Wired magazine has published fifteen letters to the next President of the USA from fifteen talented individuals. One of the letters is from Mr. Parag Khana here.
I found the overall impression of Mr. Khana's abandonment of historical lessons enjoyable. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"[Mr. Khana] describes a planet dominated by a trio of superpowers: the US, China, and Europe. In this tripolar era, America's fate depends on tough national choices, not lame historical analogies. If the US wises up — by tightening trade and energy ties to the rest of the hemisphere, pursuing economic innovation at home, and establishing a "diplomatic-industrial complex" — it can grow stronger..."
In the long cycles of gains of power by nations and then losing them, USA has a handicap that it is but a child among the ancients. Especially enjoyable above is the term "lame historical analogies", if America does not learn from its successes and failures then... what?
Regarding Mr. Khana's comments on India and China - In my daily international activities, I work and engage with more South Asians across Fortune 500 companies second only to Caucasians in senior executive positions. One of the main winning assets (proven anthropologically) for a society in fast growth is unhindered communication across all spheres of conduction of business. South Asia's language is English and the world does business in English. It is interesting to note that Mr. Khana's background did not ground him in realities of his birth place.
In my opinion, the future economic giants will be the ones who develop and harness Intellectual Property. I disagree with Mr. Khana when he discounts India against China. See this article at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) on insights on approach by the two nations. Creativity is not regime-able, at least in my belief. Creativity must have a choice otherwise when an edict (let's say of "thou shall create") is driven upon a society, documented human history does not show positive results... aaa! I forget that Mr. Khana does not believe in "lame historical analogies".
My personal experiences have shown South Asian to be second or on par to Americans and Israelis when it comes to being entrepreneurial and aggressive at business. A comparative analysis of the most recent millionaires and billionaires between China and India will reveal some parallels yet striking differences as the Indian billionaires have literally attacked the global markets when it comes to growing the business, from Mittal Steel acquiring Arcelor (Arcelor Mittal) or Tata acquiring Land Rover / Jaguar and a plethora more of them.
This is unique to India or anyother developing economy. In comparison, China is currently focused internally... it has much to grow with-in than out, hence, that global growth may be a secondary consideration?
As Mr. Khana himself stated, "I think I'm the only person who went to Davos ten times by the age of 30... I'm not sure that's a good thing." A good observation?
I will comment on World Economic Forum in Davos if I go next year.
As to Mr. Khana's comments on Iran - I have to question the assumptive generalization: Does all that the West has to offer is great? In a world rapidly being democratized through commoditization of essentials of life, where the owners of this commoditization are India and China, where the beneficiaries of such democratization forces are mostly in Asia and Africa... this assumption by Mr. Khana is a dangerous one.
Overall, this article is uniquely insightful and entertaining, about and from an educated 31 year old World Economic Forum alumni.