Monday, August 9, 2021

Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani on US-China Competition

Kishore Mahbubani, a prolific writer, speaker and former Singaporean diplomat, believes that the western domination of the world over the last 200 years is "aberrant" when seen in the context of the last several thousand years of human history.  In his book "Has China Won", he writes that "we are also moving away from a black-and-white world". "Societies in different parts of the world, including in China and Islamic societies, are going to work toward a different balance between liberty and order, between freedom and control, between discord and harmony". 

Kishore Mahbubabi

In a recent interview, Mahbubani made the following points about US-China competition: 

1. The United States with about 240-year history likes to pass judgement on China which has over 2,400 year history. What makes the US think China would listen to the American advice? 

2. The West is in the habit of judging everyone, including the Chinese. The Chinese have just had the best 30 years of their history. Would the Chinese listen to the American advice on "democracy" and political freedoms after they have seen what happened to Russia when the Russians decided to adopt democracy in the1990s and their economy collapsed? 

3. More than 120 million Chinese tourists go to other countries freely and willingly return to China every year. Would they return freely if China was an oppressive stalinist regime? The fact is that while political freedoms have not increased there has been an explosion of personal freedoms in China over the last 30 years.

Global Power Shift Since Industrial Revolution

A recent post-COVID survey conducted by the Washington Post shows that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government has jumped to 98%. Their trust in local government also increased compared to 2018 levels — 91% of Chinese citizens surveyed now said they trust or trust completely the township-level government. Trust levels rose to 93% at the county level, 94% at the city level and 95% at the provincial level. 

An earlier 2018 World Values Survey reported that 95% of Chinese citizens said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the national government. Comparatively, about 69% felt the same way about their local government. 

Here's a video of Mahbubani's interview:


Ahmed said...


Yes it is true that China is a very old country and it is considered as one of the ancient civilization in the world but how good was that civilization for common people?

Most of the Rulers of China in the past were Kings and they ruled like Kings, never in the history China had democratic setup of governance.

Shaukat S. said...

Hedges: The Collective Suicide Machine
July 26, 2021

The Collective Suicide Machine
The return of the Taliban to power will be one more signpost of the end of the American empire — and nobody will be held accountable.

Like any empire in terminal decay, no one will be held accountable for the debacle or for the other debacles in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen or anywhere else. Not the generals. Not the politicians. Not the CIA and intelligence agencies. Not the diplomats. Not the obsequious courtiers in the press who serve as cheerleaders for war. Not the compliant academics and area specialists. Not the defense industry. Empires at the end are collective suicide machines. The military becomes in late empire unmanageable, unaccountable, and endlessly self-perpetuating, no matter how many fiascos, blunders and defeats it visits upon the carcass of the nation, or how much money it plunders, impoverishing the citizenry and leaving governing institutions and the physical infrastructure decayed.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

I can understand your feeling as a Pakistani but I have some questions if you don't mind.

How much freedom is their in China?

Why are Chinese products so cheap?

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: " How much freedom is their in China? Why are Chinese products so cheap?"

Kishore Mahbubani makes a distinction between political and personal freedoms.

There are few, if any, political freedoms in China.

However, the Chinese have a lot of personal the freedom to travel which the Soviet Union did not and North Korea still doesn't.

The bottom line is that 98% of Chinese trust the communist party government, according to independent surveys.

A recent post-COVID survey conducted by the Washington Post shows that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government has jumped to 98%. Their trust in local government also increased compared to 2018 levels — 91% of Chinese citizens surveyed now said they trust or trust completely the township-level government. Trust levels rose to 93% at the county level, 94% at the city level and 95% at the provincial level.

An earlier 2018 World Values Survey reported that 95% of Chinese citizens said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the national government. Comparatively, about 69% felt the same way about their local government.


In the Logistics corridors in Asia and Africa -PRC has outwitted the USA and destroyed US allies like India !


INDIA IS A BANANA REPUBLIC,run by a dishwasher's son,which is being used like a puppet and guinea pig,by the USA.The GOI could not protect their assets in Afghan and Iran - will these weasels stand up to PRC ?

Taliban has doomed Chabahar and will use the Indian Roads to choke Kabul,get supplies and earn valuable toll revenue - via Zaranj,as a 1st point.What has India Built the infra for ? For PRC to evacuate the rare earths and minerals from Afghanistan ? The Afghans are seeking Indian help - but the weasels are still not send their Airforce,let alone send the army !

The Indian weasels did the same with Najibullah - they let him be killed !

On top of that,the PRC aid to Iran has completely destroyed Chabahar - as Indian aid is not required any more! What were the Indian weasels thinking ?

The Indian weasels were played by Iran and the US.1st he Iranians signed the MOU with the Indian weasels - and the US gave the nod for the 2 berths at Shahid Besheti.The Indian fools thought that the Indian diplonats had conned the US ! Then the Indians were played by the Iranians,to sign the MOU for the Rail link to Zahadan - and again the US appeared to blink.Then again the Indian Duds signed a MOU,for the Chabharf SEZ.

Iranians know that Indians are weasels and lapdogs of the US - who stopped the Oil imports,did not condemn the assassination of Qasim and the Mossad killings of Iranian N-Scientists in Iran ! They know the worth of the Indians ! Still they signed the MOUs !

Y ?

The Iranians KNEW that the Indian weasels will NOT build the rail line or start the SEZ - due to US sanctions ! WHICH FOOL WILL START A UNIT IN CHABHAR SEZ,IF THE US IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON THAT CORPORATE - EXCEPT CHAIWALA OF INDIA ?

It was to get a lever to PRC to INVEST in IRAN ! The aim was to get the US + INDIA sanction,for Chabhar,and then use that as a warning bell to PRC,to get them to invest.THE IRANIAN PLAN TO USE THE PRC was ONLY TO KILL CHABHAR,as it was THREAT TO GWADAR,and it was an Indian INT listening post on Gwadar. and Balochistan dindooohindoo

PRC is the natural ally of Iran - and with Bandar Abbas,in the Persian Gulf (and a UAE dispute),access to Iranian Ports for PRC,is the perfect hedge to Gwadar,and also,to optimise the costs of the North-South and Central Asian Corridors.Iran also needs to sell Oil in Yuan,with banking facilities from PRC - so that several nations in the world - can buy Iranian Oil and settle payments in Yuan and LCs.USD is the Achilles heel of Iran.

Similarly,the Iranians sought equipments from India,for the 2 berths in Chabhar - which Iran cannot import,as they are expensive, and Iran has no USD,and no banker in US/EU will accept Iranian Bank LCs.So they wanted the Indian Duds,to buy the equipments and give the USD loans to Iranians,to buy the equipemnts !


The Iranians knew from Day 1 that Chabahar was doomed ! They used the stupid Indian Diplomats to con the US - albeit in the short term.CHAIWALA thought that he could sleep with Netanyahu,and still cut deals with the Persian Shias - this is the DNA of sons of dishwashers,surrounded by fools and sycophants ! Imagine the Utopian paradise in which the Chaiwala and his mandarin monkeys reside !



The US could have said NO TO INDIA ON CHABAHAR, on Day 1 - but they did NOT ! dindooohindoo

Y ?

They wanted to show the Indian duds their place ! Just like Blinken came to India - and for the 1st time in decades,a US SOS excoriated the CHAIWALA's record,on HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH - IN DELHI ! AND THEN HE GENTLY REMINDED THE INDIAN LAPDOGS - TO FALL IN LINE,AS FAR THE ANTI-CHINA COALITION GOES !




I present the words of Al Beruni

The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid.

PEOPLE SAY HOW COULD THE IRANIANS HAVE MADE SUCH AN ASS OF THE INDIANS ? The Persians know the Indians from the time of Cyrus !

The wisdom of the “children of Cyrus,Darius and Xerxes”,encapsulates the “transcendence of Human thought”, the “Deuterosis of the Dindoo”, as under:

A “Persian dictionary”,titled “Lughet-e-Kishwari”,published in Lucknow in 1964,gives the meaning of the word Hindu as “chore [thief], dakoo [dacoit], raahzan [waylayer], and ghulam [slave].

Riaz Haq said...

#China's #Huawei accused of stealing trade secrets.#US #software company Business Efficiency Solutions has sued Huawei in #California federal court for allegedly stealing its trade secrets while working together on a project for the #Pakistani government.




And what are the Indians waiting for ? Not sending in the IAF ?

The USA is leaving Afghans in precisely the situation that the Americans wanted - a nation of squabbling warlords,antagonistc tribes and a resurgent Taliban.If the US wanted they could have bombed the Taliban,and at least delayed the Taliban wave until September - but they did NOT.

The US wants to put the fear of death into Ghani and his merry men, and the warlords - to push them into a coalition - desired by the USA, and funded by the USA.

Ultimately that will also fail,and the nation will be divided into "zones of influence", with the maximum spread with the Taliban,and the Taliban controlling the supply chains to all oteher zones.So you will have a interlocked and connected matrix,which is spun by the USA ,every few months, by some "event" - to keep the players ,in their place - strategic disequilibrium - where all players are off balance - but will not collapse.

The Taliban will earn toll revenues from infra (built by the hapless Indians),and tax revenues from tradea,s CORRUPTION WILL DECLINE SHARPLY - and that is enough to finance the Islamic state.The BONUS will be Chinese investments into Taliban ,for minerals and the royalty,transit fees and profit taxes ,which will then get the Taliban, the funds to build an Airforce,which will then take over Afghanistan

The Mongols will redeem the Islamic state of the Taliban,as a part of the Ghazwa E Hind and other prophecies.In Return,Taliban will offer no sanctuary to East Turkmenisation and Xinjiang fighters ! Using the Chinese to deal with the Taliban is the best option,as they are a new face with NO HISTORY OF GENOCIDE AND PERFIDY IN AFGHANISTAN !

It is a NEW DAWN and the rise of the 1st REAL ISLAMIC NATION - which will be the most prosperous in the world (among Muslim nations) as the population is just 40 million and the nation has Trillions of USD of Minerals and will earn Billions of USD,via transit fees for the logistics and hydrocarbon corridors !

And that will lead to the revival of the Islamic nation (based on shariat) across all Muslim nations.It will be the 1st AND ONLY VIABLE TO THE DUBIOUS ELECTORAL DEMOCRACIES OF MUSLIM NATIONS.











Riaz Haq said...

What Comes After the War on Terrorism? War on China?

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after a failed 20-year nation-building exercise has left many Americans and analysts saying, “If only we knew back then what we know now, we would have never gone down that path.” I am not sure that’s true, but it nevertheless raises this question: What are we doing today in foreign policy that we might look back 20 years from now and say, “If only we knew back then what we know now, we would never have gone down that path”?

My answer can be summed up in one word: China.

Nader Mousavizadeh, founder and C.E.O. of Macro Advisory Partners, a geopolitical consulting firm, suggests that if we are now going to shift our focus from the Middle East to an irreversible strategy of confronting China, we should start by asking three foundational questions:

First, Mousavizadeh says: “Are we sure we understand the dynamics of an immense and changing society like China well enough to decide that its inevitable mission is the global spread of authoritarianism? Especially when this will require a generational adversarial commitment on the part of the United States, engendering in turn a still more nationalistic China?”

Second, says Mousavizadeh, who was a longtime senior adviser to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan: If we believe that our network of alliances is “a uniquely American asset, have we listened as much as we’ve talked to our Asian and European allies about the reality of their economic and political relationships with China — ensuring that their interests and values are embedded in a common approach to China? Because without that, any coalition will crumble.”


The third question, Mousavizadeh argues, is if we believe that our priority after a 20-year war on terrorism must now be “repair at home — by addressing yawning deficits in infrastructure, education, incomes and racial equity” — is it more useful or more dangerous to emphasize the China threat? It might light a fire under Americans to get serious about national renewal. But it might also light a fire to the whole U.S.-China relationship, affecting everything from supply chains to student exchanges to Chinese purchases of U.S. government bonds.

Riaz Haq said...

ASEAN needs more Belt and Road money, say ministers - Nikkei Asia

Meeting online at a Belt and Road Summit, ASEAN ministers said the region has benefited from the infrastructure and digital connectivity already brought about by BRI, but new initiatives are needed to create opportunities amid pandemic-induced uncertainties.

"I am of the view that there are many tangible aspects that could be derived from the multinational partnership and cooperation under the BRI," said Sansern Samalap, Thailand's vice minister for commerce.

Sansern gave the example of the BRI flagship $5.75 billion China-Thailand high-speed railway project that will promote investments in the Greater Mekong Subregion, which includes Cambodia and Laos as part of the China-Indochina economic corridor.

Finally signed last October after numerous delays over terms and conditions, the initial 253 km line will connect Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, the gateway to northeastern Thailand. Phase one of construction has already begun, and is slated for completion in late 2026. The final 873 km line will carry on up to Vientiane, the Laotian capital, and from there continue north to Kunming in China's Yunnan Province.

