First another sign that grownups are at least trying, again. At last, a major US figure is proclaiming what we've long known, that nothing can be accomplished to forestall the creation of a lordly, trillionaire caste that towers, omnipotent and impervious above all nations, unless the remedies are done internationally, by worldwide treaty. Janet Yellen's call for a global minimum corporate tax rate would be a fine start, limiting incentives for mega corps to 'shelter' trillions in tax havens.
As usual, the Good Guys in this culture war and political struggle seem to lack even a clue how to use judo tactics. For example, it is an exercise in polemical futility simply to accuse the PRC of oppressive minority-repression in their hinterlands and applying sanctions to rebuke those actions. Oh, the sanctions may serve a realpolitik goal, but as a public polemic? All they do - always - is shout back "who are you (the U.S.) to lecture anyone about moral or decent behavior? Your own young people and human rights activists denounce the USA faults daily! From incarceration rates to police misbehaviors to electoral cheating! What hypocrisy!"
And how does that reply play?
Well, it plays very well! Many in the West - including, likely, some of you - nod sadly and murmur "Yeah, how dare we lecture anyone? What hypocrisy!" ...
...ignoring the elephant in this room: the fact that we train generations of Americans in Suspicion of Authority and the value of corrective criticism. The folks nodding their heads sadly - including many of you - are indications of health and strength, not the opposite. (For more on this concerted training program, found in almost every Hollywood film, see Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood.)
While I never cared for some of his endeavors, Jean-Paul Sartre had a keen sense that good argument among opponents - facing each other with facts and good will - was the fundamental tool of every Periclean Enlightenment: the only times in the long, dour history of our species when actual progress was ever made. The following Sartre quote wasn't just about anti-semites, but all fascists and every other cult that strives to evade fact and bring the enlightenment experiment crashing down:
“Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”
And hence my proposal for methods of shaming blatant playground cheating, by going to the viscera core or such macho-romantic jerks -- their pretensions of manliness! And demands for wagers work better than any other. A wager demand is concise. You are refusing to be drawn in for their entertainment unless they show the balls to step up with cash. And when they flee, those balls are revealed - before onlookers - as hollow and made of dust.
There are ways to judo this polemical tit-for-tat. I have suggested several unusual and likely-effective tactics for years. Some of them can be found in Polemical Judo.
== Applying this to international 'accusation tiffs' ==
And let's be clear. This polemical level of combat is vital! Good maneuvers at that level might prevent other levels from going hot! A certain rising rival nation's Politburo is right now egging its own population into warlike hostility... even hatred... of purported American campaigns to "keep us down," despite the proved fact that we are exactly the reason for their rapid rise.
== The core accomplishment of the American Pax ==
Oh, then there is the argument that America used to be the protectionist stealer of inventions and intellectual property. Well, sure. And a certain amount is to be expected from rising nations! Indeed, the U.S. was protectionist till WWI for the same reason that the U.S. after World War II was indulgent toward nations that used protectionism for the same purpose.
But this ignores the stunning U.S. policy of COUNTER-mercantilism that the New Empire imposed after World War II, unlike the mercantilist ripoff trade systems imposed by every other imperium across 4000 years. The reversal of that traditional behavior is the salient fact - more than any other - about Pax Americana.
in 1945, George Marshall and others held meetings that - for the first time in the dismal history of humanity - asked a simple question. "We're about to become the world's paramount power. What mistakes did all other empires make and how can we avoid them?"
Again, all other Imperiums practiced mercantilist policies that stole gold from the peripheries and funneled it to the central zone, leading to poverty and hatred in the periphery and eventual the fall of it all. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was only the latest example of this wretched reflex, and the calamity that it caused almost slew us all.
That was what Marshall and the others decided to avoid, as a matter of deliberate policy. Starting with Europe & Japan, then Taiwan & Korea, then Singapore and other nations, indulgent US trade policies allowed and encouraged them to practice protectionism letting them draw in first textile mills, then assembly plants, then higher production while the workers' kids went to school... and all of it propelled by American consumers buying 100 TRILLION dollars worth of of crap we never needed.
Raised in a spirit of self-flaggelatory reflexes, liberal Americans - especially well-educated ones - simply ignore this deed, which may be the greatest accomplishment across all the annals of all nations and times, lifting a majority of humanity out of grinding poverty and transforming now China AND India at the same time!
I despair of anyone, anywhere, ever blinking and staring and finally realizing this blatant fact, that the greatest men of the 20th Century and possibly all of human history set up this greatest deed, after just finishing crushing the worst evil of all time.
But it is simply true. We are still doing it. And without this deliberate policy, our supposed 'rivals' would still be almost all dirt roads today.