The world must stand against China’s war on religion
Xi Jinping, heralded in the West as the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong, is heading toward failure. That’s the conclusion one could draw from Xi’s Dec. 18 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of China’s far-reaching economic reforms.
Faced with a weakening economy, a trade war with the United States and an emerging united front against China in the West, Xi could have been expected to offer a bold new commitment to economic reform. Instead, he doubled down on his neo-Stalinist view that the Communist Party must exert control “over all tasks.”
What’s worse, he failed to show any recognition of the hard choices China faces — supporting state-owned firms vs. the private sector, clamping down or opening up. In his 90-minute address, Xi promised all things to all people, in effect promising nothing to no one.
What a difference a year or two makes.
In January 2017, Xi took to the podium at the World Economic Forum at Davos to position China as ready to accept from an inward-looking U.S. the mantle of defender of the global trading order. Later that year, during the Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, XI purged the top ranks of the party of all competitors. Then in March 2018, he rammed through changes to China’s constitution guaranteeing himself the opportunity of serving as China’s president until he dies. Xi had been called the Chairman of Everything. Now he was being called the Chairman of Everything for Life.
Propagandists began touting China’s mixture of merciless authoritarianism and mercantilist economic polices as a road map — called the China Solution — for the developing world. Xi’s signature foreign policy program — the Belt and Road Initiative — looked set to wrap the globe with Chinese-built railroads, ports and airports.
Xi held two seemingly successful summits with President Trump, in Florida and in Beijing. Chinese diplomats were confident that they could play the White House, sidestepping the National Security Council as they curried favor with American officials who appeared to be China’s friends.
Xi parried the Trump administration’s attempts to sideline China when it came to North Korea’s nuclear weapons, hosting Kim Jung Un twice. And he seemed to have minimized the blowback from the United States after he broke his promises to President Barack Obama not to militarize the seven Chinese-made islands in the South China Sea or engage in cyber-espionage.
Xi’s slip-ups started with the United States. He and his minions didn’t realize that Trump was serious about slapping tariffs on Chinese goods. As Trump expanded tariffs to include $250 billion in Chinese exports, a chill went through the rest of China’s economy, which had already begun to slow.
Today, foreign investment and retail sales are falling; property sales are flat. Taiwanese firms, which play a key role in China’s export sector, are moving some operations to Southeast Asia. And China’s private sector, the engine of China’s economy, could actually be shrinking. China’s government has begun to block the release of economic statistics to quash the spread of negative sentiment.
Xi appears to have been surprised by the growing Western unease with China. For decades, the Communist Party adhered to the catchphrase of the father of its reform program, Deng Xiaoping, for China to keep its head down, bide its time and build its national strength. Xi has junked this formula, and this bumptiousness has engendered blowback.
Spy agencies are now united in their belief that Huawei, China’s biggest telecommunications manufacturer, presents an intelligence threat to Western countries. The recent arrest in Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer (and daughter of the firm’s chief executive officer) Meng Wanzhou on an extradition request by the United States is clearly part of a broader Western campaign to reign in Huawei’s heft.
China’s response to this critical matter has to be coming directly from Xi’s office, and it has been ham-handed at best. Since Meng was taken into custody, China has arrested three Canadians in an effort to cow Ottawa.
Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative is also coming under increasing scrutiny. Marketed initially as a Chinese version of the Marshall Plan, it is now being criticized from Papua New Guinea to Pakistan for creating a debt trap for developing countries desperate for infrastructure improvements.
In the emerging systemic competition with the United States, Xi has overplayed China’s hand. Under his watch, security forces have turned Xinjiang province into a police state, with hundreds of thousands of Uighurs locked away in reeducation camps designed to replace their Islamic faith with loyalty to the Communist Party. The regime is also implementing a vast system of societal control employing all the wonders of artificial intelligence. This is George Orwell’s “1984” on steroids.
Just a few years ago, Xi’s face was emblazoned on plates and posters around China and songs were released exhorting women to find a spouse like “Xi Dada.” Today, at least among China’s elite, the gloss is off.
Criticism of XI is becoming more pointed. Xi’s attempts to airbrush the contributions of Deng Xiaoping to China’s economic reforms were noted by none other than Deng’s son, Deng Pufang, who was crippled during the Cultural Revolution. He is not alone.
Fred Hu, a former Goldan Sachs executive and protege of China’s famed ex-premier Zhu Rongji, recently compared the current Chinese administration to the revanchist regime that took power after the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989.
China’s reforms were ultimately resuscitated by Deng Xiaoping himself. But Deng is is dead and Xi has sidelined all challengers. No wonder Hu was not optimistic that China’s situation would improve.
By John Pomfret December 21
In 1998, the year Google was founded, 2 million Chinese were connected to the Internet, compared with 83 million Americans. Two decades on, China has 800 million Internet users and is overtaking the United States in areas such as drones, mobile payments, bike sharing and artificial intelligence. Given this sea change, President Trump’s paranoia about China is understandable. But Trump is responding to the China challenge in the worst way possible.
The president is right that Chinese courts and regulators collude with Chinese companies to steal U.S. technology. But as the Taiwanese-born venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee argues in a new book, the larger point is that China has moved far beyond the point of merely mimicking Western inventions. Even if Trump’s trade war stopped Chinese technology theft completely, it would not change the most unsettling aspects of China’s advance.
Lee offers the story of Wang Xing, an entrepreneur nicknamed “the cloner,” who was once a poster child for China’s tech copycats. In 2003, 2005, 2007 and again in 2010, Wang replicated America’s hottest start-up idea for the Chinese market: His rip-off of Facebook even featured the tagline “A Mark Zuckerberg Production.” But Wang has become much more than a cloner. The last of his ventures, which began as a copy of the digital discount business Groupon, has expanded into food delivery, hotel bookings and movie tickets. The upshot is a company, Meituan Dianping, worth more than 20 times as much as Groupon.
The same story holds for China’s tech sector writ large. Alibaba began as “the Chinese eBay,” but it has long since grown beyond online auctions, spawning the financial services group Ant Financial, the world’s most valuable privately held tech firm, or “unicorn.” Tencent began as a Chinese version of AOL’s instant-messaging service, but now it offers everything from social networking to online gaming to music. Of the top 10 unicorns listed by Wikipedia, three are American, one is Indian, and six are Chinese.
Most striking of all, China is poised to win the race in artificial intelligence, the field Lee entered as a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University three decades ago. The technical breakthroughs behind the recent AI explosion took place in Canada, the United States and Britain; China was marginal. But now that the technical innovations are in hand, China is speeding ahead with the task of implementation. In 2017, Chinese AI start-ups attracted more venture capital than did their U.S. rivals. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that, by 2030, China will add $7 trillion to its gross domestic product as a result of AI deployment, nearly double the bonanza expected in all of North America.
