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Posts Tagged ‘China’

‘Will Biden Start Nuclear War with China Over Taiwan?’ – Ron Paul’s 25 Oct Column

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2021

It was left to the “Chemical Ali” of this Administration, White House Spokesman Jen Psaki, to “clarify” that when the President signaled a major shift in US policy – a shift that could well lead to nuclear war with China – he was just kidding. Or something.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/chinataiwan?e=4e0de347c8

Oct 25 – President Biden’s “townhall” meeting this past week was a disaster. From his bizarre poses to the incoherent answers, it seemed to confirm America’s worst fears about a president we are told was elected by the most voters ever. Though he didn’t bother campaigning, we are to believe he somehow motivated the most voters in history to pull the lever in his favor. Or mail in a ballot in his favor. Or something.

After the townhall, the Wall Street Journal was early among mainstream media publications to observe that the emperor has no clothes. In an editorial titled “The Confusing Mr. Biden,” the paper wrote, “Even with a friendly audience and softball questions, Mr. Biden’s performance revealed why so many Americans are losing confidence in his Presidency.”

The Journal focused on one of the most shocking and disturbing revelations from the carefully crafted event: asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan should it come under attack by the Chinese mainland, he replied, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

Anderson threw him another softball in hopes he might correct this dangerous misstatement, but Biden was not nimble enough to see his gaffe. He doubled down.

It was left to the “Chemical Ali” of this Administration, White House Spokesman Jen Psaki, to “clarify” that when the President signaled a major shift in US policy – a shift that could well lead to nuclear war with China – he was just kidding. Or something.

Said Psaki the next day: “Well, there has been no shift. The President was not announcing any change in our policy nor has he made a decision to change our policy. There is no change in our policy.”

In other words: “Pay no attention to the man who pretends to be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States.”

But this is not George W. Bush, who was elected in 2000 with zero experience in foreign policy. This is not Trump, who campaigned on a policy of peace then hired John Bolton to carry out that policy.

No, Biden has twice been Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Foreign policy has always been considered his one area of competence. Surely the Biden of even the Obama Administration would have understood the potentially catastrophic implications of his statement.

Strategic ambiguity has been US policy toward Taiwan/China for decades, but the new Biden China policy could be re-named “strategic incoherence.”

The policy of “strategic ambiguity” is foolish enough – who cares who rules Taiwan? – but advancing the idea that the United States is willing to launch a nuclear war with China over who governs Taiwan is a whole other level of America-last foolishness.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Miley was heralded as a hero for betraying his Commander in Chief Trump by seeking to restrict Trump’s access to the US nuclear arsenal. Milley claimed that Trump was so unsound of mind that he could not be trusted with the nuclear football.

Yet when actual unsoundness is there for everyone to see, Milley and the other “woke” generals are silent as the grave. These are dangerous times.



Read more great articles on the Ron Paul Institute website.
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Copyright © 2021 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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How the West Adopted China-Style Lockdowns | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 1, 2021

Digital QR codes are now frequently used at restaurants and other venues to replace paper menus and to provide further information on products. Few could have predicted that prominent progressives in the United States would openly embrace proof of identity upon entry into nearly any venue. The thought of being required to scan a personal digital QR code upon entry to any venue is reminiscent of “Your papers, please.” Given that America has been effectively governed by the flip-flopping public health diktats of Dr. Anthony Fauci, I assume that vaccination passports are merely the icing on the cake.

https://mises.org/wire/how-west-adopted-china-style-lockdowns

Mitch Nemeth

Prior to the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 or covid-19, many looked to the United States as a beacon of freedom and liberty. When viewed in comparison to the harsh realities of the world, this may seem rather true. After all, one’s perception of freedom and liberty is skewed by perspective. In recent weeks, the Biden administration has escalated its increasingly authoritarian approach to “managing” the threat of the virus. Even President Biden himself stated that safety takes precedence over freedom. Examples of the Biden administration’s overreach include: its extension of the eviction moratorium through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine mandates through the Department of Labor, and its investigations into states that refuse to adhere to the federal government’s preferred public health guidelines.

