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The troubling U.S.-China face-off

first_imgAs China surpasses the United States as the world’s largest economy, flexes its might in the South and East China seas, and takes a leading role fighting climate change, it appears to be on course to challenge America’s superpower status.  Despite a seeming rapprochement over chocolate cake between China’s President Xi Jinping and President Trump in April, how the two countries navigate their strategic interests and work through China’s rise remains unclear. Is conflict inevitable when an upstart challenges a dominant power, or does history provide a road map for peaceful coexistence? Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and outgoing director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, calls this the defining question of the 21st century. In a new book, “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap?,” Allison examines the looming complications, using lessons drawn from the clashes between Sparta and Athens in ancient Greece, as well as other world conflicts. He spoke about his book and these issues in an interview.GAZETTE: How would you characterize relations between China and the United States today as compared with, say, the 1970s under President Richard Nixon?ALLISON: What most Americans still haven’t awakened to is that just in the last generation [China] has emerged like a rocket to displace the U.S. as the No. 1 producer of automobiles, computers, smartphones, and artificial intelligence. Indeed, it’s the largest economy in the world as measured by the best yardstick for comparing national economies: purchasing power parity. In the book, I illustrate this in terms of a seesaw, in which the U.S. is on one end and China is on the other. If you go back to 1990, China had about 15 percent the weight of the U.S. By 2014, China is roughly equal with the U.S., and by 2024 will be half again larger. So, just in our lifetime, a state that hardly mattered in international affairs and hardly mattered as a buyer or seller of anything has emerged as a serious rival and, in many arenas, has surpassed us.GAZETTE: Can you explain Thucydides’ Trap? What prompted you to consider U.S.-China relations through this lens, and how does it help?ALLISON: Thucydides’ Trap is the dangerous dynamic that occurs when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power. That dynamic creates structural conditions in which events by third parties or accidents that would otherwise be inconsequential or manageable can in fact cascade to consequences that nobody wanted or could imagine. The insight comes from Thucydides in his great history of the Peloponnesian War. He wrote about the competition between the two leading city-states in classical Greece. In probably the most quoted one-liner in international relations study, he wrote, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made the war inevitable.”You’ve got two variables here: the objective condition of the rise of Power A relative to Power B, and then a subjective condition, which is the perception of that, especially by the ruling power. In the past 500 years, I’ve found there have been 16 cases in which a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power. In 12 of these, the outcome was war. In four, the outcome was not war.Think about the rise of Germany 100 years ago and the fear that this instilled in Britain. If one asks: How is it conceivable that the assassination of an archduke who would have been successor to the throne in Austria-Hungary becomes the match that lights a fire that, by its end, has burned down all of the European houses? The answer is this occurs in the context of this Thucydidean dynamic. Because it’s fearful of a rising Germany, Britain enters into entanglements which it had rigorously resisted with both Russia and France. And Germany, having only one ally, feels required to back its weakling Austrian-Hungarian empire. Otherwise it would have no allies. So an event that would have otherwise been manageable comes to create a conflagration.As I argue in the book, at the end of World War I in 1918, what happened to the things that all of the principal actors cared about most? The answer is, they had lost them. The Austrian-Hungarian emperor [“relinquish(ed) every participation in the administration of the State”] and his empire is dissolved. The Russian czar who’s backing the Serbians has been overthrown by the Bolsheviks, so he’s lost his whole regime. The Kaiser in Germany has been dismissed. The French have been bled for a whole generation. And Britain has been shorn of its treasure and its youth and turned into a debtor when before it had been a creditor. So if you’d given a chance to any of these parties for a do-over, nobody would’ve made the decisions that they made. But they were made, and that was the outcome.So the application to the case of China and the United States today is that no sane person in the U.S. government thinks a war with China is a good idea. Similarly, I don’t believe there’s