The stakes here are enormous. Artificial intelligence is not a discreet product class, like social media platforms or ride sharing. Rather, it is like electricity: a breakthrough that will revolutionize activities from translating documents to making loan decisions to predicting consumer behavior. Moreover, because AI requires large data sets, there is a winner-takes-all tendency that should alarm China’s competitors. Companies with the most data will have the best products. The best products will attract the largest number of customers, who in turn will generate additional data, reinforcing the front-runners’ advantage. And then there is AI’s military potential: swarms of autonomous killer drones, new forms of cyberwarfare.
Trump’s strategy of clamping down on Chinese intellectual-property theft misses the scope of this challenge. As Lee and other venture capitalists attest, China’s AI acceleration is powered by ferociously gladiatorial entrepreneurs who (as Lee puts it) would send Google employees scurrying for their nap pods. It is also driven by richer data, reflecting the way the Chinese use smartphones for everything from booking a doctor’s appointment to paying for their vegetables. Finally, China’s success is helped along by AI-friendly infrastructure. The government has plans for intelligent highways equipped with sensors and solar panels to guide and power electric self-driving vehicles.
The United States will never match China’s maniacal, frequently unethical, win-at-all-costs commercial culture. On the other hand, there is nothing to stop it from investing in smart infrastructure and recognizing the social gains from rich data before it regulates its tech titans. But the really obvious imperative is the one that Trump mangles completely: The United States should make the most of its attractiveness to immigrants. Whatever China’s progress, most talented people would prefer to live in the United States — for its intellectual and personal freedom, for the security afforded by the rule of law, for its culture and its heroes.
Just the other week, the erstwhile cloner Wang Xing celebrated his company’s initial public offering. He seized on this occasion to thank none other than the late Steve Jobs: “Without iPhone, without mobile Internet, everything we do today wouldn’t have been possible.” The worldwide allure of American role models gives the United States a unique advantage in drawing talent to its shores — if only American leaders could bring themselves to leverage it.
What’s the biggest danger from China: (a) its trade surplus with the United States; (b) its theft of U.S. technology; or (c) its aggression in the South China Sea? Most experts would say (b) or (c). President Trump thinks it’s (a). Therein lies a big problem.
Trump harps incessantly on China’s $375 billion trade surplus with the United States. “We cannot let this continue!” he fulminates. What we truly cannot allow to continue is the president’s abysmal ignorance of elementary economics; if the Wharton School had any self-respect, it would rescind his degree.
Trump acts as if China is stealing from us because we buy more of its goods than vice versa. By the same token, he must think that my local supermarket is ripping me off when it sells me $100 worth of groceries without buying $100 worth of my books in return. Actually we are both receiving something valuable — I get food, the supermarket gets money — even though I am running a trade deficit.
In China’s case, we receive everything from LED displays to plastic disposable gloves. At the same time, China buys a lot of things from us — $130 billion worth of goods in 2017, making China the No. 3 destination for U.S. exports. That’s a mutually beneficial relationship that Trump may endanger with his trade-war bluster, even as his economic policies actually exacerbate the trade deficit.
Trump’s tax cuts and spending increases are stimulating demand, but with the economy at full employment the United States can’t produce all the goods that consumers want to buy. Ergo: We have to import more, and the trade deficit rises. If Trump truly wanted to cut the trade deficit, he would cut the budget deficit.
There are, to be sure, more serious problems with China’s trade. Beijing steals U.S. intellectual property, produces counterfeit goods and does business with rogue regimes. Those are violations of international trade rules that the United States could pursue in concert with its allies through the World Trade Organization, targeting violators with sanctions, if necessary.
That’s hard to do, however, when the United States itself violates WTO rules by slapping arbitrary tariffs on our major trade partners. To add to the incoherence, Trump is actually lifting sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE despite its documented violations of U.S. trade rules — including export of U.S. telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea.
While Trump is ramping up his trade dispute with China, he is not focused on China’s illegal annexation in the South China Sea — an act of territorial aggression every bit as outrageous as the Russian invasion of Ukraine (which, come to think of it, he’s not focused on either). Beijing has constructed a series of military bases on man-made islands that will allow it to dominate this strategically vital waterway that is transited by a third of the world’s maritime traffic even though large portions of it belong to other countries.
China has deployed on the Spratly Islands anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles, and it just landed an H-6K strategic bomber in the Paracel Islands. Adm. Philip Davidson of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command warns that “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has signaled his alarm by disinviting the Chinese navy from the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise and by stepping up “freedom of navigation” patrols. On Tuesday, two B-52 bombers flew near the Spratly Islands. These actions were clearly taken at the initiative of the defense secretary, not the distracted president. When last week Mattis denounced China’s “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea,
Trump responded with a cryptic tweet: “Very surprised that China would be doing this?” That is only the second mention of the South China Sea in his entire Twitter timeline compared with four tweets just this week about his decision to cancel a White House invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles football team.
Trump’s “America First” policy is effectively allowing China to become the No. 1 power in East Asia. All his ignorant bluster about the trade deficit only distracts him and us from the real danger.
The National Science Foundation and the National Science Board have just released their biennial "Science & Engineering Indicators," a voluminous document describing the state of American technology. There are facts and figures on research and development, innovation and engineers. But the report's main conclusion lies elsewhere: China has become — or is on the verge of becoming — a scientific and technical superpower.
We should have expected nothing less. After all, science and technology constitute the knowledge base for economically advanced societies and military powers, and China aspires to become the world leader in both. Still, the actual numbers are breathtaking for the speed with which they've been realized.
Remember that a quarter-century ago, China's economy was tiny and its high-tech sector barely existed. Since then, here's what's happened, according to the "Indicators" report:
--China has become the second- largest R&D spender, accounting for 21?percent of the world total of nearly $2 trillion in 2015. Only the United States, at 26 percent, ranks higher, but if present growth rates continue, China will soon become the biggest spender. From 2000 to 2015, Chinese R&D outlays grew an average of 18 percent annually, more than four times faster than the U.S. rate of 4 percent.
Not only has Chinese technology expanded. It has also gotten more ambitious. Much of China's high-tech production once consisted of assembling sophisticated components made elsewhere. Now, says the report, it's venturing into demanding areas "such as supercomputers and smaller jetliners."
Of course, there are qualifications. China still lags in patents received. Over the past decade, American firms and inventors account for about half the U.S. patents annually, and most of the rest go to Europeans and Japanese. Recall also that China's population of 1.4 billion is more than four times ours; not surprisingly, it needs more scientists, engineers and technicians.
In a sane world — shorn of nationalistic, economic, racial and ethnic conflicts — none of this would be particularly alarming. Technology is mobile, and gains made in China could be enjoyed elsewhere, and vice versa. But in our contentious world, China's technological prowess is potentially threatening, as the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional watchdog group, has often pointed out.
One danger is military. If China makes a breakthrough in a crucial technology — satellites, missiles, cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence, electromagnetic weapons — the result could be a major shift in the strategic balance and, possibly, war.
