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Thursday, August 29, 2019

China

Back to the keyboard.

I have been preoccupied with an onslaught of doctors, lawyers, accountants, brokers, realtors, and dogs, plus taking the Diplowife to the gun range several times as she has gotten the urge to re-learn how to shoot. On that last and most important topic, she's doing very well. I bought her a very nice eight-round S&W Model 63 revolver chambered in .22 LR, and she's been tearing up the target. Tomorrow we graduate to 9mm, and then the sky's the limit after that . . . . Dirty Harry, you're on notice! I also have lost 45 lbs which means I am now just a regular fat guy.

But, enough of that. I have been watching the toing-and-froing with China on "trade." I put those scare quotes around trade because the issue at stake is really much more than just trade. President Trump is attempting the first major challenge to what had seemed the inexorable and unresisted rise of the PRC. I have written before about China (here and here, for example) and have often expressed my concern over China's ambitions. We shall return to all that.

A major hallmark of American diplomacy since the founding of our Republic over 243 years ago has been the search for independence. Whether overtly stated or just understood, the USA has had as its primary goal maintaining its freedom of action and avoiding dependence on foreign powers. In the beginning, we had that goal but did not always have the capability to achieve it. The Monroe Doctrine, of course, an early and overt expression of our wish to be free of outside powers in "our" hemisphere, relied more on the isolating effect of two oceans, strife in Europe, and the fact that the British ruled the ocean waves and had no desire to allow Spain or France to move back into "our" hemisphere.

Our economic policies for most of our history involved high tariffs and nurturing our own industries--and it worked spectacularly. We were not big on "free" trade, although we did welcome foreign investment--e.g., British investing in our railroads and agriculture, German investing in our chemical industry. What has happened in the past few decades is a revolution in our traditional global stance. We became "free traders" in theory and patsies in practice. We allowed our industrial supply chain to become centered on Chinese factories. American CEOs worked out, in the name of free trade, comfortable and highly profitable arrangements with the Chinese which left our factories hollowed out, our technology getting stolen, our workers out of jobs, and our country dependent on China and the whims of that dictatorial regime. Just as we finally achieved the apparently impossible dream of re-establishing our energy independence, we became dependent on Chinese factories and Chinese willingness to buy our debt with the billions of dollars we send them for goods once made here. All this, of course, as China makes clear its long-standing ambition to replace the USA as the pre-eminent economic and military power in the world.

Trump has proven the only President willing to take on the Chinese and call into question the "comfortable" arrangement known as Chimerica.  He, as you would expect, has been pilloried by left and right for his guts, his willingness to upset the apple cart. This Chimerica arrangement has made many people on both sides of the political divide quite wealthy, and done perhaps irreparable damage to our industrial base and national security. The opposition to Trump on this will be and is fierce. For the sake of America and the West, Trump must win.

Give me a little time and I will get around to some other unpleasant topics such as James Comey, Joe Biden and the current crop of Democratic candidates, and the continued hysteria over Brexit. Right now I need to tend to the dogs; they are barking up a storm.


31 comments:

  1. You can probably leave Biden alone. He's entertaining enough on his own.

    Joe's got a shovel and Joe's gotta hole and Joe's making good progress where shovels and holes are concerned.

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  2. There is an economic theory (possibly true) that if your currency is an international reserve currency, like the US dollar, you must run trade and account deficits in order to maintain international liquidity and the flow of international trade.

    If that is true (?), then elimination of the US trade deficit will lead to world recession and debt defaults by some countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there've been only two international reserve currencies, the british pound and the USD. Hard to generalize from that, but ... economists... they typically can navel-gaze with the best of liberals. :)

      - reader #1482

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  3. Matt. the Seventh ReaderAugust 30, 2019 at 10:36 AM

    Off topic:

    How does your wife handle the recoil of a 9mm? I ask because my wife is very small and (like me) her only experience with a pistol* is a .22 revolver.

    *Weird unnatural things those one-handed firearms

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My girlfriend is maybe 5'3" and 110lbs. She handles a 9mm very well. Start with 115gr before moving on to anything with a real kick (147 gr Plus P self defense rounds for example). If you get her comfortable with the fundamentals, she can handle just about anything. Mine was shooting.45 shortly after her 9mm experience and loved it.

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  4. 45 lbs. That, sir, is a noteworthy accomplishment that I'm certain, did not happen without pain and suffering. I also struggle with my weight. Acutally, the struggle is not with weight, but with Twinkies. The weight is just a consequence. Alas, you have given me motivation. It starts today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Protein, veggies, and the gym. I know of no other solution . . .

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  5. The roundup of reporters and activist leaders has started. Last time Communist China did this they made people-pancakes in Tiananmen Square.

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  6. "This Chimerica arrangement has made many people on both sides of the political divide quite wealthy, and done perhaps irreparable damage to our industrial base and national security."

    There is no doubt that China's rulers have taken the measure of our Ivy League elite and understand that most of them have their hands out. (Remember Bill Clinton letting Loral sell nuclear missile guidance technology to China?).

    But the damage to our industrial base is not irreparable. However, recovery will take time -- decades of serious effort. A good analogy might be Germany & Japan post-WWII. Their industrial infrastructure had been bombed flat, but (admittedly with generous US support) they were able to rebuild their industries and install cutting edge technologies within 20-40 years.

    Even though our Best & Brightest have clearly collaborated with China's rulers to sell out US industry, the real damage we have done to ourselves is allowing the usual suspects' Long March Through the Educational Institutions. All credit to President Trump for taking on Republicans & Democrats alike over China -- but no-one is seriously working on how to rebuild our broken educational system.