"Investors can grab this business opportunity and use Thailand as the gateway into the subregion and ASEAN," said Sansern.

Top Chinese officials participated in the summit, including Gao Yunlong, vice chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Commerce Minister Wang Wentao.

The BRI was unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013. In 2020, China signed BRI cooperation agreements with nearly 140 countries to promote connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa, mainly through infrastructure projects.

Tan See Leng, Singapore's minister for manpower, told the summit that accelerating ASEAN development plans has become more important if countries are to overcome the current economic slowdown,

"In such times, the BRI plays an even more important role in strengthening regional and multilateral cooperation by promoting connectivity in infrastructure, in finance and in trade," said Tan.

The Asian Development Bank recently downgraded its growth forecast for Asia to 7.2% from the 7.3% projected in April, citing the recent rapid spread of COVID-19 and low vaccination levels in Asian countries.

Tan said Singapore will partner China on some investments in BRI projects. Companies from the two countries are collaborating in various sectors, including logistics, e-commerce, infrastructure, finance and legal services.

Jerry Sambuaga, Indonesia's vice minister for trade, said BRI projects have boosted connectivity and created business opportunities.

"We must maintain this mutually beneficial partnership amidst uncertain global challenges," Sambuaga said. He called for more collaboration on Indonesian tourism projects that benefit local communities, and for the BRI to complement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation agreement.

RCEP, a 15-country multilateral free trade deal signed in 2020 by ASEAN along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, is due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Some analysts expect a delay, however, as not all governments have ratified the agreement in their national legislatures.

Singapore's Tan said today that the city state expected the "timely" implementation of RCEP on schedule.

"We look forward to the implementation of the RCEP in order to realize the benefit to businesses [and] to people while contributing to Asia's economy recovery and strengthening of confidence in the longer-term economic prospects of Asia," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

The Biden administration has been unusually circumspect about revealing its contacts and discussions with Pakistan. While Pakistan’s actions often appear at odds with the United States, it nonetheless is a nation with links to the Afghan Taliban whose cooperation on fighting terrorism can be helpful. It’s also a nuclear-armed country American officials would prefer not to lose entirely to Chinese influence.

In the past month, as the Taliban made rapid gains across Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke directly only once to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, according to what’s been made public by the State Department. Readouts of these diplomatic calls are usually so bland as to be useless to observers and the press, but this one, from Aug. 16, was unusually devoid of detail.

About a week earlier, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Pakistan’s Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with his Pakistani counterpart, Moeed Yusuf, in late July — a meeting confirmed via a Sullivan tweet but no White House readout.

“It’s clear that the Biden administration from the top levels seems to have pretty deep reservations about Pakistan, born of years of experience, and is not willing to either give Pakistan a pass or kudos for anything that Pakistan might like,” said Daniel Markey, a South Asia specialist who served at the State Department from 2003 to 2007.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as the United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime at the time, U.S. officials leaned on Pakistan for help. Pakistan cooperated to some degree, especially in late 2001, but critics say it has played a double game ever since.


Former officials say that, among other reasons for its support, Pakistan sees the Afghan Taliban as a partner in any future fight against rival India. Pakistan also helped deliver Afghan Taliban leaders to peace talks with the United States and the now-fallen Afghan government, even as Islamabad has long officially dismissed the idea that it actively supports the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan has been more helpful to the United States in its fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, but even that cooperation has been questioned. It was in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after all, that the United States found and killed Al Qaeda chief and Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011. The Pakistani government denied knowing he was there.

That said, Pakistani help in tracking down and targeting terrorist targets in Afghanistan now that the U.S. has withdrawn troops would be “useful, if you can get it,” a former senior U.S. diplomat said. Getting humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the future may require using supply lines that run through Pakistan, the former diplomat added.

The Afghan Taliban’s triumph in August may not prove a long-term victory for Pakistan. The win has emboldened groups like the Pakistani Taliban, who have long used terrorist attacks and other means to try to overthrow the Pakistani government. The refugee crisis sparked by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, too, is sure to test Pakistan, which already hosted numerous people displaced from the neighboring country.

The meeting between Massinga and Khan took place on Aug. 26, the day that some 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops were killed in a bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, which the U.S. was using to help evacuate at-risk Afghans, Americans and others. U.S. officials blamed the attack, which also wounded many people, on ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State terrorist organization and a rival of the Afghan Taliban.

“Acknowledging the tragedy, Massinga underscored the mutual interest Pakistan and the United States have in targeting ISIS-K and al-Qa’ida,” the description states. In response, the Pakistani ambassador “acknowledged ISIS-K was a common enemy for the Taliban as well.”

Riaz Haq said...

#China's Xi Jinping ignored #US President Biden’s suggestion of f2f summit. People briefed on the call said Xi did not use abrasive language but his overall message to #Biden was that the US must tone down its rhetoric.

Joe Biden suggested he hold a face-to-face summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping during a 90-minute call last week but failed to secure an agreement from his counterpart, leading some US officials to conclude that Beijing is continuing to play hardball with Washington.

The US president proposed to Xi that the leaders hold the summit in an effort to break an impasse in US-China relations, but multiple people briefed on the call said the Chinese leader did not take him up on the offer and instead insisted Washington adopt a less strident tone towards Beijing.

The White House had portrayed the call — which took place at Biden’s request seven months after their first telephone conversation — as a chance to test if Xi was willing to engage seriously after several diplomatic meetings between US and Chinese officials garnered little progress.

Five people briefed on the call said that while Xi had used less abrasive language than his top diplomats had done this year, his overall message to Biden was that the US must tone down its rhetoric.

Biden has taken a harsh line on China, criticising its treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and its military activity around Taiwan. Beijing has responded by accusing the Biden administration of interfering in China’s core strategic interests.

A sixth person familiar with the situation said Biden had floated the summit as one of several possibilities for follow-on engagement with Xi, and that the US president had not expected an immediate response.

One US official briefed on the conversation said that while Xi did not engage with the idea of a summit, the White House believed this was partly due to concerns about Covid-19. Xi has not left China since he went to Myanmar in early 2020 before the outbreak of the pandemic.

The US had considered the G20 gathering in Italy in October for a possible summit, but Chinese media have suggested that Xi may not attend. He will also not attend the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation meeting this week in Tajikistan, where China, Russia, India, Pakistan and central Asian countries will discuss Afghanistan.

Another person familiar with the Biden-Xi call said it was conceivable that the Chinese president just did not want to commit at this particular point in time. A different person said it was possible that the two sides could agree to a video call — a step up from a phone call — around the time of the G20. But three people said the US was disappointed with Xi’s apparent lack of interest in a summit.

The White House declined to comment before publication of this article but Biden later told reporters who asked if he was disappointed that Xi did not want to meet that it was “not true”, according to Reuters.

The president made the comments after Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, had said the account of the Biden-Xi call was not accurate. “This is not an accurate portrayal of the call. Period,” Sullivan said in a statement. “As we’ve said, the presidents discussed the importance of being able to have private discussions between the two leaders, and we’re going to respect that.”

Chinese accounts of the call emphasised that it had been initiated by Biden, and quoted Xi as saying that US policies had caused “serious difficulties”. They also noted that the US “looks forward to more discussions and co-operation” with China, in language that implied Washington was pushing harder for engagement than Beijing.

Riaz Haq said...

#China's new #hypersonic #missile test: The #nuclear-capable rocket that circled the globe took #US #intelligence by surprise. Top #American general sees it as "significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning & attack assessment”.

Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.

The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised.

The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernisation.

“We have no idea how they did this,” said a fourth person.

The US, Russia and China are all developing hypersonic weapons, including glide vehicles that are launched into space on a rocket but orbit the earth under their own momentum. They fly at five times the speed of sound, slower than a ballistic missile. But they do not follow the fixed parabolic trajectory of a ballistic missile and are manoeuvrable, making them harder to track.

Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons policy who was unaware of the test, said a hypersonic glide vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead could help China “negate” US missile defence systems which are designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.

“Hypersonic glide vehicles . . . fly at lower trajectories and can manoeuvre in flight, which makes them hard to track and destroy,” said Fravel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Fravel added that it would be “destabilising” if China fully developed and deployed such a weapon, but he cautioned that a test did not necessarily mean that Beijing would deploy the capability.

Mounting concern about China’s nuclear capabilities comes as Beijing continues to build up its conventional military forces and engages in increasingly assertive military activity near Taiwan.

Tensions between the US and China have risen as the Biden administration has taken a tough tack on Beijing, which has accused Washington of being overly hostile.

US military officials in recent months have warned about China’s growing nuclear capabilities, particularly after the release of satellite imagery that showed it was building more than 200 intercontinental missile silos. China is not bound by any arms-control deals and has been unwilling to engage the US in talks about its nuclear arsenal and policy.

Last month, Frank Kendall, US air force secretary, hinted that Beijing was developing a new weapon. He said China had made huge advances, including the “potential for global strikes . . . from space”. He declined to provide details, but suggested that China was developing something akin to the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” that the USSR deployed for part of the Cold War, before abandoning it.

“If you use that kind of an approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory. It’s a way to avoid defences and missile warning systems,” said Kendall.

In August, General Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a conference that China had “recently demonstrated very advanced hypersonic glide vehicle capabilities”. He warned that the Chinese capability would “provide significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning and attack assessment”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Defense Analyst @BharatKarnad: #Nuclear-wise, #India is seriously lagging. #China has tested Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS)/ hypersonic glide vehicle. Top #US general has compared it to "Sputnik". #Pakistan has tested MIRVs.

A decision approving a series of test firings of the Agni-5 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) has been pending for the last 10 years. When it was finally taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi it was done, it seems, again on a one-off basis, and with some reluctance. As to why this should be so is one of those mysteries only Modiji can unravel. It is clear the trigger for the test launch of Agni-5 was not some longview calculation in the wake of the news of the spectacular Chinese test of a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) in the guise of testing a hypersonic glide vehicle, but an attempt by India, a nuclear minnow, to say: Hey, notice me — I’m in the game too!!

Just how far ahead China is may be guaged from the Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, calling the Chinese achievement “significant” and a near “Sputnik moment” for America.

First re: Milley’s Sputnik ejaculation. The US was startled out of its wits when the Soviet Union in October 1957, launched the first man-made satellite — the 80kg, football-sized, orbiter — Sputnik-1, which event the History Division of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), heralds as the “Dawn of the space age”. Incidentally, NASA was created by the stirred and much shaken Eisenhower Administration in 1958. It led, in that period, to the US handily winning the space race by landing Neil Armstrong on the moon in May1969, and meeting President John F Kennedy’s May 1961 challenge to the American science & technology community and industry to do so by the end of that decade.

The shock in a complacent Washington at China’s successfully testing FOBS is as great as when a doubting US was rendered aghast at the Soviet Union’s pulling off a Sputnik some 65 years ago. We can now expect a full-fledged arms race in space to get underway with American companies being pushed, pulled, prodded and incentivised to, as soon as possible, have the US military not just field an array of FOBS, but also technology to neutralize hypersonic glide weapons able to home in on targets at 21 kms per second (Mach 5 to Mach 7 speeds) after transiting through space and re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

The Chinese FOBS occasioned the 5,000 km Agni-5 IRBM test, which was a sort of small, “me too” reaction by India. There’s no parity, of course, because DRDO’s hypersonic programme is having the usual kind of troubles with this tech relating to the design of the glide vehicle (for smooth reentry) as also with the propellant mix for the initial and terminal phases of hypersonic flight. It may not be like for like, but Agni-5 is the only weapon available to India to blunt Beijing’s tendency to show India up as a strategic nonentity and to prevent nuclear bullying of the kind the Indian army, in the conventional arena, routinely suffers at the hands of the PLA on the disputed border.


Pakistan mocking India’s nuclear posture by continuing to play the terrorism card and by speedily building up its stock of tactical nuclear weapons whose first use, it surmises and the record bears it out, has clearly deterred India from exploiting its conventional military edge.


Even Pakistan tested a MIRV a few years ago, who knows why India still hasn’t done so, would be a real game changer against China.

Riaz Haq said...

What the Thucydides Trap gets wrong about China

The alarming possibility of a major conflict between the US and China has been framed as a likely consequence of a pattern of great power behaviour first identified by the fifth-century BCE historian Thucydides. In his study of the Peloponnesian War, the Greek wrote: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” This argument is now most associated with the Harvard academic Graham Allison, who claims to have identified 16 instances in which a dominant power has sought to suppress an emerging rival before they became too strong. He notes, disconcertingly, that 12 of these ended in war.

Allison first presented his thesis of the “Thucydides Trap” in the Atlantic in 2015, and developed it in a book, Destined for War, in 2017. Since then, Allison’s argument that the relationship between the US and China is growing increasingly volatile has gained even more credibility with tensions over trade, the South China Sea and Taiwan.