Even if this doesn't happen, warns the commission, China's determination to dominate new industries such as artificial intelligence, telecommunications and computers could lead to economic warfare if China maintains subsidies and discriminatory policies to sustain its firms' competitive advantage.
"Industries like computing, robotics, and biotechnology are pillars of U.S. economic competitiveness, sustaining and creating millions of high-paying jobs and high-value-added exports," the commission said in its latest annual report. "The loss of global leadership in these future drivers of global growth" would weaken the American economy. Chinese theft of U.S. industrial trade secrets compounds the danger.
The best response to this technological competition is to reinvigorate America's own technological base. For example: Overhaul immigration to favor high-skilled newcomers, not relatives of previous immigrants; raise defense spending on new technologies to counter China; increase other federal spending on "basic research." (Government provides most of the money for this research, which is the quest for knowledge for its own sake, and amazingly has cut spending in recent years).
"We are involved in a global race for knowledge," said France Córdova, head of the NSF. "We may be the innovation leader today, but other countries are rapidly gaining ground."
It is hardly surprising that China has hitched its economic wagon to advanced technologies. What is less clear and more momentous is our willingness and ability to recognize this and do something about it.
China’s Determined March Towards the Ecological Civilization By Andre Vltchek May 09, 2018
The West is flexing its muscle, antagonizing every single country that stands on its way to total domination of the Planet. Some countries, including Syria, are attacked directly and mercilessly. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are dying.
Political and potentially military disaster is simultaneously ‘complemented’ by the ecological ruin. Mainly Western multi-national companies have been plundering the world, putting profit over people, even over the very survival of the human species.
Western politicians see absolutely no urgency in all that is taking place around the world, or more precisely – they are paid not to see it.
So, are we now dealing with the thoroughly hopeless scenario? Did the world go mad? Is it ready to get sacrificed for the profit of the very few? Are people simply going to stand passively, watching what is happening around them, and die, as their world goes literally up in flames?
It appeared so, until few months ago.
Then, one of the oldest cultures of Earth, China, stood up and said “No! There are different ways to go forward. We could all benefit from the progress, without cannibalizing, and fully destroying our Planet.”
China, led by President Xi, accelerated implementation of the concept of so-called Ecological Civilization, eventually engraving it into the constitution of the country.
In this difficult, extremely dangerous, but also somehow hopeful time for our planet, it is clear that John Cobb’s voice should be heard by many.
“Something like fifteen years ago, the Chinese Communist Party wrote the goal of an ecological civilization into its constitution. Although the formulation is remarkable, the motivation is not hard to understand. The Party was responding to the distress of hundreds of millions of Chinese who longed for clean air and blue skies. To maintain the popularity of the party, it had to assure the people that it shared their concerns. Everyone agreed that lessening pollution was a good thing.
Nevertheless, the phrase meant more than just trying to minimize the ecological damage done by rapid economic growth. It expressed an understanding that the natural world was constituted of ecologies rather than just a collection of individual things. And it clearly indicated the desirability of human activity fitting into this natural world rather than replacing it.
Many who supported this goal, however, did not suppose that announcing it committed China to major changes in the present. Many argued that China’s first task was to modernize, meaning especially to industrialize, and become a wealthy nation. Then it would have the luxury of attending to the natural environment. Few, if any, thought it meant that China would turn away from the goal of economic growth to pursue something different.
However, Chinese leaders did recognize that simply postponing the work for clear skies and a healthy environment would not work. The nation needed to pursue economic growth and a healthy natural environment simultaneously. It began evaluating the success of provincial governments by their achievements in these two distinct realms. Goals for growth were set below what would be possible, so that it could be channeled in less environmentally harmful directions. Experiments with ecovillages received encouragement.
What the Trump administration can learn from Eisenhower’s China policy WP by John Pomfret, a former Washington Post bureau chief in Beijing, 9/8/18
On May 23, 1959, the New York Times reported that after “weeks of solemn deliberation” the U.S. government had decided to let four containers of frozen shrimp from “Red China” pass into the United States on their way to Canada.
U.S. officials had cited national security in blocking the shrimp at Washington State’s border with British Columbia. The country at the time had an almost complete embargo on Chinese goods, even those transiting through the United States.
American officials had also stopped shipments of Chinese soy sauce heading to Canada, prompting the country’s No. 1 daily, the Toronto Globe and Mail, to observe in an editorial titled “The Perils of Soya Sauce,” that never before had Chinese food been a national security menace.
Angry Canadians called for tariffs on U.S. goods until the Eisenhower administration relented by ordering its customs officers, in the Times’ parlance, “to look the other way and let the shrimps [and the soy sauce] go whistling by.”
China’s debt traps around the world are a trademark of its imperialist ambitions WP by John Pomfret, a former Washington Post bureau chief in Beijing, August 27, 18
Last Tuesday in Beijing, the Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, announced that his country was canceling two multibillion-dollar Chinese projects because Malaysia can’t repay its debts. “We do not want a situation where there is a new version of colonialism,” Malaysia’s leader told his grim-faced host, Premier Li Keqiang.
To say that Mahathir’s performance was rich in irony would be an understatement: Here you had Mahathir, an Asian politician who cut his teeth on anti-Americanism, warning China that it, too, risked becoming an imperialist nation. He made his statement in the Great Hall of the People, a veritable temple to China’s communist revolution and Beijing’s vaunted claims to represent the downtrodden of the earth.
But the 93-year-old leader, who recaptured the premiership this year on the back of a campaign that questioned China’s intentions, has a point. Is China becoming a new type of imperialist power?
This question is being asked around Asia and other parts of the world after the rollout of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2013. Once likened to the Marshall Plan that revived Europe’s struggling economies after World War II, the trillion-dollar program to fund and build ports, railroads, power plants, dams and pipelines in some 70 countries is now being framed by critics as not exactly an imitation of American largesse but more as an example of debt-trap diplomacy in which China angles to gain influence overseas by bankrupting its partners and bending them to its will.
Albeit slowly, poorer countries are awakening to the downside of Chinese cash. Montenegro took Chinese money, labor, construction material and engineering to build a highway from its port on the Adriatic Sea toward Serbia. But now with the highway less than halfway built, the tiny Balkan nation faces the prospect of incurring debt of more than 80 percent of its gross domestic product. The International Monetary Fund says Montenegro can’t afford to finish the project.
Sri Lanka was so indebted to China after approving a string of ambitious projects that it was forced last year to lease a port in Hambantota to a Chinese company for 99 years. American and Japanese concerns that China planned to use the port as a naval outpost have caused them to increase their military assistance to the island nation. On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s defense minister announced that it would not allow China to use the port for military purposes — at least a temporary setback for Beijing.
Pakistan is facing a full-blown debt crisis, partially due to years of incompetent and corrupt political leadership but also thanks to its unquenchable thirst for the Chinese yuan. In Pakistan, the Belt and Road Initiative goes by another name, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. To date, some $27 billion in projects are being built as part of what is envisioned to be a $62 billion plan to resuscitate Pakistan’s sputtering economy. But, as with Montenegro, the IMF has warned Pakistan that it can’t afford to repay its Chinese debts — at least $10 billion and counting.
