Twofish's Blog

December 16, 2006

Arguing about history

Filed under: china — twofish @ 6:40 pm

About history.  The thing that I’ve never heard any Chinese leader say is that “current events are so different that you can’t use history as a guide” whereas American leaders do this all the time.  Also, a lot of American foreign policy has been influenced by Fujiyama’s “The End of History”.

The problem with doing that is that if you don’t use past experience as a reference point then on what basis do you make decisions.  One can argue that protectionism in 1820-United States is relevant/irrelevant to current events, and that Chinese policy should be the same/different.  One can argue between different interpretations of events, and that is healthy.  But there is a scary tendency by American politicians to consider all of that irrelevant and to just ignore history, which is dangerous.

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