Tag Archives: China

The Great Conservative Crack-Up Over China, by John Tamny

John Tamny argues that Gordon C. Chang’s articles on China are overwrought (SLL has posted two—put Gordon Chang in the search function to access them). From Tamny at realclearmarkets.com:

Gordon Chang is the author of a book titled The Coming Collapse of China. This likely explains why editorial pages and cable news shows frequently seek his thoughts on the country. Alarmism sells, and Chang brings it about China in spades.

Evidence supporting the above claim comes care of an opinion piece Chang penned for the Wall Street Journal last week, which was titled “The Great Confrontation With China.” Chang is a bit dramatic when it comes to the country he’s convinced the “Trump administration is heading for a fundamental break with.” See above.

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Chinese Chess Game, by John Mauldin

China wants to become the world’s dominant power, which obviously means it will have to supplant the US. From John Mauldin at mauldineconomics.com:

Orderly World
Hundred-Year Marathon
The Assassin’s Mace and Modern Warfare
Targeted Response
Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, and ???

Every investment decision should have an exit strategy. What will you do if your idea doesn’t work? Ideally, you make that decision before you invest. Mistakes are inevitable but survivable if you recognize them quickly and act to minimize their costs.

The same is true in business, international relations… or even a chess game. Great ideas don’t always work out as expected. Then what?

In last week’s letter, we discussed some serious flaws in the decision to bring China into the world trade system. People across the spectrum mostly see this now; although they differ on what to do about it.

When the US and ultimately the rest of the Western world began to engage China, resulting in China finally being allowed into the World Trade Organization in the early 2000s, no one really expected the outcomes we see today. There is no simple disengagement path, given the scope of economic and legal entanglements. This isn’t a “trade” we can simply walk away from. But it is also one that, if allowed to continue in its current form, could lead to a loss of personal freedom for Western civilization. It really is that much of an existential question.

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China’s Secret Weapon That Could Swing the Trade War, by Nick Giambruno

China is the world’s leading, and in some cases only supplier of rare earth elements that are essential to many computer and communications technologies. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

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Chumps: China Is Playing Trump and His Trade Team, by Charles Hugh Smith

China has the upper hand in trade negotiations with Trump. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

If we put ourselves in the shoes of the Chinese negotiators, we realize there’s no need to sign a deal at all.

The world’s worst negotiating strategy is to give the other side everything they want in exchange for worthless empty promises, yet this is exactly what Trump and his trade team are doing. All the Chinese trade team has to do to get rid of tariffs and other U.S. bargaining chips is mutter some empty phrase about “agreeing in principle” and the U.S. surrenders all its bargaining chips.

If the other side are such naive chumps that they give you everything you want without actually committing to anything remotely consequential, why bother with a formal agreement? Just play the other side for the chumps they are: if they threaten to reinstate tariffs, just issue another worthless press release about “progress has been made.”

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U.S.-China Relations in the Years Ahead: The Trade War Is a Sideshow, by Michael Krieger

The US and China are headed towards a lot more conflict than a “mere” trade war. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

As President Trump has said many times, we rebuilt China over the past 25 years. No truer words were spoken, but those days are over.

The United States now recognizes China as a strategic and economic rival.

– Vice President Mike Pence during a speech last week at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

The truth is that China is a strategic competitor at best that uses coercion and corruption as its tools of statecraft. (Applause.) 

We’ve reconvened “the Quad” – the security talks between Japan, Australia, India and the Untied States that had been dormant for nine years. This will prove very important in the efforts ahead, ensuring that China retains only its proper place in the world.

– Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a speech last week to the Heritage Foundation

I don’t take the U.S.-China trade war seriously, because I don’t expect a transformative deal to come of it. Specifically, I see the current trade charade as little more than a warmup to a far more serious, unpredictable and dangerous conflict between the U.S. and China in the years ahead.

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Enemy Assets, by Robert Gore

Who’s betrayed their country?

A dictionary definition of asset is: a useful or valuable thing, person, or quality. The word has been much in the news lately. Usually coupled with “Russian,” it’s a favorite smear of establishment stalwarts like Hillary Clinton and establishment media like The New York Times. It’s been directed against President Trump, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and others who question the US’s interventionist foreign and military policies.

By implication, anyone who is an asset of a foreign country places the interests of that foreign country ahead of their own country’s. The term is especially odious when appended to a country commonly considered an enemy. Examining US foreign and military policy the last several decades, an unasked question is: to whom or what has that policy been “useful or valuable”? Establishment attacks on Trump and Gabbard serve to clarify who has actually been assets for unfriendly governments, and it’s not Trump or Gabbard.

At the end of WWII, the US was at the apex of its power and no nation could directly challenge it. After the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, the two countries settled into the Cold War stalemate that lasted until the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991. Actual use of nuclear weapons was considered potentially catastrophic, to be avoided by either side except to counter a nuclear strike—either preemptively or after the fact—by the other side. They were not considered a battlefield weapon, although there were elements of the American military command, and probably the Soviet command as well, that at various times advanced consideration of battlefield use.

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Dinner in Hanoi, by Jeff Thomas

Are Chinese products too cheap or are American products too expensive? From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

“Trump is doing the right thing. Without him, we have no protection against China. China doesn’t only wish to dominate Asia, but the world.”

Here in Hanoi, so said my dinner companion – a major manufacturer and worldwide exporter of steel products.

He, like so many other major Asian producers, sees an opportunity in international trade for all of Asia to capitalize on.

In the Western world, the argument rages as to whether the US tariff war will benefit the US or not.

Of course, those of us who have a libertarian perspective regard all meddling in a free market as counter-productive. Historically, when tariffs are employed, each of the parties involved ultimately becomes a loser. The aggressor suffers as much as the aggressee, as, first, the people of that country must pay more for goods imported, and second, a trade war results in diminished trade overall, hurting both economies.

But there are benefits to be had. The benefits fall to those countries that stayed out of the fray.

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