How China broke the Asian model

Beijing has challenged the geopolitical order that enabled the rise of east Asia

Gideon Rachman 

© James Ferguson

“What do you think is unique about the China model?” 

That was the question posed to me by a television reporter, last time I was in Beijing. 

My answer was that I don’t think there was a specific Chinese economic model.

There is an east Asian development model of rapid, export-driven industrialisation that was pioneered by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. 

What China did was to pursue the same model — at scale. 

I added that China’s one real innovation was that the country had not liberalised politically as it had grown richer. 

This sets China apart from the South Koreans and Taiwanese.

After we had finished talking, I asked the reporter if she would be able to use any of my answer. 

“No, I don’t think so,” she replied. 

“But it must be nice to be able to say what you think.”

I thought of that exchange this week, as China gears up to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist party. 

It is a central claim of President Xi Jinping that, under the wise guidance of the party, China has discovered a unique path to development that the rest of the world can now learn from. 

In a speech to the party congress in 2017, Xi proclaimed that China was “blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernisation”.

The Chinese leader’s claim to have discovered a new route to economic growth is questionable. 

The early stages of China’s post-Mao economic reforms followed a formula that was recognisable to anyone with a knowledge of previous east Asian economic “miracles”.

Many of the first factories in southern China were set up by overseas-Chinese investors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and elsewhere. 

They were transporting a model that had worked in these countries into a new low-cost environment. 

The fact that China continued to grow at double-digit rates for decades is remarkable. 

But it is not unprecedented. 

Japan managed a similar feat for many years after the second world war. 

South Korea was poorer than parts of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1950s, but today it is a rich country.

But while the economics of the China model are derivative, the politics are new. 

Unlike Taiwan or South Korea, which turned from one-party states to democracies as they got richer, China under Xi has entrenched the dominance of the Communist party.

When Chinese commentators talk of offering a new model to the developing world, they also have a political proposition in mind. 

Why not embrace the order of Chinese-style authoritarianism, rather than the chaos of western-style democracy?

China has also challenged the geopolitical environment that provided the backdrop for the rise of Asia. 

The original Asian tigers were all American allies. 

In the context of its cold war with the Soviet Union, the US saw the advantages of opening its market to exports from its east Asian allies. 

Washington was also willing to tolerate their protectionist policies for longer than it might otherwise have done.

The emergence of Asian economic competitors was never an easy proposition for the Americans to deal with. 

There was a panic about the rise of Japan in the 1980s. 

But the backlash was containable because Japan was an ally and a fellow democracy.

China was never going to be an ally of the US. 

But, until recently, it was very careful to avoid overtly challenging American power in the Pacific area. 

That has changed under Xi, as China has built military bases across the South China Sea.

As an authoritarian country, which is increasingly open about its ambition to challenge US military, political and economic power, China has belatedly provoked a backlash in Washington. 

The Trump administration focused largely on the national trade deficit with China. 

Under Joe Biden, however, the backlash has become more explicitly ideological. 

The new president frequently says that the US and China are locked into an ideological and political struggle to provide the model for the 21st century — democracy or authoritarianism.

The Chinese government has reason to hope that the US has left it too late to rethink its support for the Asian model of growth that has facilitated China’s rise. 

China is already the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter. 

The country now has a huge domestic consumer economy, which provides an alternative source of growth to the export markets that were so critical to the early decades of China’s rise.

China has also just become the world’s leading recipient of new foreign direct investment. 

Chinese companies are expanding all over the globe. 

The US and Chinese economies are so deeply entwined that true decoupling would be extremely difficult — not to say unpopular with many businesses on both sides.

Even so, Xi has taken a big risk by overtly challenging American power. 

During the first decades of China’s rise, the consensus in Washington was that China too would liberalise politically, as it grew richer. 

So the US took an encouraging and permissive attitude to China’s ascent — similar to its approach to the other east Asian tiger economies.

In the case of China, American “permission” has now been withdrawn. 

The US is restricting Chinese access to certain advanced technologies and is organising its allies to push back against Beijing. 

In this new geopolitical environment, Xi really does need to find a new “China model” — distinct from the east Asian model — if the rise of China is to continue uninterrupted.