Over the past eighteen months, countless commentators have declared that the pandemic should be treated akin to warfare, often using military analogies. During a prior pandemic, the nation’s predominant civil liberties defender, the American Civil Liberties Union, released a report that warned of the government imposing national security measures to clamp down on an “invisible enemy.” An ACLU report from 2008 stated the following: “Coercion and brute force are rarely necessary. In fact they are generally counterproductive—they gratuitously breed public distrust and encourage the people who are most in need of care to evade public health authorities.” The past eighteen months have demonstrated that the public health institutions view their role as part and parcel of the nation’s broader national security apparatus.

As if the ACLU had predicted the government’s response to covid-19, their report notes the following: “Too often, policymakers are resorting to law enforcement and national security–oriented measures that not only suppress individual rights unnecessarily, but have proven to be ineffective in stopping the spread of disease and saving lives.” During the early stages of the pandemic, governors of all political persuasions instituted similar shutdown measures throughout their respective states. After a period of weeks, conservative-leaning governors slowly withdrew these executive edicts as more was learned about the transmissibility and lethality of the threat. Progressive-leaning governors have been more reluctant to withdraw these executive edicts.

As vaccines became widely available, individuals across the country slowly warmed to the idea of lifting the covid-19 mitigation measures. Some progressive-leaning American cities like New York City, San Francisco, and New Orleans have chosen to do so while introducing a digital health pass, often referred to as a vaccination passport. Other cities have been more skeptical of this concept; the mayor of Boston, Kim Janey, compared the concept to the slavery-era freedom papers.

The vaccination passport was only an abstract idea in the early days of the mass vaccination campaign. The urban elite and the managerial class have fully endorsed the idea of requiring vaccination or proof of a negative covid test to participate in daily life. It is unlikely that the vaccination passport will ever be fully adopted by the United States government as policy. It is also unclear what is the end goal of our covid-19 containment policy. The conflicting public health messaging has led to fears of a “permanent pandemic,” whereby emergency powers are invoked indefinitely.

The Vaccine Passport Idea Grows

Along with much of the global establishment—e.g., the World Health Organization—in November 2020, Chinese president Xi Jinping endorsed a concept similar to the vaccination passport: “a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of Internationally accepted QR codes.” While President Xi’s idea is related explicitly to a negative covid test versus proof of vaccination, the underlying concept of “showing your papers” remains. Other regimes soon pushed similar ideas. 

Similarly, the Chinese state was an early proponent of using digital QR codes to help the country navigate through the pandemic. Digital QR codes are a simple and efficient means of tracking one’s movement and verifying proof of identity for those with a smartphone. Digital QR codes are now frequently used at restaurants and other venues to replace paper menus and to provide further information on products. Few could have predicted that prominent progressives in the United States would openly embrace proof of identity upon entry into nearly any venue. The thought of being required to scan a personal digital QR code upon entry to any venue is reminiscent of “Your papers, please.” Given that America has been effectively governed by the flip-flopping public health diktats of Dr. Anthony Fauci, I assume that vaccination passports are merely the icing on the cake.

Dr. Fauci provided an eyebrow-raising endorsement on September 13; on cable television, he endorsed the idea of requiring vaccination in order to travel domestically by aircraft. Dr. Fauci’s proposal comes nearly a year after a Department of Defense joint study with United Airlines that said “the risk of COVID-19 exposure onboards its aircraft is ‘virtually non-existent’ … when masks are worn.” Despite the cheaper, less intrusive option of universal masking in certain situations, Dr. Fauci’s neurotic endorsement of mandatory vaccinations for air travel continues to propel America’s descent toward an authoritarian nightmare.

Australia Abandons Liberalism

No Western country has so embraced the despotic lockdown ideal as Australia. The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf writes, “the government of South Australia, one of the country’s six states, developed and is now testing an app as Orwellian as any in the free world to enforce its quarantine rules. Returning travelers quarantining at home will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person.” In ordinary times, such a government application would be considered a police state’s control mechanism; however, the government of South Australia apparently feels no remorse for subjugating its citizens to highly intrusive measures under the guise of public health.

