martedì 13 settembre 2011


After the Cold War ended and the world entered the 21st century, a new international order began to emerge. The globalization that evolved during the last half of the 20th century gave rise to a new “multipolar world” in which previously underdeveloped nations demanded a hearing on the international stage.

During this period the western powers have been progressively losing their influence, especially after the 2008 economic-financial crisis, which demonstrated the weaknesses of their economies. Meanwhile, in the East a long-sleeping giant has begun to show a renewed strength and a will to write itself into the history of the 21st century.

The news of the decade has been that the ancient “Middle Kingdom,” nowadays called the People's Republic of China, is the “world’s factory” and the driver of what some are calling the coming “Asian century.” However, behind the economic statistics and the blind optimism of the vibrant dragon's fans and growing middle class, who believe the new power will replace the United States of America as the world's leader, hundreds of millions of Chinese tell a different story, one of continued underdevelopment, instability, and uncertainty.

The Alpha and The Omega of the Dragon is a book that explores these contradictions. 

The book begins with a general overview of the end of the cold war and a description of how globalization led to a new multipolar world that included China as one of the world's power centers. Next, the history of China is explored, with a focus on Mao and the influence of his revolutionary ideology.  The third section discusses how Deng Xiaoping's pragmatism ignited China's economic engines.  Then the contradictions that gave rise to this book's title, the alpha and omega, are examined in depth.  Lastly, the author offers his thoughts on what the future may bring, particularly with regard to the relationship of China and the United States.

The issues and questions raised in this book will interest anybody concerned about the direction in which the world is heading. 

The Cold War dominated the world for nearly five decades.  Though terrifying at times, the dynamics of the Cold War were simple.  Ronald Reagan summed it up well when he reportedly said that his goal for the Cold War was: "We win; they lose."

Now, however, we are in a complex and dynamic time in which there are many possible futures, not two or three.  Since China, the emerging colossus, figures in virtually all of these futures, it behooves us to understand how China's economy has grown so quickly, the weaknesses that could threaten that growth, and the political forces that shape China's attitudes toward other countries.  In better understanding China, we will also gain insights into the factors that have driven the economic and political decline of the West.

Will China, as some believe, continue its rise and replace the economic, military, and political domination of the United States, which now seems besieged by unaccountability and uncertainty?  Or will China, as others believe, became merely another burst bubble and fall back into chaos and poverty?  Those are the questions that The Alpha and Omega of the Dragon tries to answer.

I would like to thank Ana and Michael for their time.

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