Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 22, 2020

China's Move In Hong Kong Illustrates The End Of U.S. Superiority

Blaming China for the Covid-19 pandemic is false. But the U.S. will continue to do so as a part of its larger anti-China strategy.

As the U.S. is busy countering the epidemic at home China has already defeated it within its borders. It now uses the moment to remove an issue the U.S. has long used to harass it. Hong Kong will finally be liberated from its U.S. supported racists disguised as liberals.

In late 1984 Britain and China signed a formal agreement which approved the 1997 release of Britain's colony Hong Kong to China. Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony. The Sino British Joint Declaration stipulated that China would create a formal law that would allow Hong Kong to largely govern itself.

The 'Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China' is the de facto constitution of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. But it is a national law of China adopted by the Chinese National People's Congress in 1990 and introduced in Hong Kong in 1997 after the British rule ran out. If necessary the law can be changed.

Chapter II of the Basic Law regulates the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Article 23 of the Basic Law stipulated that Hong Kong will have to implement certain measures for internal security:

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

Hong Kong has failed to create any of the laws demanded by Article 23. Each time its government tried to even partially implement such laws, in 2003, 2014 and 2019, protests and large scale riots in the streets of Hong Kong prevented it.

China was always concerned about the foreign directed unrest in Hong Kong but it did not press the issue while it was still depending on Hong Kong for access to money and markets.

In the year 2000 Hong Kong's GDP stood at $171 billion while China's was just 7 times larger at $1.200 billion. Last year Hong Kong's GDP had nearly doubled to $365 billion. But China's GDP had grown more than tenfold to $14,200 billion, nearly 40 times larger than Hong Kong's. Expressed in purchase power parity the divergence is even bigger. As an economic outlet for China Hong Kong has lost its importance.

Another factor that held China back from deeper meddling in Hong Kong was its concern about negative consequences from the U.S. and Britain. But under the Trump administration the U.S. has introduced more and more measures to shackle China's development. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed last year by the U.S. Congress demands that the U.S. government reports on Hong Kong and punishes those who it deems to be human right violators. The sanctions against Chinese companies and especially Huawei, recently expanded to a total economic blockade of 5G chip deliveries to that company, demonstrate that the U.S. will do anything it can to hinder China's economic success.

The Obama administration's 'pivot to Asia' was already a somewhat disguised move against China. The Trump administration's National Defense Strategy openly declared China a "strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea".

The U.S. Marine Corps is being reconfigured into specialized units designed to blockade China's access to the sea:

Thus, small Marine forces would deploy around the islands of the first island chain and the South China Sea, each element having the ability to contest the surrounding air and naval space using anti-air and antiship missiles. Collectively, these forces would attrite Chinese forces, inhibit them from moving outward, and ultimately, as part of a joint campaign, squeeze them back to the Chinese homeland.

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The 'Cold War 2.0' the U.S. launched against China will now see significant counter moves.

Last year's violent riots in Hong Kong, cheered on by the borg in Washington DC, have demonstrated that the development in Hong Kong is on a bad trajectory that may endanger China.

There is no longer a reason for China to hold back on countering the nonsense. Hong Kong's economy is no longer relevant. U.S. sanctions are coming independent of what China does or does not do in Hong Kong. The U.S. military designs are now an obvious threat.

As the laws that Hong Kong was supposed to implement are not forthcoming, China will now create and implement them itself:

The central government is to table a resolution on Friday to enable the apex of its top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), to craft and pass a new national security law tailor-made for Hong Kong, it announced late on Thursday.

Sources earlier told the Post the new law would proscribe secessionist and subversive activity as well as foreign interference and terrorism in the city – all developments that had been troubling Beijing for some time, but most pressingly over the past year of increasingly violent anti-government protests.
...
According to a mainland source familiar with Hong Kong affairs, Beijing had come to the conclusion that it was impossible for the city’s Legislative Council to pass a national security law to enact Article 23 of the city’s Basic Law given the political climate. This was why it was turning to the NPC to take on the responsibility.

On May 28 the NPC will vote on a resolution asking its Standing Committee to write the relevant law for Hong Kong. It is likely to be enacted by promulgation at the end of June. The law will become part of Annex III of the Basic Law which lists "National Laws to be Applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".

Under the new law the U.S. will have to stop its financing of student organization, anti-government unions and media in Hong Kong. The opposition parties will no longer be allowed to have relations with U.S. influence operations.

The U.S. State Department promptly condemned the step:

Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of liberty. The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties, which are key to preserving its special status under U.S. law. Any decision impinging on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory.

We stand with the people of Hong Kong.

It is not (yet?) The Coming War On China (video) but some hapless huffing and puffing that is strong on rhetoric but has little effect. No U.S. action can prevent China's government from securing its realm. Hong Kong is a Chinese city where China's laws, not U.S. dollars, are supreme.

The U.S. seems to believe it can win a cold war with China. But that understanding is wrong.

On the economic front it is not the U.S. that is winning by decoupling from China but Asia that is decoupling from the U.S.:

Since the US-China tech war began in April 2018 with Washington’s ban on chip exports to China’s ZTE Corporation, “de-Americanization of supply chains” has been the buzzword in the semiconductor industry.

Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia purchased about 50% more Chinese products in April 2020 than they did in the year-earlier month. Japan and Korea showed 20% gains. Exports to the US rose year-on-year, but from a very low 2019 base.

China’s imports from Asia also rose sharply.

When the U.S. prohibits companies, which use U.S. software or machines to design and make chips, from selling them to China then those companies will seek to buy such software and machines elsewhere. When the U.S. tries to hinder China's access to computer chips, China will build its own chip industry. Ten years from now it will be the U.S. which will have lost access to the then most modern ones as all of those will come from China. Already today it is China that dominates global trade.

The chaotic way in which the U.S. handles its Covid crisis is widely observed abroad. Those who see clearly recognized that it is now China, not the U.S., that is the responsible superpower. The U.S. is overwhelmed and will continue to be so for a long time:

This is why I don’t see the talk about a possible “Cold War 2.0” as meaningful or relevant. If there were to be any sort of “cold war” between the United States and China, then U.S. policymakers would still be able credibly to start planning how to manage this complex relationship with China. But in reality, the options for “managing” the core of this relationship are pitifully few, since the central task of whatever U.S. leadership emerges from this Covid nightmare will be to manage the precipitous collapse of the globe-circling empire the United States has sat atop of since 1945.
...
So here in Washington in Spring of 2020, I say, Let ’em huff and puff with their new flatulations of childish Sinophobia. Let them threaten this or that version of a new “Cold War”. Let them compete in elections– if these are to be held– on versions of “Who can be tougher on China.” But the cold reality shows that, as Banquo said, “It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

In his 2003 book After the Empire Emmanuel Todd described why the U.S. was moving towards the loss of its superpower status:

Todd calmly and straightforwardly takes stock of many negative trends, including America's weakened commitment to the socio-economic integration of African Americans, a bulimic economy that increasingly relies on smoke and mirrors and the goodwill of foreign investors, and a foreign policy that squanders the country's reserves of "soft power" while its militaristic arsonist-fireman behavior is met with increasing resistance.

The Covid-19 crisis has laid all this bare for everyone to see.

Will the U.S., as Todd predicted, now have to give up its superpower status? Or will it start a big war against China to divert the attention elsewhere and to prove its presumed superiority?

Posted by b on May 22, 2020 at 17:41 UTC | Permalink

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thanks b.. good overview... quoting you "As an economic outlet for China, Hong Kong has lost its importance." this is so true, however the usa playing a losing game will continue to fall back to the past to try to leverage it's political ideology via what was in the past, as opposed to moving forward into the future in a responsible way.. and as you note - the covid -19 crisis has laid bare who is prepared and who isn't...

the usa is not going to give up its superpower status gracefully.. did britian?? hard to know how this unfolds moving forward..

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 18:01 utc | 1

If General Buck Tergidson is still in the house it's war.

Posted by: ramon | May 22 2020 18:14 utc | 2

It may be more likely that states will abandon the union in the event of some wacko war event. This is already being considered due to different covid containment measures or lack thereof.

Posted by: Bob | May 22 2020 18:18 utc | 3

If Washington lured the Soviet Union into it's demise in Afghanistan, which left that minor empire in shambles - socially, militarily, economically - it was the nuclear conflagration at Chernobyl that put the corpse in the ground.....

(Watch the GREAT HBO five-part tragedy on it and you will see that the brutally heroic response of the Soviets, that saved the Western World at least temporarily, but is the portrait of self-sacrifice)

What was lost in the Soviets fumbling immediate post-explosion cover-up was the trust of their Eastern European satellite countries. That doomed that empire. So much military might was given up in Afghanistan, then on Chernobyl, it was not clear if the Soviets had the wherewithal to put down the rebellions that spread from Czechoslovakia to East Germany and beyond.

Covid-19 will do the same to the American Empire.

As its own infrastructure has been laid waste by the COLLASSAL MONEY PIT that is the Pentagon, its flagrant use of the most valuable energy commodity, oil, to maintain some 4000 bases worldwide, this rickety over-extended upside down version of old Anglo-Dutch trading empires, will finally collapse.

Loss of trust by the many craven satellites, in America's fractured response, to Covid-19 will put the final nail in its coffin.

A hot-shooting War may come next, but the empire cannot win it.

Posted by: Kurt Zumdieck | May 22 2020 18:24 utc | 4

The U.S. and its vassals will use every dirty trick in the book even while shooting themselves in the foot, as they have demonstrated in the past (and presently). Short of starting a nuclear war, the level of moral turpitude could not be any lower.

