Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies, says all nations, even our closest allies, do things that cut against our geo-strategic interests.
In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask 5 Questions of Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government and author of several books and scholarly articles, including The Power Curse: Influence and Illusion in World Politics. Lately he has turned his attention to the U.S.-China relationship and its place in the geo-political world.
Q: Your recent work has taken you to the transition in much of the world from a Cold War stance to the coming “cold co-existence” between the U.S. and China. How would you define “cold co-existence”?
A: The future U.S. relations with China will be far different than the Cold War relationship with the U.S.S.R., even if the Chinese get closer to nuclear parity with the U.S. The two nations will be far more interdependent economically than the U.S. and Soviets; hence their fates will be far more interlocked. While we had almost no major economic ties to the Soviets during the Cold War, we are now China’s major market (we ran a $295 billion trade deficit with China in 2011) and China is our largest lender (China presently holds over $1 trillion in American assets—largely bonds). In a sense, we are each other’s principal sources of revenues: trade revenues for China and loans for the U.S. government. This economic interdependence is here to stay, however, it will be embedded in a competitive environment, which will make the two nations anything but close allies. Add to the testy economic relationship friction over human rights, Taiwan, and disagreements over territorial claims in the South China Sea; and you have enough additional negative karma to generate a very “cold” posture between the two great nations.
Q: The economic competition between the two has received heightened scrutiny in the past few years, in part because China ignores the environmental laws employed by most western nations, controls its currency and exerts wage controls on its workers. How will these behaviors affect the relationship with the U.S. and the West in the next few years?
A: The battle of ideologies between communism and capitalism is withering quickly with the depreciation of the communist ideology among both Chinese leaders and people.
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James McGuire, chair and professor of government, professor of Latin American studies, spoke on “Class Structure, Distributive Conflict and Democracy: Brazil and Argentina in Comparative Perspective,” during a conference on Guillermo O’Donnell and the Study of Democracy on March 26. The conference took place in in O’Donnell’s hometown of Buenos Aires.
The conference was held in celebration of immense legacy of the eminent political scientist Guillermo O’Donnell (1936–2011), one of the pioneers of democratization studies.
More information is online here.
Peter Rutland has mentioned in the past that many Americans know little about the European Union (E.U.), and what they know may be more based on myth than fact. With a major debt crisis threatening the E.U.’s very existence, 5 Questions thought it might be a good time to discuss some of these misconceptions with Professor Rutland who is Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government and professor of Russian and Eastern European studies.
Q: What is one of the more significant myths many Americans believe is a “fact” about the E.U.?
A: That the European Union brought peace to Europe. Many liberals tend to idealize the European Union as an attractive alternative to the United States – a place which is peaceful rather than violent, communitarian rather than individualist, and with a strong social safety net. Many conservatives demonize the Europeans for the same reasons. When all is said and done, the bottom-line defense of the European Union is that it has ended the centuries old proclivity of European states for invading each other. It’s true that most of Europe has enjoyed six decades without war. But this was due to Uncle Sam and Uncle Joe (Stalin) physically occupying the continent and dismantling its armies in 1945. NATO and the Warsaw Pact were in place well before the emergence of European Community institutions. It was the Cold War, and not the Brussels bureaucracy, that preserved the peace in Europe.
There is also the problem of the wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. This was a conflict for which Yugoslavia’s European neighbors share some responsibility, because of their precipitate recognition of the independence of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, followed by their inability to stop the fighting until the US intervened.
Q: What about the often-heard assertion that the European Union has transcended the nation-state?
A: Another myth. European federalists have been proclaiming the end of the nation-state for decades.
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