Rich slum, poor slum

Economically, covid-19 has hit hard-up urbanites hardest

This is true in rich and poor countries alike

Winnie muhonja has faced many difficulties in her life. 

Covid-19 is just the latest. 

Having grown up in Kibera, a huge slum with 300,000 residents in the middle of Nairobi, she is used to the presence of disease and the absence of money. 

Ms Muhonja, who is 25, has lived with her sister since she left school eight years ago. 

She has two jobs but cannot afford 1,000 shillings ($9.30) a month to rent a mud house for herself and her one-year-old son. 

“I just hope one day I'll get a chance to get out of Kibera,” Ms Muhonja says.

Almost 4,000 miles away in Madrid, another young woman longs to escape her neighbourhood. 

In Cañada Real, a shantytown of about 8,000, Douaa Akrikez is in her final year of school and studying hard. 

Life in Europe’s biggest slum is not nearly as grim as it is in Kibera but it is still precarious. 

Electricity outages this winter left at least 4,500 people there without heat for months, at a time when Spain was hit by record snowfalls. 

Without light and unable to charge laptops or mobile phones, children struggled with online learning. 

“I want to finish my studies, start working and get out of here,” says the 17-year-old.

With so many other problems in their lives, neither Ms Muhonja nor Ms Akrikez has much time to fret about covid-19. 

But the pandemic means policymakers are concerned about them. 

Around the world over a billion people live in slums, in rickety homes without property rights or basic services such as running water or reliable electricity. 

Most of the world’s worst-off slum-dwellers are in poor countries but shantytowns exist in rich ones too. 

Those who live in them tend to have informal jobs: hawking snacks, for example, or cleaning richer people’s houses. 

In rich countries, this means they miss out on government support such as furlough schemes. 

In poor countries, they get little support of any kind. 

In Nairobi, curfews have been imposed to slow the spread of covid-19. 

Those who have broken them in their efforts to make enough money to survive have been beaten up by the police.

Before the pandemic, policymakers worried most about poverty outside cities (see chart). 

Rural places often lack basic infrastructure such as roads and internet connections. 

But with an airborne virus in circulation, the risk of working outside tending livestock or ploughing fields is lower than cleaning houses. 

And even when no money is coming in, subsistence farming keeps stomachs full.

It is hard-up folks in cities who have been hardest hit by covid-19, both economically and in terms of their health. 

In May over a third of respondents in Kenyan cities told the World Bank that they had skipped at least one meal in the previous week, compared with 27% of those in the countryside. 

Among city-dwellers 15% said they were unemployed, almost certainly representing a bigger shock to urban areas. 

By the end of this year the bank predicts the pandemic will have pushed 150m more people into extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.90 a day. 

The new poor are more likely to be in metropolises than previously.

Covid-19 has forced city authorities to acknowledge slums, both for the sake of their inhabitants and their neighbours. 

The disease spreads fast when people live at close quarters. 

One study of Mumbai between June and July last year, before India’s second wave hit, found 54% of the city’s slum-dwellers had covid-19 antibodies, compared with 16% of those in formal settlements. 

That quickly spills into other neighbourhoods. 

Students from Cañada Real pile into buses to get to schools in and around the capital. 

Kibera is nestled between posh residential areas of Nairobi, where many slum-dwellers work.

Development wonks tend to focus on poor people in poor cities, such as Ms Muhonja, rather than poor people in rich cities, such as Ms Akrikez. 

That makes sense. 

The former are much poorer. Kibera is the sort of slum depicted in fundraising letters from charities: huts made of mud and sheets of corrugated iron; rubbish heaped on unpaved streets.

Extreme poverty makes it harder to stay healthy. 

Ms Muhonja shares her one-room shack with five other people. 

Social distancing is all but impossible. 

They have no running water. 

Instead they buy jerry cans of water for drinking and cooking and pay to use communal baths.

Residents of Kibera complain less about the risks of covid-19 to their health and more about its economic impact. 

When the hair salon where she works cut Ms Muhonja’s hours, a friend hired her to look after his mobile-money stall. 

But the 6,000 shillings a month she earns there is not enough. And she is one of the lucky ones. Many of her neighbours are jobless. 

Many residents rent their homes from private landlords. 

These landlords threaten tenants, removing doors and roofs as penalty for non-payment, according to Joe Muturi of Slum Dwellers International, a network of community groups. 

