What the foreign policy “blob” really wants in China is what it wants everywhere: a government complaint to the US government. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
ncumbents of the White House come and go, but U.S. security objectives do not alter course so readily, Alastair Crooke writes.
Under Trump’s escalating anti-China stance, Taiwan enjoyed enhanced recognition and support – with regular high-level visits from U.S. officials, as well as increased arms sales. This led some Beltway pundits, at the time, to express concern that ‘strategic ambiguity’ regarding the possibility of a U.S. military response – were Taiwan to be militarily reunited with China – was being deliberately eroded. They warned in Foreign Affairs to not rock the boat with China.
Nonetheless, Taipei feared that this salami-slice push by Washington’s China hawks nurturing Taiwan autonomy, could be watered down by an incoming Biden administration. They feared that U.S. foreign policy under Biden would chart a softer approach, based more on managing its pivot to ‘intense competition’ with China.
Much the same expectations of a Bidenesque ‘softer’ approach – albeit in the context of multilateral co-operation – was shared by Brussels in the wake of Biden’s arrival in the White House. Biden’s ‘America is Back’ mantra received a gushing welcome from the Brussels ruling class. It was expected to overturn Trump’s scepticism and hesitancy on NATO and the EU, and to usher in a new golden era of multilateralism. It hasn’t.
Biden’s ‘laser-like pivot’ to China as its primordial security interest – rather – has resulted in the North Atlantic, the EU and NATO becoming much less important to Washington, as the U.S. security crux compacts down to ‘blocking’ China in the Pacific.
Our military is good for all sorts of things, just not war and fighting. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:
Dan Goure and David T. Pyne have raised valid questions about how well the US would fare in a military conflict with Russia and China. Not well they conclude. See:
Possibly the articles by Dan Goure and David T. Pyne are sincere concerns of military analysts worried about Washinton’s unrealistic hubris. Also possibly Goure and Pyne are consultants to defense firms and are lobbying for an even larger military budget. Nevertheless, both are correct that Washington is no match for Russia and China and is spread too thin in its ambitions to be a match for anyone. Nevertheless, the real military problem for the US is completely different from what they think.
Goure is concerned that Washington’s eyes are too focused on China to the neglect of Russia’s threat to Europe. He doesn’t say why he thinks Russia would invade Europe. The Kremlin has made it clear that Russia has no territorial intentions. Remember, Washington and Israel armed and trained the military of the former Russian province of Georgia and sent them to invade South Ossetia, provoking in response the lightening Russian conquest of Georgia. Did Russia reincorporate its former province back into its federation? No. Having taught the Georgians a lesson, the Kremlin withdrew. Remember, Ukraine attacked the Russian population in the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine, and the Donetsk and Luhansk peoples requested Putin to reincorporate their territory into Russia where the lands historically resided. There was zero possibility of Ukraine, US, and NATO blocking the reincorporation of Russian territory into Russia, but the Kremlin passed on the land grant. If the Kremlin does not want its own former provinces back, why would Russia burden itself with Eastern and Western Europe? Goure doesn’t say.
To put China into the template of Cold War 1 ignores huge differences between that country and the old Soviet Union. Such ignorance could prove very costly. From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:
The Biden Administration and the U.S. military are sticking to old playbooks instead of understanding a new situation.
Joe Biden’s China policy is unnecessarily adversarial. It is impractical and dangerous. It plays out as if it is being run by WWII reenactors.
China was artificially reimagined as an enemy-in-a-box as the wars of terror sputtered out and America needed a new villain. Biden envisions China as an autocratic foil for democracy to wage a global struggle against. “On my watch,” Joe said, “China will not achieve its goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world.” Biden went on to claim the world was at an inflection point to determine “whether or not democracy can function in the 21st century.” In Biden’s neo-Churchillian view, the U.S. and, what the hell, the whole free world he believes he is president of, are in a death match with China.
But there is unbelievable hypocrisy in America’s claimed role. Biden seems oblivious as the U.S. mowed down Muslims by drone even while self-righteously tsk tsk-ing China for abusing its Uighur minority. After our two-decade hissy fit of invasions and nation building brought kleptocracies to lead countries, we dare bark that China is not democratic. We seem not to notice our imperial lack of clothing when we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with tyrants and dictators strewn around Africa and the Middle East. We see no issues demanding democracy in Hong Kong while not having had much to say about it when the place was a British colony stolen by war from Chinese sovereignty.
Apart from sheer hypocrisy, there are other reasons to wonder how China ended up America’s sworn enemy for Cold War 2.0. The relationship otherwise does not look much like that of our old nemesis, the Soviet Union. The Russkies had a nasty habit of rolling tanks across borders, as of course did the U.S. Sometimes it was even in the same country—how’d that Afghanistan thing work out?
Europe is in danger of becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of continents. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
Does Europe possess the energy and the humility to look itself in the mirror, and re-position itself diplomatically?
