Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bruno Maçães on The Power Game in a Connected World

Bruno Maçães in Singapore at IRAHSS Geopolitics Reimagined, 22 July 2019.

Maçães is author of Belt and Road - A Chinese World Order and former Europe Minister of Portugal. He discusses the trade war, his recent visit to a Huawei factory, and the idea of hybrid warfare or weaponized interdependence.

I met with Bruno in Beijing last month. He is among the most insightful geopolitical thinkers today.
I was shown the assembly line for the P30 smartphone [~$1k flagship using Huawei chipset] and told that this assembly line just two or three years ago was operated by 140 operators people it is now down to 17 by the end of this year we'll be down to 15 it's a very long assembly line perhaps 200 250 meters takes about 30 minutes more important than the time it takes to assemble a P30 is the time between each unit and that's now down to 29 seconds so every 29 seconds a fully produced P30 comes out at the end 17 people operate now this this assembly line but the remarkable thing is that I actually looked very carefully at what the 17 were doing and it's very obvious they're not doing anything of significance they left there more in order to keep a certain control over the process...

this is not a new Cold War and I see no indications that were moving in that direction China and the United States continue to be turned towards to each other continue to be very interested in learning from each other and I think this is an important point their way of life their ideology the way they look at the world is not predicated on a negation of the other side the Soviet Union was from the very start a revolutionary movement whose whole identity was the negation of capitalist Western Way of life and organizing society now China and the United States in a way are much less connected they are not part of the same history and their dispute is not a dispute about who is fundamentally right about questions that involved both...

they're not necessarily involved in a death and life struggle between them the world we live in is I'll sum it up this way a world where and this is I think the puzzling element of it we are neither at war nor at peace we are somewhere in the middle conflict takes below takes place below the threshold of kinetic war and other forms of direct confrontation but it is no less intense because of that...

the tactics might include the purchase of infrastructure in other states the corruption or blackmail of foreign officials important elements of this new world that is not often talked about [CALLING EPSTEIN AND GHISLAINE MAXWELL] manipulation of energy flows or energy prices all of these elements are magnified in an integrated global economy the networks that bring us together are used as tools or instruments of conflict...
More Bruno, on the Belt and Road initiative.

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