Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 18, 2020

How Not To Challenge China

The headline of a recent Bloomberg column by one Tyler Cowen is:

Covid Is Increasing America’s Lead Over China.

Its remarkable only for its fervent nationalistic delusion.

This paragraph stands out:

There is one other factor that people are loathe to discuss (with one exception). Yes, the U.S. has botched its response to Covid-19. At the same time, its experience shows that America as a nation can in fact tolerate casualties, too many in fact. It had long been standard Chinese doctrine that Americans are “soft” and unwilling to take on much risk. If you were a Chinese war game planner, might you now reconsider that assumption?

This comes at the same day as a similar delusional State Department policy planning paper sees the light.

The Elements of the China Challenge (pdf)

Axios calls it a "Kennan-style paper". In 1946 George Kennan, then Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States to the USSR, wrote his 'Long Telegram' that defined U.S. Cold War policy towards the Soviet Union for the next decades:

Kennan described dealing with Soviet Communism as "undoubtedly greatest task our diplomacy has ever faced and probably greatest it will ever have to face". In the first two sections, he posited concepts that became the foundation of American Cold War policy:
  • The Soviets perceived themselves at perpetual war with capitalism;
  • The Soviets viewed left-wing, but non-communist, groups in other countries as an even worse enemy of itself than the capitalist ones;
  • The Soviets would use controllable Marxists in the capitalist world as allies;
  • Soviet aggression was fundamentally not aligned with the views of the Russian people or with economic reality, but rooted in historic Russian nationalism and neurosis;
  • The Soviet government's structure inhibited objective or accurate pictures of internal and external reality.

Kennan later said that his paper was misunderstood and that the hostile containment policies that were based on it were wrong and self defeating.

But the China paper which the State Department published is not comparable to the 'Long Telegram'. It is a propaganda piece that reflects the naive views of the outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompous.

Pompous' premise is that the Chinese people hate the Communist Party of China that runs the country and that China is not a democracy. But that is not what the people of China believe:

Charted below are the survey results from 20 countries, and they illustrate some startling beliefs — not least that 73% of Chinese consider China to be democratic, whereas only 49% of Americans believe the same about the U.S.

Read this thread to find out why that is the case:

ShanghaiPanda @thinking_panda - 9:24 UTC · Sep 15, 2020

On twitter, as a Chinese, the most frequently asked question for me is, why don't you oppose the CPC? Why don't Chinese support western style democracy? Why do Chinese people support President Xi, who has no votes? Now, I'm going to tell them why.(1/N)

Also this one.

The recommendations of the State Department paper listed by Axios are not practical steps but pure ideology:

The blueprint: The paper lays out "ten tasks" for the U.S. to accomplish.

  1. Promoting constitutional government and civil society at home.
  2. Maintaining the world's strongest military.
  3. Fortifying the rules-based international order.
  4. Reevaluating its alliance system.
  5. Strengthening its alliance system and creating new international organizations to promote democracy and human rights.
  6. Cooperating with China when possible and constraining Beijing when appropriate.
  7. Educating Americans about the China challenge.
  8. Train a new generation of public servants who understand great-power competition with China.
  9. Reforming the U.S. education system to help students understand the responsibility of citizenship in a complex information age.
  10. Championing the principles of freedom in word and in deed.

Note especially the points 7 to 10.

They have nothing to do with China. They call for domestic propaganda, more domestic propaganda and even more domestic propaganda.

How brainwashing and stupidifying one's own people is supposed to challenge China is beyond me.

Posted by b on November 18, 2020 at 19:30 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

The first time was tragedy, the second farce.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 19 2020 17:39 utc | 101

Edward @99

Was your exchange student friend a "favored offspring of Communist Party member"?

Would it be wrong to say that many domestic students attending Ivy League schools in the US are favored offspring of capitalists?

It could be that what your friend said was partially true, but it should be kept in mind that the Communist Party has nearly a hundred million members, and those nearly hundred million tend to be overachievers. Unlike the Dim and Repug parties in the US, which are far easier to join than a local townie bowling league, you have to prove you are not a moron to join China's Communist Party (pass very competitive civil service exams). CPC membership also requires a great deal more commitment than just casting a vote every couple years like American politics does. Is it thus such a surprise that parents with strong work ethics and sufficient academic focus to succeed in competitive civil service exams might pass those qualities along to their children?