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    Replies
    1. Well said. All that is left is to burn them down. Reversing Duke Power would help. College should not be the only allowed IQ test.

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    2. The original Duke Power Supreme Court decision ruled against the use of educational credentials as much as IQ tests, when they can't be shown to be relevant to the job at issue. Somehow, the first part of this seems to have been dropped or to have eroded over time...not sure if that was via legislation or further court decisions, or what.

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    3. I'm old enough to remember Nixon's trip to China. Before, my college beginner and intermediate Chinese classes had about a dozen people, tops. After, they had to make several sections of elementary Chinese. However, the years after, Intermediate was back down to the 10-12 it had been before, and Classical and Advaned Modern Chinese had only handfuls. Second-year Classical was just me and two others.

      And it was shameful how utterly ga-ga our respectable media were over the likes of Mao Zedong, Jiang Qing, and their minions. A respected academic's course on modern Chinese history was "my three days on a People's Commune", and all glowing about how the millennium had arrived. Then, a few years later, Fox Butterfield reported on how miserable Mao's legacy really was, and, as the true face of China became apparent even to pilgrim Leftists, the respected academic I cited above was all apologetic about his prior role.

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    4. "respected" academic maybe... Chomsky?
      Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, or a socialist paradise without murdering half of Cambodia.
      Chomsky is one of the precursors to the modern echo-chamber, so viciously assaulted with meaningless accolades that it's no surprise he can't move anywhere in his political views... too much at stake.

      - reader #1482

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    5. @1482 Not Chomsky. A far lesser actor. BTW, I respect Chomsky when it comes to linguistics (an interest of mine), even if I find his political views appalling.

      Re Cambodia--the initial reaction of the immoderate Left was that the horror stories were just propaganda. Part of my own short and inglorious diplomatic career involved visiting DP camps in Thailand and interviewing Cambodians for humanitarian parole into the USA. And I note that Mao Zedong, shortly before doing the world a great favor and croaking, told Pol Pot that he was succeeding where Mao himself had failed.

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  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cwXifDaCjE
    Kyle bass has some interesting thoughts on china. check out.

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  8. Even though I make some moonlight dollars on Chinese-English translation (related to trade, etc.), I think Trump is right. We need to get ourselves off the teat of the world's last, best hop for 20th century totalitarianism.

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  9. I've soured from my tepid support for free trade. There were two strategies employed against communism. One was isolation against the soviets. The other was 'economic engagement through trade' with PRC. Isolation won, 'engagement' is losing.

    - reader #1482

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  10. Lost 45 pounds you say? Well, I may have found them, in case you want them back.(OK. i've been swimming some laps and trying to regain the strength I lost during my recent illness. I'm about a quarter of the way there.)Sin embargo, anyone who needs a fat transplant, I am available to be a donor.

    Very glad to read your take on recent events. Look forward very much to hearing a deeper analysis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LIft! Lift!! LIFT!!! Weight, that is....got to train your metabolism to devour calories from fat while you're resting. Weight begins to melt off once your diet has changed and the metabolism has changed with it.

      Delete
  11. I am NOT unknown. I know quite well that I am Michael Adams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and so does the all-seeing god of Google . . .

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    2. Under comment as: hit name URL and type in your name. It helps me keep track of the commenters. Many thanks. The feds:)

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  12. I understand the NSA position is opening up. Maybe diplomad should shoot them a vita? Retirement stinks. You too MK. Another post of that desolate desert wasteland and that fat dog of yours gonna make me spiral down:)

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  13. People who should know better are making some very questionable statements about China & the US, including Art Laffer who said: “China is a huge plus to the U.S. because without China there is no Walmart, and without Walmart there is no middle class or lower class prosperity in America.”

    Clearly false, IMO...my response is here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/58984.html

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Dip,

    Long time reader from your old SoCal stomping ground. I have a topic suggestion for you...

    While reading up on Harvard psychologist Dr Henry Murray I came across a reference to the him being a player in the "World Federalist Association" (renamed "Citizens for Global Solutions"), which is a one world government movement. He believed reshaping public psychology so they would accept a one world government.

    While reading up on that organization I noticed that their leadership members have strong ties to the US Dept of State and congressional members. These aren't fring crackpots they have had real access and influence on policy.

    I was wondering if you've run into these types during your time at DoS and if so could you write about it?

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights, They help us to understand the dynamics in play.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. World Federalism sounds great. Implementation is pretty straight forward. First, slowly add state 51... then 52... continue slowly but inexorably until Earth is formally renamed as 'Planet America'.

      - reader #1482

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  15. Back when I served in Guangzhou back in the 1990's, our China posts duitfully reported on suppression of religious groups, persecution of dissidents, prison labor, and thel ike. In Guangdong, I learned that for peasants to fulfill their labor quota on public works (corvee), pre-pubescent girls were put to work with picks and shovels so their fathers could earn some money in Hong Kong-owned factories. Yet, Boy Clinton nonetheless pushed for permanent-MFN status for that regressive anti-utopia. During confirmation hearings, Clinton's politicl appointee to Beijing, Jim Sasser, showed he knew zilch about human rights concerns in China. He got the job so Clinton could give him a job to mame some more money. perio. It made me wonder if the Clintons weren't bought and paid for by Beijing.

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    1. "It made me wonder if the Clintons weren't bought and paid for by Beijing."

      Wasn't the Clinton-sponsored sale of Loral's missile guidance technology to China a clue?

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    2. Maybe Shrillary Shroooooo used that unsecured server knowing full well that Chinese intelligence would be listening in.

      Delete
  16. It never fails to amaze how much our "ruling class" despises the citizens of this country.

    ReplyDelete