But Allison’s notion of the Thucydides Trap – the tendency towards war when a rising power threatens to displace an existing one – fails to address the risks involved in conflict and the reasons why wars occur. The story told by Thucydides is much more complicated than the “Trap” suggests. The notion of inevitable conflict between Athens and Sparta elides the fact that the Athenian leader Pericles made poor strategic calls. Different decisions would have avoided war.


The “Trap” argument is also undermined when you consider the view held by many experts that China’s power may have already peaked. The nation is facing a series of system problems that may halt its rise, including an unbalanced economy, an ageing population, environmental degradation and political dysfunction resulting from President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian turn. Indeed, recent war scares start from the assumption that the leadership in Beijing might want to invade Taiwan before China’s power wanes.

The risk of war in the Indo-Pacific region cannot usefully be understood as the result of an upstart power challenging the established global hegemon for supremacy. Issues of interest and alliances are as important as power balances, and all need to be watched carefully if conflict between the world’s preponderant forces are to be addressed and, hopefully, avoided.

Riaz Haq said...

As #US Pulls Back From #Mideast, #China Leans In. For #Beijing, the turmoil in neighboring countries like Afghanistan & #Kazakhstan has reinforced its desire to cultivate stable ties in the region, after #American military’s withdrawal from #Afghanistan

Chinese state-backed companies are eyeing investments in a maritime port in Chabahar, Iran. They have helped to finance an industrial park in the port of Duqm, Oman, and to build and operate a container terminal in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ capital, as well as two new ports in Israel.

Beijing deals with governments that Washington spurns. Syria, whose leaders are under heavy sanctions for atrocities committed during its civil war, just joined the Belt and Road Initiative. And Iran has become heavily reliant on China since the United States withdrew from the international deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed sanctions that have crippled its economy.


In January alone, five senior officials from oil-rich Arab monarchies visited China to discuss cooperation on energy and infrastructure. Turkey’s top diplomat vowed to stamp out “media reports targeting China” in the Turkish news media, and Iran’s foreign minister pressed for progress on $400 billion of investment that China has promised his country.

As the United States, fatigued by decades of war and upheaval in the Middle East, seeks to limit its involvement there, China is deepening its ties with both friends and foes of Washington across the region.

China is nowhere near rivaling the United States’ vast involvement in the Middle East. But states there are increasingly looking to China not just to buy their oil, but to invest in their infrastructure and cooperate on technology and security, a trend that could accelerate as the United States pulls back.

For Beijing, the recent turmoil in neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Kazakhstan has reinforced its desire to cultivate stable ties in the region. The outreach follows the American military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years, as well as the official end of its combat mission in Iraq. That, along with the Biden administration’s frequent talk of China as its top national security priority, has left many of its partners in the Middle East believing that Washington’s attention lies elsewhere.

Riaz Haq said...

How the West Can Win a Global Power Struggle
In an economic Cold War pitting China and Russia against the U.S. and its allies, one side holds most of the advantages. It just has to use them.

Of course the East plays a central role in the global economy. As recent market turmoil illustrates, Russia is a key supplier of not just oil and gas but metals such as palladium, used in catalytic converters, and nickel. China dominates manufacturing of countless goods whose value became abundantly clear during the pandemic, when demand for some, such as protective personal equipment, skyrocketed.

To a great extent these strengths reflect Russia’s comparative advantage in geology and China’s in factory labor. The West’s comparative advantage is in knowledge. That’s why Russia and China court Western investment. For example, to develop a complex liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Arctic, Russia relied on Norwegian, French and Italian contractors for essential expertise, research firm Rystad Energy notes.

Catching up with the West is no easy task, as semiconductors illustrate. Western companies dominate all the key steps in this critical and highly complex industry, from chip design (led by U.S.-based Nvidia, Intel, Qualcomm and AMD and Britain’s ARM) to the fabrication of advanced chips (led by Intel, Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung ) and the sophisticated machines that etch chip designs onto wafers (produced by Applied Materials and Lam Research in the U.S., the Netherlands’ ASML Holding and Japan’s Tokyo Electron ).

Russia and China have made efforts to reduce this dependence. Russia developed locally designed microprocessors called Elbrus and Baikal to run data centers, cybersecurity operations and other applications. Though neither has achieved significant market share, they “represent the pinnacle of local design capability,” said Kostas Tigkos, principal at Jane’s, a defense intelligence provider. Russia hoped that they would eventually displace chips made by Intel and AMD, he said. “This would not only have been the foundation for diversifying their installed base, but a stepping stone for exports of those processors to other friendly nations.” But without manufacturers like TSMC to make the chips, Russia is facing “the complete disintegration of their aspirations to develop their own industry.”

China has a much bigger semiconductor industry than Russia, and its partly state-owned national champion, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co. (SMIC), could in theory make Russia’s chips, but that would take at least a year, Mr. Tigkos said. Moreover, its efforts to catch up to its Taiwanese competitor have been set back by sanctions. In 2020 the U.S. required companies using American technology to obtain a license to sell to SMIC. This effectively limited its ability to acquire advanced equipment from Netherlands’ ASML, which is critical for “any country that wants to have a competitive semiconductor industry,” Mr. Tigkos said.

Why does all this matter to the outcome of the geopolitical contest? Over time economic weight, strength and vitality are what allow countries to sustain military capability, achieve and maintain technological superiority, and remain attractive partners for other countries.

Yet GDP does not automatically equate to strategic influence. To win a Cold War, it’s not enough for the West to hold the best economic cards, it has to know how to play them. Economic statecraft, as this is called, does not come naturally to the West: Its institutions are built on the assumption that companies are private enterprises, not instruments of the state. They do business wherever it’s profitable, regardless of their home countries’ strategic interests.

Riaz Haq said...

A total of 143 Chinese companies (vs 122 US companies) have made it to the list of world's top 500 enterprises measured by business revenue, making China top the ranking for a second consecutive year, according to the Fortune Global 500 list for 2021 released on Monday.

China's Xiaomi Group,, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings are among the seven internet-related companies on the list this year, while the other three are from the U.S., namely Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.

Among the seven internet giants, Xiaomi saw the largest increase in the rankings, rising by 84 places, the list shows.

China had 133 companies on the list last year, surpassing the United States for the first time.

There are 122 U.S. companies on the list this year, up by one from last year, while Japan holds steady with 53.

Total revenue for the world's largest companies dropped by 4.8 percent to $31.7 trillion in 2021, the first decline in five years.

Due to the COVID-19 impact, cumulative sales in energy and automotive sectors fell by over 10 percent, while all six airlines on last year's list failed to make the cut this year.


Hua Chunying 华春莹

China government official
In 1989, only one Chinese company made it into the #Global500.
In 2021, the number reached 143, ranking first in the world.

Riaz Haq said...

Chinese Views of the US and Russia After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
A new survey taken after the Russian invasion of Ukraine finds that the Chinese are very negative about the U.S., very positive about Russia – and very confident about China.

By Richard Q. Turcsanyi
May 14, 2022

Among the 25 countries respondents were asked about (Figure 1), Russia was the most positively perceived country with 80 percent of respondents saying they viewed Russia in a positive light while only 12 percent held negative views. The United States, on the other hand, was the most negatively viewed country in China with slightly more than 60 percent of respondents perceiving it negatively and 31 percent holding positive attitudes.

The other very positively perceived countries among Chinese respondents were Pakistan (73 percent), Singapore (66 percent), North Korea (62 percent), and Germany (61 percent). In turn, other very negatively perceived countries included India (56 percent), Japan (54 percent), Vietnam (48 percent), South Korea (47 percent), and Ukraine (46 percent).


To get a more nuanced picture of the perceptions of the United States and Russia, we asked two open-ended questions in which the respondents provided their first associations with the respective country, and also a reason for why their image of the U.S. or Russia got better or worse.

In terms of the U.S. (see Figure 2), the most common association was “hegemon,” while other frequent expressions were “advanced,” “developed,” and “powerful,” but also “bossy,” “war,” “bandit,” and “sowing discord.”


In the Russian case, the most common association was “warrior nation,” followed by words such as “Putin,” “vodka,” “vast,” “bears,” “powerful,” “war with Ukraine,” and “Sino-Russian friendship.”


The picture we are getting is that both the United States and Russia are seen as powerful, but American power is seen mostly in negative terms, while Russia’s is almost exclusively positive. It may be noteworthy, however, that perceptions of Russia among the Chinese seem to be somewhat stereotypical and linked to the current leader, and might be lacking deeper social roots. Hence, these perceptions may be easily open to change.

When asked about how positively or negatively the respondents assess the foreign policy of major powers (Figure 4), only Russia (besides China) was seen positively, while the U.S. topped the negative ranking, ahead of India, Japan, and the European Union.


Another major finding of the survey is Chinese people’s confidence in China. When asked about how militarily and economically powerful they perceive relevant major powers, China was seen as the most powerful one, while China’s culture was also perceived as the most attractive and Chinese universities were the most recommended ones.

We also asked how willing the respondents would be to get a COVID-19 vaccine produced by various countries. Again, Chinese vaccines were far more trusted than any other. This seems to be a result of two-plus years of propaganda painting the Western response to the pandemic in negative colors, presenting Western vaccines as ineffective, and even suggesting theories about the virus originating as a U.S. bioweapon. This may be a problem now, however, as Chinese vaccines don’t seem to be working as efficiently against the newer variants of COVID-19 as some Western ones.

Riaz Haq said...

Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

China’s transformation is due to the talent, the ingenuity, the hard work of the Chinese people. It was also made possible by the stability and opportunity that the international order provides. Arguably, no country on Earth has benefited more from that than China.

But rather than using its power to reinforce and revitalize the laws, the agreements, the principles, the institutions that enabled its success so that other countries can benefit from them, too, Beijing is undermining them. Under President Xi, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad.

We see that in how Beijing has perfected mass surveillance within China and exported that technology to more than 80 countries; how its advancing unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, undermining peace and security, freedom of navigation, and commerce; how it’s circumventing or breaking trade rules, harming workers and companies in the United States but also around the world; and how it purports to champion sovereignty and territorial integrity while standing with governments that brazenly violate them.

Even while Russia was clearly mobilizing to invade Ukraine, President Xi and President Putin declared that the friendship between their countries was – and I quote – “without limits.” Just this week, as President Biden was visiting Japan, China and Russia conducted a strategic bomber patrol together in the region.

Beijing’s defense of President Putin’s war to erase Ukraine’s sovereignty and secure a sphere of influence in Europe should raise alarm bells for all of us who call the Indo-Pacific region home.

For these reasons and more, this is a charged moment for the world. And at times like these, diplomacy is vital. It’s how we make clear our profound concerns, better understand each other’s perspective, and have no doubt about each other’s intentions. We stand ready to increase our direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues. And we hope that that can happen.

But we cannot rely on Beijing to change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive international system.

President Biden believes this decade will be decisive. The actions that we take at home and with countries worldwide will determine whether our shared vision of the future will be realized.

To succeed in this decisive decade, the Biden administration’s strategy can be summed up in three words – “invest, align, compete.”

We will invest in the foundations of our strength here at home – our competitiveness, our innovation, our democracy.

We will align our efforts with our network of allies and partners, acting with common purpose and in common cause.

And harnessing these two key assets, we’ll compete with China to defend our interests and build our vision for the future.

We take on this challenge with confidence. Our country is endowed with many strengths. We have peaceful neighbors, a diverse and growing population, abundant resources, the world’s reserve currency, the most powerful military on Earth, and a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that, for example, produced multiple effective vaccines now protecting people worldwide from COVID-19.

And our open society, at its best, attracts flows of talent and investment and has a time-tested capacity for reinvention, rooted in our democracy, empowering us to meet whatever challenges we face.

Riaz Haq said...

Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

First, on investing in our strength.

After the Second World War, as we and our partners were building the rules-based order, our federal government was also making strategic investments in scientific research, education, infrastructure, our workforce, creating millions of middle-class jobs and decades of prosperity and technology leadership. But we took those foundations for granted. And so it’s time to get back to basics.

The Biden administration is making far-reaching investments in our core sources of national strength – starting with a modern industrial strategy to sustain and expand our economic and technological influence, make our economy and supply chains more resilient, sharpen our competitive edge.

Last year, President Biden signed into law the largest infrastructure investment in our history: to modernize our highways, our ports, airports, rail, and bridges; to move goods to market faster, to boost our productivity; to expand high-speed internet to every corner of the country; to draw more businesses and more jobs to more parts of America.

We’re making strategic investments in education and worker training, so that American workers – the best in the world – can design, build, and operate the technologies of the future.

