaccountable and sometimes brutal political system," he says, "but it would waste space to recommend that that system be changed." Instead, Emmott urges Beijing to be more transparent about its decisions because "by keeping so much secret ... China encourages other countries to believe it has a lot to hide." Emblematic of the fine balance of this book is Emmott's observation that armed conflict among Asia's rivals is "not inevitable but nor is it inconceivable." Sketching a "plausibly pessimistic" scenario, he suggests that an economic downturn and popular discontent could lead the Chinese Communist Party to wrap itself in the flag of nationalism and slide into conflict with neighbors over Taiwan, the Korean peninsula, Tibet or Pakistan. But he thinks there is also reason for "credible optimism." With encouragement from the rest of the world, the Asian powers could lift millions more people out of poverty with their dynamism, innovation and faith in a unifying religion: money. Nayan Chanda is the author of "Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers and Warriors Shaped Globalization." Reviewed by Nayan Chanda, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
(hide most of this review)
The former editor in chief of the Economist returns to the territory of his bestselling book The Sun Also Sets to lay out a fresh analysis of the growing rivalry between China, India, and Japan — what it will mean for America, the global economy, and the twenty-first-century world.
Closely intertwined by their fierce competition for influence, markets, resources, and strategic advantage, China, India, and Japan are shaping the world to come. Emmott explores the ways in which their sometimes bitter rivalry will play out over the next decade — in business, global politics, military competition, and the environment — and reveals the efforts of the United States to turn the situation to its advantage as these three powerful nations vie for dominance. This revised and updated edition of Rivals is an indispensable guide for anyone wishing to understand Asia's swiftly changing political and economic scene.
About the Author
BILL EMMOTT is a writer, speaker and consultant on global affairs, with an expertise in Asia. Until 2006 he was editor in chief of The Economist, where his thirteen-year tenure was marked by many awards. He is the author of six previous books and writes regularly for several international publications. He lives in London and Somerset.
Table of Contents
1. Asias New Power Game 1
2. A Continent Created 28
3. China: Middle Country, Central Issue 54
4. Japan: Powerful, Vulnerable, Aging 96
5. India: Multitudes, Muddle, Momentum 135
6. A Planet Pressured 175
7. Blood, Memory and Land 208
8. Flash points and Danger Zones 239
9. Asian Drama 280
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