“The threat of eviction is always there,” he says.

People in Cañada Real are far better off. 

Many do not pay rent. 

The settlement sits on public land that was once an ancient drove-road for sheep. 

The residents include Roma (gypsy) families, poor Spaniards and north African migrants, many of whom worked in the construction industry before the global financial crisis of 2008. 

As a result parts of the slum look like any other neighbourhood in Spain’s capital, with solid roads lined with neat concrete houses. 

Only the tangle of wires on top of electricity posts gives away that this is an informal shantytown.

Ms Akrikez lives with her parents and four siblings in a sturdy house with clean water and flushing toilets in Cañada Real. 

Her father makes a steady living on building sites. 

They can afford to buy face-masks and new clothes.

The thief of joy

But people in Cañada Real are poor compared with those around them. 

Relative poverty (ie, how poor people’s incomes compare with the national median) is painful. 

The stigma is worse. 

Most people Ms Muhonja knows struggle just like her to get enough food, a roof and clean water.

Ms Akrikez, by contrast, only recently told her classmates where she lives. 

She had to build up the courage. 

Many think the residents of Cañada Real are “different”, “delinquents” and “people who don’t work”, she says. 

That humiliation, says Sabina Alkire, director of the Poverty and Human Development Initiative at Oxford University, can affect the brain in the same way as physical pain. 

“People feel excluded and it hurts,” she continues. 

Ms Akrikez goes to school outside Cañada Real. 

Her friends hang out in the city centre at the weekend. She has no way of getting there. 

Her only outings are organised by Caritas, a Catholic charity. 

“It’s not a normal life,” she says.

           Babes reduc’d to misery

When most Madrileños think of Cañada Real they imagine not diligent teenagers but drugs. 

One area, Sector Six, is a hub in Europe’s drug trade. 

At a local church charities hand out food, water and clean needles. 

“This is the back door of Madrid where people put their trash and don't even look at it,” says María de las Mercedes González Fernández, the central government’s top official for Madrid and a member of the Socialist Party, who blames the right-wing municipal government for failing to help.

The authorities responsible for Cañada Real have long known how difficult life there is. 

They signed a pact four years ago pledging to move families from the worst-off parts and upgrade the rest. 

But progress has been sluggish. 

Ms Akrikez knows of just one family that has been rehoused.

Reliable utilities and clear property rights are a long way off in shantytowns everywhere. 

In places such as Cañada Real, where relative poverty is the problem, there is no quick fix. 

Some residents have formal ids and receive handouts from the government. But social exclusion persists.

Shifting up a gear

In some of the world’s poorest countries, where the problem is extreme poverty, the pandemic is prompting governments to action. 

Some governments are extending social-protection programmes, like cash transfers, to urban areas. 

It is not easy. 

Local authorities do not have complete lists of who lives where or details of their earnings. 

Few slum-dwellers have the necessary paperwork. 

But in recent months the Democratic Republic of Congo has used satellite imagery to identify the poorest neighbourhoods by housing density and flood risk to help target its emergency cash-transfer programme. 

Togo’s government has signed up a third of its adult population, 1.6m people, to a new social-assistance programme using radio, television and social media to spread the word. 

Now it must find more money for them.

Even such minor successes are all too rare. 

Covid-19 has turned a spotlight on slums, but most governments are still failing their inhabitants. 

As they did before the pandemic, charities are trying to plug the gap. 

People in Kibera joke that there is one for every household in the area. 

They have set up handwashing facilities and education campaigns during the pandemic. 

But volunteers can only do so much. 

Overcrowded, unregulated settlements risk becoming a Petri dish for new variants of covid-19. 

So far, even that threat has not spurred governments to do much. 

Taper tensions: Jay Powell under pressure as US inflation surges

Soaring prices will embolden hawkish Fed pushing for withdrawal of monetary stimulus

James Politi in Washington and Colby Smith in New York 

Jay Powell is expected to face tough questions this week from Republican lawmakers who argue he is complacent about price rises © Reuters

Jay Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, has so far succeeded in steering the US central bank and financial markets towards his view that the surge of inflation gripping America will be fleeting.