In late July, the BBC reported that Australian Defence Force soldiers would be deployed to help enforce covid lockdowns. The soldiers would “join police in virus hotspots to ensure people are following the rules.” In late August, Australian police arrested hundreds of protesters participating in “unauthorised protests” against the government’s draconian lockdown measures. When questioned about the police response to the protesters, Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton warned against participation and added “that it was ‘just ridiculous to think that people would be so selfish and come and do this.’” Friedersdorf contends that Australia’s prolonged police state methods are a product of its failure to significantly invest in a large supply of vaccines. In closing his argument, Friedersdorf presents the poignant question specifically for the supposedly liberal, democratic government of Australia: “[H]ow much time must pass before we must regard Australia as illiberal and unfree?”

In the face of an “invisible enemy,” many Western nations have implemented emergency measures that were once considered dystopian and wholly incompatible with liberal democracy. The adoption of such intrusive and draconian measures would not be possible without the constant fear-mongering drumbeat of the news media, which has led to many so-called liberals devaluing the meaning of freedom and liberty in order to ensure their own “safety.” To be sure, freedom and liberty do not require one to abandon safety, and safety does not require the abandonment of freedom and liberty. 

The problem with the Western adoption of vaccination passports, enforced universal masking, and draconian lockdowns is that mass protests in opposition to those policies have sprung up in nearly every Western country. Here are just a few examples:

  • Governors of two of the largest states in the United States have waged a full-on assault on the perceived overreach of the Biden administration’s public health edicts, specifically President Biden’s recent executive order on mandating covid-19 vaccines.
  • A group of truck drivers in Australia threatened to strike against public health restrictions in late August; the truck drivers urged “Australians to stock up on groceries and other supplies before the protest disrupts the supply chain.”
  • In France, mass protests against vaccination passports have raged for months as the “unvaccinated” worry about a two-tier society.
  • In Canada, the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario have announced the development of vaccination passport applications, which have resulted in some small protests.

As everyday life begins to adjust back to its precovid normal, it is of paramount importance that everyday individuals push back against government attempts to maintain emergency powers despite the absence of a raging pandemic. Similarly, it is past time that we demand clear goals from public health experts on what level of “herd immunity” is necessary to emerge from the officially recognized pandemic. If both tasks fail, it is not clear that the West will emerge from the pandemic as anything remotely resembling liberal. Author:

Mitch Nemeth

Mitchell Nemeth is a Risk Management and Compliance professional in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a Master in the Study of Law from the University of Georgia Law School, and he has a BBA in Finance from the University of Georgia. His work has been featured at the Foundation for Economic Education, RealClearMarkets, Merion West, and Medium.

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Evergrande Isn’t China’s “Lehman Moment.” It Could Be Worse than That. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 28, 2021

The problem with China is that the entire economy is a huge indebted model that needs almost ten units of debt to generate one unit of GDP, three times more than a decade ago, and all this catastrophe was already more than evident months ago. With total debt of 300 percent debt to GDP according to the Institute of International Finance, China is not the strong economy swimming in with cash that it was a couple of decades ago.

https://mises.org/wire/evergrande-isnt-chinas-lehman-moment-it-could-be-worse

Daniel Lacalle

The bankruptcy of the Chinese real estate company Evergrande is much more than a “Chinese Lehman.” Lehman Brothers was much more diversified than Evergrande and better capitalized. In fact, the total assets of Evergrande that are on the brink of bankruptcy outnumber the entire subprime bubble of the United States. https://www.youtube.com/embed/21NZrBgCiH8?feature=oembed

The problem with Evergrande is that it is not an anecdote, but a symptom of a model based on leveraged growth and seeking to inflate GDP at any cost with ghost cities, unused infrastructure, and wild construction. The indebtedness chain model of Evergrande is not uncommon in China. Many Chinese companies follow the “running to stand still” strategy of piling on ever-increasing debt to compensate for poor cash flow generation and weak margins. Many promoters get into massive debt to build a promotion that either is not sold or is left with many unsold units, then efinance that debt by adding more credit for new projects using unsaleable or already leveraged assets as collateral.

The total liabilities of Evergrande account for more than double its official debt figure (more than 2 trillion yuan). Evergrande’s financial hole is equivalent to almost a third of Russia’s GDP. Its annual revenues do not reach $70 billion, and it is more than debatable whether those revenues are real, since a relevant part comes from payment commitments whose collection is doubtful. Even if they were real, these revenues are not enough to address the bond maturities, which exceed $250 billion in the short term.