Now Pakistan’s new government is considering asking the IMF for a bailout. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for one, was not amused, telling CNBC in a late July interview that “there’s no rationale for IMF tax dollars, and associated with that American dollars … to go to bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself.” Befitting its role as Pakistan’s “all-weather” friend, China coughed up $2 billion more to Pakistan last month, just days after Pakistan’s new prime minister, cricket legend and international playboy Imran Khan, won an election.
In addition to Malaysia, several countries have stopped or scaled-back Chinese projects.
... The irony doesn’t stop there. Number one on that list is: “Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” And yet, in both Malaysia and Pakistan, Chinese firms want to build Chinese-only gated communities, an unintended throwback to the bad old days of international settlements in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Tianjin when Westerners lorded it over the Chinese.
Back in the (Great) Game: The Revenge of Eurasian Land Powers ICH By Pepe Escobar August 31, 2018
What is left roaming our wilderness of mirrors depends on the mood swings of the Goddess of the Market. No wonder an effect of Eurasia integration will be a death blow to Bretton Woods and “democratic” neoliberalism, says Pepe Escobar.
Get ready for a major geopolitical chessboard rumble: from now on, every butterfly fluttering its wings and setting off a tornado directly connects to the battle between Eurasia integration and Western sanctions as foreign policy.
It is the paradigm shift of China’s New Silk Roads versus America’s Our Way or the Highway. We used to be under the illusion that history had ended. How did it come to this?
Hop in for some essential time travel. For centuries the Ancient Silk Road, run by mobile nomads, established the competitiveness standard for land-based trade connectivity; a web of trade routes linking Eurasia to the – dominant – Chinese market.
In the early 15th century, based on the tributary system, China had already established a Maritime Silk Road along the Indian Ocean all the way to the east coast of Africa, led by the legendary Admiral Zheng He. Yet it didn’t take much for imperial Beijing to conclude that China was self-sufficient enough – and that emphasis should be placed on land-based operations.
Deprived of a trade connection via a land corridor between Europe and China, Europeans went all-out for their own maritime silk roads. We are all familiar with the spectacular result: half a millennium of Western dominance.
Until quite recently the latest chapters of this Brave New World were conceptualized by the Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman trio.
The Heartland of the World
Halford Mackinder’s 1904 Heartland Theory – a product of the imperial Russia-Britain New Great Game – codified the supreme Anglo, and then Anglo-American, fear of a new emerging land power able to reconnect Eurasia to the detriment of maritime powers.
Nicholas Spykman’s 1942 Rimland Theory advocated that mobile maritime powers, such as the UK and the U.S., should aim for strategic offshore balancing. The key was to control the maritime edges of Eurasia—that is, Western Europe, the Middle East and East Asia—against any possible Eurasia unifier. When you don’t need to maintain a large Eurasia land-based army, you exercise control by dominating trade routes along the Eurasian periphery.
Even before Mackinder and Spykman, U.S. Navy Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan had come up in the 1890s with his "Influence of Sea Power Upon History" – whereby the “island” U.S. should establish itself as a seaworthy giant, modeled on the British empire, to maintain a balance of power in Europe and Asia.
It was all about containing the maritime edges of Eurasia.
In fact, we lived in a mix of Heartland and Rimland. In 1952, then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles adopted the concept of an “island chain” (then expanded to three chains) alongside Japan, Australia and the Philippines to encircle and contain both China and the USSR in the Pacific. (Note the Trump administration’s attempt at revival via the Quad–U.S., Japan, Australia and India).
George Kennan, the architect of containing the USSR, was drunk on Spykman, while, in a parallel track, as late as 1988, President Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters were still drunk on Mackinder. Referring to U.S. competitors as having a shot at dominating the Eurasian landmass, Reagan gave away the plot: “We fought two world wars to prevent this from occurring,” he said.
Eurasia integration and connectivity is taking on many forms. The China-driven New Silk Roads, also known as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); the Russia-driven Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU); the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), and myriad other mechanisms, are now leading us to a whole new game.
How delightful that the very concept of Eurasian “connectivity” actually comes from a 2007 World Bank report about competitiveness in global supply chains.
Also delightful is how the late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski was “inspired” by Mackinder after the fall of the USSR – advocating the partition of a then weak Russia into three separate regions; European, Siberian and Far Eastern.
All Nodes Covered
At the height of the unipolar moment, history did seem to have “ended.” Both the western and eastern peripheries of Eurasia were under tight Western control – in Germany and Japan, the two critical nodes in Europe and East Asia. There was also that extra node in the southern periphery of Eurasia, namely the energy-wealthy Middle East.
Washington had encouraged the development of a multilateral European Union that might eventually rival the U.S. in some tech domains, but most of all would enable the U.S. to contain Russia by proxy.
China was only a delocalized, low-cost manufacture base for the expansion of Western capitalism. Japan was not only for all practical purposes still occupied, but also instrumentalized via the Asian Development Bank (ADB), whose message was: We fund your projects only if you are politically correct.
The primary aim, once again, was to prevent any possible convergence of European and East Asian powers as rivals to the US.
The confluence between communism and the Cold War had been essential to prevent Eurasia integration. Washington configured a sort of benign tributary system – borrowing from imperial China – designed to ensure perpetual unipolarity. It was duly maintained by a formidable military, diplomatic, economic, and covert apparatus, with a star role for the Chalmers Johnson-defined Empire of Bases encircling, containing and dominating Eurasia.
Compare this recent idyllic past with Brzezinski’s – and Henry Kissinger’s – worst nightmare: what could be defined today as the “revenge of history”.
That features the Russia-China strategic partnership, from energy to trade: interpolating Russia-China geo-economics; the concerted drive to bypass the U.S. dollar; the AIIB and the BRICS’s New Development Bank involved in infrastructure financing; the tech upgrade inbuilt in Made in China 2025; the push towards an alternative banking clearance mechanism (a new SWIFT); massive stockpiling of gold reserves; and the expanded politico-economic role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
As Glenn Diesen formulates in his brilliant book, Russia’s Geo-economic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia, “the foundations of an Eurasian core can create a gravitational pull to draw the rimland towards the centre.”
If the complex, long-term, multi-vector process of Eurasia integration could be resumed by just one formula, it would be something like this: the heartland progressively integrating; the rimlands mired in myriad battlefields and the power of the hegemon irretrievably dissolving. Mahan, Mackinder and Spykman to the rescue? It’s not enough.
Divide and Rule, Revisited
The same applies for the preeminent post-mod Delphic Oracle, also known as Henry Kissinger, simultaneously adorned by hagiography gold and despised as a war criminal.
