JOEL KOTKIN: Don’t Overestimate China — Or Underestimate America. “It is a sign of the times that conservatives as well as liberals often underestimate the Middle Kingdom’s problems – in addition to America’s relative strengths. . . . The Japanese experience best illustrates how wrong punditry can be. Back in the 1970s and 1980s it was commonplace for pundits – particularly on the left – to predict Japan’s ascendance into world leadership. At the time distinguished commentators like George Lodge, Lester Thurow and Robert Reich all pointed to Europe and Japan as the nations slated to beat the U.S. on the economic battlefield.”