Because our industrial strategy centers on technology, we want to invest in research, development, advanced manufacturing. Sixty years ago, our government spent more than twice as much on research as a percentage of our economy as we do now – investments that, in turn, catalyzed private-sector innovation. It’s how we won the space race, invented the semiconductor, built the internet. We used to rank first in the world in R&D as a proportion of our GDP – now we’re ninth. Meanwhile, China has risen from eighth place to second.

With bipartisan congressional support, we’ll reverse these trends and make historic investments in research and innovation, including in fields like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing. These are areas that Beijing is determined to lead – but given America’s advantages, the competition is ours to lose, not only in terms of developing new technologies but also in shaping how they’re used around the world, so that they’re rooted in democratic values, not authoritarian ones.

The leadership – Senator Romney and others – the House and Senate have passed bills to support this agenda, including billions to produce semiconductors here and to strengthen other critical supply chains. Now we need Congress to send the legislation to the President for his signature.

We can get this done, and it can’t wait – supply chains are moving now, and if we don’t draw them here, they’ll be established somewhere else. As President Biden has said, the Chinese Communist Party is lobbying against this legislation – because there’s no better way to enhance our global standing and influence than to deliver on our domestic renewal. These investments will not only make America stronger; they’ll make us a stronger partner and ally as well.

One of the most powerful, even magical things about the United States is that we have long been a destination for talented, driven people from every part of the planet. That includes millions of students from China, who have enriched our communities and forged lifelong bonds with Americans. Last year, despite the pandemic, we issued more than 100,000 visas to Chinese students in just four months – our highest rate ever. We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen to study in the United States – we’re lucky to have them.

Riaz Haq said...

Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

We are not perfect. But at our best, we always strive to be – in the words of our Constitution – a more perfect union. Our democracy is designed to make that happen.

That’s what the American people and the American model offer, and it’s one of the most powerful assets in this contest.

Now, Beijing believes that its model is the better one; that a party-led centralized system is more efficient, less messy, ultimately superior to democracy. We do not seek to transform China’s political system. Our task is to prove once again that democracy can meet urgent challenges, create opportunity, advance human dignity; that the future belongs to those who believe in freedom and that all countries will be free to chart their own paths without coercion.

The second piece of our strategy is aligning with our allies and partners to advance a shared vision for the future.

From day one, the Biden administration has worked to re-energize America’s unmatched network of alliances and partnerships and to re-engage in international institutions. We’re encouraging partners to work with each other, and through regional and global organizations. And we’re standing up new coalitions to deliver for our people and meet the tests of the century ahead.

Nowhere is this more true than in the Indo-Pacific region, where our relationships, including our treaty alliances, are among our strongest in the world.

The United States shares the vision that countries and people across the region hold: one of a free and open Indo-Pacific where rules are developed transparently and applied fairly; where countries are free to make their own sovereign decisions; where goods, ideas, and people flow freely across land, sky, cyberspace, the open seas, and governance is responsive to the people.

President Biden reinforced these priorities this week with his trip to the region, where he reaffirmed our vital security alliances with South Korea and Japan, and deepened our economic and technology cooperation with both countries.

He launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the region. It will, in the President’s words, “help all our countries’ economies grow faster and fairer.” IPEF, as we call it, renews American economic leadership but adapts it for the 21st century by addressing cutting-edge issues like the digital economy, supply chains, clean energy, infrastructure, and corruption. A dozen countries, including India, have already joined. Together, IPEF members make up more than a third of the global economy.

The President also took part in the leaders’ summit of the Quad countries – Australia, Japan, India, the United States. The Quad never met at the leader level before President Biden took office. Since he convened the first leaders’ meeting last year, the Quad has held four summits. It’s become a leading regional team. This week, it launched a new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, so our partners across the region can better monitor the waters near their shores to address illegal fishing and protect their maritime rights and their sovereignty.

We’re reinvigorating our partnership with ASEAN. Earlier this month, we hosted the U.S.-ASEAN Summit to take on urgent issues like public health and the climate crisis together. This week, seven ASEAN countries became founding members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. And we’re building bridges among our Indo-Pacific and European partners, including by inviting Asian allies to the NATO summit in Madrid next month.

Riaz Haq said...

Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

Our diplomacy is based on partnership and respect for each other’s interests. We don’t expect every country to have the exact same assessment of China as we do. We know that many countries – including the United States – have vital economic or people-to-people ties with China that they want to preserve. This is not about forcing countries to choose. It’s about giving them a choice, so that, for example, the only option isn’t an opaque investment that leaves countries in debt, stokes corruption, harms the environment, fails to create local jobs or growth, and compromises countries’ exercise of their sovereignty. We’ve heard firsthand about buyer’s remorse that these deals can leave behind.

At every step, we’re consulting with our partners, listening to them, taking their concerns to heart, building solutions that address their unique challenges and priorities.

There is growing convergence about the need to approach relations with Beijing with more realism. Many of our partners already know from painful experience how Beijing can come down hard when they make choices that it dislikes. Like last spring, when Beijing cut off Chinese students and tourists from traveling to Australia and imposed an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley exports, because Australia’s Government called for an independent inquiry into COVID’s origin. Or last November, when Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons to stop a resupply of a Philippine navy ship in the South China Sea. Actions like these remind the world of how Beijing can retaliate against perceived opposition.

There’s another area of alignment we share with our allies and partners: human rights.

The United States stands with countries and people around the world against the genocide and crimes against humanity happening in the Xinjiang region, where more than a million people have been placed in detention camps because of their ethnic and religious identity.

We stand together on Tibet, where the authorities continue to wage a brutal campaign against Tibetans and their culture, language, and religious traditions, and in Hong Kong, where the Chinese Communist Party has imposed harsh anti-democratic measures under the guise of national security.

Now, Beijing insists that these are somehow internal matters that others have no right to raise. That is wrong. Its treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, along with many other actions, go against the core tenets of the UN Charter that Beijing constantly cites and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all countries are meant to adhere to.

Beijing’s quashing of freedom in Hong Kong violates its handover commitments, enshrined in a treaty deposited at the United Nations.

We’ll continue to raise these issues and call for change – not to stand against China, but to stand up for peace, security, and human dignity.

That brings us to the third element of our strategy. Thanks to increased investments at home and greater alignment with allies and partners, we are well-positioned to outcompete China in key areas.

For example, Beijing wants to put itself at the center of global innovation and manufacturing, increase other countries’ technological dependence, and then use that dependence to impose its foreign policy preferences. And Beijing is going to great lengths to win this contest – for example, taking advantage of the openness of our economies to spy, to hack, to steal technology and know-how to advance its military innovation and entrench its surveillance state.

Riaz Haq said...

Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.

We’ve seen this same model when it comes to solar panels, electric car batteries – key sectors of the 21st century economy that we cannot allow to become completely dependent on China.

Economic manipulations like these have cost American workers millions of jobs. And they’ve harmed the workers and firms of countries around the world. We will push back on market-distorting policies and practices, like subsidies and market access barriers, which China’s government has used for years to gain competitive advantage. We’ll boost supply chain security and resilience by reshoring production or sourcing materials from other countries in sensitive sectors like pharmaceuticals and critical minerals, so that we’re not dependent on any one supplier. We’ll stand together with others against economic coercion and intimidation. And we will work to ensure that U.S. companies don’t engage in commerce that facilitates or benefits from human rights abuses, including forced labor.

In short, we’ll fight for American workers and industry with every tool we have – just as we know that our partners will fight for their workers.

The United States does not want to sever China’s economy from ours or from the global economy – though Beijing, despite its rhetoric, is pursuing asymmetric decoupling, seeking to make China less dependent on the world and the world more dependent on China. For our part, we want trade and investment as long as they’re fair and don’t jeopardize our national security. China has formidable economic resources, including a highly capable workforce. We’re confident that our workers, our companies will compete successfully – and we welcome that competition – on a level playing field.

So as we push back responsibly on unfair technology and economic practices, we’ll work to maintain economic and people-to-people ties connecting the United States and China, consistent with our interests and our values. Beijing may not be willing to change its behavior. But if it takes concrete action to address the concerns that we and many other countries have voiced, we will respond positively.

Competition need not lead to conflict. We do not seek it. We will work to avoid it. But we will defend our interests against any threat.

To that end, President Biden has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead. We’ll seek to preserve peace through a new approach that we call “integrated deterrence” – bringing in allies and partners; working across the conventional, the nuclear, space, and informational domains; drawing on our reinforcing strengths in economics, in technology, and in diplomacy.

The administration is shifting our military investments away from platforms that were designed for the conflicts of the 20th century toward asymmetric systems that are longer-range, harder to find, easier to move. We’re developing new concepts to guide how we conduct military operations. And we’re diversifying our force posture and global footprint, fortifying our networks, critical civilian infrastructure, and space-based capabilities. We’ll help our allies and partners in the region with their own asymmetric capabilities, too.

Riaz Haq said...

Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium

A few months ago, I heard a very astute political analyst say that when it comes to the ‘Western’ media, the financial press is typically more accurate. The Guardians, Fox News, and MSNBCs are always sycophantically in line with the geopolitical consensus, no matter how propagandistic or inaccurate.

We’ve been seeing a lot of that ridiculously out-of-touch coverage on Ukraine and NATO — if you see the Ghost of Kyiv anywhere, let me know ’cause I want to interview that cat.

But seemingly out of nowhere, CNN did have a decent and surprisingly revealing piece back in mid-April regarding weapons sent to Ukraine. The synopsis: we don’t know what happens to them. In their words, it’s a ‘black hole.’ They also admitted the information we’re getting isn’t always accurate and will always be curated to improve the case for more military aid.

The ‘newspaper of record’ NY Times has been embarrassingly bad, but they’re admittedly starting to shift their rhetoric.

But because investors need accurate assessments, outlets like the Financial Times can’t be quite as propagandistic and have to cover things a bit closer to reality — although the Economist is a pathetic cheerleader of all things ‘West is Best.’

Forbes — bless their hearts — recently went full mask-off.

The title of this piece says it all, ‘Expanded NATO Will Shoot Billions To US Defense Contractors.’

That’s it, that’s the game, and that’s why the US is so militaristic — of course, naked neocolonialism and resource extraction play a role. But never-ending conflict is big business in itself, and so America has never met a war it didn’t like. It especially hasn’t met a proxy war it didn’t like.

Selling billions in weapons while no caskets of US service members are being flown home draped in flags is their favorite kind of business.

For that reason, Forbes says now is a great time to invest in the American corporate war machine.

The financial press like the Financial Times can’t be quite as propagandistic and has to cover things a bit closer to reality because investors need accurate assessments…

Is NATO an overall good? It’s debatable, and I’m open to hearing arguments, but I lean towards no. I understand why countries like the Czech Republic wanted to join a military alliance after centuries of oppression, especially the 1968 incursion by Soviet troops. And it makes sense for smaller nations like Lithuania to want some backup from the mafia don that is the US military.

But NATO was created to counter the Soviet Union. That union no longer exists and yet NATO is larger than ever. In the early nineties, there was talk of cooling tensions and cutting military budgets. The Red Menace had collapsed, couldn’t we all calm down? Of course not.

As Forbes rightly admits, expanding NATO shoots billions to US military contractors. Easing tensions, resolving conflicts, and reducing military budgets would have meant billions in unrealized profits. And so, NATO marched east.

Of course, if any sovereign nation wants to join, they have the right to do so, but ask the Libyans, Afghans, or Serbs if it is purely a ‘defensive’ alliance. Like America, NATO goes against the UN Security Council whenever it wants to bomb non-compliant states into oblivion and there are never any consequences.

It’s not purely defensive. That’s a fact. It is mostly about weapons sales. And as the AUKUS Submarine episode showed, America is NOT a reliable partner. Europeans always surprise me with how much they trust Uncle Sam and how little they know about his criminal record.

The US will throw any ally under the bus to make a buck at the drop of a hat. Would NATO really exert itself to back up member state Montenegro if it didn’t align with America’s self-interest? Hell no.

Riaz Haq said...

Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium

Everybody these days is familiar with Eisenhower’s warnings regarding the military-industrial complex, and I often wonder what he’d say if he saw the state of America and the federal budget. The top marginal tax rate was freaking 91% when he was in office and the military budget was actually reduced for a few years in the 1950s. These days, the highest marginal tax rate on the richest of the rich is 37%, most billionaires and corporations pay next to nothing, and military spending will very soon surpass $1,000,000,000,000 a year.

Ike would shit himself, give a speech on the barbarity of the nation, and then get called a pansy-ass socialist and never be invited back onto mainstream television — seriously.

How the hell did Forbes write this piece? And how does America justify this level of military spending with almost third-world-level poverty and social problems domestically?

This Chris Hedges quote says it all:

The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 millionchildren who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

It’s a death spiral. Everyone can see it. And as I said, the financial press is usually more accurate when portraying it; they just do it in their own way. It’s still propagandistic, but just a little closer to reality.

