Archive for April 1st, 2003

China as the winner of US v. Iraq


Joi Ito just wrote from Japan, and I recall that at last summer’s Fortune Brainstorm conference Joi was emphasizing the hidden power of the Chinese–and that the Chinese really aspire to superpower status, and a major form of global leadership.

I think that the Chinese are the real winners in the war on Iraq.  While the United States blows resources on a destructive cause, the Chinese are staying focused on strengthening their core economy.  The United States ties itself up in years of economically and morally-draining occupation of Iraq–while the Chinese stay free and focused.

I figure that the war on Iraq probably will hasten Chinese leadership over the US by several years.

By the way, this is another reason why we need a second, non-governmental superpower.  Whoever is the dominant nation, the world needs a balancer.  For those who are approving of a single superpower model with the US in the lead role–consider how you may feel when China holds the position.  Do you now see the need for another model–or at least another player?

Enough–I’m ranting.  But all this because it was good to hear from Joi!

The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head


Check out my new article and welcome to my new blog!

It was nice of Dave Winer and Doc Searls to pick up on it, even if it’s not really ready for much exposure.

In any case, what I most want to share with you is my paper “The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head” (the title was suggested by Esme Bashwiner). The point of the paper is that “the movement” is now approaching the status of “the second superpower,” after the United States. This is due to (1) critical mass of people who identify with the world rather than the nation, with each other rather than just themselves, (2) the web and interactive media “neurology” of the movement—including texting, email lists, and blogging—which is giving it a kind of collective mind and ability to act, and (3) the advance of international institutions and international law, which provides a venue or a forum in which the second superpower can work with sympathetic nations to press its cause. The Bush administration is attacking the fabric of the international system, but it is unlikely to prevail.

Now, I know that the suggestion that the movement is powerful enough to be called a second superpower will be met with skepticism, given that the bombs of the first superpower are falling on Bagdad. This is either the worst or the best time to be pressing this idea! But even in regard to the war on Iraq, web and media-enabled public opinion is clearly the major actor to which the US government is attuned—before any given nation. And this other actor is uncontrollable by the US, despite its huge current effort to “dominate the news” (to quote a story from Declan’s List).

In any case, check out the paper and let me know what you think!

Best regards, Jim