anybody in China who matters who thinks a war with the U.S. is a good idea. Does that mean war cannot happen? The answer is it does not. But if we look at our histories, we discover that despite the fact that people have the right perception that a war would be catastrophic for their interests, they nonetheless may find themselves making choices in which they are prepared to tolerate risks they normally wouldn’t if they were not caught up in the grips of the dynamics of Thucydides.Take the Cuban missile crisis and its analogue unfolding today with North Korea. In the missile crisis, Kennedy was prepared to run a 1-in-3 chance of a nuclear war that could kill 100 million people to prevent the Soviet Union from placing nuclear missiles in Cuba. When he got into the middle of this crisis, and especially as he got to the end, he began to have second thoughts. I think as we watch what’s likely to happen over the next year in North Korea, we’re going to see what level of risk of a war Trump will accept to prevent North Korea from being able to launch a nuclear warhead against Los Angeles or San Francisco. I don’t believe it will be less than what Kennedy was prepared to run as a risk. And if you think about it, that’s terrifying.GAZETTE: You say the U.S. must better understand what China is trying to do. What are they trying to do, and how do we improve our understanding of them? While China is clearly an economic force, there are other dimensions — cultural, political, social, leadership — that comprise what it means to be a superpower.ALLISON: Absolutely. We should imagine that President Xi and his colleagues are similar to Teddy Roosevelt and his colleagues when the U.S. was supremely confident it was going to be the “American Century.” Teddy Roosevelt, as I describe in the book — a Harvard graduate, one of my heroes, 37 years old — becomes the No. 2 civilian in the Navy. That’s in 1897. He’s been writing that it makes no sense whatsoever to have these foreigners in our hemisphere, especially offended by the Spanish who are controlling Cuba. So in the decade that follows his becoming the assistant secretary of the Navy, we fight a war with Spain, we liberate Cuba, we take Puerto Rico, we get Guam as a spoil of war, and the Philippines. Second, we support and sponsor a coup in Colombia that creates a new country, Panama, that gives us a contract for the canal that we want to build. We threaten war with Britain and then secondly with Germany unless they’ll butt out of territorial disputes in Venezuela, and we ultimately steal the biggest part of the tail of Alaska from Canada, and that’s just for starters.And we announce, as Teddy does, the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. The corollary says if any nation in our hemisphere behaves in ways we don’t like, we will send the Marines and change the government. And we send the Marines once a year every year that follows while he’s there. From the Chinese perspective, what is the name of the sea that’s adjacent to its border? It’s called the South China Sea. It’s not called the American Sea; it’s not called the Asian Sea; it’s not called the International Sea. And this other one is called the East China Sea. When they look out at these waters adjacent to their border, they think it’s as strange and anomalous to see the American Navy as the arbiter of what happens there as Teddy Roosevelt thought it was for the Spanish to be in Cuba.They aspire to the normal aspirations of a rising power in the Thucydidean story. A rising power thinks “I’m bigger, I’m stronger, so I deserve more say, and I deserve more sway, and my interests deserve to matter more. And the arrangements that I’ve inherited from a previous condition in which I used to be small and weak are unfair and were unreasonable, so they need to be adapted.” When we tell them, “Wait a minute, this is the rules-based international order that’s allowed you to emerge. You would never have emerged if it hadn’t been for what we’ve provided in the way of security and economic order,” that’s what’s under the surface of events happening in the South China Sea and also in the Korea peninsula.GAZETTE: China is not without its own growing pains. I wonder whether the fact that major economic and cultural changes are hitting China so quickly may hinder its growth and strength. It’s something they’ve never dealt with, so there’s no history to fall back upon. Meanwhile, the U.S. has 240 years of a mostly stable economic and political system, which is a decided structural advantage. Are we perhaps overstating China’s rise much like we did with Japan in the ’80s?ALLISON: They’re completely shell-shocked by how fantastically their world has changed in such a short period of time. Now of course, our world has changed hugely, too. This book is not pessimistic or fatalistic in any way, but I think it’s essential to recognize the inherent and inescapable risks — extreme risks — in this structural condition.China has fantastic problems at home, and the U.S. has fantastic problems at home. The Chinese are trying to run