Musings from Taiwan

| Global Business

As I sit here in Taiwan, here are just a few thoughts:

I attended a CES VIP dinner expecting to see tech leaders.  Instead, I was surrounded by K Street lobbyists and Congressional staffers. What I learned was, about 100 powerful Congressional staffers are the real decision makers in Washington, working with lobbyists.

Can anyone name the top 10 staffers? The top 25? The top 100 staffers?

I wonder how many TV journalists (yes, the same ones who are photogenic, articulate sound bite experts!) actually have interviewed or even know first-hand the staffer ecosystem.

My brother Arthur and I are constant world travelers, covering many of the globe’s most interesting emerging markets.

No one is surprised that the U.S. continues in our traditional post-Cold-War role as Super Cop for freedom, democracy, and human rights. But are we aware that we have lost the hearts and minds of people in these same countries to the new globalists like the Chinese and the Turks?

  • How many Americans are aware that China has swept up natural resource long-term agreements in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and various Central Asia and African countries?
  • How many Americans know that China is playing a winning game of chess in the global economy with many, many bilateral trade and investment agreements? Meanwhile, the U.S. struggled to get just three bilateral agreements through Congress in the past three years (Panama, Colombia, and South Korea).

For example, China is negotiating bilateral agreements with Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Turkey, and other smaller countries surrounding the EU. Why? Because China needs food to feed its masses. It needs new agricultural engineering techniques.

China also has stepped into northern Iraq and Afghanistan for oil and minerals, respectively. Meanwhile, USA’s 16,000 diplomats at its Baghdad Embassy are completely consumed with being Super Cop.

Not only are Turkish and Chinese businessmen very active in northern Iraq, but as the war ended in Tunis and Libya – and as the U.S. military was distracted restocking the weapons it spent supporting NATO efforts – the Turks and Chinese moved in and invested in local Tunis and Libyan businesses.

Why are Americans so naive? We think that globalism is just about losing jobs to India and China. Actually, it’s much larger than this. China, Turkey, Brazil and other more sophisticated global countries are writing the new rules for succeeding in the global economy. The U.S. has lost its relevancy, and most Americans aren’t even aware of it!

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