In other words, in an entirely fair system of university acceptance there is nothing surprising or sinister about large numbers of children of CPC members making the grade.

The protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 were a US "color revolution" attempt. It was the proper response for the authorities to end it. Doubtless you've heard that there was a "massacre" in Tiananmen Square, but that never happened in the real world and belief in it is further evidence of brainwashing.

That said, China did, and still does have more protests than any other country in the world. These are not "regime change" protests that westerners are brainwashed into believing them to be, but rather are simply ways for the non-CPC members in China to show their support for or opposition to particular policies outside of official channels and surveys. China has so many of these protests because unlike protests in America the ones in China frequently result in policy changes. If protest works, then people do it more. By the way, this is also why western leaders make it a point to never concede to protesters' demands... not quite the attitude one would expect from supposed proponents of "democracy", is it?

Given the history in America of jingoism and yellow journalism and lies about America's supposed adversaries, "dismiss critical statements about these countries out of hand" is an excellent place to start when trying to evaluate other places that you otherwise don't know anything about.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 17:55 utc | 102

depressing how many covidian cult members there are on this blog. Did anyone catch the Portugese court desicion? I know you covidians believe your case is so watertight that you are starting to make dissent illegal in several countries as i type, WE ALL know that the stronger facts and scientific evidence is the more important it is to ban dissent by law🤷‍♂️ The banning of dissent certainly convinced me😂
Sheeple will forever be sheeple i guess, but you need to stop pretending you are against the system. Your actions prove what you are NOT your words, so keep worshipping #science and your betters in politics. You deserve every hardship that comes class traitors and antiscience worshippers.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Nov 19 2020 18:37 utc | 103

The Elements of the China Challenge. . .
"China under the CCP is marked by a variety of vulnerabilities. These begin with the disadvantages endemic to autocracy: constraints on innovation, difficulties forming and maintaining alliances, and costs arising from internal repression."

The Chinese Communist Party is the problem . .wait a minute, the autocracy is the problem, one man rule. . .autocracy: "a system of government by one person with absolute power" (as in the US?) . .So which is it, Washington wizards, party or president?

Anyhow, we can see that in a blind taste test, the PepsiChina Challenge, more people prefer China over the US.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 19 2020 18:50 utc | 104

It seems that Pompeo is cleverly positioning himself. As a hard-line Trumper (Trumpet?) he assures his destiny should he prevail. And if he doesn't, he will try to grab Trump's huge political heritage on the anti China platform he heralds.

Posted by: Saracen's head | Nov 19 2020 19:09 utc | 105

William @ 102

"Would it be wrong to say that many domestic students attending Ivy League schools in the US are favored offspring of capitalists?"

This is neither here nor there as far as what is true in China.

"The protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 were a US "color revolution" attempt."

How do you know this? The west was definitely trying to hype the protests after they started, including making up details about the protests, but that is not the same as saying the west instigated the protests, or that the students were stooges.

"Given the history in America of jingoism and yellow journalism and lies about America's supposed adversaries, "dismiss critical statements about these countries out of hand" is an excellent place to start when trying to evaluate other places that you otherwise don't know anything about."

I would agree with this up to a point about statements from the state department or from people with an agenda, but not in general. Even with statements from the state department, unless you are dealing with people who agree with you already, you can suspect they are lying, but you can't claim 100% certainty about this without some evidence. Besides risking error, doing so just results in two people talking past each other. I would like to emphasize that I am not a government employee or journalist. Trying to conflate me with these people is akin to a straw man argument (as well as being an assumption).

You don't seem to understand the nature of my criticism of the ShanghaiPanda tweet. As far as I can tell, the tweet just lays out how the Chinese government works in theory, not what actually happens in practice. This is a demand for more rigor, not less. It is a demand that follows from my understanding of what needs to be said about governments to characterize them. The real question here is "What are the requirements to characterize a government?". If someone fails to meet those requirements (as I understand them) then I can object, even if I am not familiar with the government in question. Of course, you can say the requirements I insist on are wrong and another set of criteria should be used, but that is not what you are doing. Finally, you keep trying to pigeon-hole me as an anti-China propagandist. You know nothing about me and are just making an assumption.

