After its defeat in the Second World War, Japan, unlike Germany, failed to show true contrition or give a fulsome apology, though it showered its neighbours, including China, with generous economic assistance. Only in 1995 did it finally offer an apology, but this was of the most limited and formulaic kind.
If anything, Brown is more oriented towards the other side of the Atlantic than Blair. Most of his reforming ideas and intellectual influences seem to come from the United States, and in a recent speech he went to great lengths to emphasise the historical affinity and shared characteristics of the U.K. and the U.S.
We all know what is meant by the term ‘international community,’ don’t we? It’s the West, of course, nothing more, nothing less. Using the term ‘international community’ is a way of dignifying the West, of globalising it, of making it sound more respectable, more neutral and high-faluting.
When I am back in old Blighty, I am surrounded by the old and familiar concerns: New Labour, Europe, the Middle East and the rest. If you live in Britain, you will know what I mean – except you won’t, because you will take it for granted that this is what the world is all...
The starting point for understanding the deterioration in the relationship between the U.S. and Russia lies in Washington rather than Moscow. After 1989, Russia was a defeated power. Despite the fine words and some limited gestures, the Americans have treated it like one. Their policy has been one of encirclement.
Every major power always seeks to justify its action on moral grounds. Such behaviour is almost as old as the hills. The west has been a particularly vigorous exponent of this credo; and there is no reason to believe that China, for example, will be any different. But behind the moral rhetoric invariably lies interest...
We still insist, by and large, in thinking that we can understand China by simply drawing on Western experience, looking at it through Western eyes, using Western concepts. If you want to know why we unerringly seem to get China wrong… this is the reason.
With the United States in slow long-term decline, how will that affect the position of English? And where will all that leave monolingual Britain? Our political leaders like to boast about how global Britain is, but when it comes to languages, it is near the bottom of the global league, together with another island state,...
The two ethnic groups that remain fundamentally different from the Han Chinese – in terms of history, culture, language, religion and physical appearance – are the Uighurs and Tibetans. In these two groups, the Han Chinese come face to face with difference.
It remains to be seen whether the more optimistic scenario for Sino-American relations can be realised. Much rests on the shoulders of the two leaders: Obama on this score has so far been disappointing; the early signs are that Xi is a highly confident leader who thinks big.
Fundamental systemic crises are often associated with the decline of the dominant imperial power and its increasing inability to sustain the system over which it had previously presided. The profound instability of the interwar period owed much to Britain’s inability to maintain its role.
Just as the Japanese pioneered a new form of manufacturing – lean production and quite new standards of reliability – so Tata, too, is embracing new forms of manufacture in order to revolutionise the price to meet the consumer needs of a poor, developing country.
While the West has enjoyed overwhelming global power, its moral preachings have been legitimised, and in effect enforced, by that power. But as that power begins to ebb, then the morality of its actions will be the subject of growing scrutiny and challenge.
Following the end of the Cold War, there was much discussion concerning the point of NATO. In the event, it was reinvented as a means of reducing Russia’s reach on its western frontiers and seeking to isolate it. Its former East European client states were admitted to NATO, as were the Baltic states.
China has existed within very roughly its present borders for over two millennia and for virtually the whole of that period saw itself as a ‘civilisation state.’ It was only when it was too weak to resist the western powers in the early 20th century that it finally acquiesced in an arrangement that was alien...
Where the costs of entry are minimal, there is a wide avenue of opportunity for those with little or nothing, which is why football is just about the most democratic sport of all: African and Brazilian footballers compete on a level playing field with their rich white European counterparts.
In my experience (I am the lone father of an eight-year-old boy who lost his mother when he was one year old), parenting is the most difficult of all jobs: forget your chief executives, editors, prime ministers and the like – parenting is far more challenging.
Neoconservatism in all its pomp conceived – in the Project for a New American Century – that, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world could be remade in the American image, that the previous bipolar world could be replaced by a unipolar one in which the U.S. was the dominant arbiter of global...
My guess is that good and bad parenting is spread fairly evenly across different social groups. But can you imagine Tony Blair lecturing the middle class on how to bring up their children? He is far more comfortable as a latter-day exponent of the Poor Law mentality.
More than 90% of Chinese believe themselves to be Han. Of course, such a vast population is derived from countless different races, but because China has enjoyed such a long and continuous history as a polity, there has been thousands of years of mixing, melding and assimilation.
Never underestimate the ability of political leaders to misread history on a monumental scale. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have both served to hasten western decline: they have both failed to achieve their objectives and in the process demonstrated an underlying western impotence.
China’s Internet will continue to be policed and controlled, information filtered, sites prohibited, noncompliant search engines excluded, and sensitive search words disallowed. And where China goes, others, also informed by different values, are already and will follow.
If the truth be told, we are a society that is dripping in racism. This is not in the least surprising. For the best part of two centuries, we British ruled the waves, controlled two-fifths of the planet, and believed it was our responsibility to bring civilisation to those who allegedly lacked it.
In my experience, there are plenty of bad middle-class parents: those who put their own lives and careers before those of their children and make precious little time available for their offspring, preferring instead to hire in childcare and shower them with the latest and most expensive gadgets.
One of the characteristics of New Labour – and Miliband is irredeemably of that species – is that, in the guise of a new liberal language, it has adopted the age-old default mode of British foreign policy, namely military intervention.
Globalisation has obliterated distance, not just physically but also, most dangerously, mentally. It creates the illusion of intimacy when, in fact, the mental distances have changed little. It has concertinaed the world without engendering the necessary respect, recognition and tolerance that must accompany it.
One of the extraordinary features of the Blair government has been its slavish support for the central tenets of Bush’s foreign policy – above all, the war in Iraq. During the Cold War, the Wilson government resisted the suggestion that it should send troops to Vietnam.
Now, I know it’s a widespread assumption in the West that as countries modernize, they also westernize. This is an illusion. It’s an assumption that modernity is a product simply of competition, markets and technology. It is not. It is also shaped equally by history and culture. China is not like the West, and it...
In Formula One, the car can make a difference in a way that a driver cannot. Whereas Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna spent their early seasons in second-rate machinery, Hamilton walked into the equal best car on the grid. His first season none the less has, by any standards, been extraordinary.