But confidence in that judgment was called into question on Tuesday after a larger-than-expected increase in the June consumer price index raised new alarm bells about the extent of inflation in the world’s largest economy. 

The data, which showed the CPI jumping 0.9 per cent in June from the previous month — for a year-over-year increase of 5.4 per cent — will pile pressure on Powell to explain his position during congressional hearings this week.

It also increases the risk of a sharper split within the Fed on the next steps in setting monetary policy. 

Some officials who sit on the Federal Open Market Committee believe the US central bank should quickly start reducing some of its support for the economy by trimming its $120bn of monthly asset purchases in light of strong growth in US output and high inflation.

But Powell has suggested the Fed should move cautiously on the grounds that the labour market remains far from a full recovery and inflationary pressures will eventually abate. 

He has the backing of several top officials, including the president of the Fed’s New York branch, John Williams. 

“The continued high [inflation] prints will increase tensions on the FOMC,” said Peter Williams, an economist at Evercore ISI.

“Some more hawkish members will likely point to the pattern in inflation over the past few months as suggesting that tapering should begin as early as September,” Williams added, although he predicted “the bulk of the committee will favour the transitory explanation for now”.

The CPI figures released on Tuesday do not necessarily point to inflation running out of control: annual price increases are spiking due to a combination of factors, such as the a burst of economic activity spurred by the post-pandemic reopening, supply chain bottlenecks and energy costs.

The Fed’s “base case” is that these pressures will subside over time.

Nor do central bank officials believe that long-term disinflationary forces — such as globalisation and automation — are in retreat.

And some Fed officials still worry that the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is spreading rapidly, could hurt demand in the US, which might also tame price increases.

But the extent of the June consumer price increases highlights how, even if transitory, this period of soaring inflation in the US economy may be longer and more pronounced than previously anticipated.

For instance, the sharp increase in used car prices — one of the main factors behind higher US inflation — had abated before the June figures showed it once again accelerating.

“If, after a series of eye-popping numbers, people step back and say ‘this is not a one-off, this is a trend’ . . . we could get into a situation where inflation expectations start to move up,” said Randall Kroszner, a professor at the University of Chicago business school and a former Fed governor.

“That is very dangerous and problematic for the Fed.”

Market measures of inflation expectations have indeed moved higher in recent days, but still do not suggest broad-based concerns about runaway consumer prices.

One popular short-term gauge, which serves as a proxy for expected inflation over two years, now hovers around 2.8 per cent. Its longer-term counterpart, the 10-year break-even rate, sits below 2.4 per cent.

The containment of investor expectations underscores the Fed’s command of the inflation narrative, said Kroszner.

“Suddenly people are experiencing inflation that they haven’t seen [in decades], but that has not spooked the market, and it doesn’t seem to have spooked individuals,” he said.

“That is a very difficult needle to thread, and Jay and his colleagues at the Fed have been able to do that.”

Although Powell has embraced the view that the inflation spike will be transitory, he has also stressed that the Fed is far from complacent about the perils of excessive price increases — and that it stands ready to act if fresh data cause alarm.

“Forecasters have a lot to be humble about. 

It’s a highly uncertain business. 

And we’re very much attuned to the risks and watching the data carefully,” Powell said after the last FOMC meeting in June. 

During his appearances before the House of Representatives financial services committee on Wednesday and the Senate banking committee on Thursday, the Fed chair is likely to face criticism from Republicans who say the central bank is overly wedded to its “easy money” policies.

Pat Toomey, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania, recently told the Financial Times that the central bank risked falling “behind the curve” on inflation risks.

Still, Powell is not expected to signal any shifts in policy or communication during his appearances in front of lawmakers this week.

“His rhetoric on [inflation] is ‘we feel like we’ve got this under control, we think that it’s OK, but if the data changes we can adapt accordingly’ — that’s essentially what he’ll say,” predicted Ian Katz of Capital Alpha Partners.

He added: “The question is not going to surprise him, he’ll be ready for it. 

Maybe his answer won’t satisfy some people but that’s the answer they’re going to get.”

Democrats, meanwhile, will be watching Powell for reassurance that the Fed does not intend to waver from the central bank’s new monetary framework. 

That framework adopts a more lenient approach to inflation and a more dogged pursuit of full employment than in the past, as well as a reluctance to tighten policy based on the mere expectation of higher prices.