Posted by: Edward | Nov 19 2020 19:17 utc | 106

The problem with American political system is that people like Pompeo actually stands a chance.

He knows his days in Trump administration is numbered. So he is opportunistically doing his best to squeeze as much publicity as possible at this moment. Days ago, he stated that Taiwan is not part of China - a statement that is so out-of-line vs past official US position. His visit to the West Bank Settlement is another stunt to show he is more Trump than Trump.

This is likely to be the norm of many politicians going forward. It is a reflection of the sad state of the people and the country.

Posted by: d dan | Nov 19 2020 19:44 utc | 107

Gene Sharp, who was the author of the color revolution manual, was in Peking at the time of the Tiananmen crackdown. At the time, the recently appointed U.S. ambassador in Peking was an old CIA hand.

Of course Tiananmen was a CIA operation.

Posted by: lysias | Nov 19 2020 19:48 utc | 108

Don Bacon et al--

It's a closely guarded fact that without the engineering knowledge brought to bear by Chinese immigrant laborers the penetration of the railroad through the Sierra Nevada would have taken many years longer and cost a whole lot more money. Current Chinese engineering is boring world record length tunnels for high speed rail, just completed building the longest highway over and under the ocean, and is creating ingenious ways to connect very remote villages to modernity in order to lift their dwellers out of poverty. As you alluded to in your reply about China's development goals, the USA is making itself into an underdeveloped nation, which IMO is the most galling aspect of this so-called China Policy--The USA will soon catch up and pass China, but it will be going in the opposite direction: Downward.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 19 2020 19:58 utc | 109

@suzan | Nov 19 2020 3:26 utc | 65

The younger generations here (in USA) probably frighten the ruling class who are themselves in-fighting over how to keep their stinking sinking empire afloat while younger people are embracing socialism.

By voting for the demented Biden? How is that a path to socialism?

Posted by: Norwegian | Nov 19 2020 20:12 utc | 110

Edward @106

The point of mentioning enrollment at US elite schools is to highlight how there are multiple ways of looking at an issue by referencing a related one. This has everything to do with your perception of improper policy in China.

The Tiananmen Square cables, of which this (Wikileaks) is one, indicate that there was no "massacre". I suppose confirmation bias makes these things hard to find, hmm?

As for my advice to dismiss jingoist claims out of hand being a good place to start when trying to understand the world, note that I specified that it was "a good place to start". In any case, claims that are made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. One should never even bother trying to prove a negative. If the assertion is unsupported then just dismiss it.

I don't believe I ever offered speculation on your employment. The only relationship that I assumed between yourself and the government and mass media is in your acceptance of their jingoist disinformation about a country that they perceive as their adversary to be "reality".

You can object to your heart's content over your own lack of understanding. The Chinese are under no obligation to lead you to understanding, nor is anyone else. I am merely pointing out that you are proceeding from false assumptions, which could have a very significant bearing on your lack of understanding.

Just an idea here, but if you correct your false assumptions (what the Chinese like to call "wrong thinking", though that rubs westerners the wrong way) then maybe understanding will follow? It's worth a try, after all.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 20:15 utc | 111

Norwegian @110

Well, at least the kids are not afraid of the word "socialist", even if they don't know what it means yet. That's a pretty good start. You're not from around these parts (the US) so maybe you don't realize how big of a deal that is, but to be able to utter the word without froth coming from one's mouth is quite a significant change.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 20:21 utc | 112

@William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 17:55 utc | 102
I remember listening to live radio reports in 1989 from Beijing/Tiananmen, in a time when the Norwegian equivalent of the BBC had international correspondents. I didn't quite understand it then, but the pattern of a color revolution seems pretty clear from today's perspective. It was plastered all over the news for days, even live (that was rare at the time). So I think describing it as a color revolution attempt is probably correct.

Posted by: Norwegian | Nov 19 2020 20:41 utc | 113

@William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 20:21 utc | 112

I get it is a big deal, and that they don't know what the word means. But I don't get that they think they can achieve it through a corrupt, demented hair-sniffer who has proven over almost 50 years that he stands for wars and the status quo. He is not going to change, you cannot imagine anyone further from socialism than Biden. If they don't know what socialism means you would think they recognize the opposite when they see it, but no...