Before the Trump inauguration, there was much debate in Washington about how Kissinger might engineer – for Trump – a “pivot to Russia” that he had envisioned 45 years ago. This is how I framed the shadow play at the time.
In the end, it’s always about variations of Divide and Rule – as in splitting Russia from China and vice-versa. In theory, Kissinger advised Trump to “rebalance” towards Russia to oppose the irresistible Chinese ascension. It won’t happen, not only because of the strength of the Russia-China strategic partnership, but because across the Beltway, neocons and humanitarian imperialists ganged up to veto it.
Brzezinski’s perpetual Cold War mindset still lords over a fuzzy mix of the Wolfowitz Doctrine and the Clash of Civilizations. The Russophobic Wolfowitz Doctrine – still fully classified – is code for Russia as the perennial top existential threat to the U.S. The Clash, for its part, codifies another variant of Cold War 2.0: East (as in China) vs. West.
Kissinger is trying some rebalancing/hedging himself, noting that the mistake the West (and NATO) is making “is to think that there is a sort of historic evolution that will march across Eurasia – and not to understand that somewhere on that march it will encounter something very different to a Westphalian entity.”
Both Eurasianist Russia and civilization-state China are already on post-Westphalian mode. The redesign goes deep. It includes a key treaty signed in 2001, only a few weeks before 9/11, stressing that both nations renounce any territorial designs on one another’s territory. This happens to concern, crucially, the Primorsky Territory in the Russian Far East along the Amur River, which was ruled by the Ming and Qing empires.
Moreover, Russia and China commit never to do deals with any third party, or allow a third country to use its territory to harm the other’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
So much for turning Russia against China. Instead, what will develop 24/7 are variations of U.S. military and economic containment against Russia, China and Iran – the key nodes of Eurasia integration – in a geo-strategic spectrum. It will include intersections of heartland and rimland across Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the South China Sea. That will proceed in parallel to the Fed weaponizing the U.S. dollar at will.
Heraclitus Defies Voltaire
Alastair Crooke took a great shot at deconstructing why Western global elites are terrified of the Russian conceptualization of Eurasia. It’s because “they ‘scent’…a stealth reversion to the old, pre-Socratic values: for the Ancients … the very notion of ‘man’, in that way, did not exist. There were only men: Greeks, Romans, barbarians, Syrians, and so on. This stands in obvious opposition to universal, cosmopolitan ‘man’.”
So it’s Heraclitus versus Voltaire – even as “humanism” as we inherited it from the Enlightenment, is de facto over. Whatever is left roaming our wilderness of mirrors depends on the irascible mood swings of the Goddess of the Market. No wonder one of the side effects of progressive Eurasia integration will be not only a death blow to Bretton Woods but also to “democratic” neoliberalism.
What we have now is also a remastered version of sea power versus land powers. Relentless Russophobia is paired with supreme fear of a Russia-Germany rapprochement – as Bismarck wanted, and as Putin and Merkel recently hinted at. The supreme nightmare for the U.S. is in fact a truly Eurasian Beijing-Berlin-Moscow partnership.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has not even begun; according to the official Beijing timetable, we’re still in the planning phase. Implementation starts next year. The horizon is 2039.
This is China playing a long-distance game of GO on steroids, incrementally making the best strategic decisions (allowing for margins of error, of course) to render the opponent powerless as he does not even realize he is under attack.
The New Silk Roads were launched by Xi Jinping five years ago, in Astana (the Silk Road Economic Belt) and Jakarta (the Maritime Silk Road). It took Washington almost half a decade to come up with a response. And that amounts to an avalanche of sanctions and tariffs. Not good enough.
Russia for its part was forced to publicly announce a show of mesmerizing weaponry to dissuade the proverbial War Party adventurers probably for good – while heralding Moscow’s role as co-driver of a brand new game.
On sprawling, superimposed levels, the Russia-China partnership is on a roll; recent examples include summits in Singapore, Astana and St. Petersburg; the SCO summit in Qingdao; and the BRICS Plus summit.
Were the European peninsula of Asia to fully integrate before mid-century – via high-speed rail, fiber optics, pipelines – into the heart of massive, sprawling Eurasia, it’s game over. No wonder Exceptionalistan elites are starting to get the feeling of a silk rope drawn ever so softly, squeezing their gentle throats.
Pepe Escobar is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030.
Beijing Notes Signs of US Decline Behind Bloated New Pentagon Budget ICH By Elliott Gabriel, August 20, 2018
The emerging multipolar global arrangement has convinced observers that the United States is undeniably confronting an inevitable decline in its status as the world’s foremost hegemonic power.
BEIJING – China has expressed serious concern about the new United States military budget, which explicitly notes the U.S.’ “long-term strategic competition with China” as a top priority and raises the government’s annual investment in the military to an unprecedented $716 billion – an exponentially higher budget than that of any other defense department across the world.
The passage of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, authorizes a 2.3 percent boost in military funding — the U.S. government’s largest-yet war budget. The perpetually swollen U.S. military budget allows Washington to subsidize its massive and highly-profitable military-industrial complex while boosting its power to coerce rivals and wage wars abroad.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump hailed the act as “the most significant investment in our military and our war fighters in modern history.”
China’s Defense Ministry has decried the act as depicting an “exaggerated Sino-U.S. antagonism.” The NDAA includes a number of related provisions that shape foreign policy and stresses the need to boost the capabilities of Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and has repeatedly stressed that its eventual reunification with the mainland remains a “core interest” for Beijing.
The boost in military expenditures comes amid what late world-systems theorist Giovanni Arrighi called the “terminal crisis of U.S. hegemony” — a turning-point that he and other analysts see as coinciding with the growth of Beijing’s geopolitical strength and a long-term shift favoring China as the potential center of a new world economy.
We can’t ignore this brutal cleansing in China WP 8/15/18--FOR THE past 18 months, China has conducted a massive campaign against Muslim- minority communities in its vast western Xinjiang region, including confining up to 1?million people in concentration camps. It has managed to do this in virtual secrecy, with little attention, few complaints and less pressure from the outside world. The past several days have seen some hopeful signs that this impunity finally may be challenged — as it must be.
Terrorist attacks are quietly declining around the world WP 8/15/18-- Despite such high-profile attacks and responses, however, statistics released this month by the University of Maryland suggest that 2017 was the third consecutive year that the number of terrorist attacks around the world — and the deaths caused by them — had dropped. So far, 2018 looks on track to be lower still.
On a global scale, however, the answer is clear. Though there was a surge in terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years, most attacks still occur in the Middle East and Africa, and those regions saw a big decline in 2017. The number of terrorist attacks in the Middle East and North Africa dropped by 38 percent year on year according to START; the number of victims declined by 44 percent.
That can largely be attributed to the Islamic States' loss of territory and military defeats throughout 2017. Without a stable base, the number of attacks the jihadist group could stage in countries like Iraq and Syria dropped sharply, as did the damage it could inflict on civilian populations.
