Editor's Note: Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy episodes on iTunes.
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
Now that Mitt Romney is once again the front-runner, his campaign focus is returning to President Obama. And he's probably going to start repeating a line that he's used often in the past: "This is a president who fundamentally believes that this next century is the post-American century."
Now, I leave it to the president to describe what he believes, but as the author of the book The Post-American World, I'd like to clarify the phrase. At the very beginning of the book, I note: "This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else."
Throughout the book, I am optimistic about America, and I'm convinced it can prosper in this new world and remain the most powerful country on the planet. But I argue that the age of America's singular dominance, its unipolarity, has ended. For a quarter-century after the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, the United States dominated the world with no real political or economic competitors.
Mitt, we are in a different world now. FULL POST
By Fareed Zakaria
The past year has been filled with tumultuous events - the Arab Spring, the euro-zone crisis. But the most striking trend of 2011, one that will persist in 2012, was one that got little notice: the emerging powers that weren’t.
By now everyone knows that a new and rising group of nations, including China, India, Brazil and Russia, are reshaping the globe. Yet if 2011 demonstrated anything, it was the inability of these countries to have much influence beyond their borders. They continue to grow their economies, but they all face internal and external challenges that make them less interested and less capable of exercising power on an international or even regional scale.
Let’s start with China. Chinese growth continues to be robust, though clearly the government is worried about the inflationary effects of the massive stimulus program it implemented after the financial crisis, which has created a boom-bust cycle and inflationary pressures across the country. The regime, however, is expert at dealing with economic challenges; political ones are harder. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith, both professors of politics at NYU, are the authors of The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics.
By Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith – Special to CNN
While Brazil ascends economically, Mexico appears mired with slow economic growth, high unemployment and escalating drug violence. Yet, in terms of politics, it is in Mexico that democracy is likely to consolidate, while Brazil is at somewhat greater risk from increased corruption and authoritarianism.
Brazil, the B in BRIC, has become one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Yet, much of this new-found wealth comes from a burgeoning natural resource sector. What is more, this wealth is increasingly concentrated in the semi-public Petrobras Corporation. Improved extraction techniques for subsalt oil and gas suggest a likely three-fold increase in production by 2020. If combined with an increase in world oil prices, then this would free Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party, which heads the government, of the need to be conciliatory when confronted with mass protest. Brazilians should be wary of their country becoming the next Venezuela.
In contrast, democracy looks safe in Mexico even through its economy has been hit by a recession induced by its close ties to the U.S. In 2009, GDP fell by 6.1% and unemployment reached 6.4%. Things have subsequently improved, but the Mexican economy appears lackluster. Drug-related violence continues with over 15,000 drug related deaths last year. Yet this violent confrontation is a sign that the government is determined to tackle the political and economic influence of drug gangs and minimize this black-market portion of its economy. Against its tough economic background and dwindling oil revenues, politics is becoming more competitive.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith. Check out their book: The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics.
Editor's note: Niall Ferguson's new book, "Civilization: The West and the Rest," was published this week by Penguin Press. Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a senior research fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Ferguson spoke at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, U.K. in July. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading" which it makes available through talks posted on its website.
By Niall Ferguson - Special to CNN
It says it all when Europe turns to China for a bailout. That was what happened last week when the man in charge of the European Financial Stability Fund flew to Beijing to see if he could interest Chinese investors in propping up the finances of the eurozone.
How the mighty are fallen. Thirty-five years ago the average German was roughly 15 times richer than the average Chinese. Today the ratio is less than 3-to-1. Back in 1980 the Chinese economy accounted for just 2.2% of global economic output, one third the size of Germany's share. By 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund, the Chinese share will be 18%, six times larger than Germany's.
We are living through an extraordinary reversal of economic fortunes after 500 years when the big story was what historians call "the great divergence." Beginning in 1500, Europeans and European settlers in North America began to get richer than Asians (and everyone else, too). The gap between the "West and the Rest" widened at an accelerating rate until the later 1970s. But then - on our watch - that trend went into high-speed reverse.
So what has been going on?
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
Going to the movies is a great American pastime. And whether it's Kung Fu Panda or Harry Potter, there's always some extra cache in catching the films as soon as they're released. So if you're a Mission Impossible fan, you know that the latest installment of Tom Cruise's action series is opening soon. But if you want to be there for the first day, first show, don't go to Los Angeles to watch the world premiere in Hollywood. Try New Delhi or Mumbai. You see, Ghost Protocol releases across India five days before it hits U.S. cinemas.
And it's not an isolated case. Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of the comic book series Tintin opens in Asia and the Middle East more than a month before it hits American cinemas. Now, we are all used to a world in which events, ideas and products start in the West and move East. Is this the beginning of the Great Reversal? Well, maybe.