Posted by: norecovery | May 22 2020 18:36 utc | 5

That the pro-USA bloc in HK has to complain of supposed violations of the non-binding aspirational 1984 Joint Declaration shows their position is one of complaint not dialogue.
As early as last May, protesters interviewed by international media were pleading for the US to enact the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. They got their wish last autumn, but now they get the blowback from that decision. The pro-USA bloc is now openly discussing a new strategy of rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the temper tantrum they will stage in response. The hysteria meter will rise to 10.

Posted by: jayc | May 22 2020 18:36 utc | 6

The U.S. military’s belief it will be able to control the seas off China in wartime by boating in small, missile-toting, but otherwise lightly equipped squads of Marines, dropping them on islands, and presumably relocating and evacuating them as desired – all without getting detected and blown up by the enemy – is possibly the most deluded piece of U.S. strategic “thinking” I can recall seeing, and the competition is stiff.

I don’t fault China for responding to the political hostility, but it will be to everyone’s benefit if their military moves will be tempered somewhat the preposterousness of what the U.S. plans on throwing at them.

Posted by: David G | May 22 2020 18:37 utc | 7

"we stand with the people of Hong Kong".

My god, the cringe-inducing arrogance of the Washington regime is something else! Imagine after Hurricane Maria and the subsequently dismal aid effort that devastated Puerto Rico, the Chinese issued a statement lambasting the US response and saying "we stand with the people of Puerto Rico".

Disgusting regime.

Posted by: Nick | May 22 2020 18:38 utc | 8

Today, Pepe Escobar has a similar analysis to B:
http://thesaker.is/china-one-country-two-sessions-three-threats/

Posted by: heresy101 | May 22 2020 18:41 utc | 9

The new law only prohibits organized protest movements funded from abroad (Us of north A or G-Britain, for instance), and not those protests paid for by tax and corruption refugees from Mainland China-- nor those from Táiwan that adhere to the unity of the Chinese state.

Posted by: Ou Si (區司) | May 22 2020 18:57 utc | 10

Laws like this one also exist in Finland, Norway and Iceland to prohibit foreign electioneering interferences,

Posted by: Ou Si (區司) | May 22 2020 19:00 utc | 11

I dunno.

Seems to me that Chinese dominion of HK has long been in the cards. Not sure that the Chinese moves signal anything more than the obvious: USA/EMPIRE desire to stomp on Chinese ambitions.

Kissinger laid out the plan in 2014 in his WSJ Op-Ed: Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order. Even though I repeatedly refer back to Kissinger's Op-Ed, few really seem to 'get it'. USA Deep State are not the complete idiots that some want to make them seem.

Start a war with China? Not likely any time soon.

USA/EMPIRE have got what it wanted from HK, didn't they? They used HK to antagonize China and for anti-China propaganda. China's looming "crackdown" on UK will get lots of attention in the West, as USA economic sanctions on multiple countries are largely ignored and Assange rots in prison with nary a word from the press.

IMO The real test of USA/Empire is coming soon in the Caribbean. Will USA 'blink' and allow Iran to deliver gas to Venezuela?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 22 2020 19:05 utc | 12

Thanks b, I'm expecting the HK debacles from you. This will be the new battleground and China will make its stands here. It is China’s Waterloo, the battle between the good and evil (MoA decide the good and the evil). It could be an all assault against Americans or China here. This here where China will end the freewheeling foreigners spying and instigating China.

There are millions of Aussies, Canadians. Brits, Kiwis, Indians and Americans in HK and will soon boot out. Don't believe me watch what I have a lot to say in this thread....

But, but, but these are not freaking WHITE but dual citizens’ ethnic Chinese from Australia, Canada, UK, NZ, India, Singapore, M'sia, Indonesia and America..... My niece an Aussie with her family is one of the millions in HK. America’s screw themselves they'll loose their only secured spying networks in China if they acted on HK.... Watch SCMP, Joe Tsai dual citizens HK and Canada born in Taiwan Alibaba Group Holding’s vice-chairman and Brian Liu, CEO an American, Taiwan Citizens. Both originally Taiwanese. SCMP have extensive correspondents, reporters etc. worldwide including Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai.... after the last tit-for-tat most MSM were expelled from China

Posted by: JC | May 22 2020 19:06 utc | 13


Will the U.S., as Todd predicted, now have to give up its superpower status? Or will it start a big war against China to divert the attention elsewhere and to prove its presumed superiority?

Forget China. The US first needs to show whether it can stop those 5 Iranian oil tankers taking oil to Venezuela. This will be a quick litmus test of the US superpower status.

Posted by: a meme | May 22 2020 19:18 utc | 14

Very good article by MoA.

James is right that the US only knows and uses its toolbox from its past. That is the problem with US elites that are determined to maintain the status quo to their benefit the public be damned.

David is right to heap derision on the Pentagon plan to use the Marines to pin the Chinese to the coast. Another example of the US stuck in the past like it's still fighting WW2.

As for Hong Kong it's part of sovereign China. It's none of US business. Congress will heap on sanctions - but no matter - the US has met more than its match and the more it pushes the more it accelerates world into a post western-dominated cycle of history.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 22 2020 19:20 utc | 15

Correction Brian Liu should be Gary Liu.

Watch both videos, first Gary alone with TED and later Gary Liu and Joe Tsai together.... extensive hidden agenda spying in China...

Gary Liu, Joe Tsai Chung-hsin

What the world can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus | Gary Liu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIh2-S2jXls

Artificial Intelligence at Heart of Alibaba Ecosystem
who is the whiteman blocked PMorgan banker into blg in HHK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGcD8CTlDEc

Posted by: JC | May 22 2020 19:42 utc | 16

And let's add a note about the revised language China is using with regard to Taiwan.

Posted by: snow_watcher | May 22 2020 19:49 utc | 17

And let's add a note about the revised language China is using with regard to Taiwan.

China drops word 'peaceful' in latest push for Taiwan 'reunification'

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament-taiwan/china-drops-word-peaceful-in-latest-push-for-taiwan-reunification-idUSKBN22Y06S

Posted by: snow_watcher | May 22 2020 19:51 utc | 18

We are dealing with the same group, the descendants of the men who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not to end WWII but to show the USSR and the world that the Western Empire had the world at its feet.

The idea that this group will not use nuclear weapons again is foolish.

I don't know why people keep using the irrelevant term "cold war" when the US is engaged in hybrid warfare throughout the globe and there is nothing cold about it.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 22 2020 19:53 utc | 19

Posted by: a meme | May 22 2020 19:18 utc | 14

'Will the U.S., as Todd predicted, now have to give up its superpower status? Or will it start a big war against China to divert the attention elsewhere and to prove its presumed superiority?'

Yes, it seems to me that Venezuela is the scene that brings all of the actors together: Iran and Venezuela, stood up militarily by Russia and economically by China.

It gives all of these actors a chance, together, to give the U.S. a bloody nose while keeping the action far from home.

Posted by: dh-mtl | May 22 2020 20:00 utc | 20

"Will the U.S., as Todd predicted, now have to give up its superpower status? Or will it start a big war against China to divert the attention elsewhere and to prove its presumed superiority?"

Pretty much a rhetorical question from where I am sitting.

Posted by: MarkU | May 22 2020 20:06 utc | 21

The US "decoupling" from China is like the terminal patient in ICU "decoupling" from the machinery keeping his body alive. It is not working out quite the way the Republican and Democrat MAGA types imagined.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 22 2020 20:14 utc | 22

As Ou Si @ 11 states, other nations have similar laws prohibiting foreign influence through the use of non-government organisations posing as charities or religious institutions via embassies and consulates. Moreover as in the case of Russia (I believe, but people can correct me if I'm wrong), the law that prohibits such activity is based on the equivalent US law that apply to foreign organisations on US soil.

In the not so distant future, we can expect to see truckloads of US and UK consulate staff being kicked out of HK and religious and other various "humanitarian" and "cultural" organisations in HK having to pack their bags and go.

Where they will all relocate though is another worry.

Posted by: Jen | May 22 2020 20:32 utc | 23

But the cold reality shows that, as Banquo said, “It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Macbeth's words, not Banquo's.

As usual, a nicely measured article, thank you.

Posted by: Guy THORNTON | May 22 2020 20:36 utc | 24

ot but related... vancouver is witnessing a greater number of attacks on asian people at present... it seems the 'hate china' memo is working itself thru the msm system with these kinds of results... when i have an article to go with this, i will share...

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 20:41 utc | 25

The US is already at war with China, and will escalate from hybrid/economic war to hot war eventually because the US believes it has no alternative. Giving up global hegemony and yielding to the rising power is not perceived as a viable option. Allowing China's rise will lead to the destruction of the Empire, and America will not allow that without using the best tools of imperialism it has left, which is its military.

The Chinese need to understand this, and I believe they do understand it, but they need to accurately grasp how the US will respond to the shooting conflict when it starts. The US will escalate the violence to stay at least one level more brutal than their adversary. If the Chinese shoot at and damage an American ship, then the Americans will respond with ten times the force and sink a Chinese ship. If the Chinese sink an American ship, then the Americans will (try to) sink every Chinese ship.

The point here is that the Chinese cannot entertain the illusion that they can just give America a light military slap and the Americans will reconsider their imperialist behavior. There is precisely 0% chance of that working. When the Chinese do take action it has to be big and decisive. If the Chinese want any chance of escaping the Thucydides Trap without all-out war, then they must punch their way out with enough "Shock & Awe™" to disrupt America's otherwise inevitable escalation.

Keep in mind that the United States will use atomic weapons to defend its hegemony if allowed to escalate to that level. The only way to prevent that is to leapfrog past all of the levels of escalation that America is prepared for at the given moment and in the process stun America into inability to respond. China certainly has the means to accomplish this, but they cannot be timid about it.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 22 2020 20:49 utc | 26

China is still in great danger. Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3 (see 6:48). It is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

So, yes, the West still has a realistic chance of destroying China and inaugurating a new cycle of capitalist prosperity.

