In this, the first episode of the Let’s Know Things podcast, we start by talking about the concept of contextualism, followed by an introduction to the format of the show.
From there, we dive into a conversation about China, what it means to be a superpower in the 21st Century, what that status means and what’s required to achieve it, and why the way we talk about other nations is important.
- Here’s the Wikipedia page for Skepticism. If you’re wanting to know more about skeptical thinking, a podcast that I quite enjoy is The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
- While I’m talking about it, here’s one reason you might doubt that you actually have hands
- Getting to Philosophy (I mention this in the podcast as a page showing links that don’t lead back to philosophy — this page has been updated, and now contains kind of a post-mortem with more info)
- In case you question my assertion that even sexual encounters can be traced back to philosophy
- Moral Relativism
- China’s Twilight Years
- It may be helpful to read the description/history of the term “superpower” for the purposes of this conversation
- Have We Hit Peak America?: “American leadership in the world is imperiled. And at a fundamental level, the American people sense it. A number of recent polls show that more Americans than ever before — nearly 60 percent, in some cases — believe U.S. power is waning.”
- A quick primer on the history of U.S./Chinese relations, and what the Whitehouse has to say about economic relations between the two countries
- Very simplified (it’s TIME Magazine) list that still makes some points about the U.S. being the only current global superpower
- Also: some ideas about what kind of superpower China might someday be, why Russia is no longer a superpower, and (an older article, but makes some good points) why the U.S. will be the only superpower in 2030
- Collection of side-by-side facts about China and the U.S.
- Research by RAND supports my claim about the U.S./China military power-balance (thought it notes that the gap is rapidly closing, and could almost disappear if a conflict took place in certain regions)
- Here’s a solid explainer-piece from Vox about what’s happening in the South China Sea
- Some additional context about the nine-dash line
- One of the better overall looks at China’s military comes from one of my favorite military-focused websites, War Is Boring: The Chinese Military is a Paper Dragon
- A solid piece that references China’s lack of refueling infrastructure, but adds arguments for their localized power (making them a regional superpower)
- Here’s a cool word I just learned: Thalassaocracy
- Interesting overview of the ‘command of the sea‘ concept — I particularly like the differentiation between ‘green-water navy’ and ‘blue-water navy’
- And here’s the official U.S. maritime strategy: A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
- “Thus, more than any other military branch, the navy, during times of peace, serves as a preventative force that may reassure friends of support, help us gain friends, and dissuade states without navies from bothering to develop them.“
- “Moreover, even when the Cold War came to an end, preventing any future power — whether a resurgent Russia, a rising China, or some other combination of states — from dominating the Eurasian land mass remained a core US national security objective…Preventing the rise of a new peer competitor to replace the Soviet Union was seen as a desirable strategic aim of the United States — and remains the strategic rationale for continuing US engagement across the Eurasian landmass and the Pacific Rim, particularly via-à-vis a rising China.” —US Foreign Policy and Defense Strategy, by Derek S. Reveron
- This post in The Atlantic, this well-regarded book by a US national security advisor, and many other books (including at least one by George Friedman) I’ve read on the subject allude to the ‘constructive chaos’ theory that I mention in the podcast, a title that emerged because of this and other comments by US officials, and is mainly perpetuated through statements and writings from Middle East officials and fringe theory-focused bloggers. You can search for ‘creative chaos’ and ‘constructive chaos’ to learn more, but be warned that there are a lot more unsubstantiated claims related to this topic than I initially thought — research with a fine-mesh skepticism filter in place.
- I’ve shared my thoughts on brands and labels numerous times in the past, including in this video (wow, crazier-than-usual hair going on there, which is saying something) and in my book, Considerations.
- Interesting piece by George Orwell on Nationalism
- Not this ‘brand America’
- The Let’s Know Things Facebook page
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