By Mohamed El-Erian, Project Syndicate
Imagine for a moment that you are the chief policymaker in a successful emerging-market country. You are watching with legitimate concern (and a mixture of astonishment and anger) as Europe’s crippling debt crisis spreads and America’s dysfunctional politics leave it unable to revive its moribund economy. Would you draw comfort from your country’s impressive internal resilience and offset the deflationary winds blowing from the West; or would you play it safe and increase your country’s precautionary reserves?
That is the question facing several emerging-market economies, and its impact extends well beyond their borders. Indeed, it is a question that also speaks to the increasingly worrisome outlook for the global economy. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Steven A. Cook is the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square.
By Steven A. Cook, Foreign Affairs
As Cairo's citizens drove along the Autostrad this week, they were greeted with four enormous billboards featuring pictures of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With Turkish and Egyptian flags, the signs bore the message, "With United Hands for the Future." Erdogan's visit marks a bold development in Turkey's leadership in the region. The hero's welcome he received at the airport reinforced the popular perception: Turkey is a positive force, uniquely positioned to guide the Middle East's ongoing transformation.
By many measures, Erdogan's Turkey appears to have much to offer Egypt (and Tunisia and Libya, which he visited later in the week). His Justice and Development Party (AKP) is deeply attractive to both Islamist and liberal Arabs. For Islamists, it provides a lesson on how to overcome barriers to political participation and remake a once-hostile public arena. For liberals, it demonstrates that even a party of religion can embrace and advance liberal principles. The AKP thus resolves one of the Muslim world's central political problems: Citizens are too often forced to choose between the authoritarianism of prevailing regimes and the potential theocracy of Islamists that might replace them. FULL POST
I've written a column in The Washington Post about Europe's debt crisis where I argue that the true scale of the crisis is so large that neither Germany nor all of Europe can handle it on their own. A more drastic solution is necessary. Here's an excerpt:
Today, $10 trillion of foreign exchange reserves are sitting around across the globe. That is the only pile of money large enough from which a bazooka could be fashioned. The International Monetary Fund could go to the leading holders of such reserves — China, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia — and ask for a $750 billion line of credit. The IMF would then extend that credit to Italy and Spain but insist on closely monitoring economic reforms, granting funds only as restructuring occurs. That credit line would more than cover the borrowing costs of both countries for two years. The IMF terms would ensure that Italy and Spain remained under pressure to reform and set up conditions for growth.... FULL POST
With mass graves in Lybia and tanks rolling through Syria, it's easy to underestimate the unrest we're reading about in India and China.
Afterall, activist Anna Hazare succeeded this week in getting the government in India to agree to an independent, anti-corruption body.
And in a rare and recent victory for protesters in China, the northeastern city of Dalian said they would shut down a chemical plant residents feared had been damaged in a storm.
People had had enough, but authorities appeared to take notice, listen and even take some action.
Unlike the Arab Spring, which is more focused on bringing governments down, India and China want the governments they already have to be better — or rather, to be free of corruption. FULL POST
By Jim Lindsay
Not depressed yet by all the bad economic news coming out this week? Check out the chart to the right on the change in the relative share of the world economy generated by emerging countries compared to developed countries.
What was the song that Bob Dylan sang? “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
We talk a lot about how globalization is remaking the world.
Is Washington prepared to adapt to a new world? Or will we just rail against it?
Source: The Economist.
Editor's Note: The following is an edited excerpt from a transcript of Fareed Zakaria answering viewer questions online.
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
I am very bullish on the emerging economies.
At a short-term, tactical level you can look at these economies and say, “Oh, Indian reform has slowed and the government isn’t doing much. In Brazil the stock market and the currency have appreciated too much. In China there is a housing bubble.”
All of this is true and there might be temporary setbacks as a result, but the long-term trend here is very simple. For the past 300 years, the Western world discovered the secrets of economic success and implemented them. These secrets were a market economy, private property, rule of law, education, science and hard work.
After a while people began to realize that these secrets were actually open source –anyone could use them. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO of PIMCO, is the author of When Markets Collide. More on PIMCO’s Secular Forum can be found here. For more from El-Erian, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
By Mohamed El-Erian
Colleagues from around the world recently gathered at PIMCO’s headquarters in California for our annual Secular Forum, when we leave behind high-frequency issues for a few days and, instead, debate what the next 3-5 years hold for the global economy.
The perspective is global, informed by the insights of outside speakers, and the focus is on what is likely to happen, as opposed to what should happen.
The last two Secular Forums projected that, after the global financial crisis, the world economy would not reset in its traditional, cyclical manner. Instead, it faced multi-year re-alignments of both a national and global nature.
The world economy would heal, but in a slow and uneven fashion, as advanced economies muddled through while the more dynamic emerging world gradually closed today’s income and wealth gaps. FULL POST