Evergrande is much more dangerous than it seems:

All the “Keynesian” solutions that you are hearing these days have already been implemented. Massive liquidity injections, low interest rates, full implicit and explicit support from the Chinese government … Let’s not forget that Evergrande was the largest issuer of commercial paper in China, $32 billion issued in 2020, a 390 percent increase from 2015, according to Reuters.

Evergrande represents less than 4 percent of the overall Chinese market but its model has been used by many Chinese promoters. The ten biggest real estate developers account for 34 percent of the market and aggressive leverage practices are widespread.

The real estate sector is huge in China. Its direct and indirect weight, according to JP Morgan, is 25 percent of GDP, more than double the size of the real estate bubble in Japan or Spain. The sector has been growing with an indebted model at 15 percent per year in the last three years. The Chinese government has introduced regulations to reduce the excess, but because it benefits from the increase in GDP and job creation, it has maintained a complacent position regarding the corporate debt model.

Chinese real estate companies, according to JP Morgan, have “reduced” their indebtedness to 92 percent of total assets from a monster 140 percent in 2018, with a profit margin of 9–13 percent. But those figures still show a larger and more concerning problem than what headlines imply. Most Chinese real estate developers have total liabilities of 50 percent to total assets, according to JP Morgan. The problem is that the value of those assets and the capacity to sell them is more than questionable.

The implications of an Evergrande collapse are far greater than what investment banks tell us.

The first risk is a domino effect in a very aggressively indebted sector. There is also a significant impact on all those banks exposed to China and emerging markets, where China has financed ruinous projects in recent years. And there is also impact on global growth and countries that export to China, because the slowdown was already more than evident. Additionally, we cannot ignore the impact on the solvency of the financial system despite billions of dollars injected
by the People’s Bank of China.

A Solvency Problem Cannot Be Solved with Liquidity.

The hope that the government will fix everything contrasts with the magnitude of the financial hole. Be that as it may, we cannot overlook the negative effect on those sectors highly exposed to real estate growth, infrastructure, electricity, services, and in the hundreds of thousands of citizens who have paid an upfront fee for flats that are not going to be built.

The problem with China is that the entire economy is a huge indebted model that needs almost ten units of debt to generate one unit of GDP, three times more than a decade ago, and all this catastrophe was already more than evident months ago. With total debt of 300 percent debt to GDP according to the Institute of International Finance, China is not the strong economy swimming in with cash that it was a couple of decades ago.

The market assumed that because it is China, the government was going to hide these risks. Even worse, the Evergrande collapse only shows a dangerous reality in several Chinese sectors: excessive indebtedness without real income or assets to support it.

This episode comes at the worst possible time, after the government has launched a massive crackdown on large companies. International investors are already concerned about corporate governance and intervention in China and now the fears of credit contagion make the risk even worse.

Evergrande is not an anecdote, it is a symptom.

Author:

Daniel Lacalle

Daniel Lacalle, PhD, economist and fund manager, is the author of the bestselling books Freedom or Equality (2020),Escape from the Central Bank Trap (2017), The Energy World Is Flat (2015), and Life in the Financial Markets (2014).

He is a professor of global economy at IE Business School in Madrid.

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Réseau Voltaire-The AUKUS preparing a nuclear war to sustain Taiwan

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2021

The official reactions to the announcement of the Australian-British-US pact (AUKUS) are only about the termination of the Australian-French arms contract. As terrible as this is for the shipyards, it is only a collateral consequence of a reversal of alliances aimed at preparing for a war against China.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article214159.html

by Thierry Meyssan

The announcement of the Australian-British-US (A-UK-US) pact [1] was like an earthquake in the Indo-Pacific region.

There is no doubt that Washington is preparing for a long-term military confrontation with China.

Until now, the Western deployment to contain China politically and militarily has involved the United States and the United Kingdom as well as France and Germany. Today, the Europeans are left out. And tomorrow the area will be controlled by the Quad+ (US and UK, plus Australia, India and Japan). Washington is preparing a war in one or two decades.

While France and Germany have not been consulted on this strategy, nor even warned of its public announcement (but other countries had been warned, such as Indonesia), the new device should be staged next week in Washington.