Investors are moving money around and need real information so the Financial Times does its best to call balls and strikes while the other outlets are Kim-Jong-un-level home refs and say ‘we good guys are on the right side of history and winning’ no matter how detached that might be from the Newtonian reality.

It’s wise not to expect much from any of them, but they do offer a window into the mainstream ‘Western’ consensus.

And sometimes, like Forbes, they remove the mask entirely, accidentally reveal the truth, and cheerlead the orgy of profits brought on by mass death.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #British PM Tony Blair: #Ukraine war shows West's dominance is ending as #China rises. China's Xi has continued supporting #Russia's #Putin & criticized sanctions "abuse" by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a "strategic partnership" with China.

The world, Blair said, was at a turning point in history comparable with the end of World War Two or the collapse of the Soviet Union: but this time the West is clearly not in the ascendant.

"We are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance," Blair said in a lecture entitled "After Ukraine, What Lessons Now for Western Leadership?" according to a text of the speech to a forum supporting the alliance between the United States and Europe at Ditchley Park west of London.

"The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar," Blair said. "The biggest geo-political change of this century will come from China not Russia."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands and triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin says the West has declared economic war by trying to isolate Russia's economy with sanctions and the Kremlin says Russia will turn to powers such as China and India.

The war in Ukraine, Blair said, had clarified that the West could not rely on China "to behave in the way we would consider rational".

Chinese President Xi Jinping has continued supporting Putin and criticised sanctions "abuse" by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a "strategic partnership" with China.

China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy’s, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms it has become the world’s second-largest economy.

Its economy is forecast to overtake the United States within a decade and it leads in some 21st century technologies such as artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine and conductive polymers.

"China’s place as a superpower is natural and justified. It is not the Soviet Union," said Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007. Its allies are likely to be Russia and Iran.

The West should not let China overtake militarily, he said.

"We should increase defence spending and maintain military superiority," Blair said. The United States and its allies "should be superior enough to cater for any eventuality or type of conflict and in all areas."

Riaz Haq said...

‘My Order, My Rules’: China and the American Rules-Based Order in Historical Perspective
William M. Zolinger Fujii

Indeed, the very historical process of the United States’ emergence as a great world power is indissociable from its quest to become a dominant state in its region first, which is a necessary, though insufficient, condition for a country to become a global power. Seen in this way, China’s intentions to replace the US as East Asia’s hegemon are not particularly abnormal, but rather in line with patterns of behaviour of rising world powers. As the ‘strategic backwater’ of the very superpower in whose image the current order was made, and with that status appearing secure for the foreseeable future, there seems to be little reason for the current debate on contestations of the US-led global order to pay greater attention to the region. Such a tendency, however, may overestimate the extent to which Latin American states accept the current order (Long, 2018), while simultaneously obscuring important intraregional contestations of and contributions to that system, such as the principle of non-intervention, which was largely the result of the region’s jurists’ reaction to US and European interventions in the region (Orford, 2021; Vargas, 2005). Equally importantly, the region is closely linked to the process through which the US became a dominant power in East Asia in 1945, forty-seven years after it acquired a territorial base in the region after defeating a declining Spain in the late 1800s.

The foreign policy foundation of US hemispheric ambitions was laid by the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which formalised Washington’s stance towards the European powers’ interests in the Americas, although its rationale was originally isolationist rather than expansionist (Campos, 2014; Modeste, 2020). At a time when new sovereign states were emerging throughout Ibero-America, US leaders feared a reaction from European monarchies that had been reorganised since the 1815 Congress of Vienna, which had given birth to a new, post-Napoleonic international order. Seeking to keep Europe’s perceived neocolonial ambitions at bay, US President James Monroe declared that the United States would oppose any European attempt to recolonise the Americas while accepting the existing situation as of 1823 (Bandeira, 2005). Seen from the perspective of the 1815 international order, the United States was a revisionist power. Yet, given Washington’s lack of capabilities to enforce it, the doctrine amounted to little more than a declaration of intentions instead of representing an effective policy. The world’s greatest power at the time, Britain initially welcomed the initiative because it too opposed the recolonisation of Latin America, where British capital and trade already held a dominant position without the need for direct territorial control. In that very particular sense, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2014 declaration that Asian affairs and problems should be run and solved by Asians rather than by external powers (Doshi, 2021) resembles President James Monroe’s statement made two centuries earlier

By the mid-1840s, British concerns had grown at the prospect of the US becoming a dominant hemispheric power, which led London to consider the extension of the balance of power concept to the Western Hemisphere (Murphy, 2005). Britain’s maritime dominance meant that while it acquiesced to the precepts of the Monroe Doctrine when these were directed against other European powers, it would ignore them when British interests were at stake, such as when London annexed the Malvinas Islands in 1833 or blockaded the River Plate in the 1845-1850 period. In spite of that, Britain’s aspirations failed to materialise, and by the end of 1848, the US had incorporated the Oregon Territory and annexed half of the Mexican land that corresponded to one-third of American territory (Langley, 2019).

Riaz Haq said...

U.S. Lawmakers Look to Digital Dollar to Compete With China
The Federal Reserve is considering the idea, but in no rush to join a digital-assets space race

Lawmakers are pushing the Federal Reserve to move swiftly toward issuing a digital dollar, to combat steps from China and others they say could one day threaten the U.S. status as the global reserve currency.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Reps. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) and French Hill (R., Ark.), has sought for the U.S. to counter global competitors launching digital versions of their currencies. The House Financial Services Committee, which both serve on, might vote on related legislation as soon as next month.

Ms. Waters has framed competition over new forms of central-bank money as “a new digital assets space race.” The Biden administration and the Fed don’t share a sense of urgency.


Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated the central bank isn’t in a rush, as it confronts inflation and a slowing economy. Mr. Powell has said it is more important to get the digital dollar right than to be first to market, in part because of the dollar’s critical global role. He has also said the Fed won’t issue a digital dollar without support from elected officials. The White House has largely remained neutral on a digital dollar, with President Biden ordering a study to determine its implications for issues such as economic growth and stability.


Some in Congress say the U.S. is already behind the curve. Among the Group of 20 major economies, 16 are in the development or pilot phase of a digital currency, according to the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. The European Central Bank, on behalf of countries including Germany and France, is exploring designs for a digital euro and preparing to launch a test pilot.

Mr. Hill, the Arkansas Republican, said his concerns were animated in part by China, which began real-world testing of its own central-bank–issued digital currency in 2020. In an interview, he said China’s lending practices in the developing world could make it easier for the country to promote international uses of its digital currency—a potential threat to the dollar-based global economy.


“We should be concerned about China’s predatory practices,” he said.

Chinese authorities haven’t ruled out international use of the e-CNY, the official name for the country’s digital currency, but say it is designed for small-scale domestic use by consumers.

Analysts are looking for signs that the People’s Bank of China will take concrete steps to join with central banks elsewhere to make it possible to use digital currencies between countries. The bottom line is that Beijing is uncomfortable with the outsize role the U.S. dollar plays in global commerce and in particular fears being frozen out of the dollar-based financial system, such as in response to a conflict over Taiwan.

International transactions in a digitized currency created by China, the thinking goes, could be a defensive weapon in such circumstances because they would happen beyond the reach of the U.S.

Riaz Haq said...

#China tops #US in quantity and quality of #scientific papers. #Chinese #research accounted for 27.2%, or 4,744, of the world's top 1% of most cited papers, overtaking the U.S. at 24.9%, or 4,330. #UK came in 3rd at 5.5%. #India stands 4th & #Japan 5th.

China now leads the world both in the number of scientific research papers as well as most cited papers, a report from Japan's science and technology ministry shows, which is expected to bolster the competitiveness of its economy and industries in the future.

Research papers are considered higher quality the more they are cited by others. Chinese research accounted for 27.2%, or 4,744, of the world's top 1% of most cited papers, overtaking the U.S. at 24.9%, or 4,330. The U.K. came in third at 5.5%.

The ministry's National Institute of Science and Technology Policy compiled the report based on data from research-analytics company Clarivate. The figures represent 2019 levels, based on the annual average between 2018 and 2020 to account for fluctuations in publication numbers. The report was released Tuesday, the same day U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion bill framed as essential to winning economic competition with China through greater research.

Scientific research is the driver behind competitive industries and economies. Current research capabilities will determine future market shares in artificial intelligence, quantum technology and other cutting-edge fields, and may have a direct impact on national security as well.

China has quickly increased its footprint in advanced research in recent years. It overtook the U.S. in the total number of scientific papers in the 2020 report, then in the number of top 10% most cited papers in the 2021 report.

China published 407,181 scientific papers in 2019 according to the latest report, pulling further ahead of the U.S. at 293,434. In terms of the top 10% most cited papers, China accounted for 26.6% of publications, while the U.S. accounted for 21.1%.

"China is one of the top countries in the world in terms of both the quantity and quality of scientific papers," said Shinichi Kuroki, deputy director-general of the Asia and Pacific Research Center at the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

"In order to become the true global leader, it will need to continue producing internationally recognized research," he said.

Meanwhile, Japan is falling behind. It ranked fifth in the total number of publications and 10th in the top 1% most cited papers in the latest report after losing ground to India. It dropped to 12th place in the number of the top 10% most cited papers, passed by Spain and South Korea.

The number of universities in India have increased roughly 4.6 times from 243 in 2000 to 1,117 in 2018. Over two million receive a bachelor's degree in the sciences each year. In contrast, research Japan has slowed since the mid-2000s with no recovery in sight, stoking concerns about the effect on the country's economy and industries.

Riaz Haq said...

China’s Military Is Catching Up to the U.S. Is It Ready to Fight?
The People’s Liberation Army is emerging as a true competitor but Beijing worries about the ability of its troops
A Chinese soldier held a flag during joint military exercises in Kyrgyzstan in 2016.

China’s military is emerging as a true competitor to the U.S. under Xi Jinping.

The People’s Liberation Army now has hypersonic missiles that evade most defenses, a technology the U.S. is still developing. Its attack drones can swarm to paralyze communications networks. China’s naval ships outnumber America’s, and it launched its third aircraft carrier this summer, the first to be designed and built in the country. Its defense budget is second only to the U.S.’s. China’s military has more serving members, at around 2 million, compared with just under 1.4 million in the U.S.

The question for Mr. Xi, which he has raised in public, is whether those forces are ready for battle.

China hasn’t fought a war since a brief border clash with Vietnam in 1979. Unlike American forces, who have fought for most of the past two decades in Iraq and Afghanistan, China’s service members have virtually no combat experience—which some Chinese leaders have referred to as a “peace disease.” Finding a solution short of actual war has been a priority for Mr. Xi, especially as he seeks to prepare the country for a potential showdown with the U.S.

“We must comprehensively strengthen military training and preparation, and improve the army’s ability to win,” Mr. Xi said on Sunday at the opening of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress.

The issue has become more pressing for Beijing as tensions build with Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory. On Sunday, Mr. Xi reiterated that Beijing wouldn’t renounce the use of force in China’s effort to take control of the island.

“The complete unification of the motherland must be realized, and it will be realized,” he said, drawing loud applause.


An effort to make China’s different military branches work more closely together—so-called “jointness,” which is considered crucial to modern warfare—remains untested.

“At present, there are not many commanders in the PLA who are truly proficient in joint combat,” one serving officer at the Zhengzhou Joint Logistics Support Center wrote earlier this year in a commentary in the PLA Daily, the military’s newspaper. “If this situation does not change, once there is a war, it will be very dangerous.”

Outside analysts say the PLA appears to be making progress in bringing forces together for more complex joint exercises, helped by interaction with other militaries, especially Russia’s. Since Mr. Xi took power, China has increased drills with Russia to as many as 10 a year from one or two previously.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinions | China is weaker than we thought. Will we change our policies accordingly?

We need to right-size the threat from China.

Opinion by Fareed Zakaria

In late 1992, I started my first full-time job, as managing editor of Foreign Affairs. I remember sorting through manuscript after manuscript arguing that Japan was going to take over the world. That claim was not unusual at the time. A big bestseller of the year was Michael Crichton’s novel “Rising Sun,” a call to arms for economic war with Tokyo. In 1991, the book “The Coming War With Japan” predicted inevitable and major military conflict. During the 1992 presidential primaries, one of the pithiest campaign slogans came from Democrat Paul Tsongas. “The Cold War is over,” he would say, “and the Japanese won.”

What is striking about these words is that they all came well after the crash of the Japanese stock market, which fell from its peak in December 1989. We now mark 1990 as the year that Japan’s giddy growth era ended. But at the time, people assumed this was just a temporary interruption. They saw the data but then returned to their old thinking.

Could we be seeing something similar happening with China these days? It seems clear that China’s growth is stalling. The country that since 1978 has grown at an average of over 9 percent annually is projected to grow about 3 percent this year. Some think tanks have postponed their projections for when the country’s economy would overtake the United States to become the world’s largest economy to 2030 or later. Some experts are even suggesting that this might never happen, which is striking, given that China’s population is more than four times as much as the United States’.

