This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Reading Entrails To See War

"That's the mystery we're tying to solve. But the reason we're trying to solve that mystery is so we can come up with at least one possible answer that avoids conflict."
"Yes, they are our largest trading partner. That was the exact philosophy that got us into World War I."
"In order for this country to defend itself, and to help its allies, it needs to have a strong economy to generate the tax revenues it needs to build the military it needs, and a manufacturing base for the shipyards to actually build the systems."
"The economic warfare against the United States of America by China has led to a decreasing ability for us to do what we need to do on the military side."
Peter Navarro, American writer filmmaker
The US trade deficit with China hit a critical milestone in 2015. It now stands at a mind-numbing $1 billion a day, and that $365 billion annual trade deficit continues to rise...The National Interest
"I wouldn't like to alarm everyone by saying we're at war with China, but we certainly have profound differences, which they're prepared to settle by force."
Stefan Halper, director, American Studies, Department of Politics, University of Cambridge
Peter Navarro, a professor economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine, has focused on finding an answer to a question that disturbs him greatly: "Will there be a war between the United States and China?" His contention is that the 1914 to 1918 war to end all wars in its devastating horrors visited upon humankind could be repeated because he feels the conditions that reflected those at the turn of the century are present now, in the trade position between the two great world powers.

Back in 1914 those close trade partners and world powers were Great Britain and Germany at a time when Europe had firm control of an estimated two-thirds of global trade. Mr. Navarro sees clear parallels in the situation that has developed in the last decade between the United States and China. China has made unbelievable strides in the last several decades, hauling itself into the 21st century by transforming its communist ideology into a hybrid absorbing capitalism.

Britain surrendered Hong Kong to China in a world-shattering deal that gave China an economic engine to begin its new experiment, but China was, under the agreement, to heed a hands-off approach to Hong Kong's booming economy, while attempting to pattern mainland China after the economic powerhouse that Hong Kong had become under British occupation and rule. China had ample resources in its immense labour force.

Its population of 1.3-billion people had traditional skills, were hard working and earned a pittance in comparison to any Western workforce. Cheap production in labour costs and the scales of economy resulting from scooping up raw resources from the developing world led to the ravaging of world production of all manner of goods which China dumped on the world market, gaining access through the allure of inexpensive products.

That successful thrust released much of China from its condition of extreme privation, and a large middle class began to emerge. Chinese authorities feverishly maintained their momentum in overwhelming production and trade, mindful of the need to provide employment to its ever- burgeoning population. China cut many corners, substituting unsafe ingredients from lead paint to milk tainted with plastic derivatives in a bid to produce cheap an sell big.

In the process, China beggared other industrial countries of their manufacturing output since they simply were unable to compete in the marketplace. China now enjoys throwing its considerable weight around, and it has invested gigantic sums of its treasury in advanced weaponry, while loaning funding out of its financial reserves to a reserve-strapped United States newly finding itself in debt to the production-and-trade giant, vying with it for superpower status.

American academics look askance at China's progress, lumping it in with its human rights abuses. Alongside its bullying of neighbours, and its insistence on entitlements, eager to claim disputed territory as its very own without negotiating with its neighbours. China's appetite has never abated despite its huge successes. And this makes another giant whose own historical sense of exceptionalism and entitlements very nervous.

So Professor Navarro has written a book, "Crouching Tiger", along with having produced a complementary documentary film series warning of the potential of the two countries possibly coming not only to metaphorical blows but the acute likelihood, in his alarmed opinion, of physical combat. To the question of whether a war would arise, he feels both comfort and discomfort in claiming that it very well might.

And it's all China's fault. It is, after all, a grasping bully, unheeding of the discomfort it causes its neighbours who view it as a threat to their own stability and entitlements, wary of its intentions. China has been named "the autistic power" that seems oblivious to its effect since it "just does not seem capable of understanding how its behaviour really scares the rest of the region", according to Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Now Beijing wants to do for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea what it has long done for freedom of speech on mainland China: Suppress, deny, and obliterate it....Real Clear Defence

America accuses China of industrial espionage, of harmful cyberattacks, of its internationally illegal plan to take possession of the South China Sea, and nor is the U.S. admiring of China's methods used to keep its economy one or two steps ahead of that of the United States. Methods, including currency manipulation and casually breaking free trade agreements are all issues pointed out as demonstrating China's faults. All of it quite accurate.

That China's success in production has manifested itself in the shuttering of close to 50,000 American factories, putting Americans out of work is yet another sore point. And therein lies a universal lesson. Every country, no less the United States, pursues its own ambitions with a view to increasing its opportunities at the expense of challenges from other countries also wishing to enhance their financial status.

Has the United States always been a fair and objective player on the trade side? Hardly. Until recently Canada was the U.S.'s largest trading partner, and despite a two-way free trade agreement that was extended later to include Mexico as well, the U.S. has always thrown its weight around to ensure that any deal it was involved in would credit it primarily with advantages to the disadvantage of its partners. Its partners have had to call 'foul! on the U.S. on many occasions, with the WTO rebuking the U.S.

America is so accustomed to being a bully on the world stage, even as it has also acted as a stabilizing influence politically when it suits its purposes, that it never sees itself other than as the good sheriff riding to the rescue, while those it bullies and slights see it as a sanctimonious aggressor on too many occasions, happy to sink the aspirations of other countries in the process of lining its own coffers at their expense.

There's wars and then there's wars.

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