Two events have combined to make a major inflection point for Europe: The first was America’s abandonment of the Great Game ploy of attempting to keep the two Central Asian great land powers – Russia and China – divided and at odds with each other. This was the inexorable consequence to the US’ defeat in Afghanistan – and the loss of its last strategic foothold in Asia.
Washington’s response was a reversion to that old nineteenth century geo-political tactic of maritime containment of Asian land-power – through controlling the sea lanes. However America’s pivot to China as its primordial security interest has resulted in the North Atlantic becoming much less important to Washington – as the US security crux compacts down to ‘blocking’ China in the Pacific.
The Establishment-linked figure, George Friedman (of Stratfor fame), has outlined America’s new post-Afghan strategy on Polish TV. He said tartly: “When we looked for allies [for a maritime force in the Pacific] on which we could count – they were the British and the Australians. The French weren’t there”. Friedman suggested that the threat from Russia is more than a bit exaggerated, and implied that the North Atlantic NATO and Europe are not particularly relevant to the US in the new context of ‘China competition’. “We ask”, Friedman says, “what does NATO do for the problems the US has at this point?”. “This [the AUKUS] is the [alliance] that has existed since World War II. So naturally they [Australia] bought American submarines instead of French submarines: Life goes on”.
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Tagged AUKUS, Australia, China, Europe, Great Britain, Russia
Let those who say the US and its allies should defend Taiwan from China tell the rest of us how that can be done, short of nuclear weapons. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
Taiwan has been in the news a lot lately, and it’s really bringing out the crazy in people.
The mass media have been falsely reporting that China has been encroaching on Taiwan’s “air defense zone”, which gets stretched into the even more ludicrous claim that China “sent warplanes flying over Taiwan”. In reality Chinese planes simply entered an arbitrarily designated area hundreds of miles from Taiwan’s coast it calls its “Air Defence Identification Zone”, which has no legally recognized existence and contains a significant portion of China’s mainland. This is likely a response to the way the US and its allies have been constantly sailing war ships into disputed waters to threaten Beijing.
As Moon of Alabama reports, US warmongers inflamed this non-controversy even further by feeding a story to the press about the already public information that there are American troops in Taiwan training the military there, citing “concern” about the danger posed by China.
Now headlines are blaring about President Tsai Ing-wen responding to this non-event with the announcement that Taiwan will “do whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life.” Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott just visited Taipei to advocate that “democracies stand shoulder to shoulder” with Taiwan against China. The CIA has announced the creation of a new spy center that will focus solely on China, which CIA Director William Burns says will “further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century: an increasingly adversarial Chinese government”.
The threats may be a bluff, but that’s not the smart-money bet. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
Monday, four dozen Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone, climaxing a weekend of provocations that saw nearly 150 sorties of China-based fighters and bombers.
The U.S. State Department countered by issuing a stern statement warning Beijing about the adverse effect on regional “stability” of such “provocative military activity.”
Yet even as the waves of Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone, President Joe Biden was reassuring Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that the U.S. would defend the Senkakus from any Chinese attack.
Controlled by Japan but claimed by China, the Senkakus are uninhabited rocks in the East China Sea.
Our alliances in the Pacific dating to the 1950s have put us in an odd position. The Biden administration says it will fight to defend the Senkakus and fight if the Philippines attempt a military retrieval of atolls and reefs in the South China Sea that China has seized, occupied and fortified.
For Taiwan, however, a democratic island of 14,000 square miles and 23 million people, and for Hong Kong, a formerly free city of 7 million, we will not commit to fight — though human rights and democracy are said to be central to the Biden foreign policy.
We will fight for Japan’s right to hold the Senkakus and Manila’s right to retrieve Mischief Reef, but not to ensure the rights of the 30 million people of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
What is China, dispatching bombers and fighters around the southern and eastern coasts of Taiwan, up to?
Afghanistan is in a rough neighborhood. It might work out well for the US to let Afghanistan’s neighbors worry about it. From Doug Bandow at aeir.org:
Washington’s tragic misadventure in Afghanistan is over. Despite the botched ending, America’s withdrawal was long overdue. Central Asia never warranted so much U.S. attention.
Afghanistan first drew Washington in after the Soviets invaded. Few Americans knew where the country was. None expressed an interest in building a modern nation there. The idea was simple: arm Afghans to kill Moscow’s soldiers, thereby weakening what President Ronald Reagan accurately called the Evil Empire. Spread democracy and equal rights for women? Not so much.
A decade later the U.S.S.R.’s legions fled back into the Soviet Union. A couple years after that the Soviet-supported state collapsed, which was followed by a civil war among the victorious Mujahedeen. Washington had poured torrents of cash into Afghanistan, but foolishly allowed Pakistan to dole it out. This empowered radical jihadists, including Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda, Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the anti-Western Haqqani Network, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, founder of the radical Islamist Hezb-e-Islami, theParty of Islam. Some Americans complained that Washington didn’t stick around to “help” the Afghans. Had it done so, Americans would have been treated like Russians—shot at on their way out.