But especially after Tuesday’s data, some are concerned that by sticking to that plot the US central bank is allowing the economy to run too hot. 

“There are certainly elements of inflation that are transitory . . . but for anybody who talks to companies, they quickly get the message that there are a lot of things that are more persistent,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and former co-investment chief at the bond group Pimco.

Lower bond yields are no longer good news for stocks

Can too much of a good thing complicate the orderly exit from loose monetary policies? 

Mohamed El-Erian

Investors are starting to ask the key question of whether we could be having too much of a good thing © REUTERS

The sharp drop in yields on US government bonds seen last week is good news for stock investors, or so you would think given recent experience.

But that was not the feeling in markets on Thursday with a broad-based sell-off in equities, leading more people to start asking the key question of whether we could be having too much of a good thing — that is, interest rates that are artificially very low for too long. 

The question becomes even more important as investors get ready to digest this week news on inflation and US Federal Reserve policy.

Ten-year Treasury yields plummeted from around 1.70 per cent at the end of the first quarter to 1.25 per cent during Thursday’s trading session before recovering somewhat on Friday. 

Three main explanations have been suggested for this counter-intuitive move given higher growth and inflation outcomes.

The most worrisome is that the markets are pricing a significant deterioration in growth prospects due to less strong data in China and the US, and concerns about the spread of the Covid Delta variant in Europe and much of the developing world. 

Yet it is hard to argue that these headwinds to the global recovery warrant such a move down in yields, let alone the very low levels of both nominal and real rates.

The second is policy related, centred on the European Central Bank’s signal of a somewhat more dovish policy stance. 

Again, it is hard to argue consistency with the extent of the move. 

Also, the ECB announcement coincided with the release of Fed minutes that confirm a slightly less dovish tilt there.

The third, technicals-based explanation for the move down in yields seems more convincing. 

The more yields fall in such a counter-intuitive mode, the greater the pressure on those brave souls that were still betting bond prices would drop, or who were underweighting their benchmark indices. 

There might also have been belated buying from pension funds that have given up on waiting for better entry points to buy assets to match liabilities. 

Indeed, the abrupt nature of last week’s market moves were consistent with “capitulation trades” — as in, “I don’t care about the levels, just get it done”.

For a while now, stocks investors have embraced unnaturally low yields, the centrepiece of central banks’ prolonged reliance on unconventional policies. 

They reduce the debt burden of companies, allow for very easy debt refinancing and open up all sorts of possibilities for mergers and acquisitions as well as initial public offerings. 

They also facilitates good old-fashioned financial engineering that alters capital structure in favour of shareholders relative to creditors.

So what follows the markets’ sudden bout of indigestion? 

The most likely answer is a short-term rebound driven by three behavioural themes that have deeply conditioned investors: TINA, or there is no alternative to stocks with yields so very low; BTD, buy the dip as the liquidity wave continues; and FOMO, fear of missing out on yet another move up in stocks.

While the most probable outcome in the short-term, this should not preclude forward-looking analyses of two associated risks. 

The first relates to so-called “de-grossing” — that is, simultaneous reductions in risk-taking positions led by those have bet on an improving economy with the “reflation trade”. 

That would involve cutting overweight positions in risky stocks and underweight exposures in risk-free government bonds, the result of which would be adverse contagion for a bigger set of financial assets.

The other, more worrisome possible future extension of recent events is that the economy and the financial system may have already experienced too much of a good thing.

With the Fed already behind on inflation and with supply side problems proving more persistent, there is growing concern that the more the central bank waits to taper its $120bn of monthly bond purchases the more likely it will be forced into slamming the policy brakes on at some point. 

In the meantime, speculative excesses would have built up further, more resources would have been misallocated across the economy, and more unsustainable debt would have been incurred.

What is clear to me is that we are moving irresistibly closer to a critical question for the economy and markets, and not just in the US: is there still the possibility of an orderly exit from what has been a remarkably long period of uber-loose monetary policies?

The writer is president of Queens’ College, Cambridge and an adviser to Allianz and Gramercy

The Last Thing This Century Needs

The idea of a Cold War II between the West and China has quickly evolved from a misleading analogy into a self-fulfilling prophecy. But contemporary China is nothing like the Soviet Union, and in today's world, we simply cannot afford another clash of mutually exclusive systems.