While it is logical that London and Washington should rely on Camberra rather than Paris, since Australia is a member of the “Five Eyes” with which France is just associated, the entry into the game of Japan and especially India puts an end to a long period of uncertainty. More troubling is the role assigned to Germany, which could join the “Five Eyes” [2], but not the Quad, i.e. spying on telecommunications, but not military action.

Admiral John Aquilino, commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific.

Alliances shaken up

This new situation forces each alliance to reposition itself.

The A-NZ-US, which linked Australia, New Zealand and the United States, has not been in operation since 1985 and has been definitively buried. New Zealand had affirmed its policy of nuclear disarmament and consequently refused entry to its ports to nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships. Since the Pentagon refuses to reveal these “details”, no US warship has entered the country. Future Australian submarines will also be banned.

For the moment, the European Union has not reacted. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was giving a state of the Union address [3] on the same day the AUKUS pact was announced, is paralyzed. She was talking about her new strategy in the Indo-Pacific area, while the Brexit Brits were pulling the rug out from under her. Not only is the European Union not a military power, but those of its members who are, will no longer have a say.

NATO is silent. It had ambitions to expand in the Indo-Pacific and understands that it will not be part of the game.

See the rest here

Thierry Meyssan

Translation
Roger Lagassé

Printable version

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AUKUS: Banging The China War Drum

Posted by M. C. on September 16, 2021

The US, UK, and Australia have announced a new alliance aimed at “countering China’s influence.” The deal includes cancelling an Aus/French deal for French submarines and the Australian purchase of US nuclear subs instead. Who, aside from the military contractors, benefits from ramping up war footing?

How hospital “director of marketing” ramps up fear.

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A Military Solution to a Commercial Problem

Posted by M. C. on September 14, 2021

Chinas major capital expenditures, as gleaned as best I can from pubs covering these: highways, dams, bridges, very-high-voltage power lines, airports, rail, new high-tech 360 mph rail, five-g implementation, reactors, and semiconductor catchup.

America’s major capital expenditures: the B-21, F-35, Virginia-class subs, , Ford-class aircraft carriers, SSN (x) attack submarine.

https://www.unz.com/freed/a-military-solution-to-a-commercial-problem/

Fred Reed

In pondering Washington’s new toy, a cold war against China, one sees a pattern. China’s approach to influence and prosperity is commercial and longsighted. This does not mean that the Chinese are warm and fuzzy, only intelligent. They advance their interests while turning a profit, which wars don’t. China invests heavily in the infrastructure, both physical and educational, that makes for current and future competitiveness. They are fast, agile, innovative, and imperfectly scrupulous. They seek trade agreements: The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with Europe, The RCEP, Regional comprehensive Economic Partnership, the CPEC, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the huge Iran deal, the development with Russia of the NSR, the Northern Sea Route. They seem good at it, China now being the largest trading partner of something like 165 countries.

Washington’s approach is military, coercive, shortsighted, and commercially dimwitted. It forms military alliances: the Quad in the Indian Ocean, with Japan against China, puts missiles in South Korea, pushes Europe to buy more American weaponry, sends naval forces to the Indian Ocean, Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, Black Sea, and Persian Gulf to intimidate, without much success, China, Russia, and Iran. It wants to get the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO to threaten Russia. It makes as much sense as lug nuts on a birthday cake.

See the rest here

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The Real Reason US is Provoking China – With RPI’s Daniel McAdams

Posted by M. C. on August 7, 2021

Could lobbyists in Washington be working deliberately to provoke a new arms race for the sake of profits? Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute joins Rick Sanchez to discuss the flood of missiles, aircraft and warships with which Washington is eagerly arming its Pacific allies: 


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Next on the Agenda: War With China | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on August 5, 2021

The Navy routinely conducts what it calls Freedom Of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), in the waters surrounding China, sailing warships through the waters, particularly in the South China Sea, usually provocatively close to Chinese controlled or claimed islands. Biden’s regime just conducted its fourth FONOP. Under Trump, in 2020 the U.S. conducted a record high total of nine FONOPs poking China.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/next-on-the-agenda-war-with-china/

by Connor Freeman

In 2014, Lew Rockwell wrote, “Clearly the empire is targeting China…The U.S. seeks to encircle China and make it bow down before the hegemon. The increasing prosperity and freedom of China threatens the empire’s self-image.”