six revolutions at the same time. They’ve got their population problem. They’ve got, as you say, no established institutions, so they’ve got no constitutional framework. There are lots of reasons for thinking that they could find themselves in trouble. But of course, that’s been true five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. My gut tells me that we should not count on them derailing themselves. We should count on them continuing along this path, and we should expect their behavior to look like what I call the “rising power syndrome.” The emanations from it, I think, give us a pretty good clue to how they think about “one belt, one road,” or what should happen in the South China Sea, or who should be calling the tune with development assistance, particularly as the U.S. exits some of these arenas, putting together a trade agreement in Asia, which I think they will succeed in doing. Or even, as at the Davos discussions, declaring themselves to be the leader in trying to deal with the climate problem. To whatever extent we back off or back down and leave vacuums or empty space, maybe they’ll overstretch and overpromise. But they’re there.GAZETTE: Despite Thucydides’ Trap, you say war between China and the U.S. is not inevitable. Why?ALLISON: There’s no reason why it’s necessary to make the mistakes that gave us World War I or that produced a number of the other examples. I try to draw 12 lessons for peace, both from the failures and from the successes. No. 1: Learn from the past. No. 2: Analyze the situation just like you were taking a very high-level strategic perspective. So it is the case that the overwhelming problems for China lie at home. And it is the case that the overwhelming problems for the Americans lie at home. Is it impossible to imagine people having a sense of priorities? No, it’s not. It’s hard, but not impossible. Third, look at the problems that we’re not able to solve unilaterally, that can only be solved if we act cooperatively. Climate is a dramatic example. You can’t solve the problem by yourself. This has to be done either collectively among the big guys, of which China and the U.S. are the two leaders, or it fails. That’s why the Paris Accord was so significant. So there are areas in which cooperation is necessary for our selfish objectives. Climate is a dramatic case, but I think the same thing is in avoiding a nuclear war between the U.S. and China.Next, for the areas where we have competing interests, can we imagine adjusting things that we’ve become accustomed to, but are not necessary? I call this distinguishing between the vital and the vivid. Can we take account of what’s vital for American well-being and then figure out what other things are maybe important but less important? If we’re to manage the problem that’s emerging in the Korean peninsula, will we have to adjust some of the things that we’ve taken for granted? I think we will. Is compromise a bad idea? In politics, maybe so, but not in the real world and not in strategy.Diplomacy will be of the essence. This has to do with the way the governments relate to each other, the way the parties understand each other, the level of even trust in the sense of predictable expectations. I think it’s a challenge, but it’s not a challenge all that much more difficult than in the period after World War II and especially in the late ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s when it looked like the Soviet Union was going to surpass the United States. My hope about the book is that we’ll recognize the extreme risks and then we will understand that we need to have a strategic imagination proportionate to the risk.This interview has been edited for clarity and length.last_img read more


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Onsite: Day one at the 2015 Deluxe Exchange Conference

first_imgThe Deluxe Exchange Conference (#DX15) opened today with President, Financial Services John Filby giving the opening presentation. John offered a glimpse of what some of the presenters would be talking about during their sessions. He thanked the sponsors, talked about the design lab, and provided a business update about Deluxe. The company now has over 5,800 employees, 5,600 customers, 1.67 billion dollars in revenue (up 5% from last year), and has over 25 locations worldwide. Deluxe is definitely a company that has been able to redefine who they are during these changing times. They aren’t just a “check” company. They still offer checks, but they also provide fraud and risk solutions, marketing services, rewards and loyalty programs, as well as performance management services.John introduced Todd Weiss, Director of Product Management, who discussed the SwitchAgent product. SwitchAgent simplifies the process of moving the consumers’ accounts from one financial institution to another. The demonstration made it look very easy and user friendly.John closed his introduction by introducing the keynote speaker Nate Silver. Nate is a renowned statistician who may be best know for his baseball statistics program that