Posted by: Norwegian | Nov 19 2020 21:13 utc | 114

We still don't know for sure if Tiananmen was CIA or not.

Two things are certain:

1) if the six points were satisfied, it would mean the end of the Popular Republic of China;

2) it was certainly part of the anticommunist wave of 1989 that ended the Warsaw Pact.

In that scenario, Deng Xiaoping - one of the greatest communist leaders of all time - had no other option than to talk to the Northeastern divisions, the most loyal, to crush the counter-revolutionaries.

Just to remember: first, they sent unarmed PLA soldiers to try to talk with the protesters, as a sign of good faith. They are rounded up to poles and burnt alive, like medieval witches. Do you think those animals deserved to live after that? No wonder they were crushed by the communist tanks - that's how you kill cockroaches.

Posted by: vk | Nov 19 2020 21:25 utc | 115

Norwegian @114

Very true, but they are kids. Perhaps they will learn? Maybe pick up a book or something?

No, who am I kidding. These are American Millennials we are talking about. Unless there is a zero-effort, no-commitment route to enlightenment they are not interested.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 21:39 utc | 116

"Why is it that you don't see people illegally entering totalitarian Han Communist China?"

Perhaps because you don't read Chinese newspapers, browse Chinese web sites or watch Chinese tv?

Posted by: passerby | Nov 19 2020 22:11 utc | 117

tweet -- Department of State
US government account
Our new site illustrates the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to take advantage of democratic freedoms to advance its own ideologically driven narrative and manipulate press coverage around the world. . .here

Imagine that . .a government peddling one-sided propaganda. . .BTW the new State propaganda site is here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 19 2020 22:22 utc | 118

@ William Gruff 111

Thanks for that link, but I do not think it supports a statement that there was no massacre, although that depends how you define massacre and how certain this statement from paragraph 11 is:


Posted by: Schmoe | Nov 20 2020 1:07 utc | 119

@ SL #8
The totalitarian Han Communist Party runs the PRC in a way that the Democratic/Republican Party does not run the United States. Totalitarians recognize no inherent limit on their 'authority' to act.

Over 130 million Chinese travel abroad each year, over 3 million to the US. . .I presume most of them return to the "totalitarian" country with no inherent limits on the authority of the "totalitarian Han Communist Party?"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 20 2020 4:00 utc | 120

@ karlof1 #109
Thanx for the info on Chinese "laborers" cum tunnel engineers. We have RR tunnels and ex-labor campsites nearby.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 20 2020 4:08 utc | 121

Was Tiananmen a US Op? . . .Criminals have a pattern (as Giuliani just remarked) and we can see it looking at Tiananmen, XinJiang, Kyiv, HongKong etc.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 20 2020 4:16 utc | 122

Schmoe @119

Yes, it is possible to "read between the lines" and infer that it is still possible that there was a massacre in Tiananmen Square at some location and time that was not observed by witnesses and for which we have no authoritative accounts. Unfortunately this is nothing more than stretching the evidence we do have beyond its breaking point to cover for a false narrative that is much cherished and oft repeated in the West.

In cherry-picking sentences from the cable, you missed:


Soldiers were among the injured? Were they shooting each other, perhaps? But we know the formula for the CIA/State Department "color revolution", don't we? We've seen the same moves from the same playbook rolled out again and again around the world. Nudelman cookies handed out to attract the dupes to the future scene of the planned atrocity, followed by someone shooting both police and protesters to spark a confrontation between them. This is then followed by the capitalist "Mockingbird" mass media singing in perfect harmony about the evils deeds of the target government before any evidence is available on the incident at all.

If you are going to cherry-pick, focus on this: "...DID NOT DOUBT THAT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE..."

Brush up on your reading comprehension because "did not doubt that""witnessed or has seen evidence of". Why include that in a confidential cable back to the color revolution masterminds in the State Department? That is just to reassure them that the individuals who provided the closest thing in the West to an eyewitness account will not challenge the prearranged false narrative of a massacre having taken place.