America’s new Cold War with China is a bi-partisan imperial project. In 2011, former President Barack Obama began it in earnest, dubbing it the “Asia Pivot.” The ‘pivot’ entails surrounding China with hundreds of bases and shifting two thirds of all U.S. naval and air forces to the Asia-Pacific, the greatest military buildup since World War II.

Putative outsider Donald Trump took office and sizably enlarged the U.S. military’s footprint in what is now referred to as the “Indo-Pacific” region and significantly increased provocations of China.

Now President Joe Biden and his hawk infested administration are escalating tensions with Beijing to heights previously unseen.

Biden has said bluntly that the U.S. is in “extreme competition” with China. In his first address to Congress, Biden said we are competing with China to “win the 21st century.” Space Force has plans for the moon to be a “militarized front.” They see it as a venue for a future war. Washington is spending more on the military and so called “defense” than at any time in the nation’s history. The Republican Party’s neocons say that even Biden’s 2022 national security budget request for more than $750 billion is not enough to counter China and are demanding that number be increased by tens of billions.

The Pentagon’s excuse for its record high spending is Beijing, the so called “pacing threat.” China poses a threat to the hawks’ world domination, at least that is what has been said by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. According to the general, since the end of the previous Cold War, America has held “unchallenged global military, political and economic power. With the rise of China, that is changing and changing fast.”

The U.S. Military Is Incessantly Goading China

Last year, while Americans were distracted by the COVID-19 crisis, Trump’s war cabinet seized the opportunity to dramatically expand military activity around China. U.S. warships and aircraft carrier group strike forces sailing in the South China Sea were reported constantly. In July 2020, according to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing based think tank, the U.S. flew record numbers of aerial surveillance flights in the South China Sea and near China’s coast. The number of reconnaissance flights averaged three to five per day. In the same month, the Trump administration formally rejected almost all of China’s claims to the waters in the South China Sea. This policy has since been reaffirmed by the Biden regime. Under both administrations, the U.S. has been challenging China, using the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, inserting itself into disputes between regional actors there whom all have overlapping claims on the waters including over various, sometimes unmanned, rocks, reefs, islands, islets, and archipelagos.

See the rest here

About Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman is a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He has been featured in media outlets such as Antiwar.com and Counterpunch, as well as the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also been a guest on Conflicts of Interest. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96

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For What Will We Go to War With China? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2021

“We also reaffirm,” said Blinken, “that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Is this an American war guarantee to fight the People’s Republic of China, if the Philippines engage a Chinese warship over one of a disputed half-dozen rocks and reefs in the South China Sea? So it would appear.

Is who controls Mischief Reef or Scarborough Shoal a matter of such vital U.S. interest as to justify war between us and China?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/patrick-j-buchanan/for-what-will-we-go-to-war-with-china/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In his final state of the nation speech Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his refusal to confront China over Beijing’s seizure and fortification of his country’s islets in the South China Sea.

“It will be a massacre if I go and fight a war now,” said Duterte. “We are not yet a competent and able enemy of the other side.”

Duterte is a realist. He will not challenge China to retrieve his lost territories, as his country would be crushed. But Duterte has a hole card: a U.S. guarantee to fight China, should he stumble into war with China.

Consider. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Manila we would invoke the U.S.-Philippines mutual security pact in the event of Chinese military action against Philippine assets.

“We also reaffirm,” said Blinken, “that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

Is this an American war guarantee to fight the People’s Republic of China, if the Philippines engage a Chinese warship over one of a disputed half-dozen rocks and reefs in the South China Sea? So it would appear.

Why are we threatening this?

Is who controls Mischief Reef or Scarborough Shoal a matter of such vital U.S. interest as to justify war between us and China?

Tuesday, in Singapore, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed the American commitment to go to war on behalf of the Philippines, should Manila attempt, militarily, to retrieve its stolen property.

Said Austin: “Beijing’s claim to the vast majority of the South China Sea has no basis in international law. … We remain committed to the treaty obligations that we have to Japan in the Senkaku Islands and to the Philippines in the South China Sea.”

Austin went on: “Beijing’s unwillingness to … respect the rule of law isn’t just occurring on the water. We have also seen aggression against India … destabilizing military activity and other forms of coercion against the people of Taiwan … and genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.”