What happens with the "decoupling"/"Pivot to Asia" is that, in the West, there's a scatological theory [go to 10th paragraph] - of Keynesian origin - that socialism can only play "catch up" with capitalism, but never surpass it when a "toyotist phase" of technological innovation comes (this is obviously based on the USSR's case). This theory states that, if there's innovation in socialism, it is residual and by accident, and that only in capitalism is significant technological advancement possible. From this, they posit that, if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level.

If China will be able to get out of the "Toyotist Trap" that destroyed the USSR, only time will tell. Regardless, decoupling is clearly not working, and China is not showing any signs so far of slowing down. Hence Trump is now embracing a more direct approach.

As for the USA, I've put my big picture opinion about it some days ago, so I won't repeat myself. Here, it suffices to say that, yes, I believe the USA can continue to survive as an empire - even if, worst case scenario, in a "byzantine" form. To its favor, it has: 1) the third largest world population 2) huge territory, with excellent proportion of high-quality arable land (35%), that basically guarantees food security indefinitely (for comparison, the USSR only had 10% of arable land, and of worse quality) 3) two coasts, to the two main Oceans (Pacific and Atlantic), plus a direct exit to the Arctic (Alaska and, de facto, Greenland and Canada) 4) excellent, very defensive territory, protected by both oceans (sea-to-sea), bordered only by two very feeble neighbors (Mexico and Canada) that can be easily absorbed if the situation asks to 4) still the financial superpower 5) still a robust "real" economy - specially if compared to the micro-nations of Western Europe and East-Asia 6) a big fucking Navy, which gives it thalassocratic power.

I don't see the USA losing its territorial integrity anytime soon. There are separatist movements in places like Texas and, more recently, the Western Coast. Most of them exist only for fiscal reasons and are not taken seriously by anyone else. The Star-and-Stripes is still a very strong ideal to the average American, and nobody takes the idea of territory loss for real. If that happens, though, it would change my equation on the survival of the American Empire completely.

As for Hong Kong. I watched a video by the chief of the PLA last year (unfortunately, I watched it on Twitter and don't have the link with me anymore). He was very clear: Hong Kong does not present an existential threat to China. The greatest existential threat to China are, by far, Xinjiang and Tibet, followed by Taiwan and the South China Sea. Hong Kong is a distant fourth place.

Those liberal clowns were never close.

Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 27

Much appreciated article, thanks for that! I know nothing about China and Hong Kong, so I'm much obliged for your analysis.

Seems really like the thing to do for the Chinese, not to meddle too much in the city's internal affairs, but make sure that hostile powers can't meddle there either. When those protests slash riots came up, I was racking my brain about why the Chinese would put up with any festering US consulate in Hong Kong. Just throw those "diplomats" out on whatever thin pretext. That's also what Venezuela should have done long ago, and Syria too, back in 2011 when that certified creep Robert Stephen Ford was hopping from couch to couch, inciting civil war and probably looking to get laid by impressionable Arab guys as well. They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble by just 'neutralising' Jeff-Man Feltman over in Lebanon, too, before said Feltman managed to neutralise his host Rafic Hariri.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeinton | May 22 2020 21:06 utc | 28

I have a niece in Hong Kong, and I'll get her take on the situation.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 22 2020 21:23 utc | 29

Good info on this situation, b. What has always been fascinating to me is the irony of the mindset HK protestors. They have legit grievances about economic injustices but due to their media (which is just an extension of British tabloid conspiracy sites like the Mirror and Sun or neocon Bri rags like the Economist), they wrongly attribute blame to Beijing when they ought to their former British masters. When they left, they forced China to guarantee that the oligarchs in HK would continue to have full control over land and banking interests. These corrupt servants of the British have continued to jack up housing prices and made it nearly impossible for many to live a comfortable life. HK has more land than Singapore but the later made it illegal to price gauge rent and made other protections against predatory oligarchs. Now Singaporeans have very high home ownership and affordable housing while HKers must live like rats. Due to their colonial brainwashing, the HKers have come to see anti-China conspiracy theories everywhere when their own oligarchs continue to steal from them. Had it not been for the British who forced Beijing into these pro-oligarch deals to ensure handover, Beijing would have done the same for HK what the Singaporean gov did for their population.

Posted by: Doryphore | May 22 2020 21:30 utc | 30

It is sad to see MOA reduced to supporting the elite flu hoax. Somewhere it got lost. Brilliant work on Syria but it sort of gets to the point that there is only one human being doing their thing. And that person can get it wrong. So carry on james sucking up to b. but a real friend has the guts to disagree.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 22 2020 21:54 utc | 31

VK @ 28:

One problem with your scenario is that the US navy may be over-extended in parts of the world where all the enemy has to do is to cut off supply lines to battleship groups and then those ships would be completey helpless. US warships in the Persian Gulf with the Strait of Hormuz sealed off by Iran come to mind.

Incidents involving US naval ship collisions with slow-moving oil tankers in SE Asian waters and some other parts of of the the world, resulting in the loss of sailors, hardly instill the notion that the US is a mighty thalassocratic force.

It's my understanding also that Russia, China and maybe some other countries have invested hugely in long-range missiles capable of hitting US coastal cities and areas where the bulk of the US population lives.

And if long-range missiles don't put paid to the notion that projecting power through sending naval warships all over the planet works, maybe the fact that many of these ships are sitting ducks for COVID-19 infection clusters might, where the US public is concerned.

Posted by: Jen | May 22 2020 21:55 utc | 32

@ Posted by: Jen | May 22 2020 21:55 utc | 33

I agree the new anti-ship missile technology may have changed the rules of naval warfare.

However, it's important to highlight that, contrary to the US Army, the USN has a stellar record. It fought wonderfully against the Japanese Empire in 1941-1945, and successfully converted both the Pacific and the Atlantic into "American lakes" for the next 75 years. All the Americans have nowadays it owes its Navy.

But you may be right. Maybe the USN is also susceptible to degeneration.

Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 22:16 utc | 33

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage." - John Kenneth Galbraith

Posted by: One Too Many | May 22 2020 22:23 utc | 34

“ Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony.”...
The Bristish had never defended Hong Kong and never had the intention to defend Hong Kong. My mother was a teenage girl when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. According to her account, she saw the Bristush battle ships and submarines ran from the harbor before the advance of the Japanese troops. Leaving only the local Boy Scouts and the Salvation Army to fire a few token shots (who were all killed eventually). They didn’t even bother to collect their own citizens when they ran, leaving behind a group of British nurses at a hospital, who were raped by the Japanese soldiers when they arrived.

Posted by: Casual Observer | May 22 2020 22:45 utc | 35

Re:34 VK,

The US Navy has had some pretty serious lapses in the past decade, the multiple collisions with cargo ships and the failed Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) design. Putting aside the unproven allegations that the Chinese or the Russians somehow "spooled" the GPS of the ships to cause the collisions the fact the US ships didn't have lookouts posted means they either got lazy or they are so understaffed they cut vital roles they felted were better off being automated. Also, I seem to recall that the US navy reduced their offshore training program for their officers a few years ago (meaning their newest officers are learning on the fly at sea). So i'm not sure if they've avoided the problems of a bloated military

Posted by: Kadath | May 22 2020 22:53 utc | 36

Posted by b on May 22, 2020 at 17:41 UTC | Permalink
"racists disguised as liberals"

Clicking through the link I see a placard in English, supposedly from Hong Kong Airport, reading "Hong Kong Revolution. Chinese not welcome. Free Taiwan Now. Kick out all Chinese now." How can supporting the independence of Taiwan, or being anti-Communist be racist? Am I missing something here?

Posted by: carl | May 22 2020 23:29 utc | 37

Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 28 Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3 (see 6:48). It is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

Based on what I've read, China is on a fast track to develop technology on their own. In addition, technology development is world-wide these days. What China can not develop itself - quickly enough, time is the only real problem - it can buy with its economic power.

"if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level."

Ah, but that's where hackers come in. China can *not* be blocked out of Western IP. First, as I said, China can *buy* it. Unless there is a general prohibition across the entire Western world, and by extension sanctions against any other nation from selling to China - which is an unenforceable policy, as Iran has shown - China can buy what it doesn't have and then reverse-engineer it. Russia will sell it if no one else will.

Second, China can continue to simply acquire technology through industrial espionage. Every country and every industry engages in this sort of thing. Ever watch the movie "Duplicity"? That shit actually happens. I read about industrial espionage years ago and it's only gotten fancier since the old days of paper files. I would be happy to breach any US or EU industrial sector and sell what I find to the Chinese, the Malaysians or anyone else interested. It's called "leveling the playing field" and that is advantageous for everyone. If the US industrial sector employees can't keep up, that's their problem. No one is guaranteed a job for life - and shouldn't be.

"1) the third largest world population"

Which is mostly engaged in unproductive activities like finance, law, etc. I've read that if you visit the main US universities teaching science and technology, who are the students? Chinese. Indians. Not Americans. Americans only want to "make money" in law and finance, not "make things."

"2) huge territory, with excellent proportion of high-quality arable land (35%), that basically guarantees food security indefinitely"

In military terms, given current military technology, territory doesn't matter. China has enough nuclear missiles to destroy the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas in this country. Losing 100-200 millions citizens kinda puts a damper on US productivity. Losing the same number in China merely means more for the rest.

"3) two coasts, to the two main Oceans (Pacific and Atlantic)"

Which submarines can make irrelevant. Good for economic matters - *if* your economy can continue competing. China has one coast - but its Belt and Road Initiative gives it economic clout on the back-end and the front-end. I don't see the US successfully countering that Initiative.