predicted a player’s performance. He noted that finance is a very data driven field. Data models on poor assumptions are not good. Banks need to learn how to utilize and leverage big data. Big data can lead to wrong choices if it’s not analyzed correctly.One of the challenges of analyzing the data is filtering out the noise. Humans have evolved because we are quick witted. Sometimes it’s hard to filter out the noise. The key is trying to be objective while analyzing data. Any bias will skew the results.After Nate’s keynote presentation, the Design Lab was open for all. The design lab is designed to showcase Deluxe’s many service offerings. Bankers Dashboard, a web and mobile tool that provides information into your bank’s performance, Provent Vault 2.0, a fraud and identity theft protection product, and SwitchAgent 2.0, a tool to assist customers with moving their accounts from one institution to another, were just a few of the live demo’s going on. The design Lab was staffed with subject matter experts who really understood the products and could easily answer even the hardest questions from the participants.Next came the breakout sessions. There were 4 sessions running concurrently. Alyson Clarke with Forrester research spoke about the consumer’s digital path to purchase. Bill McCracken with Synergistics Research discussed how to reboot your rewards program. Aaron Fine with Oliver Wyman covered retail financial services, and Ron Shevlin with Aite Group discussed how to measure marketing performance.The first set of breakout sessions were before lunch. The sessions repeated after lunch and provided a great opportunity for everyone to see multiple speakers.Alyson shared that we’ve entered the age of the customer. This is based on a 20 year business cycle. Successful firms must learn how to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. The pace in this cycle is set by software firms who provide great customer experiences. Retail, news, and music are just a few industries that have been disrupted. Banking won’t be an exception. Previously, financial institutions held the balance of power. Now technology allows the consumer to hold the power. Today’s consumers do business on their own terms. Most banks aren’t ready for this digital mind shift.Ron Shevlin’s presentation was excellent. He said bank marketers are driving blind. They need clear metrics to show how loyal their customers are. What they have now are not clear. So how do customers show their loyalty towards a brand? 78% say they spread the word about the product or service, 69% say the buy more, 15% join the brand’s social media community, and just 11% say they don’t consider competitors when shopping for similar services. When banks were asked what percentage of customers referred them to others, they couldn’t come up with a clear answer. This is a problem. Banks need a new metric to measure customer loyalty. Ron just released a new book, Smarter Bank, that discusses an alternate, more accurate, method for measuring metrics.The closing general session was a panel discussion. The panelists were: Tim Bates – VP of ERM/Chief Risk Officer at BECU, Robert Hayden – Senior Expert, McKinsey & Company, David Rose – Managing Director, Triente, Mark Erhardt – Senior Vice President, Retail Product Management, Fifth Third Bank. The panel was moderated by Glen Sarvady. Executive Director, Check and Payment products at Deluxe. The panel discussed current issues that banks face everyday. The audience asked questions about issues they anticipant facing in the future. A particularly hot topic was the branch of the future and new branch models, as well as the omnichannel experience. Most experts believe the branch is not dead. However, the use of the branch will most likely change over time, as will staffing requirements.Another hot topic was disruptors. How do banks deal with them? One option was to partner with them. They don’t necessarily want to replace you. One panelist told a story of H&R block. They faced a similar dilemma as today’s banks when free efiling first came out. Many thought that would be the end of the brick and mortar tax prep offices. Instead, it turned out to be a lead generator. Banks should always look for opportunities.This was a content packed 1st day of the conference. Deluxe is doing a great job of showing their customers that they can do more than just provide checks. They are a thought leader in the industry and a trusted value partner to many.Be sure to follow #DX15 for all of the latest updates. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,David Miller David Miller is one of the founders of CUinsight.com, your one stop place for all things credit union. He has been involved with the credit union community for over … Web: www.CUInsight.com Detailslast_img read more


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What credit unions are learning from Venmo and Zelle