No Matter What the Western Propaganda Says, Chinese Democracy is Alive and Well! By Andre Vltchek March 06, 2018
President Xi Jinping is being portrayed as megalomaniac, power hungry tyrant. His 1.4 billion citizens respectfully disagree.
Beijing’s “Belt and Road” Initiative, Towards an Economy of Peace? By Peter Koenig [an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites.] August 31, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Why is Peace not breaking out, when the vast majority of the world’s populace does not want war?
Why is the world one huge fireball of hostilities, conflicts, threats of economic sanctions, propaganda of lies and mind manipulations, fearmongering – killing – massive killing – 12-15 million people killed since 9/11? – Why is that? And all provoked and executed by ONE country, and her vassals in the form of NATO, stooges of Brussels and the Middle East, and their prostituted proxies, paid mercenary whores, Islamic State, by the one Rogue Nation the world is subjected to – the United States of America.
All that at the cost of trillions of dollars, tax-payers’ money – really? – More likely privately FED, Wall Street created fiat money, pyramid money, based on usury and debt, subjugating debt to be pillaged from the ordinary citizens; but government debt never to be repaid, as per Alan Greenspan (FED Chairman, 1987-2006) to an exasperated journalist who asks, when will the US ever pay back its huge debt? – “Never – we will just print new money”. – So, is it really ‘tax-payers’ money’? – Would tax-payers’ money be able to pay for these trillions and trillion spent on conflicts, wars and hostilities – hundreds of billions spent on propaganda of deception and lies to promote endless assassinations around the globe? Hardly.
Why is it that we live willingly and knowingly in a fraud and greed-economy? – Is living in deception the illusion that keeps ultra-capitalism alive? – That leads us to ever higher grounds of avarice – ending in all-destructive fascism? – Possibly in a globe-annihilating mushroom?
Why do we worship war, if at least 99.99% of the peoples of this globe want peace?
Why do we tolerate such atrocities imposed by one nation – no longer worthy of the term ‘nation’ – destructions of entire countries, civilizations, the cradle of western history? Obliteration of livelihoods for generations to come? – For nothing else but gluttony, for insane accumulation of material goods and power? For world hegemony of a few? Why do we tolerate Inhumanity as our ‘leadership’?
It is well-understood that such ‘leaders’ are put in place not by elections, but by fraud – why do we not throw them out? – Why do we bend over still believing in the lies of democracy ? if in the back of our minds a little spark of conscience tells us exactly that we are being betrayed by our governments, not once, not twice – but ALL THE TIME?
And this refers to WE in the WEST.
There is a new economic paradigm waiting in the wings, offered by China and Russia, an Economy of Peace. An economy backed by labor, by construction, by research, education – by culture – and by gold. No fiat economy – an economy of Equal Rights and equal benefits for all participants; a non-war based economy, totally contrary of the western usury rent-seeking destructive economy. Who would not be attracted by this new model of Peace Economics?
The new Silk Road – also President Xi Jinping’s OBI – One Belt Initiative, formerly known as “The One Belt One Road” (OBOR) – an economic development program spanning the entire super-Continent of Eurasia and North Africa, from Vladivostok to Lisbon, and from Shanghai to Hamburg. Every territory in between is invited to participate, in what is possibly the largest and most wide-ranging economic expansion initiative in modern history.
It is a multi-trillion-dollar (equivalent) endeavor that could literally stretch out for centuries, creating infrastructure, work, trade, income, new technologies, education- the palette is almost endless – for many areas still largely deprived of human well-being.
The “Road” encompasses land route development from Central China to Central Asia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Eastern Europe – construction of ports and coastal infrastructure from Southeast Asia to East Africa and the Mediterranean. In fact, OBI was initiated by President Xi in 2013 and is already well under way. China’s modernization of Greece’s Port of Piraeus, arguably the largest in the Mediterranean, is already part of it.
It keeps Brussels nervous. The hot-rock of mud and corruption is afraid it may ‘lose’ Greece – a NATO country – from their control. Greece diplomatically assures them ‘loyalty’ – nevertheless, thanks to Greek pressure – under these new circumstances – Brussels ‘vassalic’ human rights condemnation and new sanctions directed at China, in Washington’s latest efforts to pressure China on North Korea, were stopped thanks to Greek intervention on behalf of China. Quite a feat, for a small country – downtrodden into financial and abject purposeful economic misery by Germany and the nefarious troika. It shows not only the west’s bluff, but their fear from the East – where Brussels and Washington know very well – the world’s future lays.
This revival of the ancient Silk road with 21st Century technology, as China calls it, also comes with financing to promote basic needs, such as urban planning, water supply, sanitation, food production and distribution. The old axiom of comparative production advantages will be applied in an open market of equals among equals, already begun under the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), signed by Presidents Putin and Xi in May 2015, and rapidly expanding westward.
The OBI is sometimes referred to as the Eastern Marshall Plan. But it should rather and more aptly be called the Xi Plan. It comes with the appropriate financial instruments, foremost the Beijing based Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). The Xi Plan is destined for economic development and peoples’ well-being. Whereas the Marshall Plan was designed for deceit, exploitation and enslavement of Europe with its subservient Bretton Woods Institutions – and it succeeded.
Among AIIB’s members are many western countries, conventional allies of the United States, like Germany, the UK, France, many Nordic countries, Australia and others. Despite the objection of Washington, they have decided to join anyway. They realize the future is in Asia, in the East, much of it represented by this gigantic promising New Silk Road. After having lived through a fake and fraudulent privately run monetary economy for most of the last 200 years -even the staunchest ally and Washington vassal is becoming wary and ready for a new start.
AIIB will be tough competition for the Bretton Woods Institutions, IMF and World Bank, especially since the AIIB will be playing by faire rules ? no strangulation structural adjustment loans to privatize social sectors and natural resources, and to plunge developing countries into misery and subjugation with austerity programs no end. The World Bank and IMF records of causing misery and hardship are almost endless. Most developing countries, utterly distrustful of such practices, are just waiting to become members of the AIIB and to enter economic development that actually benefits their people.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, Charles Freeman described the OBOR / OBI project as
“potentially the most transformative engineering effort in human history. China will become the center of economic gravity as it becomes the world’s largest economy. The ‘Belt and Road’ program includes no military component, but it clearly has the potential to upend the world’s geopolitics as well as its economics.” (NBC News, May 12, 2017)
Even the NYT lauds
“The initiative … looms on a scope and scale with little precedent in modern history, promising more than $1 trillion in infrastructure and spanning more than 60 countries. Mr. Xi is aiming to use China’s wealth and industrial know-how to create a new kind of globalization that will dispense with the rules of the aging Western-dominated institutions. The goal is to refashion the global economic order, drawing countries and companies more tightly into China’s orbit. It is impossible for any foreign leader, multinational executive or international banker to ignore China’s push to remake global trade. American influence in the region is seen to be waning.”