More importantly, the cable specifies that the eyewitness isn't contesting the narrative that hundreds were killed "IN BEIJING". What does this really mean? It means that hundreds may have been killed somewhere else in the city (the witness does not know one way or the other), but that was not seen in Tiananmen Square.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 20 2020 12:57 utc | 123

Peterson Institute of Economics study on RCEP: PDF
What isn't explicitly said:
Because all of the RCEP signatories are net exporters, what RCEP really does is make it harder for the US (and EU) to play East Asian exporters against each other.
This works as follows:
In the 1970s and early 1980s, the original East Asian Tigers prospered via a mercantile policy. Increased exports to the US (and Europe) were not accompanied by similarly increased imports (due to increasing wealth) from anywhere, including the Asian region. Yes, imports did go up in nominal terms but far, far less than exports due to tariff policies in these nations.
This also happened with Japan later in the 1980s to 1990s.
RCEP means that this is no longer possible. China is playing a long game here: they are betting that their sheer scale plus lead in per capita economic bootstrapping vs. poorer East Asian nations will allow them to increase exports to these nations even as low cost related industries shift to them (but are limited due to China's scale capacity).
The poorer East Asian nations signed because this also removes China's ability to hamper the transition of low cost industries through supply chain product export tariffs.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 20 2020 13:35 utc | 124

I agree that the quoted headline is one of the stillest phrases I have ever read. It makes no sense at all. I am interested in the Bloomberg author's statement that the US "botched" its response to this flu. From the disjointed information we are permitted to read about the occurrences of this flu in other parts of the world it seems that this flu is infecting everyone everywhere, lockdown or no lockdown, so I am not sure about the accusation that we botched our response. Maybe the governors of NJ and NY added to the deaths by sending flu patients to nursing homes with many vulnerable people in them, but the responses all over the world have done nothing to stop people from getting this flu. Nothing. Not masks, not lockdowns, not social distancing, not nothing. We have, IMO, created a yo-yo effect - lock down = fewer cases. open the doors= more cases (but not deaths! The mortality rate is like, .01% or something). As much as they would like to they cannot keep us locked down forever without causing a revolution or many deaths from all the problems ensuing from a lockdown. It is a complete lose-lose situation and IMO the only way out is for those who know they are vulnerable to lock down and the rest of us really work to have a healthy life style, thereby enabling our own immune systems to handle this flu - as we handle every other flu that passes through the world. And as part of our doing this we must go out! Read the many articles that tell us masks do not, do not work land take those suckers off. Hug whomever you want. Only by a concerted effort by everybody will we overcome these, IMO, control mechanisms on our behaviour, which are not working at all, so why bother. Also, skip the vaccine.

Posted by: lizzie dw | Nov 20 2020 14:05 utc | 125

c1ue @124

The Peterson Institute might not explicitly say it but it is publicly discussed policy in China to shift the lower links in the manufacturing value added chain out along their BRI in sync with China itself moving up that manufacturing value chain. Yes, this is to bootstrap markets for China's own manufacturers, but that is no big secret, even among the BRI participant states. It is right in the glossy brochures. It is part of China's sales pitch for the BRI.

It is amazing how these American stink tanks can boast of their amazing findings from detailed reading of chicken bones when they could have discovered more by just asking some random person on a street corner in Beijing.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 20 2020 14:27 utc | 126

lizzie dw @125

The mortality rate for people who catch the covid in the US is slightly over 2% at the moment. 258,431 fatalities divided by 12,078,831 cases is 0.02139 times 100 to get percent is 2.139%.

Preventative measures do work. That is why China has the pandemic completely controlled within their borders.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 20 2020 14:35 utc | 127

The USA has largely excepted lockdowns and masking without a fight. The citizens are soft and compliant. The left in particular have completed freaked out over 250,000 elderly people dying. Average age of death is greater than average life span. The USA has thrown its country into chaos over a common cold. Chinese leaders probably can't believe it as they have returned to normal life rather easily.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Nov 20 2020 16:05 utc | 128

@ Posted by: lizzie dw | Nov 20 2020 14:05 utc | 125

Mortality rate worldwide is 3.4% - 34 times higher than the flu (0.1%). The rate is probably much higher, because in the Third World countries, there's a systematic effort by the governments to suppress the numbers with "unknown cause" cause of death. In countries like Brazil, India and Russia, the true number of dead probably range between three to six times the official numbers.

In Europe, I have heard mortality is still hovering around 1.7% - still 17 times deadlier than the flu.

