Why America and China will clash

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Google’s clash with China is about much more than the fate of a single, powerful firm. The company’s decision to pull out of China, unless the government there changes its policies on censorship, is a harbinger of increasingly stormy relations between the US and China.

The reason that the Google case is so significant is because it suggests that the assumptions on which US policy to China have been based since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 could be plain wrong. The US has accepted – even welcomed – China’s emergence as a giant economic

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Global tides that shaped the Noughties

Simon Schama, Financial Times

Historians can be a smug lot. They will never tire of telling you that decade-upsumming is just a retro-convenience; that any generalisations about its defining characteristics can be instantly undone by equally valid counter-generalisations. The 1950s? Tory complacency but also angry young men. The 1960s? Harold SuperMac and Harold GannexMac; mini and maxi; Quant and Biba. But the habit of imprinting a shape on the memory of a decade goes back in British historical writing at least to chronicles of the “Hungry Forties” of the 19th century: the years of Irish famine and Chartist riots.

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The decade the world tilted east

Niall Ferguson, Financial Times

I am trying to remember now where it was, and when it was, that it hit me. Was it during my first walk along the Bund in Shanghai in 2005? Was it amid the smog and dust of Chonqing, listening to a local Communist party official describe a vast mound of rubble as the future financial centre of south-west China? That was last year, and somehow it impressed me more than all the synchronised razzamatazz of the Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing. Or was it at Carnegie Hall only last month, as I sat mesmerised by

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Climate change, the great leveller

Christopher Caldwell

The Copenhagen summit on climate change is starting to resemble the August 1928 meeting in Paris at which more than a dozen nations, including Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the US, signed a treaty to abolish war. A real problem, a commitment to solving it and a large dose of arrogance convinced the world – 65 countries, eventually – to sign the Kellogg-Briand pact, named after the American and French ministers who devised it. But the reality of perpetual peace proved harder to advance than the ideal of

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A global order swept away in the rapids of history

Philip Stephens

Cast around for the figures who shaped the geopolitics of the opening decade of the 21st century and Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush spring to mind. Al Qaeda’s terrorist spectacular on September 11 2001 seemed to describe a new epochal challenge to a west grown complacent after the defeat of communism. The US president’s response defined first the reach, and then the limits, of American power.

Some might add Vladimir Putin to such a list. I am not so sure. Mr Putin has salved Russia’s wounded pride. He now plans to win back the presidency.

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Africa is getting a better deal from Beijing

David Pilling

A few years ago, Lukas Lundin, a mining executive, rode his motorbike 8,000 miles from Cairo to Cape Town. His journey, which took just five weeks, meandered through 10 countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana. He was amazed to discover that 85 per cent of the roads he travelled were tarred and of high quality. Many had been built by Chinese companies.

That was 2005. Since then, China’s interest in Africa has intensified. In November 2006, Beijing hosted a lavish Sino-African summit at which it promised more than 40 of the continent’s leaders a new era

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