There are many reasons for the new bearish mood about China: its draconian covid policy, real estate bubbles, debt and — perhaps most consequentially for the long term — a demographic collapse. (China’s fertility rate is now lower than Japan’s.) But above all looms the change of course away from the market undertaken by the Chinese government in the past 10 years.

China has grown at a stunning pace since 1978 because it embraced markets and trade. But Chinese leader Xi Jinping has moved the country to a very different model, one that views the state as the primary engine of the economy, identifying industries, providing funding and controlling the participants. And growth has stalled.

But if we can see that China is actually weaker than we had thought a few years ago, has that led us to change our conclusions accordingly? No.

Just as it is becoming clear that Xi’s embrace of the state and his “Made in China” industrial policy are not working, Washington has been busily implementing its own version of Chinese-style industrial policy. The situation is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when Americans spoke enviously of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry — a ministry that was in fact in the process of making a series of expensive bets on industries that flopped.

China doesn’t just face economic challenges. Xi’s foreign policy has mostly been a failure. His expansionism, bluster and repression have produced quantifiable results. Unfavorable views of China have skyrocketed in recent years to all-time or near-all-time highs in several countries, according to a Pew Research Center survey. From Australia to Spain, countries that were once favorably inclined have shifted away from Beijing.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinions | China is weaker than we thought. Will we change our policies accordingly?

We need to right-size the threat from China.

Opinion by Fareed Zakaria

China’s foreign overtures have been duds, from the expensive and messy Belt and Road initiative to its effort to woo Eastern Europe. The latter project, China’s 16+1 group, is fizzling because of countries’ disappointed expectations and Beijing’s relations with Moscow. And yet, in a move reminiscent of America’s misguided efforts to counter Soviet influence anywhere — even if that meant allying with dictators in remote countries of Africa — Washington has been frantically wooing Palau (population around 18,000) and other tiny Pacific Islands from Beijing’s embrace.

The basic argument for a hyper-hawkish policy toward China has been that China was rising fearsomely and that is what made it so dangerous. Prepare yourself for a new argument: China is declining precipitously and that is why it is so dangerous! So even if the facts are the opposite of what was previously asserted, the conclusion somehow remains the same.

In fact, while declining powers do sometimes pose a threat, the general and obvious rule remains that as countries grow rich and powerful, they try to expand their political and military reach. Moscow in the 1990s, when its economy was collapsing, allowed Ukraine to become independent. Vladimir Putin, flush from a decade of high energy prices, invaded Ukraine. Scholars have tracked Chinese foreign policy and found that it turns inward in periods of weakness and stress.

Let me be clear: China, with all its limitations, still presents a powerful challenge for the United States, the most serious long-term one by far. But right-sizing this threat and understanding it correctly are crucial to formulating the best strategy to tackle it. Instead, Washington’s conventional wisdom is still filled with exaggerated fears and fantasies of an enemy that is 10 feet tall.

Riaz Haq said...

How Xi Jinping Transformed China—and His Challenges Ahead
Key findings from The Wall Street Journal’s coverage as China’s leader looks to another five-year term

As Xi Jinping locks in another five years as China’s leader, The Wall Street Journal examined the changes he wrought during his first decade in power—and the risks they pose for China and the world in his third term.

Here are some of the key findings.

1. Mr. Xi is driven to ensure China can win a possible confrontation with the West.

Mr. Xi has come to see the possibility of a showdown with the West as increasingly likely, according to people familiar with his thinking. That belief has added urgency to many of Mr. Xi’s biggest initiatives, including his push to expand China’s military, reduce China’s reliance on Western technologies, and take bold foreign-policy risks—including a crackdown on Hong Kong that drew harsh criticism from across the world.

Many experts fear Mr. Xi will next try to take the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan, a move that could destabilize the region and bring China into open conflict with the U.S.

2. Mr. Xi is more powerful than ever within China—but his purges of rivals come at a cost.

Mr. Xi became China’s most formidable leader in decades through an increasingly sophisticated campaign of anticorruption purges that sidelined opponents and suppressed potential challenges to his power. Few are beyond Mr. Xi’s reach—not even one of his oldest friends, Wang Qishan, who once ran Mr. Xi’s campaigns. Over the past two years, antigraft enforcers have increasingly gone after people inside Mr. Wang’s political and personal circles, curtailing his influence.

Mr. Xi’s antigraft purges have antagonized members of the political elite and discouraged lower-level officials from making decisions for fear of running afoul of Beijing.

The unrelenting purges could make China’s political system less resilient over time by leaving senior leaders less willing to challenge Mr. Xi and debate policies.

3. Mr. Xi’s prioritization of politics over economic goals is clouding China’s long-term growth prospects.

Mr. Xi has said he wants to double the size of China’s economy by 2035—a goal that would require China’s economy to grow an average of nearly 5% annually. But many economists now believe 5% won’t be achievable.

A major challenge, they say, is Mr. Xi’s insistence on greater state control at the expense of China’s more dynamic private sector.

That shift is a reversal of former leader Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening” process starting in 1978. It’s helping Mr. Xi achieve political objectives, including a redirection of capital into industries Beijing sees as strategically important as U.S.-China tensions deepen, like artificial intelligence.

But by carving out a bigger role for less-efficient state-owned enterprises, and putting private businesses at a disadvantage, Mr. Xi is exacerbating long-term problems for China, including slowdowns in productivity and wage growth.

4. Mr. Xi has extended the state deeper into citizens’ lives. Censorship and surveillance are making it hard to express opposition publicly.

Mr. Xi’s zero-tolerance policy toward Covid has pushed his controls over society to entirely new levels. Many people start their days with government-mandated Covid tests from workers in white hazmat suits. Without proof of a negative result, public spaces are off limits, including grocery stores. People who have merely crossed paths with people infected by the virus are often forced into quarantine.

Such measures are testing people’s faith in a government that is no longer delivering the rapid economic growth that underpinned popular support for decades.

Riaz Haq said...

Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of sustainable development at Columbia University, said he’s “pretty convinced” the virus came out of a “U.S. lab biotechnology,” although he added that “we don’t know for sure.”

The latest effort by Sachs — a long-time advocate of dismantling American hegemony and embracing the rise of China — to put blame on U.S. labs has been circulated on Chinese social media, including by the Chinese embassy to France this week.

Sachs is engaged by the European Commission as a special adviser to foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to focus on “cooperation policy.”

Chinese diplomats have repeatedly accused the U.S. of developing biotechnology that transformed into the coronavirus, a claim rejected by the EU as disinformation. The World Health Organization chief last year complained that China was not transparent enough, saying there was a "premature push" to rule out the theory that the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan.

A spokesman for the EU’s foreign policy arm sought to draw distance from Sachs.

“Jeffrey Sachs is an external unpaid adviser of the HRVP [Borrell] … The external advisers are external, independent personalities. They are not EU officials. They therefore do not speak for the HRVP, nor for the Commission. Their views are their own,” the spokesman said, stressing that Sachs’ commitment was only for 20 working hours per year.

Contradicting Sachs’ latest speculation about the coronavirus’ origin, the EU spokesman said that “a laboratory accident has been categorized as extremely unlikely” according to a WHO study.

Sachs told POLITICO the virus "quite likely emerged from a U.S.-backed laboratory research program ... A natural spillover is also possible, of course. Both hypotheses are viable at this stage."

Riaz Haq said...

Watch Professor Jeffrey Sachs describe the US as “the most violent country in the world” and then get shockingly shut down at the Athens Democracy Forum.

Sach’s argues that what matters is a country’s unique governance culture: classifying countries in political systems (“liberal democracy or not”) is oversimplifying.

He doesn’t hold back when describing the US governance culture: “A semi-democratic white-dominated hierarchical racist society that aims to preserve privilege by the elites [and founded as] a slave-owning genocidal country”. Ouch!

That’s why he argues that “the biggest mistake of president Biden was to say ‘the greatest struggle of the world is between democracies and autocracies’.”

He adds: “The real struggle of the world is to live together and overcome our common crises” under thunderous applause.

He says “the solution in [this world] is to speak with each other more […] Our political elites in the US do not speak with Chinese political elites except to point fingers or to yell at them. […] If we would seat down to speak with each other, we’d actually get somewhere.”

Last but not least, he destroys the myth that “democracies” are more peaceful: “the most violent country in the world in the 19th century was the most democratic, Britain. The most violent country in the world since 1950 is the US”.

And he gets shockingly shut down by the host.

Here is the full video from the Athens Democracy Forum. (Use the toggle on the red line to skip to Jeffrey Sachs, who starts at 15 minutes).

Riaz Haq said...

#China is #SaudiArabia’s largest #trading partner, with #Chinese exports to #KSA reaching $30.3 billion in 2021 & Saudi exports at $57 billion in the same year. #Saudi #oil makes up 18% of #Beijing’s total crude #oil imports — worth about $55.5 billion January-October in 2022.

“The oil market, and by extension the entire global commodities market, is the insurance policy of the status of the dollar as reserve currency,” economist Gal Luft, co-director of the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, told the Journal at the time. “If that block is taken out of the wall, the wall will begin to collapse.”


Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has great ambitions to diversify its economy, which has for decades relied on crude oil output. But in order to do that, it needs money — oil money. That’s at least part of why Saudi Arabia limited production in the midst of a global oil crisis and prices for crude oil remain high.

Both nations also tout ambitious infrastructure projects. The Belt and Road initiative, China’s effort to create a 21st-century Silk Road international trade route by providing the finances to develop series of ports, pipelines, railroads, bridges, and other trade infrastructure to nations across Asia and Africa, is a milestone effort for Xi. It’s also received major criticism for potentially exploiting poor nations by essentially loaning them money they can’t pay back, in some cases granting China control over these critical hubs.

Xi’s presence in Saudi Arabia, both with MBS and as part of a larger summit with Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, present multiple opportunities to strengthen ties with a host of nations in the region — and to make sure that in the global power competition, those nations are, at least, not aligned with the US, as Shannon Tiezzi wrote in The Diplomat Wednesday.

Critically, Saudi Arabia knows it cannot depend on generous US weapons sales under Biden, so China is an increasingly viable alternative. In fact, Reuters reported, Saudi Arabia is thought to have signed $30 billion in defense contracts at this summit with China.

In forging their alliance, both nations get a strong trading partner who won’t question their policies; Saudi Arabia gets a more predictable relationship in Xi than it has seen in the switch from former President Donald Trump to Biden.

How does this affect the US and its global position as a superpower?
The US-Saudi relationship is longstanding. It officially started toward the end of World War II, and the basic oil-for-security trade has lasted for decades, becoming increasingly important to the kingdom between Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s and the increasing influence of regional rival Iran. Despite Saudi repression and alleged human rights abuses, Riyadh could count on US weapons, and the US could almost always count on cheap Saudi oil.

Of course, there have been tensions in the relationship before. The 1973 oil embargo in retaliation for the US decision to resupply the Israeli military during the Arab-Israeli War, as well as Saudi involvement in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, tested the alliance, but US leadership maintained that the kingdom was a key regional partner nonetheless.

Under Trump, the relationship between the two nations was somewhere between transactional and downright chummy — Trump even reportedly bragged that he defended MBS against criticism from Congress over Khashoggi’s death.

But the relationship has become the most strained it has been in recent memory due to MBS’s abuses and Biden’s criticism. In March, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a fuel shortage, MBS refused to take Biden’s calls to negotiate increased oil production and help ease prices. When they finally met in July, Biden was extremely uncomfortable — and he left almost empty-handed.

Riaz Haq said...

Derek J. Grossman
The US and India are putting pedal to the metal on decoupling from China. Doubt it will work, but I'd like to be pleasantly surprised.


U.S. Pursues India as a Supply-Chain Alternative to China
Biden administration turns to New Delhi as it seeks to steer critical technologies away from Beijing

India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval, led New Delhi’s delegation this week in meetings with Mr. Sullivan and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and other officials.

The meetings underscore a broader U.S. effort to meet challenges from China through alliances with other countries. The Biden administration has given priority to Washington’s relationship with what is known as the Quad—an alliance between India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. that has focused on countering Beijing.

“President Biden really believes that no successful and enduring effort to address any of the major challenges in the world today…is going to be effective without a close U.S.-India partnership at its heart,” a senior administration official said.

Riaz Haq said...

U.S., China Plunge Further Into a Spiral of Hostility

After tiptoeing toward a rapprochement, any fence-mending now has been postponed

Harsh new verbal attacks on the U.S. by Beijing’s top leadership demonstrate just how unsteady relations have become between the world’s two major powers.

Just a few weeks ago, China and the U.S. were tiptoeing toward something akin to a diplomatic cease-fire. President Biden’s envoy was due in Beijing to craft a possible framework for high-level government-to-government dialogues and stabilize ties after years of bitterness.

