The Snarling Tiger in Chinese Stripes

It seems I don't often agree with Pat Buchanan these days, but his wide-eyed American protectionism has always been a favorite position of mine, and here Buchanan builds the argument that China is everything we thought it would grow to be—a snarling tiger. It is truly time for America to withdraw from this global dance, and concentrate on national defense and self-reliance once again.

shanghai
Shanghai, China

In my own art I have often pointed out that China is the new super power. Too many people just laugh, and talk about cheap imports. But let's examine a few glaring facts. Among its billions, the Chinese are a huge intelligent population who are recognized internationally as having great work ethic, and a competitor's cache of natural resourses. See Amy Chua's The World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. Look what the Communists have acccomplished while we capitalists have sat on our fat rear ends and gone to the mall to spend money we did not have, and have become a paper and entertainment society. Now the Chinese are flexing their bulging muscles. We are flat broke and the savvy bankers in Beijing are our longest creditors. America must wise up.

It is high time to resist the path of apathy and instead concentrate on rebuilding and fortifying this country with all the cures we still have available to us. The nations Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia must band together to defend themselves. The same goes for Israel and Europe. Many of these are wealthy countries and can pay for their own defenses with more than a wink and a nod in some cases and a terse whingeing sound among others. We can supply their arsenal, or not, given that it seems all we make here now are weapons of war. The Middle East must be allowed to implode or to gather into the wild beast we strongly suspect it to be now, despite its Trojan horse posture as the harbingers of peace.

Here's one fellow's plan. It is time we put a substantial general revenue tariff of on most foreign goods. With that money we can end Social Security for the under 40 crowd. Give them all their money that they paid in by issuing to them 5% government retirement bonds. They would not have to pay FICA taxes and would get an immediiate pay increase of about 15%. Social Security will never be there for them. Americans need money to raise their kids and save for retirement. They are being held back by the wasteful spending on wars and other dead-end programs. We must slash the fat and rebuild this country.

How do all those lockstep Republican votes for Most Favored Nation status for Beijing, ushering her into the World Trade Organization and looking the other way as China dumped into our markets, thieved our technology and carted off our factories look today?

NIf the Chinese ever want to get their money back, they can buy American goods and invest here in the Good Ole USA, their greatest concentration of customers in returning the favor Richard Nixon brought to them. The same is true of all our creditors. Sadly many of our elites have sold us out to interests of foreign countries. These observations are not xenophobic when the fate of nation hangs in the balance of trade deficits and currency fixing.

Many have already heard the call we at the Project put out in the 1990s, crying out in the wilderness for the resurgence of what we then called The Radical Middle. Now, we take no direct credit for the ascendency of this movement, but we certainly find that we were not alone in our concerns that America had badly veered off her destined course. It is time to renew this nation. We have tremendous natural resourses and talented citizens. If we can once again promote good leadership and work hard we can get this country back. That is a big, big if.

HUBRIS WILL DO IT EVERY TIME. The Chinese have just made a serious strategic blunder. They dropped the mask and showed their scowling face to Asia, exposing how the Middle Kingdom intends to deal with smaller powers, now that she is the largest military and economic force in Asia and second largest on earth.

A fortnight ago, a Chinese trawler rammed a Japanese patrol boat in the Senkaku Islands administered by Japan but also claimed by China. Tokyo released the ship and crew, but held the captain. His immediate return was demanded by Beijing. Japan refused. China instantly escalated the minor incident into a major confrontation, threatening a cut off of Japan's supply of "rare-earth" materials, essential to the production of missiles, batteries and computers. Through predatory trading, China had killed its U.S. competitor in rare-earth materials, establishing almost a global monopoly. The world depends on China.

China has repeatedly warned the United States to keep its warships, especially carriers, out of the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. On the mainland opposite, Beijing has planted 1,000 missiles to convince Taipei of the futility and cost of declaring independence.

Japan capitulated and released the captain. Now Beijing has decided to rub Japan's nose in her humiliation by demanding a full apology and compensation. Suddenly, the world sees, no longer as through a glass darkly, the China that has emerged from a quarter century of American indulgence, patronage and tutelage since Tiananmen Square. The Chinese tiger is all grown up, and it's not cuddly anymore.

And with Beijing's threat to use its monopoly of rare-earth materials to bend nations to its will, how does the Milton Friedmanite free-trade ideology of the Republican Party, which fed Beijing $2 trillion in trade surpluses at America's expense over two decades, look now? How do all those lockstep Republican votes for Most Favored Nation status for Beijing, ushering her into the World Trade Organization and looking the other way as China dumped into our markets, thieved our technology and carted off our factories look today?

The self-sufficient republic that could stand alone in the world is more dependent than Japan on China for rare-earth elements vital to our industries, for the necessities of our daily life, and for the loans to finance our massive trade and budget deficits. How does the interdependence of nations in a global economy look now, compared to the independence American patriots from Alexander Hamilton to Calvin Coolidge guaranteed to us, that enabled us to win World War II in Europe and the Pacific in less than four years? Yet China's bullying of Japan is beneficial, for it may wake us up to the world as it is, as it has been, and ever shall be. Consider [the following].