The Defense secretary is publicly accusing China of crimes against its Uyghur population in Xinjiang comparable to those for which the Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg.

Austin has also informed Beijing, yet again, that the U.S. is obligated by a 70-year-old treaty to go to war to defend Japan’s claims to the Senkakus, half a dozen rocks Tokyo now occupies and Beijing claims historically belong to China.

The secretary also introduced the matter of Taiwan, with which President Jimmy Carter broke relations and let lapse our mutual security treaty in 1979.

There remains, however, ambiguity on what the U.S. is prepared to do if China moves on Taiwan. Would we fight China for Taiwan’s independence, an island President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger said in 1972 was “part of China”?

And if China ignores our protests of its “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” against the Uyghurs, and of its human rights violations in Tibet, and of its crushing of democracy in Hong Kong, what are we prepared to do?

Sanctions? A decoupling of our economies? Confrontation? War?

This is not an argument for threatening war, but for an avoidance of war by providing greater clarity and certitude as to what the U.S. response will be if China ignores our protests and remains on its present course.

Some of us can still recall how President Dwight Eisenhower refused to intervene when Nikita Khrushchev ordered Russian tanks into Budapest to drown the 1956 Hungarian revolution in blood. Instead, we welcomed Hungarian refugees.

When the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, President John F. Kennedy called up the reserves and went to Berlin to make a famous speech, but did nothing.

“Less profile, more courage!” was the response of Cold War hawks.

But Kennedy was saying, as Eisenhower had said by his inaction in Hungary, that America does not go to war with a great nuclear power such as the Soviet Union over the right of East Germans to flee to West Berlin.

Which brings us back to Taiwan.

In the Shanghai Communique signed by Nixon, Taiwan was conceded to be a “part of China.” Are we now going to fight a war to prevent Beijing from bringing the island home to the “embrace of the motherland”?

And if we are prepared to fight, Beijing should not be left in the dark. China ought to know the risks it would be taking.

Cuba is an island, across the Florida Strait, with historic ties to the United States. Taiwan is an island 7,000 miles away, on the other side of the Pacific.

This month, Cubans rose up against the 62-year-old Communist regime fastened upon them by Fidel and Raul Castro.

By what yardstick would we threaten war for the independence of Taiwan but continue to tolerate 60 years of totalitarian repression in Cuba, 90 miles away?

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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If the US Wants to Beat China, Why Is It Copying China’s Socialism? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 13, 2021

In conclusion, if the US wants to strengthen its economic and geostrategic position versus China, it needs to apply the same free market principles that made it prosperous and powerful in the first place. Launching a second Marshall Plan, which mirrors China’s wasteful BRI, will only consolidate big government, crony capitalism, and corruption, eroding the US economy’s capital stock and competitiveness.

https://mises.org/wire/if-us-wants-beat-china-why-it-copying-chinas-socialism

Mihai Macovei

Under the Biden administration the US continued escalating the economic and geopolitical frictions with China. At the recent G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, President Biden sought to rally a “united front” against China with traditional G7 allies and new ones such as Australia, India, South Korea, and South Africa and rebuked China on economic policies, human rights, and tensions in the East and South China Seas. The US also persuaded its G7 allies to back a massive infrastructure support package for developing countries. The so-called Build Back Better World Partnership (B3W) is a de facto rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But it is far from obvious what the West stands to gain by emulating China’s exorbitant and highly controversial modern “Silk Road” venture.

The US’s Ambitious Global Infrastructure Plan

The B3W wants to mobilize “hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment,” in order to narrow an estimated infrastructure need of $40 trillion plus in the developing world. The B3W financing is expected to come from US budgetary instruments, such as the Development Finance Corporation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); from multilateral development banks (MDBs), such as the World Bank; and from the private sector and G7 partners. As the B3W is meant to challenge China’s project, we expect it to at least match the Chinese financial envelope, most commonly estimated at more than $1 trillion in investment and lending commitments so far.1 This is more than eight times higher than the nearly $113 billion in official development assistance and $22 billion in private sector investment provided by G7 countries for foreign infrastructure projects during 2015–19 (graph 1).