Then, a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was detected crossing North America, casting a new shadow over relations. The fence-mending trip was postponed and relations between the two powers have plunged further into a spiral of recrimination and tension.

This week, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and his foreign minister accused Washington of suppressing China’s development and driving the two countries toward conflict.

“Everything the other side does is seen as negative and done with evil intention,” said Suisheng Zhao, a China foreign-policy specialist at the University of Denver. “That is the Cold War mentality.”

China’s leader, Mr. Xi, elevated the rhetorical tension with an accusation straight out of that bygone era, a breakdown both sides insist they don’t want. China, Mr. Xi charged, faces “all-around containment, encirclement and suppression” at the hands of Western nations in league with the U.S.

On Tuesday, his new foreign minister, Qin Gang, followed up with a warning that unless the U.S. changes course “there will surely be conflict and confrontation.”

A spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, when asked about the rhetoric from Beijing, said the Biden administration policy is unchanged: It seeks competition with China, not conflict.

“There is nothing about our approach to this most consequential of bilateral relationships that should lead anybody to think that we want conflict,” he told reporters Tuesday. “We absolutely want to keep it at that level.”

The breadth of discord in U.S.-China ties, however, shows the difficulties in constraining tensions. The Biden administration has continued Trump-era trade tariffs, sharpened controls on exports of advanced semiconductors and rallied allies and other countries to counter China’s influence around the world.

Beijing has drawn closer to Moscow, including during its war on Ukraine, and stepped up military provocations against Taiwan, while last summer cutting off more of the few channels for U.S. dialogue that had existed, including military-to-military exchanges.

Congress has added to the strains. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) said Tuesday he will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen when she travels to the U.S. this year. Beijing wants to isolate Taiwan and Ms. Tsai to force the island to unify with China. Mr. McCarthy’s predecessor, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, infuriated Beijing last summer by visiting Taiwan.

For years, Mr. Xi has sounded ever-darker in his assessments of international relations, though until this week he usually avoided criticizing the U.S. by name. In the past, he has also warned fellow officials to be ready for unpredictable events with dire consequences, known as black swans.

Riaz Haq said...

China is right about US containment | Financial Times

By Edward Luce

But encircling Beijing is not a viable long-term strategy

The one positive feature of today’s cold war compared with the last one — China and America’s economic interdependence — is thus something Biden wants to undo. Decoupling is taking on an air of inevitability. When Xi refers to “encirclement”, he is thinking about America’s deepening ties to China’s neighbours. Again, Xi mostly has himself to blame.

Japan’s shift to a more normal military stance, which includes a doubling of its defence spending, probably worries China the most. But America’s growing closeness to the Philippines and India, and the Aukus nuclear submarine deal with Australia and the UK, are also part of the picture. Add in increased US arms transfers to Taiwan and the ingredients for Chinese paranoia are ripe. How does this end?

This is where a study of Kennan would pay dividends. There is no endgame to today’s cold war. Unlike the USSR, which was an empire in disguise, China inhabits historic boundaries and is never likely to dissolve. The US needs a strategy to cope with a China that will always be there.

If you took a snap poll in Washington and asked: one, are the US and China in a cold war; and two, how does the US win it, the answer to the first would be an easy “yes”; the second would elicit a long pause. Betting on China’s submission is not a strategy.

Here is another way to look at it. The US still holds more of the cards. It has plenty of allies, a global system that it designed, better technology and younger demographics. China’s growth is slowing and its society is ageing faster. The case for US resolve and patience is stronger today than it was when Kennan was around. Self-confident powers should not be afraid to talk.

Riaz Haq said...

Opinion Washington has succumbed to dangerous groupthink on China

By Fareed Zakaria

We are often told that the United States is deeply divided, that polarization makes it impossible to make any progress in policy, and that our country is so internally conflicted that it cannot project unity and strength to the world. But on the most important foreign policy issue confronting policymakers, the problem is closer to the opposite. Washington has embraced a wide-ranging consensus on China that has turned into a classic example of groupthink.

To watch Tuesday’s hearing of the new House select committee on China was to be transported back to the 1950s. Members of both parties tried to outdo one another in their denunciations of China, describing — as committee chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) did — the Communist Party as an “existential” threat to the United States, and blaming it directly for every problem in America, from drug use to covid-19 to unemployment. (An odd charge since unemployment is currently at its lowest in more than 50 years.)

One could dismiss some of this more extreme rhetoric as the usual congressional grandstanding, but it creates a dynamic that makes rational policy difficult. Consider what happened a few weeks ago. The president of the United States, in what can only be described as a panic, ordered the U.S. military to shoot down three balloons that were probably private weather balloons — similar to hundreds of such objects in the sky around the world — that posed no threat to anyone. The sorts of balloons used by hobbyists and meteorological clubs can cost as little as $12. The missiles used to shoot down the recent offending objects cost more than $400,000 each. The shootdowns were ordered, of course, so that no one could claim Joe Biden was soft on China.

China is a serious strategic competitor, the most significant great-power challenger the United States has faced in many decades. That is all the more reason for Washington to shape a rational and considered foreign policy toward it — rather than one forged out of paranoia, hysteria and, above all, fears of being branded as soft. Whenever policy is made in those latter circumstances, as in the cases of Vietnam or Iraq, it turns out badly. In 2003, when then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) tried to make the case for more diplomacy before war with Iraq, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) suggested Daschle was giving comfort to the enemy. The select committee on China spoke of those who dared to suggest improving relations with Beijing in similar terms.

Six years ago, before Donald Trump came into power, one would have described the U.S.-China relationship as difficult, perhaps even strained — and yet manageable, with regular dialogue between the two nations at the highest levels. When Washington confronted China on certain issues, such as currency manipulation and economic espionage, Beijing would make some effort to address the charges.

Today, U.S.-China relations are a mess. China continues to do things that alarm Washington but there is no discussion between the two sides. Beijing is actively supporting Russia economically and diplomatically in its war in Ukraine. Were that support to expand to include military assistance, Russia would gain an almost unlimited supply of armaments, transforming the war. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August visit to Taiwan gave the People’s Liberation Army a golden opportunity to practice a multi-day blockade of the island, their most likely military intervention in the event of a crisis. Were current Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to visit Taiwan, the PLA would likely use it as a pretext to practice a longer and more complete cutoff strategy, showing Taiwan that it could be isolated at will.

Riaz Haq said...

China's trade with Russia surges at double-digit pace in Jan-Feb | Reuters

BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) - China's exports and imports with Russia surged at a double-digit pace in January-February from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, as China said it had to advance relations with its northern neighbour in an increasingly turbulent world.

China's exports to Russia jumped 19.8% in the first two months, to a total of $15 billion, while it recorded shrinking demand from markets elsewhere. Imports from Russia soared by 31.3% to $18.65 billion.

That left the world's second-biggest economy's trade deficit with Russia at about $3.6 billion.

China's seaborne imports of Russian oil are set to hit a record this month after refiners took advantage of cheap prices as domestic fuel demand rebounded following the lifting of COVID-19 curbs, Reuters reported last week.

Foreign Minister Qin Gang told a news conference on the sidelines of an annual parliamentary session in Beijing on Tuesday that China had to advance its relations with Russia as the world becomes more turbulent.

Asked whether it was possible that China and Russia would abandon the U.S. dollar and euro for bilateral trade, Qin said that countries should use whatever currency was efficient, safe and credible.

"Currencies should not be the trump card for unilateral sanctions, still less a disguise for bullying or coercion," he said.

China's trade with Russia hit a record high in 2022 as Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Riaz Haq said...

Who are India’s friends & foes? Modi govt is caught in a messy US-China-Russia-Pakistan jalebi

Think China-Russia-America-China-Pakistan to begin with. There’s plenty of evidence in the public domain that Russia cannot last more than a few weeks in its war with the West (via Ukraine) without China’s help. The latest trade data available from the Chinese customs department shows that business between the two has boomed in a year when China’s economy has slowed down and overall trade declined.

Much of the growth is contributed by Russian exports. There’s a popular view — particularly in self-congratulatory India — that it is our purchase of Russian oil that’s driving their economy and war effort. The Chinese contribution to the Russian economy is several times greater. No surprise.

Plus, the prospect of at least the supply of softer military merchandise is always a near-term possibility. India’s oldest ally, therefore, is truly dependent economically, politically and — ultimately — militarily only on one country, our most formidable long-term adversary, with nearly 60,000 troops sitting battle-ready threatening us. That takes care of the first part of our jumbled equation: Your adversary being the closest friend of a friend.

Let’s cut to the next bit. This adversary (China) is best friends with the worst enemy (Russia) of a country you now call an essential strategic ally. We pick that description from the many joint statements issued by Indian prime ministers and American presidents. Further on, the same adversary is also the patron, friend and master, lender of first resort and security guarantor of your most immediate irritant, Pakistan.

If it is challenging to simplify this, it also underlines the complexities of the world we inhabit. Our military dependence on Russia is deep, and will likely remain so for at least five more years. Nobody can replace 95 per cent of the tanks, 70 per cent of the combat aircraft, the flagship and a majority of the flying assets of the Navy overnight.


Which brings us back to our jumbled, ‘jalebi’ formulation of India’s strategic universe: Russia, an inalienable friend dependent on China, and Pakistan, a permanent adversary that has no other source of strength — or money. And the US, an essential strategic ally.

Pakistan’s desperation is of a different order. The Gulf Arabs are wary of it and it is alienated from the West, though the British are working hard behind the scenes for some sort of rehabilitation in Washington.

If Pakistan is selling critical tank and rocket ammunition to Ukraine, it isn’t a purely autonomous act, whatever its need for dollars or wheat in barter. This is an application for forgiveness to the US for past crimes.

It is this complex strategic world that India is navigating. Behind the talk of the Global South, equidistance, strategic autonomy, however, the business end of the strategic stuff is going on fine. A NATO team met its Indian counterparts to explore more cooperation in the Indo-Pacific even as conflicted interests reigned at the G-20.

The latest Quad statement had a paragraph on Ukraine categorically asking Russia (without naming it) to vacate its aggression with respect to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and the rules-based international order. It also said the ‘threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible’.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo arrived in Delhi, and not only to play Holi at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s home. On the agenda is a partnership on semiconductors. This follows the progress made earlier on high-tech areas during National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s Washington visit.

Riaz Haq said...

#TikTok, #Shein and #Temu: #Chinese #apps topped #US app-store rankings this month, showing the contrast between the Chinese and U.S. #tech industries. Four of the five hottest apps in the U.S. in March were forged in #China. #technology via @WSJ

Riaz Haq said...

From Red Carpet to Doghouse: Macron Returns From China to Allied Dismay

Criticism of the French president’s performance in Beijing has been scathing among some allies, who saw him as cozying up to Beijing.

In short order in China, Mr. Macron managed to alienate or worry allies from Warsaw to Washington, with his embrace of what a Sino-French declaration called a “global strategic partnership with China.” He adopted the Chinese lexicon of a “multipolar” world, freed of “blocs,” liberated from the “Cold War mentality,” and less reliant on the “extraterritoriality of the U.S. dollar.”

Most worrisome, particularly for the United States, he suggested in an interview with Politico and French journalists on the way home that the security of Taiwan is not the problem of a Europe that must resist becoming America’s “vassals.”

How Taiwanese democracy and freedom differ from Ukrainian democracy and freedom, and how the threat of Russian autocracy differs from the threat of a Chinese autocracy that backs Moscow, were two questions left unanswered by Mr. Macron.

Speaking of Taiwan, he said: “The worse thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. agenda and a Chinese overreaction.”

By Tuesday the Élysée Palace, home to the president, felt it necessary to clarify France’s allegiances, so muddied had the optics become. France, it said, “is not equidistant between the United States and China. The United States is our ally, with shared values.”

The fact that this clarification was necessary suggested how much Mr. Macron had unsettled his allies.

“The alliance with the United States is the absolute foundation of our security,” Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister of Poland, said on Tuesday in an evident riposte to Mr. Macron, noting that some Western leaders “dream of cooperation with everyone, with Russia and with some powers in the Far East.”


Ms. von der Leyen received none of the lavish attention showered on Mr. Macron. China prefers nation states to transnational entities, and had bristled at a speech she made this month in which she criticized China as “more repressive at home and more assertive abroad.”

On the face of it, Taiwan does matter to Europe for economic and political reasons. The world runs on Taiwanese chips. The island democracy produces over 60 percent of the world’s semiconductors and about 90 percent of the most elaborate ones.

After China’s crushing of democratic aspirations in Hong Kong, the implications of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and the suppression there of liberal democracy would be devastating for the very causes Europe and Mr. Macron have committed to defend in Ukraine.