Joschka Fischer

BERLIN – This month’s G7 summit seemed to confirm what has long been apparent: The United States and China are entering into a cold war similar to the one between the US and the Soviet Union in the second half of the twentieth century.

The West no longer views China just as a competitor and rival but as a civilizational alternative. 

Once again, the conflict seems to be about mutually exclusive “systems.” 

Amid an escalating clash of values and competing claims to global power and leadership, a military confrontation – or at least a new arms race – seems to have become a distinct possibility.

But on closer examination, the Cold War comparison is misleading. 

The systemic rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union was preceded by one of the most brutal and catastrophic “hot” wars in history, and reflected the frontlines of that conflict.

Though the US and the Soviet Union were the principal victors after the German and Japanese surrenders, they had already been ideological foes before the war. 

If Hitler’s Germany and imperial Japan had not both sought world domination through military conquest, the US and the Soviet Union never would have been allies. 

As soon as the war was over, the faceoff between Soviet communism and Western democratic capitalism resumed, their enmity intensified by the brutality of forced Sovietization in Central and Eastern Europe between 1945 and 1948.

At the same time, the dawn of the nuclear age had fundamentally disrupted power politics by making any future war for global hegemony impossible without self-annihilation. 

Mutual assured destruction kept the superpower confrontation “cold,” even as it threatened all of humankind with nuclear catastrophe. 

If the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact had not collapsed four decades later, the conflict presumably would have dragged on indefinitely.

The situation between the West and China today is totally different. 

Though the Communist Party of China calls the country “socialist” to justify its political monopoly, no one takes that label seriously. 

China does not define its difference from the West according to its position on private property; rather, it simply does and says whatever is necessary to maintain one-party rule. 

Since Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in the late 1970s, China has established a hybrid model that accommodates both markets and central planning, and both state and private ownership. 

The CPC alone stands at the top of this “Market-Leninist” model.

The Chinese system’s hybrid character is what accounts for its success. 

China is on track to surpass the US both technologically and economically by around 2030 – a feat that the Soviet Union never had a chance of accomplishing at any point in its 70-year history. 

China’s “Billionaire Socialism” is clearly better equipped to compete with the West than the old Soviet system ever was.

If today’s systemic rivalry isn’t the same as in the Cold War, what should a Cold War II really be about? 

Is the goal to force China to become more Western and democratic? 

Or is it simply to contain China’s power and isolate it technologically (or, at a minimum, slow down its ascent)? 

And if the West were to achieve any of these objectives, what then?

In fact, none of these objectives could ever be satisfied at a reasonable cost for the parties involved. 

China is home to 1.4 billion people who can see that their historic opportunity for global recognition has come. 

Given the scale of the Chinese market and the economic interdependencies it engenders, the idea that China can be isolated is absurd.

But perhaps the issue is more about power than economics. 

Who will be the twenty-first century’s hegemon? 

By uniting with the rest of the West, can the US really change the historical trajectory of China’s rise and the West’s relative decline? 

I doubt it.

The West’s recognition that China will not become more democratic by dint of its economic development and integration into the global economy is necessary and long past due. 

Greed kept that fantasy afloat for far too long.

But I will venture a prediction that the twenty-first century will not primarily be characterized by a return to great-power politics at all, even if that looks where things are headed now. 

The experience of the pandemic forces us to take a longer and wider view. 

COVID-19 was a mere prelude to the looming climate crisis, a global challenge that will force the great powers to embrace cooperation for the sake of humankind, regardless of who is “Number One.”

For the first time ever, the pandemic has made “humankind” more than an abstraction, turning that concept into a material field for action. 

Containing the coronavirus and sparing everyone from the threat of dangerous new variants will require more than eight billion vaccine doses. 

Assuming that global warming and the overburdening of regional and global ecosystems continue apace, this same global field of action will become the dominant one in the twenty-first century.

In this context, the question of who is on top will be decided not through traditional great-power politics, but by which powers step up to provide the leadership and competence that the situation demands. 

Unlike in the past, a cold war would hasten, not prevent, mutually assured destruction.

Joschka Fischer, Germany’s foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, was a leader of the German Green Party for almost 20 years.