Sunday, January 03, 2021

Two from Spengler (David Goldman at AsiaTimes)

David Goldman, a former banker, writes the Spengler column for AsiaTimes, where he is business editor. 

Huawei 5G in Germany, Japan, and S. Korea? 

Book Review: American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of Our Time, by Joshua Mitchell (Georgetown University) 

2. AsiaTimes tells Le Figaro why China is winning the tech war (interview)
LM: Germany just announced that it will allow Huawei 5G to be installed. What conclusions do you draw from this decision? Is this short-term logic, that will hand the control of big data to China? 
DG: To my knowledge, Germany has made no announcement, but the German media have leaked the draft law that the government will present to the Bundestag, which allows Huawei 5G. Trump’s defeat in the US election probably tipped the balance in favor of Huawei. Huawei always has viewed 5G as the core of an “ecosystem” of new technologies that 5G makes possible. ... 
LM: Obama had launched the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Now there is a China-led trade zone, the RCEP. Have Australians, South Koreans and others decided to go back to China in a realpolitik move, because they see America as a declining power, engulfed in internal wars and not to be trusted? 
DG: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will cut tariffs dramatically – by about 90% in the case of Japanese exports to China – and now China is trying to negotiate free trade areas with South Korea and Japan. Asian trade is now as concentrated within Asia as European trade is concentrated within Europe. 
The logic of the development of an Asian internal market is similar to that of the European Community, and it is not surprising that the Asians are creating a giant free trade zone. Australia is in a nasty fight with China, but it now sells a higher proportion of its exports to China than ever before. It could not afford to stay out of the RCEP. 
The American consumer for decades was the main source of demand in the world economy. Now the internal Asian market is far more important. South Korea, for example, exports twice as much to China as to the US. I am sure that the Japanese and South Koreans like the United States much better than they like China, but the economic logic behind an Asian free trade zone is overwhelming. 
An Asian free trade zone certainly is compatible with America’s role as the leading superpower, just as the European Community originally was formed with American sponsorship during the Cold War. 
The difference, of course, is that China’s economic strength makes it a magnet for all the Asian economies. In this context, it is noteworthy that Japan and South Korea politely rejected American demands to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks. 
To restore high-tech manufacturing, we would need the sort of tax credits and subsidies for capital-intensive industry that Asian governments provide; we would need the sort of support from the Defense Department that led to every important technology of the digital age, from microprocessors to the Internet; and we would need a greater emphasis on mathematics and science at every level of education. 
Above all, we would need the sense of national purpose that John Kennedy evoked with the space program or Reagan with the Strategic Defense Initiative. Considering that we have just spent several trillion dollars subsidizing incomes and supporting capital markets, another trillion dollars to support technological superiority doesn’t seem extravagant. ...

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