"4) excellent, very defensive territory, protected by both oceans (sea-to-sea)"

Which only means the US can't be "invaded". That's WWI and WWII thinking the US is mired in. Today, you destroy an opponent's military and, if necessary, his civilian population, or at least its ability to "project" force against you. You don't "invade" unless it's some weak Third World country. And if the US can't "project" its power via its navy or air force, having a lot of territory doesn't mean much. This is where Russia is right now. Very defensible but limited in force projection (but getting better fast.) The problem for the US is China and Russia are developing military technology that can prevent US force projection around *their* borders.

"bordered only by two very feeble neighbors (Mexico and Canada) that can be easily absorbed if the situation asks"

LOL I can just see the US "absorbing" Mexico. Canada, maybe - they're allies anyway. Mexico, not so much. You want a "quagmire", send the US troops to take on the Mexican drug gangs. They aren't Pancho Villa.

"4) still the financial superpower"

Uhm, what part of "Depression" did you miss? And even if that doesn't happen now, continued financial success is unlikely. Like pandemics, shit happens in economics and monetary policy.

"a big fucking Navy, which gives it thalassocratic power."

That can be sunk in a heartbeat and is virtually a colossal money pit with limited strategic value given current military technology which both China and Russia are as advanced as the US is, if not more so. Plus China is developing its own navy quickly. I read somewhere a description of one Chinese naval shipyard. There were several advanced destroyers being developed. Then the article noted that China has several more large shipyards. That Chinese long coast comes in handy for that sort of thing.

China Now Has More Warships Than the U.S.
But sometimes quantity doesn't trump quality. [My note: But sometimes it does.]
https://tinyurl.com/y7numhef

That's just the first article I found, from a crappy source. There are better analyses, of course.

"I don't see the USA losing its territorial integrity anytime soon. There are separatist movements in places like Texas and, more recently, the Western Coast. Most of them exist only for fiscal reasons and are not taken seriously by anyone else."

I'd agree with that. I hear this "California secession" crap periodically and never believe it. However, for state politicians, the notion of being "President" of your own country versus a "Governor" probably is tempting to these morons. State populations are frequently idiots as well, as the current lockdown response is demonstrating. All in all, though, if there are perceived external military threats, that is likely to make the states prefer to remain under US central control.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 22 2020 23:51 utc | 38

@ 32 lochearn... thanks.. i thought you left for good.. what happened? it ain't sucking up, but i get how you want to characterize me here, having never had a conversation with me in the past... you can call it the elite flu, and i hope karma doesn't bite you in the ass when you least expect it..

Posted by: james | May 23 2020 0:00 utc | 39

Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 28

Here's a better article on the Chinese Navy.

China Navy Versus the US Navy Now and Through 2030
https://tinyurl.com/yajv7kjm


China’s main naval advantages are
* they make 36% of the world’s commercial ships. Number two is South Korea at 34% and Japan at 20%
* China is building about ten more naval ships per year than the USA.
* China is building more big ships including aircraft carriers

Check that article out. While it claims the US could win any naval conflict even out to twenty years from now, the rest of the article shows that China will be no slouch and quite competitive in naval power.

If the US intends to defeat China militarily, it needs to do it now or within the next decade, otherwise eventually China *will* become militarily on parity with the US.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2020 0:02 utc | 40

“Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony.”..”

That was the excuse. I believe HK was offered to China in return for Deng to open up and turn China capitalist. Deng was not the one who
demanded HK return. Britain initiated the discussions. Deng gladly accepted although he insisted on maintaining their authoritarian form of undemocratic government and left HK’s fate ambiguous so Britain could get support from their people and the HK elite. The party elites were happy to be able to join the Western Elites in accumulating an unequal share of the wealth. The Soviet elites led by the US Globalist puppet Gorbachev chose the same path although they chose Fake Democracy and rule of the oligarchs as in the US rather than party control of China

HK is protected against US tarrifs imposed on China goods. China exports a good chunk of goods through HK. If Trump were really serious he would remove HK’s protected status.

Posted by: Kay Fabe | May 23 2020 0:09 utc | 41

1. I agree generally but the term "racist" does not seem to apply. The link to your 7/2019 article "US Stunt..." does not show racism, although a pictured sign says "Kick out all Chinese," because this is political: both the protestors and China are racially Chinese.

That article notes "The so called 'pro-democracy' parties in Hong Kong have lost in each and every local election. The pro-China parties always receive a majority of votes" so that is the issue to be cited.

2. The political issue presented by the US is of the legitimacy of secession of an alleged democracy from what it alleges is not a democracy. Governments never permit secession, whether legitimate or not, so US action would be provocation with only symbolic effect.

If the US was a democracy and the PRC was a tyranny, the US claim would be at least ethical. But the US form of government is bribery via political parties, masquerading as democracy to keep the proles in line. It simply claims that the PRC is not as much of a democracy, to a public that has no information on that. So the missing ethical issue is: is the PRC more of a democracy, some kind of democracy, etc.?

Posted by: Joe B | May 23 2020 0:23 utc | 42

@vk , hilarious post trying to potray modern day USN as fhe same one who fought japanese.. after WW2 all USN did was doing tag with soviets and today even their skill lost in the current situation.. The good ole US navy is gone, all that left is aging airframes and ships and confused doctrine that focused on clearing endless brush fires from restless natives..

USN are not able to fight peer enemy naval force, its man power are not sustainable in such fight , thus they will resort to military draft system again and pray tell how many foolish ignorant gung ho flag waving american would enlist ? it is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid’s lives on the line of fire most will ran away to canada or mexico

Posted by: milomilo | May 23 2020 0:24 utc | 43

@carl

yes you are a racist who hate chinese people so you dont see the obvious racism of HK protester as wrong..

troll somewhere else , you and your cubicle mate lochearn ..

Posted by: milomilo | May 23 2020 0:26 utc | 44

Now Col Lang posted food articles on his SST site , i guess cognitive dissonance got to him , instead of allowing real fact and truthful articles about american decline the senile colonel now attack anyone who post on comments except his lover fred..

Posted by: milomilo | May 23 2020 0:28 utc | 45

@ Posted by: Kay Fabe | May 23 2020 0:09 utc | 42

The timing doesn't add up. China opened up in 1972 (the famous Nixon-Mao handshake), while the UK's agreement to give HK back was from 1984 - well into the Thatcher Era.

The most likely reason for the UK to decide to obey the lease deal was of military nature: the valuable land necessary to defend HK was the flatland adjacent to the city proper, where potable water comes from. It already part of the Mainland, thus rendering the defense of HK virtually impossible without an outright invasion of the Mainland itself.

Margaret Thatcher probably didn't want to obey the treaty (99-year lease), as a good neoliberal she was, but her military advisors probably warned her of the practical difficulties, and, since it was a 99-year lease anyway, she must've agreed to simply allow the treaty to be followed.

It is important to highlight that, in 1984, there were a lot of reasons the capitalist world should be optimist about China becoming capitalist. After all, it really got off the Soviet sphere after 1972, and Deng's reforms were - from the point of view of a vulgar (bourgeois) economist - indeed a clear path to a capitalist restoration. It didn't cross Thatcher's mind that China could stand its ground and remain socialist - at least not in 1984. If you read the sources of the time, you will easily see the Western elites treated China's return to capitalism as a given.

Posted by: vk | May 23 2020 0:30 utc | 46

This is an interesting look at the situation in the military as related to the militaries place in society.  It is written in Marxist language of class struggle which is one way to look at it.  There does seem to be pressure for some sort of social reform.

Also similar things could be said about the working conditions of many of our 'essential workers'

The Coronavirus Crisis Is Creating Dissent Within The Ranks Of The Armed Forces.
https://popularresistance.org/the-growing-outbreak-of-discontent-in-the-us-military/

""It is a well-known feature of revolutionary history that the individual soldiers and sailors who make up the armed forces can be affected by the overarching mood in society and play a key role in the class struggle. The cramped quarters of Navy warships have been likened to “floating factories,” and given the proletarian background of most of their crews, these conditions can breed a fierce class hatred.

Add a deadly virus to the already volatile mix, and the stage is set for a social explosion.

On April 2, Thomas Modly, the then-Acting Secretary of the Navy, relieved Crozier of command and ordered him removed from the vessel. An online video was posted of Crozier leaving the vessel, with the Roosevelt’s crew on deck cheering him and chanting his name. To the rank and file, an officer standing up to leadership at such a high level to advocate on their behalf is almost unheard of. Then, Modly, who previously sat on the Defense Business Board of a $42 billion consulting firm, actually flew all the way out to Guam—at a reported cost of $243,000—to personally berate the crew, calling them “stupid,” and Captain Crozier “naïve.” His profanity-laden rebuke was also leaked by members of the crew.

Modly was defiantly heckled by the sailors, and after the subsequent public outcry, he resigned on April 7. As of the writing of this article, there have been over 1,100 positive cases of COVID-19 among the crew of the Roosevelt—including Crozier himself. One crew member, a junior enlisted sailor, has died. The crew continues to languish in port as Crozier’s dire prediction came true. This saga of higher-level commanders ignoring the warnings of the people “on the ground” is all too familiar to the military rank and file.

Plummeting Morale, Rising Discontent

The public heckling of Thomas Modly was a significant event. No matter how unpopular the leader, service members will almost always “sit there and take it,” both out of a sense of professionalism—and out of fear of punishment. The response of the Roosevelt’s crew reflects a population on edge

In these conditions of dysfunction and discontent, military leaders are undoubtedly haunted by the recent 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, which marked the defeat of the US in Vietnam amid widespread mutinies and soldier resistance. In the course of that war, the Pentagon documented half a million cases of desertion, and at least 900 incidents of “fragging”—the deliberate killing of officers by soldiers.

