By Fareed Zakaria
China’s working age population has already begun to shrink, the country says. According to the IMF it will soon go into “precipitous decline.”
“Japan hit this inflexion point 14 years ago, but by then it was already rich, with $3 trillion of net savings overseas,” notes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph. “China has hit the wall a quarter century earlier in its development path.”
“There is little Beijing can do to head off the shock. The effects of low fertility rates – and the one child policy – are already baked into the pie. It would take half a century to turn around the demographic supertanker.”
Egypt’s internal unrest may also thwart any chances of have developing an effective regional policy, suggests Hussein Ibish in NOW Lebanon.
“The link between domestic power and foreign policy in Egypt has been demonstrated on numerous recent occasions. But this cuts in both directions, with domestic politics both building on foreign policy and also crippling it,” Ibish writes. “As long as Egypt remains rocked with such instability, it's not possible for the country to play a major regional role. Morsy’s efforts to build a regional/Muslim working group to stabilize the situation in Syria – always a longshot at best – now seems the last thing on anyone's mind.”
And, are Nordic nations the next role models for big nations – including the United States?
“If you had to be reborn anywhere in the world as a person with average talents and income, you would want to be a Viking,” The Economist argues. “The Nordics cluster at the top of league tables of everything from economic competitiveness to social health to happiness. They have avoided both southern Europe’s economic sclerosis and America’s extreme inequality. Development theorists have taken to calling successful modernization ‘getting to Denmark.’ Meanwhile a region that was once synonymous with do-it-yourself furniture and Abba has even become a cultural haven, home to ‘The Killing,’ Noma and ‘Angry Birds.’”