Being in the US - during a presidential election and with the Beijing games less than a week away - it's hard not to think about America's place in the world.
It would still appear dominant. I've noticed only two British brands that I can remember: First Group and Shell. I've not seen any French brands, even giants like Danone or L'Oreal. And whilst the restaurant next to my hotel is called Bombay Indian, and further down the road is a Sushi bar, they are all Americanised.
However, China is clearly on the rise and the long term omens for the US can be read negatively, whether it's the ageing population, the medicare bill, the future of social security, the state of some of the infrastructure. How the US responds now will be critically important.
Thomas Friedman suggests that globalisation has brought about the outsourcing and offshoring of 'left hand brain' jobs - those that requires processes such as taxation, HR support, computer programming, call centres. He says that in order to succeed, Americans will need to excel at right hand brain skills: art, innovation, concepts.
This reminded me of Robert Kagan's thesis - essentially that in the realm of foreign policy Europe is from Venus and America from Mars. Kagan argues that USA will be dominant over Europe because the 'harder power' will triumph but that elements of both are important.
So the question that struck me is: As emerging and developing economies translate that growth into international power and influence, will the USA be drawn closer to Europe? If so, what impact will this have on foreign policy, the fight against Islamists and the centre of economic power?
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