The French presidential statement said: “Our position on Taiwan is constant. We support the status quo and maintain our exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan, which is a recognized democratic system.”

Riaz Haq said...

Kissinger: Beijing “expects…to be the dominant power in Asia…The ideal solution…is a China so visibly strong that that will occur through the logic of events.”

What Mr. Kissinger sees when he looks at the world today is “disorder.” Almost all “major countries,” he says, “are asking themselves about their basic orientation. Most of them have no internal orientation, and are in the process of changing or adapting to the new circumstances”—by which he means a world riven by competition between the U.S. and China. Big countries such as India, and also a lot of “subordinate” ones, “do not have a dominant view of what they want to achieve in the world.” They wonder if they should “modify” the actions of the superpowers (a word Mr. Kissinger says he hates), or strive for “a degree of autonomy.”

Some major nations have wrestled with these choices ever since the “debacle of the Suez intervention” in 1956. While Britain chose close cooperation with the U.S. thereafter, France opted for strategic autonomy, but of a kind “that was closely linked to the U.S. on matters that affected the global equilibrium.”

The French desire to determine its own global policy gave rise to awkwardness with President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to Beijing. While critics say he pandered to the Chinese, Mr. Kissinger sees an example of French strategic autonomy at work: “In principle, if you have to conduct Western policy, you would like allies that only ask you about what contribution they can make to your direction. But that is not how nations have been formed, and so I’m sympathetic to the Macron approach.”

It doesn’t bother him that Mr. Macron, on his return from Beijing, called on his fellow Europeans to be more than “just America’s followers.” Mr. Kissinger doesn’t “take it literally.” Besides, “I’m not here as a defender of French policy,” and he appears to attribute Mr. Macron’s words to cultural factors. “The French approach to discussion is to convince their adversary or their opposite number of his stupidity.” The British “try to draw you into their intellectual framework and to persuade you. The French try to convince you of the inadequacy of your thinking.”

And what is the American way? “The American view of itself is righteousness,” says the man famed for his realpolitik. “We believe we are unselfish, that we have no purely national objectives, and also that our national objectives are achieved in foreign policy with such difficulty that when we expose them to modification through discussion, we get resentful of opponents.” And so “we expect that our views will carry the day, not because we think we are intellectually superior, but because we think the views in themselves should be dominant. It’s an expression of strong moral feelings coupled with great power. But it’s usually not put forward as a power position.”

Asked whether this American assertion of inherent unselfishness strikes a chord with other countries, Mr. Kissinger is quick to say: “No, of course not.” Does Xi Jinping buy it? “No, absolutely not. That is the inherent difference between us.” Mr. Xi is stronger globally than any previous Chinese leader, and he has “confronted, in the last two U.S. presidents,” men who “want to exact concessions from China and announce them as concessions.” This is quite the wrong approach, in Mr. Kissinger’s view: “I think the art is to present relations with China as a mutual concern in which agreements are made because both parties think it is best for themselves. That’s the technique of diplomacy that I favor.”

In his reckoning, Joe Biden’s China policy is no better than Donald Trump’s: “It’s been very much the same. The policy is to declare China as an adversary, and then to exact from the adversary concessions that we think will prevent it from carrying out its domineering desires.”

Riaz Haq said...

The facts cannot be disputed. The United States has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic faster than any major economy in the world. As Bloomberg’s Matthew A. Winkler recently pointed out, unemployment is stunningly low. Gross domestic product growth has grown at three times the average pace as under President Donald Trump, real incomes are rising, manufacturing is booming, and inflation has eased for 10 straight months. Even the budget deficit, which was at 15.6 percent of GDP at the end of the Trump presidency, has dropped to 5.5 percent of GDP at the end of last year.

The picture is even better when viewed more broadly. The United States remains the world’s leader in business, especially in cutting-edge technology. Scholars Sean Starrs and Stephen G. Brooks found that, looking at the globe’s top 2,000 companies, Chinese firms come first in shares of global profits in only 11 percent of sectors, but U.S. firms are ranked first in 74 percent of sectors.

Or look at artificial intelligence, which most agree is the bold new frontier of technology, likely to shape every industry. U.S. companies such as OpenAI, Microsoft and Google produce the best applications on the market, and a host of other new start-ups are surging forward. As Paul Scharre points out in a Foreign Affairs essay, “Of the top 15 institutions publishing deep learning research, 13 are American universities or corporate labs. Only one, Tsinghua University, is Chinese.” He notes that while China publishes much more AI research than the United States, American papers are cited 70 percent more often. These U.S. advantages are likely to grow dramatically now that China has been blocked from the advanced chips that are absolutely essential to developing and using AI.

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Or consider finance. Despite the recent banking crisis, the biggest U.S. banks are now more dominant than they have ever been worldwide. They have passed rigorous stress tests and built up their capital reserves, and as a result they are now better positioned than their European and Japanese counterparts. China’s state-owned banks are saddled with huge government debt and cannot operate in the open global financial system because that would almost certainly trigger massive outflows of funds, as the Chinese people seek to move their money to safer locales. And despite many challenges and efforts to unseat it, the dollar remains the global reserve currency (as the International Monetary Fund’s managing director said recently), which gives the United States a financial superpower. (It is one that I worry we are misusing, which will trigger even more efforts to replace it. But there is no denying that the dollar, for now, reigns supreme.)

Riaz Haq said...

The facts cannot be disputed. The United States has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic faster than any major economy in the world. As Bloomberg’s Matthew A. Winkler recently pointed out, unemployment is stunningly low. Gross domestic product growth has grown at three times the average pace as under President Donald Trump, real incomes are rising, manufacturing is booming, and inflation has eased for 10 straight months. Even the budget deficit, which was at 15.6 percent of GDP at the end of the Trump presidency, has dropped to 5.5 percent of GDP at the end of last year.


A somewhat under-noticed development in recent years has been the United States’ rise as an energy powerhouse. Because of fracking and natural gas, the United States is now the world’s largest producer of liquid hydrocarbons. And as Columbia University’s Jason Bordoff has noted, America’s ability to ship liquefied natural gas has made it an energy superpower, able to provide or cut off energy to countries around the world. Add to these traditional energy sources the dramatic ramp-up of green energy, thanks to the vast tax credits and incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, and you have a picture of truly astonishing, comprehensive energy capacity.

The U.S. military remains in a league of its own, far superior to those of its rivals in Russia or China. China is catching up to the United States, but the lead remains vast across many dimensions of warfare. And in Ukraine, as the Republican foreign policy adviser Kori Schake has noted, the United States, at minimal cost and with no American troops, is inflicting ruinous damage on Russia’s army. Washington is also transforming the Ukrainian army into the most powerful fighting force in Europe — giving it another potent ally. The great force multiplier of U.S. power remains its alliances. The United States has more than 50 treaty allies; China has one (North Korea). And it has about 750 military bases of some kind around the world; China has one (in Djibouti).

Riaz Haq said...

Richard D. Wolff - Why the Troubled U.S. Empire Could Quickly Fall Apart - Brave New Europe

For the first time in over a century, the United States has a real, serious, ascending global competitor. The British, German, Russian, and Japanese systems never reached that status. The People’s Republic of China now has. No settled U.S. policy vis-à-vis China has proven feasible because of internal U.S. divisions and China’s spectacular growth. Political leaders and “defence” contractors find China-bashing attractive. Denouncing China serves as popular scapegoating for many politicians in both parties and as support for an ever-increasing defense spending by the military. However, major segments of large corporate business have invested hundreds of billions in China and in global supply chains linked to China. They do not want to risk them. In addition, for decades, China has offered one of the world’s lowest-cost, better educated and trained, and most disciplined labour forces coupled with the world’s fastest-growing market for both capital and consumer goods. Competitive U.S. firms believe that global success requires their firms to be well established in that nation with the world’s largest population, among the world’s least-costly workers, and with the world’s fastest-growing market. Everything taught and learned in business schools supports that view. Thus the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposed former President Donald Trump’s trade/tariff wars and now opposes President Joe Biden’s hyped-up programme of China-bashing.

There is no way for the United States to change China’s basic economic and political policies since those are precisely what brought China to its now globally envied position of being a competitor to a superpower like the U.S. Meanwhile, China is expected to catch up to the United States with equality of economic size before the end of this decade. The problem for the U.S. empire grows, and the United States remains stuck in divisions that preclude any significant change except perhaps armed conflict and an unthinkable nuclear war.

When empires decline, they can slip into self-reinforcing downward spirals. This downward spiral occurs when the rich and powerful respond by using their social positions to offload the costs of decline onto the mass of the population. That only worsens the inequalities and divisions that provoked the decline in the first place.

The recently released Pandora Papers offer a useful glimpse into the elaborate world of vast wealth hidden from tax-collecting governments and from public knowledge. Such hiding is partly driven by the effort to insulate the wealth of the rich from that decline. That partly explains why the 2016 exposure of the Panama Papers did nothing to stop the hiding. If the public knew about the hidden resources—their size, origins, and purposes—the public demand for access to hidden assets would become overwhelming. The hidden resources would be seen as the best possible targets for use in slowing or reversing the decline.

Decline provokes more hiding, and that in turn worsens decline. The downward spiral is engaged. Moreover, attempts to distract an increasingly anxious public—demonizing immigrants, scapegoating China, and engaging in culture wars—show diminishing returns. Empire decline proceeds but remains widely denied or ignored as if it did not matter. The old rituals of conventional politics, economics, and culture proceed. Only their tones have become those of deep social divisions, bitter recriminations, and overt internal hostilities proliferating across the landscape. These mystify as well as upset the many Americans who still need to deny that crises have beset U.S. capitalism and that its empire is in decline.

Riaz Haq said...

Arnaud Bertrand
Incredible, Gina Raimondo implores US industry to respect her sanctions because: "America leads the world in AI… America leads the world in advanced semiconductor design. That’s because of our private sector. No way are we going to let [China] catch up."

This is an incredible admission because the Biden administration's messaging - or shall I say propaganda - on their semiconductors sanctions has so far always been that it isn't to gain or maintain a competitive advantage over China, but solely to prevent China's military from accessing to certain technologies. See for instance what Janet Yellen said on exactly this: "[the sanctions are] tailored toward the specific national security objective of preventing the advancement of highly sensitive technologies that are critical to the next generation of military innovation and [are] not designed for us to gain a competitive economic advantage over any other country." (Src: )

Our Anthony Blinken: "One of the important things for me to do on this trip [to China] was to disabuse our Chinese hosts of the notion that we are seeking to economically contain them... However, what is clearly in our interest is making sure that certain specific technologies that China may be using to, for example: advance its very opaque nuclear weapons program, to build hypersonic missiles, to use technology that may have repressive purposes – it’s not in our interest to provide that technology to China. And I also made that very clear. So, the actions that we’re taking, that we’ve already taken, and as necessary that we’ll continue to take are narrowly focused, carefully tailored to advance and protect our national security. And I think that’s a very important distinction." (src: )

Pretty much everyone knew this was 100% bullshit and all done for the purpose of America maintaining a competitive advantage in the technologies of the future, like AI. But now we have the Secretary of Commerce, who implemented these sanctions, say exactly that.

Riaz Haq said...

Why America Is Losing the Tech War with China | The National Interest

by David P. Goldman Deputy Editor Asia Times

After the Trump administration banned sales of high-end U.S. semiconductors to Huawei in 2020, Western media predicted that China’s 5G rollout would grind to a halt. The Nikkei Asian Review wrote, for example: “Huawei Technologies and ZTE, China’s two largest telecoms equipment providers, have slowed down their 5G base station installation in the country, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned, a sign that Washington’s escalating efforts to curb Beijing's tech ambitions are having an effect.”

On the contrary: the number of 5G base stations in China doubled in 2021 to 1.43 million, and rose to 2.31 million in 2022, out of a world total of 3 million. Huawei simply built the 5G base stations with mature chips (with a 28-nanometer gate width rather than the 7-nanometer chips banned by Washington). Energy consumption was higher than optimal, but the system worked. Without access to the newer chips, Huawei’s handset business, the world’s largest in the second quarter of 2020, shrank drastically, because 5G handsets need powerful, energy-efficient processors.

Now it appears that Huawei can design its own high-end chips and manufacture them in China. Chinese research firms report that Huawei will reenter the 5G handset market in the second half of 2023. Reuters reported on July 12 that, “Huawei should be able to procure 5G chips domestically using its own advances in semiconductor design tools along with chipmaking from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co (SMIC), three third-party technology research firms covering China’s smartphone sector told Reuters.” Caixin Global Dailyreported in March that Huawei had co-developed Electronic Design Automation software with local firms for older 14-nanometer chips. It isn't clear whether SMIC can make enough 7-nanometer chips to meet Huawei's requirements, or whether the reported new 5G chips use another technology, for example, “stacking” two 14-nanometer chips in a “chiplet” to achieve 7-nanometer performance.