Parag Khanna: Looking ahead from Davos
At Davos Parag Khanna spoke on China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and the impact of global infrastructure investments on geopolitics.
The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos has never presented a more diverse agenda covering the global economy, disruptive technologies and geopolitical hotspots. The rise of China and revitalisation of Europe as an independent pole of power is a major theme this year – but this was already true exactly a decade ago.
In recent interviews and Khanna has explained how globalisation has prevailed over populism. He references President Modi’s speech at Davos on the benefits of globalisation that India has felt which was echoed by China’s president last year also. Both of these Asian countries are still very competitive economies with high growth rates.
Khanna’s writings state that globalisation has transformed the geopolitical order into a web of brightly shining stars as opposed to President Trump’s perception of America as the shining beacon at the centre of the geopolitical universe.
There are of course concerns that globalisation is causing vast inequality in regions such as Asia; with the top 1% being in possession of the majority of the wealth produced by the country. However, Khanna reminds us that the vast majority of Asian populations remain positive about globalisation, whereby over the past 40 years they have seen increases in wages and GDP.
Therefore, Khanna tells us, we do not need to be worried about globalisation at all, but simply need to focus on rebalancing and steering globalisation. Inevitably rapid growth does cause greater inequality as it takes a while for the majority of the population to catch up. Khanna explains that these inequalities need to be solved domestically, namely by addressing poverty using taxation and redistribution, and not by reversing trade flows.
Parag Khanna recently wrote for Politico magazine, arguing: Get Over Yourself, America. Khanna states:
So too is America's self-centric worldview in an age where globalization has many drivers beyond the United States. China is the top trading partner of more than 120 countries, versus just over 50 for the U.S. Europe exports more capital around the world than America does.
In spite of America’s enormous military and economic weight, Khanna identifies that the global system is underpinned by more powerful forces, with America’s dominant position in fact declining since the 1970s with Japan’s rise and Europe’s consolidation into the EU, closely followed by China and now India. Their relations with each other are intensifying leading to the rise of a truly multipolar world.
Anyone paying attention to how leaders around the world think over the past three decades ought to have noticed that ``Japan First`` and ``China First`` long predated ``America First,`` and now we have ``India First`` and ``Europe First`` as well. Deference to America falls far down the list of any nation's priorities, no matter who the U.S. president may be.
Learn more about Parag Khanna
Parag Khanna is a leading global strategist and best-selling author.
He is author of a trilogy of books on the future of world order beginning with The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order (2008), followed by How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance (2011), and concluding with Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization (2016).
Parag has been an adviser to the U.S. National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 program, and served in the foreign policy advisory group to the Barack Obama for President campaign. From 2006-2015 he was a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation. During 2007 he served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senior geopolitical adviser to United States Special Operations Forces.