In addition, the BRICS members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will meet in early September in Xiamen, the coastal city of China’s Fujian Province to “deepening the BRICS partnership and opening up a brighter future”. One of the key items on their agenda is the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and its Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). The BRICS NDB is headquartered in Shanghai and will work in parallel with the AIIB to further economic cooperation, growth, and human well-being. The NDB Treaty was signed in July 2015 with a subscribed capital of US$ 50 billion, of which US$ 10 billion paid-in and US$ 40 billion callable. BRICS funding, similar to that of the AIIB, is meant primarily for infrastructure and energy development. Again – the funding is for Peace Economics.
These new financing initiatives will be a serious challenge for the western monetary cabal and a thorn in the eye of Washington’s drive for dollar hegemony. Although AIIB’s and NDB’s capital base is still accounted for in US-dollars, it is likely changing in the near future into a basket-type currency, similar to the IMF’s SDR (Special Drawing Rights), but without the US-dollar.
With this bright perspective of an Economy for Peace from the East, who would want to continue adhere to the western fiat monetary system which has never been based on economic output, but was made to manipulate world economies to the detriment of the working peoples and for the benefit of the private owners and creators of the system, the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, Goldman, et al .
China Tech: Interesting Bits and Pieces By Fred Reed [(born 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia) is a writer and former technology columnist for The Washington Times. He has also written for The American Conservative and LewRockwell.com. Additionally, he has spoken at one American Renaissance conference and currently writes for Taki's Magazine. A former Marine and Vietnam War veteran, Reed is a police writer and an occasional war correspondent. Reed writes weekly columns for the website Fred on Everything.] June 30, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - To one watching the advance of Chinese science and technology, or to me anyway, several things stand out. First, the headlong pace. Second, the amount of it that appears aimed at making China independent of the West technologically and getting the United States off Beijing’s back. Third, the apparent calculated focus. It looks like intelligent design, as distinct from America’s competitive scrabbling for profit by special interests, the hope being that this might inadvertently benefit the country as a whole.
As I have mentioned before, China came out of nowhere to become the world leader in supercomputers. Also in high-speed rail, of strategic importance in its plan to united Europe and Asia economically. Heavy investment in solar power offers to ameliorate its dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf, vulnerable to blockage by the US Navy. Then there is DF21D terminally guided ballistic missile, specifically intended as a carrier-killer in what China regards as its home waters. The list could go on at length.
In much of America, the Chinese are dismissed as being “unable to innovate,” inventiveness being thought of as unique to white men. Thinner ice has perhaps never been trod.
The Chinese are smart. They are certainly capable of high-grade engineering and scientific research. (Eg., Beijing Genomics Institute) The line between imaginative engineering and invention is blurry. Note that on the numbers China can potentially bring to bear five times as many engineers as America can and, while they are well short of this, twice as many would be–is?–the beginning of a new world.
While Beijing works to benefit China, rapidly increasing its techno-industrial clout, Washington spends insanely on weaponry. It is trying to apply a military solution to a commercial problem. America crumbles economically, politically, culturally, but has the very best bombers.
“China Just Took the Lead in the Quantum Space Race”
This being a big deal, I clip from Asia Times:
On Thursday, a team of Chinese scientists released findings from a breakthrough study that makes China the indisputable leader in the field of quantum communication, an achievement that could be of immense strategic importance.
The unprecedented distance was 1200 kilometers. Beijing might be regarded as trying to establish world-wide communications secure against NSA and, eventually, a whole internet proof against Fort Meade. Whether one regards this as engineering development or innovation doesn’t seem to make much difference.
China Is Building a ‘Forest City’ and It Looks Magical China is planning to build a “Forest City” with 40,000 trees and over 100 different species of plants to bring healthier fresh air to southern China.
Boeri plans for the city to host 30,000 people adjacent to Liuzhou, a city of 3 million that experiences unhealthy levels of smog and air pollution.
The new city, Liuzhou Forest City, would be nestled in the mountain region of Guangxi along the Liujiang river. One building in the forest city could counteract the greenhouse gas emissions of five cars
The World’s Largest Floating Solar Panel Farm Is Now in China The plant is estimated to be at least twice as large as the second biggest floating solar power plant, also in China, and sits on top of a man-made lake, which reduces any potential environmental impact... emerged a new leader in the battle to slow rising CO2 levels: China.
Are We in The Final Phase? By Peter Koenig [Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.] June 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
There is hardly a day that goes by without a terror attack somewhere in the world, emphasis on western world... Terror is reigning in Africa every day, in Central Africa, the Congo, Burundi, Nigeria – you name it. The Islamic State is fighting in the Philippines [a proxy war for Washington].
Terror is fed, trained and armed by Washington and the Pentagon. The number of attacks are increasing by the day. We can only wonder, where will it strike tomorrow. The question, “when will it stop?” is not even an option. It will not stop. It’s part of the war game.
On the other side of the equation, globalized Wall Street, the FED and international financial institutions are strangling poor countries with debt into submission, especially those with natural resources, like hydrocarbons, tropical forests, gold and diamonds. All stained in blood.
But finance does not stop there. It comes down to the individual, digitizing cash. Making us a cashless society. It’s good for you. No need for carrying money around. It’s worthless anyway. Going digital, we can control you-and you are safe. The State will never steal your money. They could, but they won’t. Ethics. It’s called Ethics. And we trust them. In God We Trust – and god is money, to be precise – the US Dollar.
In the Middle East, a serious confrontation between the US and Russia is brewing, as Russia keeps believing in agreements signed with Washington, despite deceptions, time and again.
The US economy is based on war – and the European one is following closely in these bloody footsteps.
Those who control the economy are those who control the western monetary system, the fraudulent, privately made, owned usurping debt and interest machine; the dollar pyramid, upon which every other western currency depends. Those who control this unspeakable fraud, will eventually control a divided world. A world of man-made eternal chaos.
People, there is nothing left to hope for in the west. This could be it. The end-run. And you and me are in it, if we '’t leave it NOW. We have for too long believed in the treachery of Washington, the false promises, the eternal lies for centuries drop-by-dripping-drop into our brains have drained our self-worth, our autonomy
We are doomed. The west is doomed. The west is in its final stage of committing unrelenting suicide by sheer greed and monstrous aggressions and an eternal flood of lies. We are cooked. For good, beyond the threshold of no-return.
The only hope for those of us who may survive, is the East. China, Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) offer an economy of peace. They offer the world, including the west, for those who are not afraid to break loose from the weakening fangs of Washington, an enormous economic and scientific development program – the New Silk Road, or OBOR – One Belt One Road, or OBI for short. The One Belt Initiative – an economy of peace and prosperity offered to the world by China’s President Xi. Wake up, People, wake up – and step out from the western warmongers orbit.
Paul Krugman: China's Leaders Have No Idea What They Are Doing China’s economic structure is built around the presumption of very rapid growth. Enterprises, many of them state-owned, hoard their earnings rather than return them to the public, which has stunted family incomes; at the same time, individual savings are high, in part because the social safety net is weak, so families accumulate cash just in case. As a result, Chinese spending is lopsided, with very high rates of investment but a very low share of consumer demand in gross domestic product.
