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The Revolution Will Be Kuhnian.

Wrong In International Relations

Theory over fact, not just in economics (from Wahington Monthly):

For some years now, “power transition theory” has become the dominant lens used by American scholars and policymakers to understand and predict the consequences of China’s rising power.

Most readers have probably never heard of this theory, but its central assumption – that tensions between a rising and dominant power must inevitably lead to war – has deeply penetrated the national security community. In the academy and inside the Beltway, concern about the rise of China is voiced almost daily along with the expectation that its leaders will resort to force at some point in an attempt to impose their diktat on their neighbors. ... A close analysis of every war since 1648 finds that none was the result of a power transition between a rising and dominant power.

There's a link with economic wrongness, actually. If you talk to a military policy nerd, you might be shocked at the mechanical determinism of their world view. Certain outcomes are assured, if A, then B.  

This is Newtonian thinking. The more we learn about the complex dynamics of the social world, the more clear it becomes that an Enlightenment world view is inadequate.

The central wrongness is causation. In Newton's world, that is, the Enlightenment world, we can predict what will happen to billiard ball B if we know a finite set of facts about the motion of billiard ball A.

But there is no set of facts about China tht will predict its future course. Non-experts understand this. It's the experts who are confused. 

With malice toward none...

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