Graph 1: G7 Infrastructure Development Assistance

G7 infrastructure development assistance
Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In order to surpass China, the B3W aims at having a broader geographical coverage, a wider focus, and better project governance and standards. The BRI comprises a “Silk Road Economic Belt” trying to link China with Asia, Russia, and Europe by land, and a “Maritime Silk Road,” connecting China’s coastal regions with Asia, the South Pacific, Africa, and Europe, but its Western challenger aims at being global in scope. While the Chinese initiative is focused on traditional infrastructure projects—highways, railroads, ports, and power plants, the B3W wants to invest also in climate, health and digital technology. And because Chinese projects have been heavily criticized for lack of transparency, corruption, unsustainable debt and adverse environmental and social impacts, the B3W advertises itself as “a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership led by major democracies.”

Holes in China’s “Silk Road”

From its announcement in 2013, China’s megainfrastructure project has been met with suspicion in the West. Most important, it was feared that China had geostrategic ambitions to bring smaller BRI partners under its sphere of influence. It was also claimed that China was pursuing a “debt-trap diplomacy” in order to take over key strategic assets such as electric grids and ports, while the latter could be also used for military purposes.

With time, many analysts realized that much of this criticism was exaggerated. First, almost 140 countries have signed on to the BRI as of this writing, of which eighteen are from the EU, showing that many governments find the Chinese deal beneficial. And although China has not financed in full the promised $1 trillion in projects so far, it did make $190 billion worth of investments and $390 billion in construction work (financed by Chinese loans in general) during 2014–18. This is more than the $467 billion of development loans provided by the World Bank during 2008–19. Second, while the number of requests for debt renegotiation and relief has increased, overseas asset seizures have rarely occurred. Third, many pundits concur that the BRI ports are commercially designed and almost impossible to employ militarily.

Undeniably, China has been trying to enhance its political influence through the BRI, and is now perceived as the most influential economic actor in Southeast Asia and Africa. But resentments over some onerous projects, corruption scandals, and increasing debt burdens mean that such gains could be easily reversed, and China has started to improve its lending and investment standards. The BRI focus has been widened from traditional infrastructure to telecommunications, digital technology, and fintech. And China also expanded the BRI’s overarching goal to helping build a free trade and investment area which would accelerate economic growth for all partner countries.2

But BRI’s economic benefits are skewed in favor of Chinese construction companies at the expense of taxpayers. The BRI provided much business for China’s overstretched construction sector after the end of the domestic stimulus binge following the Great Recession. Almost 90 percent of the construction works funded under the BRI went to Chinese contractors, fueling criticism that the BRI creates unfair advantages for Chinese companies, which have become global leaders. Seven of the ten largest construction companies in the world by revenue were Chinese in 2017. At the same time, if China wanted to set a debt trap with the BRI, it seems that it is the country which has fallen into it. The pandemic has accelerated the already growing debt defaults and renegotiations and an estimated $94 billion, or a quarter of China’s overseas lending, has come under renegotiation so far (graph 2). It shows that the BRI’s most important lenders, i.e. China’s two main policy banks—the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China—have done a poor job of financing viable projects, for which the Chinese taxpayer is likely to foot the bill eventually.3 And given the sizeable amount of investments put on hold, scaled back, or cancelled, and the very low participation of private lenders, it is obvious that the BRI participating governments have made several bad investment decisions too.

Graph 2: China’s Debt Renegotiation Cases

debt rengotiation
Source: Rhodium Group Research.

Over 2013–17, the BRI looked pretty successful and was growing fast in terms of contracts signed and loans. After high-profile contracts were cancelled and debt renegotiations surged, the project ran out of steam. China’s big banks started rethinking and reducing their overseas lending and the number of construction contracts went down too (graph 3). This was also driven by the deleveraging of Chinese banks after the large credit expansion following the global financial crisis. China’s large domestic growth stimuli weakened its external competitiveness and reduced current account surpluses and outward FDI (foreign direct investment). The balance of payments crisis of 2015–16, which was accompanied by a drop in international reserves of more than $1 trillion and imposition of capital controls, reduced China’s ability to fund the massive overseas demand for infrastructure projects and investment. In addition, domestic voices started to question why Chinese people, also relatively poor, should subsidize unprofitable capital investment overseas.

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Contact Mihai Macovei

Dr. Mihai Macovei (macmih_mf@yahoo.com) is an associated researcher at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Romania and works for an international organization in Brussels, Belgium.

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