As a result, the Pentagon drew certain conclusions and the entire military was restructured in an attempt to cut across a repeat of those events. The military is no longer made up of conscripts, most combat missions are performed by special forces or drones, and information is effectively sanitized and kept out of public view. And yet, despite these measures, service member opposition to the current wars, has been on the rise, especially among veterans.

In many cases, soldiers are recruited on the predatory basis of the “poverty draft,” with the promise of a stable income, housing, healthcare, education opportunities, and an escape from the deprivations of capitalism. But the empty nature of these promises is revealed by the rates of homelessness and mental illness among veterans.

According to a “Political Risk Outlook” published by the strategic consulting firm Maplecroft, a quarter of the countries on the earth’s surface experienced a surge in civil unrest, mass protests, and revolutionary situations last year. The report summary concluded by describing 2019 as the “new normal”:“

The pent-up rage that has boiled over into street protests over the past year has caught most governments by surprise. Policymakers across the globe have mostly reacted with limited concessions and a clampdown by security forces, but without addressing the underlying causes. However, even if tackled immediately, most of the grievances are deeply entrenched and would take years to address. With this in mind, 2019 is unlikely to be a flash in the pan. The next 12 months are likely to yield more of the same, and companies and investors will have to learn to adapt and live with this “new normal.” “

Posted by: financial matters | May 23 2020 0:36 utc | 47

Posted by: carl | May 22 2020 23:29 utc | 38

How can supporting the independence of Taiwan, or being anti-Communist be racist?

Anyone with first hand knowledge of Hong Kong understands that many Hong Kong Chinese despise "mainlanders" as a people. Their antipathy is to the culture, manners, values and economic power of mainland Chinese. It is not a principled objection to communist ideology or concern for their neighbours in Taiwan.

This should not be taken as a criticism of Hong Kongers. It is just a factual observation. Chinese people in general appear unconcerned by the concept of racism. In my experience, Hong Kongers in particular have no qualms about criticising other races and cultures, and certainly don't see it as immoral. Personally, I don't particularly mind this.

Posted by: J Norwich | May 23 2020 0:43 utc | 48

Here's a little story from my teen years in the '90s that taught me everything I needed to know about the mentality of Hong Kongers. When my father's provincial university opened a satellite campus in a wealthy area of my country's largest city, I found myself at a high school with many recent East Asian migrants. Not many Mainlanders yet, mostly Sth Koreans and HK/Taiwan/Singapore Chinese. The HKers tended to be more arrogant than their fellow East Asians, seeing themselves as superior and more 'Western'.

One HK guy decided to differentiate himself by referring to the other East Asians as 'Gooks'. One day in class my quiet Korean friend gave the teacher a note and said in halting English "I need to go see ... orthodontist". On hearing this, our HKer immediately yelled "Is 'dentist' ... not 'dontist' you stupid GOOK!", provoking roars of laughter. Once he realised we were laughing at him, not with him, that was the beginning of the end for his 'Gook' experiment.

Posted by: Paora | May 23 2020 1:05 utc | 49

Kind of ironic to play the racism card here - hard to find any more racist group than Han Chinese!

Posted by: A Cynic | May 23 2020 1:22 utc | 50

Re:47 VK,

Thatcher didn't want to return Hong Kong to China in fact after the Falklands War she rather arrogantly told Deng Xio Ping that the negotiations to "return" Hong Kong to China should include the option to extend the UK administration. Deng told her that Hong Kong would return to China at the previous specified time, that the negotiations were simply to make the transition smooth and if she tried to prevent the return he would take Hong Kong back immediately. That scared some sense into Thatcher and they eventually got the agreement that we have now after a few years of back and forth talks. Although the British slipped a poison pill in the agreement by creating the democratically elected Legislative Council in 1995 (having blocked all previous attempts to create democracy in HK) just before the handover just to create a headache for China

Posted by: Kadath | May 23 2020 1:46 utc | 51

May 19th 2020: Indian and Chinese troops have been involved in as many as four incidents in recent weeks along the undefined LAC. (=Line of Actual Control)

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/news-analysis-behind-new-incidents-a-changed-dynamic-along-india-china-border/article31627397.ece

China upped their close border infrastructure for decades but doesn't like India to do likewise. It it wise to antagonize India more while struggling with the US?

Posted by: Antonym | May 23 2020 2:08 utc | 52

Good to see that China will reign in the eastern hemisphere and the decoupling btw the west and east is proceeding apace.

It matters not how much suffering the elites in the west will endure as they attempt to cozy up next to China and its markets in the future and abandon nationals in the west for all to see. We will indeed know the truth about our leaders very soon and we will purge them amidst growing discord and social unrest in the west.

The bottom line is that decoupling is bad for globalism but good for us Average Joes. It may take a while for this to shake out but for recovering addicts like us westerners, it is always darkest before the dawn.

Best wishes to China and its neighbors but I don't want to see you.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 23 2020 2:10 utc | 53

A Cynic (@52) says: "Kind of ironic to play the racism card here - hard to find any more racist group than Han Chinese!"

Really? You can't see the irony that your statement itself is very racist.

Of course, you don't have proof nor evidence of your statement - please show us your data that Han is the most racist group.

Posted by: d dan | May 23 2020 3:11 utc | 54

Very nice recap, b - many thanks. This is the time of the much awaited two sessions legislative and policymaking event in China, and global commentary is flowing - I greatly appreciate your view, and your take on some of the commentary.

The article you quoted from by Helena Cobban was very pertinent. I'm glad you include her in your reading, and thanks for introducing her to readers like me who didn't know about her. Her quoting in turn from the article by Eric Li calling Xi a Good Emperor was also wonderful - Li's truthtelling about China appearing in Foreign Policy of all places, where it was most desperately needed to be heard.

~~

So of all the concerns and analyses, the principal worry is the specter of warfare in some form, conducted by the US against China. Obviously we have two schools of thought here, ranging from the assessment that the US is still capable militarily and as an executive of inflicting serious harm, to the other end of the spectrum that doubts the US capacity even to find its shoes in the morning.

I like the notion raised in this thread that Venezuela is the place to watch next rather than China, for an insight into the degree to which Pentagon abilities can match CIA desires.

I personally think that the concept of China's needing to deliver a mind-numbing shock to China is overdrawn. The fact is that we've already seen Iran deliver a short, sharp slap to the US - the first overt attack by a state in this century - and we saw the US capitulation.

Venezuela probably does give us the next proof that the US can be challenged militarily and fail to respond. Time will tell, and give us much more data than the simple outcome of an oil delivery to an embargoed nation.

The way one parses the actions of the US nowadays is not to measure its affirmative intentions and proclivities but to measure the extent of its failing abilities. The US has its bluster, which somewhat blinds the world to its true capacity, but also locks the US itself into going through the motions to support that bluster. But how far can those motions go, simply in support of bluster? When a state draws a line and stands ready to go all-in, we have seen increasing indications in recent years that the US will fail to commit military power to cross that line.

We've discussed before how thinly the slice of escalation can be cut in world confrontations. The US itself has some skill in this also. Using a few soldiers as a tripwire in the oilfields of Syria, it forces the liberating forces to stay away from confrontation. Russia itself has sliced the strategic retaking of Idlib into numerous small slivers, each time calculating the resolve and power of the US at the moment of the action.

And where did I read just today that it is actually Russia and China who are enacting a "containment" policy - containing the US as it slowly falls, refraining from unbalancing the lumbering giant caught in its own blinding fog of bluster and action?

In this sense, I think the question is not so much if the US will engage in outright war with China, but if China will provoke a military action which it can counter without forcing the dotard into a foolish, unthinking activity that could mean the downfall of all. China is gaming the outcomes, I suspect, to a far finer precision than the US.

Remember it was North Korea that gave us the "dotard" description. NK knew the west more elegantly than the west knew itself. The supposed target nations of the US understand their adversary far more clearly than he understands himself, or the world he is in. They are actually the ones guiding the US gently to its knees.

~~

Or so I suspect, and theorize speculatively.

Venezuela may provide priceless insight into this equation. Iran will act with perhaps a far thicker slice of escalation, even though it uses the same strategy of attempting not to provoke the US into an always-possible folly from which there may be no turning back. China will be watching closely, learning and adjusting all the time.

Posted by: Grieved | May 23 2020 3:14 utc | 55

A commentator in Taiwan said that the US consulate in Hong Kong has more than 2000 staff. If true, this number is astounding, and probably has nothing comparable in other US foreign missions. These officials can't all be processing visas, could they, haha. Regime-change workers, spies and so-called diplomats.

Posted by: occupatio | May 23 2020 3:23 utc | 56

Posted by: J Norwich | May 23 2020 0:43 utc | 50

Most Chinese in SE Asia and Macau despise HKers, simply because they don't think there is anything now to justify the HKer superiority complex.

Posted by: JW | May 23 2020 3:36 utc | 57

Posted by: Grieved | May 23 2020 3:14 utc | 57 China is gaming the outcomes, I suspect, to a far finer precision than the US.

I'd say that's almost certainly the case, as China has a *far* older concept of strategy than the clowns in the US do.

Thinking today about vk's post, I came to three conclusions:

1) Cold War 2.0 will pit the US against China and Russia, just like Cold War 1.0 - but the emphasis this time will be against China, not Russia (although both will be demonized by the US.)
2) China in the next 25-50 years will progress - perhaps with some stumbles, but nothing catastrophic - to a point of economic and technological superiority over and military parity with the US.
3) Just as the US won Cold War 1.0 by 1) being technologically superior to the Soviet Union, and 2) outspent the Soviet Union by having a better economy, so, too, will China win Cold War 2.0 by the same mechanisms.