In 1994 a group called the Taliban arose. It enforced a 7th century fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. By 1996, it won control of most of the country by suppressing the Mujahedeen, and ending the chaotic violence which enveloped the country. The Taliban looked inward.
The Bidens have raised corruption to an art form. From Peter Schweizer at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- It is the latest in a string of scams Hunter Biden has undertaken. First, it was his being named, with no expertise whatsoever in either Ukraine or the oil and gas business, to the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukrainian oil and gas company under investigation for fraud. Then it was the deluxe payday in 2012 for his Rosemont-Seneca real estate investment partnership, which was bankrolled to the tune of more than $1.5 billion by Chinese investors with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
- It is genius-level corruption, an ethical nightmare for the White House, and a masterpiece of congressional and media dereliction of duty.
- Bergès himself has said he is eager to expand his business into the Chinese market. Who will know if China’s art-loving billionaires, all connected deeply to the Communist Party and in some cases to the Chinese military, are Hunter’s benefactors?
- Are we really supposed to believe that the anonymity of the buyers will remain a tight secret, and that Chinese government-connected buyers will not somehow let the Bidens know they are Hunter’s newest and biggest fans?
- Money-laundering in the art market is nothing new. A Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight committee report last year identified the art market as the “largest legal, unregulated market in the United States” and a significant weakness in the nation’s sanctions and anti-money laundering regimes. Simply put, art transactions are not covered under what’s known as the Bank Secrecy Act, which require financial institutions to maintain anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing controls.
- Is there any reason to doubt that the proceeds from Hunter’s artistic payday will somehow once again find their way into the Biden family estate?
- Why are they failing to scrutinize what is so obviously a back-door scheme to funnel money to the president’s son from foreign sources? Every American who cares about transparency in government should be outraged.
|President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has now plunged into the world of international art. Apparently, Hunter’s paintings might sell for as much as $500,000 to various anonymous aficionados, according to Hunter’s new art dealer, Georges Bergès. It is the latest in a string of scams Hunter Biden (pictured) has undertaken. (Photo by DNCC via Getty Images)
They say the beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder, but does that apply to corruption as well?
Have the Chinese found a secret sauce that enables them to transcend economic reality, or have the merely blown up enormous bubbles across their economy with debt? From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:
Up until the Evergrande Group began stiffing creditors, Xi Jinping had it made. But being a communist dictator is serious business. And when the Ponzi finance structure underlying your country’s second largest property developer begins cascading down it’s no laughing matter.
One of the gravest moments for any communist dictator is when his nation’s fortunes deviate from the course of the five year plans put in place to rule over it. Playing god to 1.4 billion people only halfway works, so long as the people’s reality somewhat parallels the official communist party line. Otherwise, force and fear are required to maintain the lies.
“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps,” noted King Solomon (Proverbs 16:9). The good Lord, in heaven above and on the earth beneath, has a keen sense of humor; particularly, when serving up a slice of humble pie.
Xi Jinping, through happy accident, timed his entry into the world stage most perfectly. A 20 year economic boom had taken the People’s Republic of China to a new place of global prominence. Yet rather than basking in the glory of his predecessors successes, Xi took to flexing his muscles abroad, and censoring and surveilling his citizens at home.
This summer Xi and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) initiated a regulatory onslaught against Chinese technology companies like Alibaba, Tencent, and Didi Global. Now property developers are suffering the CCP’s wrath, with the imposition of new debt limitations – called “three red lines”.
Evergrande is one of many leveraged developers in China. But it happens to be the most overstretched, and the first to have its cash flow come up short of its debt obligations. More developers will follow.
The US would have a tough time winning a Cold War against China. How does it fight against China and all its Eurasian friends, like Russia and Iran? From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:
President Biden’s words were hollow. The content had been cored because the words were empty of any real world content. On September 21, 2021, he told the UN General Assembly that the US is “not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocks.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres disagreed, warning against the new Cold War and referring to the US and China as “superpowers.”
With whom would a new Cold War be fought? Biden hinted at who the Cold War would be fought with right after saying that the Cold War wouldn’t be fought: “the United States turns our focus to the priorities and the regions of the world, like the Indo-Pacific, that are most consequential today and tomorrow.”
Biden denied that the war with China is a war of aggression. White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified that “Our relationship with China is one not of conflict but of competition.” Biden referred to “a new era of relentless diplomacy.” Again, words cored of content. The diplomacy is a diplomacy of provocation in Taiwan punctuated by military provocation. And diplomacy is not characterized by the US enticing Australia to cancel its order of conventional submarines that, according to Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist at Princeton University and a specialist in nuclear power, nuclear energy and nuclear arms control and proliferation, are completely adequate if your purpose is defending your maritime property against invading navies, for nuclear-powered submarines that are only preferable if your purpose is offensive attack. That’s sending a message to China, but it’s not diplomacy.