first_img continue reading » The other day, I heard from a woman who is completely frustrated with her banking experience. She has one account at her local bank and another at a global institution. While she loves the neighborhood feel and personalization of the smaller bank, she was quick to point out the disparity of mobile features between the institutions. One provided her the ability to make her car payment, pay her cable bill and send money to her daughter’s account at another bank using Zelle. The other, a smaller institution, offered little in terms of these convenient features. As a result, she wastes a lot of time navigating between these two banks. If her local bank offered better digital services, she said she’d be happy to give up the other account.Her complaint is emblematic of the challenge facing smaller banks and credit unions: Consumers want to bank local but can’t bring themselves to sacrifice the convenience of full-service digital banking. This disconnect between consumer desire and the type of banking experience smaller institutions can afford to provide poses an existential threat to regional banks and credit unions. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more


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Grays Harbor Raceway Returns With A Full Lineup On September 14th

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0 Photo Courtesy of Jim MarshallAfter a week off Grays Harbor Raceway will get back to racing this Saturday September 14th.  The night will feature a full lineup of all five of GHR’s staple classes.  Those classes include the 360 Sprints, Shipwreck Beads IMCA Modifieds, USAC Ford Focus Midgets, Cut Rate Auto Parts Street Stocks, and Hornets.Tickets for Saturday will be Adults $13.00, Senior (62+)/Juniors (13-18)/Military $10.00, Youths (6-12) $5.00, Youths (5 and Under) FREE, Family Pass (Two Adults and Up To Four Youths) $30.00, and Premium Seating $20.00. Pit gates open at 2:30, front gates, 4:30, and racing starting around 6:30.It seems like it has been quite some time since the 360 Sprint were last in action.  After five events completed Reece Goetz continues to sit atop the winner’s list with two feature victories.  Currently he is the only driver to have won more than once while Henry Van Dam, J.J. Hickle, and Evan Margeson have a single triumph apiece.In Shipwreck Beads IMCA Modified action there is a three way tie for most victories.  Joe German, Craig Moore, and Zack Simpson each have won twice this year at Grays Harbor Raceway.  Joining them on the win chart for 2013 is Scott Miller, Jeff Foster, Alan Muenchow, Josh Muller, Jeremy Shank, and Jesse Williamson who have all won once.Chase Goetz continues to dominate the USAC Ford Focus Midget ranks as he seeks his first career GHR championship.  Goetz has visited victory lane a total of seven times while Jared Peterson has won twice and is the only driver to have beaten Goetz so far this year.You could also say the Cut Rate Auto Parts Street Stocks is a realm of pure domination as well.  Jason Tole has won eight times this year including the Cut Rate Auto Parts Iron Man 100.  Cory Sweatman, Austin Kerrigan, and Jack Parshall are the only other drivers to have beat Tole and each of them has done so on one occasion.  A tight point battle is underway with not many races left.  Cory Sweatman has a narrow three point lead over Jason Tole headed into Saturday night.Last but not least the Hornets are putting on a good championship battle.  Defending champ Chad Norton has a slim five point advantage over Willie Wright coming into this weekend.  Chad North and Jeff Daniel have each won three main events while Brian Norton has two triumphs to his credit.  Willie Wright is the only driver to have won in the division once in 2013.The Grays Harbor Raceway is known for its high speeds and side by side racing as well as its large track size. Hosting racing action from April to October regular classes include 360 Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, USAC Ford Focus Midgets, Street Stocks, Hornets, and for the first time the Northwest Extreme Winged Sprint Car Series. Special events include visits by the World of Outlaw Sprint Car Series and American Sprint Car Series-Northwest Region. You can keep up on all the latest activity at www.graysharborraceway.com for the most-recent news and stories.Additional InformationTrack: Grays Harbor RacewayLocation: 32 Elma McCleary Road, Elma, WA, 98541Track Contact: (360)-699-RACEWebsite: www.graysharborraceway.comSponsors: Budweiser, Bully Dog Performance, Cut Rate Auto Parts, Harbor Pacific Distributing, Hoosier Racing Tires, Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel, The Contingency Connection, Lucas Oil Products, Our Community Credit Union, Pepsi, Shipwreck Beads, Whitney’s Auto Group, Elma Chamber of Commerce, Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds, Adamas Reality, Olympic Eagle Distributing, Midnight Cruisers Rod Fest, PNE Corporation, Push Rods, Q-Mart, Midnight Cruisers, Fosses Hot Rods & Cool Cars, Harrington Financial, I-5 Quarter ¼ Midget Club, Jacknut Apparel, 104.7 KDUX FM, KIX 95.3 FM, RockAuto.com By Ben Deatherage for Grays Harbor Racewaylast_img read more