The question remains: what will a China "win" in Cold War 2.0 mean for the average US citizen? I suspect it won't mean much unless the US economic issues cause it to crash badly as a result of trying to "de-link" from the world's biggest economy. I view the notion of some Western (partisan) observers that it will mean China's social and political values will "corrupt" the US government and population to be a load of paranoid BS.

As an individualist anarchist, I view all states as "the enemy." But in "real politic" terms, I can't see a country like China or Russia being a real "threat" to the US in any significant form - economic, social or military - as long as the US doesn't screw up its own game so badly that it is no longer a military deterrent to either. "The Great Game" was relevant up until the point of nuclear weapons. Now it's just a means for states to game their own populations and try to extract personal profit by calling everyone else a "threat". And ninety percent (or more) of the populations eat it up and that keeps the game going.

The only real risk is that someone screws up and the game gets out of control to the point where nuclear weapons get employed. Anyone remember the movie "The Bedford Incident"? I suspect these days even an incident of that magnitude would not necessarily result in nuclear war - unless it occurred under the sort of tensions that were in play during, say, the Cuban Missile Crisis. But anything is possible.

A "survivor" is not someone who "survives" a disaster - but someone who wasn't there when the disaster took place. Because he saw it coming and GTFO. Keep your eyes peeled and have a open ticket to somewhere safe.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2020 3:39 utc | 58

vk(@28) says: "if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level."

People in this site are generally more knowledgeable than average westerners. But it looks like commenters are still quite ignorant when it comes to China.

Some random facts:
1. China is the country filing the most patents in the world - more than US.
2. Huawei filed the most patents in 2018 among all companies in the world.
3. China publishes the most numbers of papers in Computer sciences, AI, math, chemistry, material sciences, etc in peer reviewed journals.
4. Chinese papers have the most citations in many of the above fields.
5. China trains 5 millions STEM students a year. US trains 180k STEM students a year - and even that, large percentage of US students are Chinese or foreign citizens.
6. China achieves so many "first" or world records in science and engineering research, e.g. one and only quantum satellite, soft landing on dark side of moon, world record time in controlled nuclear fusion, fastest wind tunnel, the most accurate atomic clock in space,... (a very long list)

... and so on if I have time.

Yeah, "Brazil or India level" - can't get more misinformed than that.

Posted by: d dan | May 23 2020 3:46 utc | 59

@ Casual Observer, 36

“ Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony.”... The Bristish had never defended Hong Kong and never had the intention to defend Hong Kong.

China did not have to fire a single shot to take back Hong Kong. All it had to do was turn off the water.

Aside from not being able to 'defend' HK, the main reason why Britain broached the handover was that contracts in finance, real estate, etc. could not be projected into the future, and such instability is fatal to a financial center, which is about extracting profits from the future.

Posted by: occupatio | May 23 2020 3:51 utc | 60

Here's a revised and 'transplanted comment I tried to post in an earlier thread, but it somehow didn't get posted.

Something to consider: there's probably nothing easier to sink than an oil tanker. Hold that thought while I segue into an obliquely relevant issue.

The idea that the US can be oil independent due to ample resources on the North American continent is effectively a myth. There is not enough oil in the ground, or sands, etc. to last for very long at all. This fact makes the USSA somewhat unique, since its oil can only be adequately provided via oil tankers.

What this means is that China can gradually eliminate the US supply of virtually all oil, simply by sinking the oil tankers that the US can expect to depend upon, one at a time, with its many submarines. Pretty much in the way the US crippled Japan in WWII. And the tactic would almost have the advantage of plausible deniability. No military vessels would even need to be attacked.

It would all start with one mysteriously torpedoed oil tanker...

Posted by: blues | May 23 2020 4:14 utc | 61

Below is a link to the latest posting from Catlin Johnstone titled Hate China

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/05/23/hate-china/

Obey!

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 23 2020 5:23 utc | 62

China, thru heavy investment in STEM fields achieved critical mass 5-10 years ago. They are no longer dependent on others for scientific advancement.

My step-brother, who is Chinese (with STEM degrees) claims the issue is no longer about trying to get technology from other sources, but trying to prevent other sources from copying Chinese advancements.

Reverting to India or especially banana republic Brazil level is pretty laughable and shows a willful ignorance of reality.

As far as military power goes, China's technology and economy haven't been fully converted to military muscle. I believe this is why USA and vassals is so desperate to act now.

Posted by: Jason | May 23 2020 5:23 utc | 63

Of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world, the top two are in the US, but 3 and 4 in China, and China has more than 50% of the total versus US 22%. The attack on Made in China 2025 is precisely because the US knows it is behind in the technology for AI, facial recognition, robotics, IoT, 5G and almost every other aspect of the 4th industrial revolution. The attack on One Belt One Road is because nobody wants the US 'model' of plantation crops for US consumers but no food independence, of cheap labour manufacturing but having to import higher value added US consumer products, of being 'encouraged' to take on lots of $ denominated debt that has zero currency or even default risk to US investors (governments bail out the banks) but enables Wall street to appropriate all their strategic assets on default. The Washington Consensus has kepy billions in poverty for decades to the benefit of the US. China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty in its own country and offers the same to the rest of the world. "Freedom and Democracy" means freedom for the US demos to decide exactly how to exploit you and your resources to their own ends. China is about trade, America is about tribute.

Posted by: Mark T | May 23 2020 6:45 utc | 64

Posted by: Jason | May 23 2020 5:23 utc | 65 trying to prevent other sources from copying Chinese advancements.

If that's true, I'd be happy to breach Chinese companies and research institutions and steal their stuff and sell it to *US* companies. I'm all for "leveling the playing field" - in either direction. LOL

"As far as military power goes, China's technology and economy haven't been fully converted to military muscle. I believe this is why USA and vassals is so desperate to act now."

Agreed. We all have to keep in mind that China spent $250 billion while the US spent $649 billion in 2018.

The Pentagon likes to clsim: "If you account for differences in reporting structure, purchasing power, and labor costs, you find that China's 2017 defense budget provided 87 percent of the purchasing power of American's 2017 defense budget". Somehow that rings rather hollow, given that the US military has 1.3 million troops vs China's 2.18 million active military. China has massively increased its military spending - rather intelligently, given the degree of threat that the US clearly represents to China. I just watched Pilger's "The Coming War With China" and the maps of US bases surrounding China is impressive.

This article indicates that estimates of China's military spending are all over the map by up $75 billion...as is US spending.

What does China really spend on its military?
https://chinapower.csis.org/military-spending/

According to that piece, China's percentage of GDP devoted to the military hovers around 2%. The US spends 3.4%. So is the aggressor? Both Chinese and US expenditures have dropped in recent years, the US from its high after 9/11 and China's by a few percentage points, as has Russia's.

But if China eventually has the world's largest economy, then if the US pushes China into increasing its military percentage of GDP, the US will end up like the Soviet Union - outspent. And the resultant military capability may exceed parity with the US.

Which means the US literally shoots itself in the foot...again.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2020 6:54 utc | 65

“ Britain had to agree to the pact because it had lost the capability to defend the colony.”
In fact, Britain had a 99 year lease on the HK territories which came to an end. It approached China about extending the lease, but China wanted HK back. There was no question of being able to keep it by force for, even if it were possible, it would be a Pyrrhic victory. At this point, after governing HK autocratically for the entire lease, Britain set up democratic government.

Posted by: Will | May 23 2020 6:58 utc | 66

China should tit-for-tat add HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation), Cathay Pacific and Standard Chartered Bank to China unreliable Entity list.

Both HSBC and Cathay Pacific are never ever a HK or China Company. Just before handover HK to China, HSBC change their HO from HK to UK and Cathay Pacific was and still is a British company, Swire Pacific Ltd. a hangover from the Brits opium trade. There are many more such company still remain in the hands of the freaking opium traders.....

Someone should tell Boris by 2023. HSBC can no longer operate freely in Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific must appoint Chinese mainlander CEO, CFO COO.


"Boris Johnson to cut Huawei from UK’s 5G network by 2023 as own party rebels & US steps up anti-Beijing pressure – report"

https://www.rt.com/uk/489546-johnson-cut-huawei-5g/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

Posted by: JC | May 23 2020 6:58 utc | 67

There is no point complaining about malign US activities in Europe and Asia.

The Europeans and Asians need to grow a spine and start countering US economic sanctions, tariffs, funding of "opposition groups"/"moderate rebels" and information warfare with similar measures to protect their sovereignty, prosperity, culture and vital economic interests.

If the US dollar is used as a weapon, regulate the use similar to weapons and dual use goods.

If the US dollar is the currency of choice for criminals and terrorists, designate dollar transactions as high risk transactions that warrant additional CDD/transaction monitoring measures by financial institutions. Make people shy away from the dollar, kill the ability of the FED to print money that funds endless wars.
Designate the US as a high risk jurisdiction, just like North Korea and Yemen, to complicate US imports and exports.

Introduce tariffs on US goods to create a level playing field or as punitive damages, for instance for the decades of war and occupation.

Introduce sanctions to hit back for the Magnitsky hoax and the long list of US sanctions with increasingly creative acronyms. And prosecute people like Bill Browder.

Force NED, USAID, OSF (Soros), Luminate (Omidyar), etc. funded entities like Bellingcat, OCCRP and other "investigative journalists" to register as foreign agents and expose them for what they are. Expose the lies and prosecute them as spies.

Force big tech companies not to use US servers or other IT infrastructure for their non-US customers.

Don't recognize decisions by US courts, since their legal system is substandard.

Cut companies like Facebook and Google to size, kill the US monopoly.

If the US doesn't pay up, hit American companies and Americans around the world with asset forfeitures.

Start meddling in US society with disinformation campaigns, funding "armed moderate opposition", staged chemical attacks by POTUS "gassing his own people", shoot down an airliner, blame the US and hit them with draconian sanctions, etc.