What China needs are reforms that spread the purchasing power — and it has, to be fair, been making efforts in that direction. But by all accounts these efforts have fallen short. For example, it has introduced what is supposed to be a national health care system, but in practice many workers fall through the cracks.
Meanwhile, China’s leaders appear to be terrified — probably for political reasons — by the prospect of even a brief recession. So they’ve been pumping up demand by, in effect, force-feeding the system with credit, including fostering a stock market boom. Such measures can work for a while, and all might have been well if the big reforms were moving fast enough. But they aren’t, and the result is a bubble that wants to burst.
When China Rules When China rules, what will the world be like? Will Beijing govern as a global hegemon or be one among other great powers? Western capitals and their media often warn us about China’s rise, though hardly mention the dangers of the West's decline. When China rules, will the world be a safer place?CrossTalking with James Bradley, Martin McCauley, and Scott Kennedy.
"Relations between Japan and China have plunged to their lowest point in more than a decade after a weekend of violent anti-Japanese protests in Beijing and other cities.
"In the biggest demonstration in the Chinese capital since 1999 at least 5,000 people joined a rally last Saturday in support of a boycott of Japanese goods. They kicked Japanese cars and stoned the embassy...
""We must show the Japanese pigs how we feel," said a Mr. Liu, an IT engineer in his 30s...
Tokyo has demanded an apology, compensation and a promise that it would not happen again.
"The march was spurred by Japan's approval of a new history textbook that whitewashes its wartime atrocities, including the forced recruitment of thousands of sex slaves and biological weapons experiments on civilians" (Jonathan Watts. "Chinese Urge Japan Boycott." Guardian Weekly, April 15-21, 2005: 9).
"...an old-fashioned campaign to restore party discipline by President Hu Jintao, who has confounded hopes that he would be a Chinese Garbochev. Instead he has adopted a leadership style that appears to owe much to Mao Ze'g.
"Over the next two years every party member will have to take part in re-education sessions for at least six months... the first time since the cultural revolution the lessons are compulsory for cadres of every level...
"...in economics Hu and his prime minister, Wen Jiabao, have pursued a "people first" policy of wealth redistribution that marks a shift from the "growth at all costs" priority of his market-oriented predecessor, Jiang Zemin...
"The manufacturing hubs of Guang'g and Zhejiang could once be sure of attracting peasant workers no matter how low the wages or how poor the conditions, but more farmers now can afford to stay at home and tend the land...
"Hu's government has been even tougher than its predecessor in restricting public freedom of expression...
"An undeclared war appears to be under way against dissident intellectuals. Reform advocates have been put under house arrest or sacked...
"...for now Beijing still looks like an old-fashioned dictatorship. "Huism" appears more nationalistic, centrally controlled and undemocratic than anything China has seen for two decades" (Jonathan Watts. "'New Mao' Turns His Back To the Future." Guardian Weekly, April 15-21, 2005: 10).
"China has opposed Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the UN security council, saying it is unfit for such leadership until it faces up to its past. In addition old animosities were rekindled after Japan's education ministry approved textbooks that critics say whitewash the history of Japanese aggression in the region...
"...anti-Japanese sentiment has soard in China and in South Korea...
"In March tensions between Tokyo and Seoul grew after Japan restated an old territorial claim to a group of small islands occupied by South Korea. The claim stoked bad feelings connected with Japan's occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945" (Anthony Faiola. "Japan suffers bombardment from cyberspace." Guardian Weekly, May 26, 2005: 22).
Acid rain on increse in China. More of China's cities are suffering from acid rain and its big rivers and lakes are heavily polluted, the government said in a report that highlighted the environmental costs of surging economic growth" ("The Roundup." Guardian Weekly, June 10, 2005: 2).
Beijing... behind the glitz there's growing disenchantment with relentless market reforms that have shrunk social services and thrown at least 20 million people out of work... the rallying cry of a group known as China's New Left...
"..the majority of New Left intellectuals are moderates who recognize that old Communist dogma lies discredited, and who simply want to rein in the excesses of China's market reforms. Their main complaint is that China's export-led growth strategy skews society and allows the fruits of reform to be harvested by urban residents and by government and Communist Party officials...
""This is now an unjust society," says Lu She Zhong... "Public anger over illegal demolitions, withheld pensions and corruption led to more than 50,000 protests in 2003, seven times the number from a decade before...
"President Hu Jintao and his team are tacitly supporting the New Left...
"New Left intellectuals are also challenging what Cui calls the growing "nexus between corrupt politicians, bankers and businessmen who in the name of reform are looting China...
"At the core of the New Left's policy recommendations is a focus on what they call the San Nong (or Three Nongs): issues concerning the plight of the Nong Min (peasants), Nong Ye (agriculture) and Nong Cun (rural communities)...
"Cui says that focusing on the San Nong will allow China to make the transition from an economy based on foreign direct investment to one based on organic growth and driven by domestic investment, which will raise local salaries and standards of living.
"New Left thinkers... leading the government to soften some of its earlier policies... Financial support to farmers has also increased, and now fewer migrate to cities looking for work as daily wage earners. That's shrinking China's pool of cheap labor and upsetting factory owners. But championing such causes and arguing in favor of development that is "less GDP-focused and more people-focused" is what the New Left sees as its immediate role, says Cui...
"President Hu, who took over from Jiang two years ago, has brought a different tone to decision-making in Beijing. His government has said it will look beyond GDP growth to address such issues as environmental decay, regional inequality and unemployment" (Jehangir S. Pocha. "China's New Left." The Nation, May 9, 2005: 22-24).
"China will bar new foreign television channels and step up censorship of imported programmes, the culture ministry announced, adding to efforts to tighten the government's control over popular culture...
"Beijing will also ban new licences for companies to import newspapers and magazines, electronic publications, audiovisual products and children's cartoons, the ministry said. New limits will be imposed on the number of foreign copyrighted products Chinese companies are allowed to publish...
"The measures are a step back from more liberal rules announced late last year to open China's media market" (Joe Mc'ald. "China bans new foreign channels." Guardian Weekly, Aug. 12, 2005: 9).
"Beijing bows to pressure from US but Asian exporters may reap greater benefit...
"China made its biggest monetary shift in more than a decade last week by revaluing the yuan and dropping the currency's peg to the dollar...
"In the short term the small scale of the revaluation--which took the dollar exchange rate down from 8.28 yuan to 8.11 yuan--will make little difference to global trade imbalances. The euro, by comparison, has risen 40% against the dollar in the past three years. But analysts said it was a breakthrough that would lead to a gradual appreciation of the Chinese currency--also known as the renminbi (RMB)" (Jonathan Watts. "China finally revalues yuan." Guardian Weekly, Aug.4, 2005: 25).
Colby Glass, MLIS