China now claims all the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea, though Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei border that sea. To reinforce her claim, a Chinese fighter jet crashed a U.S EP-3 surveillance plane 80 miles off Hainan Island in 2001. Not until Secretary of State Colin Powell apologized twice did China agree to release the American crew.

China's claim to the Senkakus (the Diaoyu Islands to the Chinese) was emphasized last week. While these are largely volcanic rocks rather than habitable islands, ownership would give a nation a powerful claim to all the oil, gas and minerals in the East China Sea. China has repeatedly warned the United States to keep its warships, especially carriers, out of the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. On the mainland opposite, Beijing has planted 1,000 missiles to convince Taipei of the futility and cost of declaring independence.

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One thought on “The Snarling Tiger in Chinese Stripes”

  1. THE CAUSE OF ALL THIS is capitalism itself, in which production is to serve the private profits of the owner pr shareholders.

    The answer is socialism (not the welfare-state kind of “socialism”), in which the means of production, distribution and exchange is owned by the working class and production is for social need, not private profit.

    To elaborate:

    Many people speak in terms of a productive, industrial capitalism versus a speculative finance capitalism; small-holder (mom and pop) style capitalism providing a huge variety of competitive choices as in a bazaar versus an oligopoly or a monopoly capitalism as in a Wal Mart or a Microsoft; free market capitalism versus regulated capitalism monopolies.

    However, what they do not realise is that these different kinds of capitalism are like two sides of a coin, just as us in the flower of our youth are the same person as us in the twilight years of our old age.

    In the early days of an industry,such as the auto, entertainment, oil & gas, information technology and other industries, they are very much at the small-holder stage and exist in a free-market ecosystem in which there is intense competition and choice.

    In the process of competition, the weaker players drop out, leaving fewer strong, bigger and richer players in the field and this process repeats until there are only a handful of big corporate players left. This state may exist for a very long time but eventually gravitates into a monopoly.

    For example, in the 1970s there was Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed which made most commercial airliners in the U.S. and while there were more earlier, however today,only Boeing is left standing.

    The information technology is in an oligopoly state now, in which Microsoft dominates by far on desktop PCs, while Apple has a minor share and Linux, a mere sliver.

    In the 1980s, while Microsoft MS-DOS was the major operating system on most desktop PCs, there was a huge, competitive market for applications software such as word processors (WordStar, Word Perfect, Multimate, Display Write, PFS Write, Microsoft Word, etc); database (dBase, Foxbase, etc); spreadsheet (VisiCalc, Lotus 123, Quattro Pro, Easy Office, Framework, etc).

    However, in the late 80s and early 90s, Microsoft’s OfficeSuite (Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint), riding on top of Windows, pushed all of the others into the sidelines and now dominates the desktop PC space.

    So what began 30 years ago as a competitive, free-market capitalist ecosystem has now gravitated into what practically is a monopoly capitalist environment – basically, a free-market has gravitated towards a monopoly.

    This process has happened with other which came industries before IT and will happen with the emerging industries and to come, and preventing it within the framework of capitalism requires regulation, not the unfettered capitalism; just as dams and levees are required to hold back water, remove them and you have a flood.

    Moving on to wages, protectionism and tariff barriers – even without unions demanding higher wages, as the capitalist economy grows and there’s more employment, rising consumer demand for goods and services leads to a rising cost of living, leading in turn to employees needing higher wages just to maintain their living standard in a particular country. This has happened in Asian countries, such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, where prices are much higher than even in the U.S., where these were once low-wage countries.

    With protectionism and tariff barriers, the capitalist economic ecosystem can be maintained, where goods are produced in a country to supply markets in the country or neighbouring countries with similar standards of living.

    The manufacturers set up factories in other countries to produce goods for those markets, for example For cars made in Britain for the British market and smaller than those made in the U.S. for the American market.

    Also, manufacturers have set up assembly plants in poorer countries to supply more affordable cars in those markets.

    However, with globalisation and open borders, which came into prominence, especially after the end of the Cold War, these respective “fenced” ecosystems have been upset, which is what has happened in the developed countries of North America, Europe and even Asia, leading to the loss of jobs for workers with an average level of education and now even with high levels of education, to regions where labour costs are lower.

    While proponents of globalisation and open borders argue that workers in the more developed countries must re-skill themselves for higher skilled work, how many people either have the capability or the finances to do so. Well the result is there for all to see in countries such as the U.S. and even in countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, where the many foreign and domestically owned assembly plants are moving to lower wage countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

    For example, assembly plant workers in Singapore are being retrained to work in casinos.

    So what’s the solution?

    Well, the only one within the capitalist framework is to revert back to the protected market environments, especially prior to the 1994 GATT which led to the World Trade Organisation.

    However, how long these regulation will last is another questions, just as protective legistation such as the Glass-Steagal Act were overturned by politicians.

    The other solution and a permanent one – is to get rid of capitalism altogether and to establish socialism, in which production serves the needs of society, not private profit.

    Under socialism, since the facilitie sof production are in the hands of the workers, robotics and automation will not result in unemployment but in workers being able to upgrade themselves to develop, produce and improve upon the machines of production.

    At the same time, more people will be able to work in other areas such as healthcare, education and so on to improve upon the overall livelihood of society, where medical care will either be highly affordable or even free. Workers will also also enjoy more leisure time and much greater security in life.

    However, getting there will require a revolution.

    -Charles

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