The list goes on and on.

This is existential. We need to make choices. Live like a US vassal or create your own future. There is no middle of the road option.

Posted by: Peter | May 23 2020 8:55 utc | 68

Coronavirus not the fault of China. China can do no wrong!
Thanks b for pointing this out again and again. The utter idiots of the white supremacists are not getting the superiority of the Chinese culture.

Posted by: Arrow | May 23 2020 10:28 utc | 69

>>>> Kurt Zumdieck | May 22 2020 18:24 utc | 4

If Washington lured the Soviet Union into it's demise in Afghanistan, which left that minor empire in shambles - socially, militarily, economically - it was the nuclear conflagration at Chernobyl that put the corpse in the ground.....
What ahistorical claptrap. The Soviet Union lasted three years after the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and it was the collapse of the Soviet Union that allowed the Islamist to eventually take Kabul. 9/11 was first order blowback on the morons in Washington. As for Chernobyl, the Soviet economy was already up shit creeek well before that occurred.
What was lost in the Soviets fumbling immediate post-explosion cover-up was the trust of their Eastern European satellite countries. That doomed that empire. So much military might was given up in Afghanistan, then on Chernobyl, it was not clear if the Soviets had the wherewithal to put down the rebellions that spread from Czechoslovakia to East Germany and beyond.
Show me one country in Eastern Europe where the people wanted to remain within the Warsaw Pact? Gorbachev could have used the Red Army and loyal units within the Warsaw Pact countries to suppress the protests but to what effect? Not one he wanted, so he didn't. Unfortunately, his actions allowed all the Nazi and Nazi sympathizers that fled to the United States after World War 2 to return with billions of US dollars.

Perhaps you're a CIA/Nazi troll so this is my only comment on this.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 23 2020 10:56 utc | 70

Go over to EOSDIS Worldview and take a look at satellite photos of China. Simple toggle in lower left hand corner will take you to photos of same day, earlier years. Or any day in satellite record.

The skies over China are clear. Chinese industry is not back at work. It may be that China at 50% or even at 20% is a manufacturing powerhouse compared to a crumbling US. But until China is back at work the thread so far is about the historical situation six months ago.

Xi used to do elaborately staged state appearances with well planned camera angles, fabulous lighting, pomp and circumstance. He enjoyed the trappings of power and knew how to use the trappings of power. Hasn’t done that kind of state appearance since January.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 23 2020 11:47 utc | 71

The Empire has no respect for international agreements, laws or anything that interferes with maintaining US global hegemony.

Posted by: Paul | May 23 2020 12:47 utc | 72

China and the US are so different. The citizens of China cannot vote. The population's movements are micromanaged by the government. This is not the case here (yet). And I hope it is never the case. I agree with the premise that there are those in our government who are living in a dream of the past and that is over, unless we want to destroy the world. But China's government is so repressive. The rules must be obeyed. We seem to be compliant so far of some of our government officials stepping over the bounds allowed by our Constitution, due to the fear of C-19 engendered by the deep state (aka the bsmsm). But we will not do that forever and our government cannot just start shooting big crowds of us as they can and have done in China. Theirs is all top down rule, which is not the case here. Also, although it is probably heretical to say this I am glad that the US has many cases of C-19. We will eventually get herd immunity. IMO, China can lock down as many millions of citizens as they wish; they cannot stop this virus and as time goes by they will have as many deaths and as many cases as everybody else. Well, that is off the topic of the article. In the end I agree that we are fighting weird battles we can never win and we citizens need to keep informing our government employees that we just want to trade and make money, not threaten companies and countries and lose money.

Posted by: lizzie dw | May 23 2020 12:55 utc | 73

oldhippie @71

Do not underestimate the impact of environmental regulations in China on clearing up the skies. Cleaning up is something that as been in progress for years in China, with many of the projects planned to come to fruition in the early 2020s. The pandemic has certainly had an impact, but the skies in China were already clearing up dramatically before it hit.

It is the same with the economic collapse in the empire. That too was already underway before the pandemic. The pandemic didn't cause the collapse, nor did it cause the changes in China. It will just serve as a convenient date to mark on the historic timelines in future history textbooks. Many in the future will point out the coming war between the empire and China as being the turning point where the balance of power flipped, but more astute historians will point to the pandemic as the inflection point. The pandemic has just made that inflection point sharper and more distinct.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 23 2020 13:38 utc | 74

Amazing article. This is similar to Modi's and the Indian government's take on Kashmir and how the British independence gave Kashmiris several exclusive rights which have only allowed free entry for terrorist groups from Pakistan. Seizing Kashmir into India and removing those special rights, is a bold move and brought Modi under severe criticism. But seeing the historical picture , changes everything....

Posted by: isha | May 23 2020 13:56 utc | 75

Gruff @ 74

Look at the photos. There are dramatic impacts and then there is flipping a switch. I will believe my eyes. Even before the shutdown began locally it was dramatic to me and to others who use their sensory apparatus that the sky was suddenly clearer. It was the China shutdown that began the clear skies. The skies are still clear. So tired of reading propaganda. I will believe my eyes.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 23 2020 13:56 utc | 76

The displays of programmed in jingoism and brainwashing sure are thick in this thread.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 23 2020 14:02 utc | 77

Jen @ 32, I had a thought that maybe the US is starting this sea challenge because they need to use up the excess oil that's making domestic prices stay so low - not much profit in it these days though the 'little people are enjoying very low prices at the pump. And of course the virus and business shuttered is all not helping. So, let's have some big ships charging around, shall we?

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2020 14:07 utc | 78

"I will believe my eyes." --oldhippie @76

It would be nice if that were so, but it is very unlikely.

"So tired of reading propaganda."

Is that why you regurgitate it onto forums? Kinda like purging the system, eh?

If you are going to be judging China's economic health by their pollution levels then in the future you will find yourself convinced that they have never recovered, even when it becomes inescapably obvious that they have. The fact is that China's pollution levels are never going back to 2019 levels, but that has nothing to do with their economic health.

It really never ceases to amaze me how deeply rooted and pervasive the delusions and sense of exceptionality is in America. It is woven into the thinking, from the lowest levels to the very top of their thoughts, of even the very most intelligent Americans. It is apparently a phenomenon that operates at an even deeper level than mass media brainwashing, as it seems it was just as much a problem in every empire in history. That is, I am sure citizens of the Roman Empire had the same blinding biases embedded deep below their consciousness. I guess Marx was entirely correct to say that consciousness arises from material conditions, and being citizen of an empire must be one of those material conditions that gives rise to this all-pervasive and unconscious sense of exceptionality.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 23 2020 14:25 utc | 79

Always good to hear from you, Grieved @ 55, and thank you for underlining b's link to the justworldnews article by Helena Cobhan. It's well worth mention in comments, and she leads up to her comparison between China and the US in her claim of imperial collapse for the latter thusly:


There are still about 1000 deaths per day in America. At the pinnacle of the pandemic, there were about 1500. Reopening the economy now will probably push the death rate back up towards that number, or higher. 1500 deaths per day times 30 days is 45,000 in a month. Another 90,000 in two months. We’re already at 90,000, expecting 200,000 as the pandemic slows — but it’s not going to now. You can see how quickly the numbers become apocalyptic.

The only reference we really have for such numbers is if a nuclear bomb was dropped on America.

[Her emphases]

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2020 14:37 utc | 80

lovely discussion.

Re efforts to slow down China displacing the US in high tech . . .

Another aspect is that the key high tech employees in the US are mostly immigrants (due to poor overall level of primary education in the US). The most important ones having come here around grad school let's say. For this group, the "American Dream" is very much alive, and when you're moving up in life, it's possible to just work a lot and put aside some ugly social realities.

IMO this is not compatible with an escalating conflict that puts the US into an unapologetically nationalist, anti foreigner mode.

Posted by: ptb | May 23 2020 14:41 utc | 81

It's also interesting that the 'war' Prince Charles is calling on Britains to fight is that of becoming the fruit and vegetable field workers that can no longer be imported in, and the response has been overwhelming there. He may be a very good replacement for his mum when finally that role falls to him - I'm remembering that she was an ambulance driver during the last world war, so even if we have qualms about that monarchy we ought to be happy to see that bookend effect as he begins to take on the tasks he has been preparing for.

A new 'war' is upon us, and the winners of it will be those who turn their energies towards planetary health rather than mindless destruction.

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2020 14:51 utc | 82

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2020 14:37 utc | 80


The only reference we really have for such numbers is if a nuclear bomb was dropped on America.
[Her emphases]

What a stupid comparison. Nuclear blast would devastate land and kill indiscriminately all forms of life. This virus kills only humans and maybe few bats and cats, leaving the land intact. So it is more comparable with human deaths due to: old age, cancer, influenza, car crashes, drug overdoses and [hom/su]icides in The America.

Posted by: hopehely | May 23 2020 14:54 utc | 83

@ Posted by: d dan | May 23 2020 3:46 utc | 59

That's not my opinion. I just quoted the "theory" that is dominant in the West about "really existing socialism". Nowadays, this theory is mainly defended by Keynesians, but it was actually invented by neocons during the High Cold War (1950s-1970s). As I've said, it is a scatological theory that keeps feeding itself in Western circles - first about the USSR, now about China. I don't agree with it, I'm not keynesian.

A curiosity here is that this "theory" is actually the base of the oldest collapse theory about China, that is, the theory of the middle class uprising. This "middle class revolution" doctrine arose after the suppression of the liberals in the Tiananmen Square. Tiananmen Square was, reserving the appropriate proportions, the liberal version of the Paris Commune: it was crushed, but it inspired a lot of liberal "experts" in the USA and laid the seed for a series of collapse theories that would arise the next two decades.

Posted by: vk | May 23 2020 15:01 utc | 84

Posted by: William Gruff | May 23 2020 14:25 utc | 79

It really never ceases to amaze me how deeply rooted and pervasive the delusions and sense of exceptionality is in America. It is woven into the thinking, from the lowest levels to the very top of their thoughts, of even the very most intelligent Americans.

But you still love them nevertheless eh? Just kidding ;-)
OTOH I have no doubts that Chinese have the similar attitude, it is just a bit harder to notice due to language barrier. But, the clues are present. We call their country China, but they call it The Middle Realm.

Posted by: hopehely | May 23 2020 15:11 utc | 85

Don't get overly optimistic. Like fleas or head lice, the US empire has a knack for finding ways to perpetuate itself.

Posted by: Glenn | May 23 2020 15:24 utc | 86

@ptb

Foreigners are working in tech in the USA because they are cheaper, not because they have more skills. They are typically less skilled, but employers consider it to be worth the trade off for cheaper labor.

Posted by: Dart | May 23 2020 15:30 utc | 87

b and others seem to be underestimating the advantage to China of regaining control over HK. I reckon that HK was trying to act in the same way as the City of London is trying to over the EU and the Euro. The City wants to be THE major financial actor for the EU-€ without the oversight. Thus HK, wanted a similar situation for itself. Chinese transactions and debts in Yuan and US dollars were supposed to be carried out by HK'rs for the benefit of the Rich (Chinese or otherwise.). Chinese business "grace" of the US. Debts in dollars grace of HK Banking circles wherever possible.
As JC | May 23 2020 6:58 utc | 67, mentioned many companies, ostensibly HK, are hangovers from the British era.

HK is a wedge for the US to get inside the new Chinese paradigm and its relations with the rest of the world.

However, both the Chinese and the Russians have been busy setting up international alternatives for through which Finance can be channeled. (Alt. to Swift, Major Banks and loans etc for the BRI) Using their own currencies.

In comparison to a collapse of the dollar because of MMT (Magical Money trough), which is in the process of destroying any residual "value" of US money, the Renimbi and Ruble are backed by Gold. If and when the dollar collapses, there will be massive inflation of worthless US$ scrip. The holders of which will immediately try to convert this into something useful that retains a value. ie. Yuan, - via HK. (The "in-crowd" will try to do this before everyone else, obviously).

Going deeper, as this relates to the Cold War, the only long term solution to US military might is to make the US incapable of paying for it. Mercenaries are noticibly fickle if they don't get their pay, or the pay has no value.
Not only has HK outlived it's usefulness, it has also become potentially the "Hyena in sheeps clothing".

But why did the US provoke demonstrations at the same time - surely those are counter-productive for ultimate financial control?


Posted by: Stonebird | May 23 2020 15:42 utc | 88

Fresh editorial just came out:

National security law a 'death knell' for US intervention in HK: Global Times editorial

Pretty straight forward: we know, you know (i.e. the USA), let's stop with the bullshit and get over with it.

--//--

@ Posted by: lizzie dw | May 23 2020 12:55 utc | 73

I don't know why some westerners insist one easily debunked lies about China. There are so many interesting point to debate, so many more sophisticated and rich theories which play in favor and against China, and still, some people choose to stick up with straight up lies.

I think some westerners just want to sleep better at night. That's the only reason I can think of it.

--//--

@ Kurt Zumdieck | May 22 2020 18:24 utc | 4

Chernobyl wasn't the cause for the collapse of the USSR. Yes, I know Gorbachev wrote it in his biography, but it is just him trying to save his legacy.

The problem with Chernobyl wasn't that the Soviet government was being cheap with the new reactors. The RBMK reactor was a revolutionary design, indeed cheaper, but as efficient if not more efficient than the existing technology of the time. It was a scientific failure, an unknown unknown on the part of the designers of the new reactor, not the Politburo cutting corners. Indeed, it would be very stupid for any government to choose to cut corners on a nuclear reactor - no matter how dire its economic situation. If the economic situation is dire, then cut the production of new nuclear reactors altogether, as no politician is suicidal.

After Chernobyl, the failure in RBMK's design was fixed, and they still exist and are operating in the Russian Federation - with zero accidents so far.

That scientist's speech in the Duma in the HBO's series is entirely fictional. It never happened.

Posted by: vk | May 23 2020 15:51 utc | 89

Great article and I agree, the U.S cannot win a cold war with China under the present circumstances. Very few people in high positions of geopolitical policy making decisions in the U.S understand the basic tenets of geopolitics, and it's more and more obvious that they are in over there head. It doesn't help that the neoliberal crooks on wall st and the fed are destroying the dollar, the U.S's main weapon...on to a multipolar world...

Posted by: MoodyDave | May 23 2020 15:52 utc | 90

Iranian Tankers

Posted by: arby | May 23 2020 16:32 utc | 91

@ 61 blues... interesting conjecture... thanks...

@ 71 oldhippie... also interesting conjecture... thanks..

Posted by: james | May 23 2020 16:41 utc | 92

The notion that the United States can win a shooting war with China is complete nonsense, unless, by "winning," one means destroying the planet in a nuclear holocaust. Recent history teaches that a nation is not defeated until it is occupied and its population subdued. This is unimaginable with regard to the U.S. vs China. For chrissakes, the U.S. cannot even defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. And by what logic does the U.S. think that it has the right to control the waters off China's coast.? It is an antiquated logic inherited from Britain and its once mighty navy. Those days are long gone. In a modern hot war, American battleships and aircraft carriers will become floating coffins for their crews, something that will not go over well with the American people. In a very real sense, when the United States made the decision to sacrifice its capacity to manufacture real goods on the altar of corporate profits, it unknowingly gave up its capacity to dominate the world militarily and economically. Now in a weakened state, it flails about like a wounded tiger surrounded by hunters with guns. The tiger may yet injure or kill some of the hunters, but its fate is sealed.

Posted by: Rob | May 23 2020 17:12 utc | 93

arby | May 23 16:32 @92

From the image in the tweet:

If the tankers keep the same sailing speed without any obstacles, "Fortune" will enter to Venezuela's EEZ during May 23rd [TODAY!] and "Forest" and "Petunia" right after.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 23 2020 17:28 utc | 94

Posted by: lizzie dw | May 23 2020 12:55 utc | 73

China and the US are so different.

Yes they are, it is elementary Watson!
But the biggest difference between USA and China is that you are familiar with the former and clueless about the latter.

Posted by: hopehely | May 23 2020 17:51 utc | 95

VIPS Memo:

the first [Iranian tankers are] due to arrive Sunday

VIPS makes the case for moderation/de-escalation:
VIPS MEMO: To the President—Avoid Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 23 2020 17:56 utc | 96

Posted by: Rob | May 23 2020 17:12 utc | 94

by "winning," one means destroying.... is not defeated until it is occupied and its population subdued.”

Rob, well said not sure if our brilliants Lysol Trump realizes China have a population of 1.4 billions plus few millions Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and others countries including in the heart of US of A..

"Those days are long gone".... the United States made the decision to sacrifice its capacity to manufacture real goods on the altar of corporate profits, it unknowingly gave up its capacity to dominate the world militarily and economically"

Really can't argue with you on the above realistic comments... While we daily continue to stabs, jabs and sanctions on China, China, China... China is moving and continue where it left off building... bridges, tunneling, roads, infrastructure and more. Amazing how focus China, even after a near death experienced and under constant attacks.

Rob I sincerely hope yours continue show of support to the Chinese people especially me an OBC. Thank you.

Posted by: JC | May 23 2020 18:30 utc | 97

I believe China has about three to over five hundred nuclear warheads and same quantities as Israel, The US of A and Russia Federation almost the same quantity, US of A probable more. I dun think China should increase any. What they have is more than enough to end civilization. Who wanna live in a world like Chernobyl nuclear disaster?

If Lysol Trump wanna war, I'm sure Xi Jinping will gracefully decline but if Lysol Trump insisted, Xi will tit-for-tat...

b, just cleanup sweep?

Posted by: JC | May 23 2020 18:54 utc | 98

@Dart 87

Cheaper certainly, but at the elite levels, more often than not also a combination of more skilled and/or harder working. There are many many exceptions, brilliant successful people from the US, but it is a pure numbers game. The number of smart students glibally is far higher than native born US, simply due to population. The quality of the early education varies greatly, but Europe, Latin America, former USSR, China and India *each* produce more top level university/ grad school age STEM talent than US born. The choice for them is Western Europe or here.

Posted by: ptb | May 23 2020 18:57 utc | 99

Sure, HK's GDP is only $350 billion. But you have to remember, Western economies are tightly knit and often share the same views. None of them trust China. They take every economic indicator coming out of the country with a grain of salt, and they fear when they invest that Chinese businessmen will rip them off. That's why Hong Kong exists, because it's integrated into Western economies and plays by their rules. In this way, it can act as a mediator for FDI between the West and China. Total Western FDI flows on a yearly basis into China are about $150 billion, 1% of GDP, and total stock is more like $1.6 trillion. If China jeopardizes HK's financial system, it suddenly has to drop a stimulus package to hit its growth target. Given that the HK protestors can't actually do any serious damage save for acting showy in front of the cameras, China obviously calculated up until now that it wasn't worth doing any kind of widespread suppression. It's only since the COVID crisis stalled FDI flows, which dropped 25% in February, that China has seriously considered doing this. The upper echelons of the CPC figure that this is going to be an L-shaped crisis with a slow recovery, meaning that Westerners are going to have a steep drop in buying Chinese goods and investing in China. Only because of this has HK's usefulness run out, and only now are these measures being considered for use.

Posted by: Dario Russo | May 23 2020 19:03 utc | 100

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