Posted by: vk | Nov 20 2020 16:31 utc | 129

Regarding mortality, there seems to be excellent centralized data collection in the EU ( Someone else on MOA pointed it out a few week back and I've been periodically checking it.

Here [] is a snapshot of the data, as of now, shown here in a relatively unprocessed form. (the website also has per-country baseline-corrected graphs which were originally designed for the purpose of country-comparisons of seasonal flu). Note that it is showing "week 47" of 2020. Note that the last 3 weeks, highlighted in the yellow band in the graph, are the time for which data may not be fully reported. So that bump representing the current "wave" will probably will grow.

And of course mortality is delayed, but the current EU wave began long enough ago that we should be seeing much of it already. So I have to say, it does seem smaller than the one in the spring (when there was no testing available). Not sure what other conclusions to draw yet, continuing to watch this.

Posted by: ptb | Nov 20 2020 17:29 utc | 130

Don Bacon @121--

I grew up in Davis and early on marveled at the snow sheds. I also did model railroading as a hobby and picked up lots of basic facts there. The hard rock mines and massive wastes from the hydraulic method we visited often through school, scouting and family excursions. We built BART atop all those many hidden faults but failed to link LA to Sacramento via high speed rail. CalTrain from San Jose to SF is better than nothing but is still somewhat of a joke.

Anyway, Xi's keynote speech to the APEC CEOs Conference stresses the need for the genuine global community to act together as a global community pushing solidarity as a requirement in facing today's and tomorrow's challenges. This excerpt targets the Outlaw US Empire without naming but by describing its actions:

"Openness enables a country to move forward, while seclusion holds it back. In today’s world where economic globalization has become an irreversible trend, no country can develop itself by keeping its doors closed. China is already deeply integrated into the global economy and the international system. We will not reverse course or run against historical trend by 'decoupling' or forming a small circle to keep others out. By fostering a new development paradigm, we are not pursuing a closed-door circulation, but open and mutually reinforcing domestic and international circulations."

This article reviews the APEC meeting and announces its new goal:

"On Friday, a substantial outcome came out of the APEC with the announcement of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, fostering the vision for an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, according to the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Declaration."

It's that word again that starts with COMM that those at the helm of the grounded Outlaw US Empire just can't stand--Community based on Common Interests--as opposed to a closed clique of nations deluded by Neoliberalism deemed the International Community by its head gangster.

The trainline through the Sierras is one of the most spectacular byways in North America. One could learn a bit about the tenacity of the Chinese mind while marveling at the engineering, provided one is supplied the truth about how that project was accomplished.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 20 2020 18:39 utc | 131

US bankrupted itself on Vietnam then worked with global capital to invent new non gold standard economy. US crime arm expanded exponentially using debt sterilized by export surplus nations, especially Saudi Arabia and later China. That game is over and the current chaos is the result. The wealth effect was a debt based illusion. Nobody but Fed buying US Treasuries now, but Global Capital who own all central banks mostly only interested in brokering debt not owning debt, especially low yielding\non-performing debt…Big boy poker game going on now between big capital holders: Big Daddy Global Capital, Most Favored Son USA, and China\Russia. The real game is always between capital holders and we, the people, are just along for the ride

Posted by: davenitup | Nov 20 2020 18:44 utc | 132

@ karlof 131
Xi's keynote speech to the APEC CEOs Conference stresses the need for the genuine global community to act together as a global community pushing solidarity as a requirement in facing today's and tomorrow's challenges.

It's an interesting time

. . .from a recent Statement from National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien
The United States promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific region where likeminded nations uphold the international rules-based order™.

from a book review
You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-form the World - David P. Goldman --

Goldman explains in excruciating (for doubters) detail exactly how China is implementing its plan for global economic domination with Huawei leading the charge, focusing in particular on the role that 5G will play in revolutionising a slew of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to mining, and the role of the Belt and Road initiative in spreading China’s economic influence. He then points to the innumerable ways in which the United States has lost its technological edge and stands to lose a lot more. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 20 2020 19:02 utc | 133

William Gruff@127

You would be better off by going to the CDC site and actually looking at the distribution of deaths by age, the comorbidity factors and excess deaths. It is work but it's worth it.Then recalculate death rate. I trust the CDC numbers, methodology and their data collection a hell of a lot more than what I get from mass media. Why repeat the lies to make things look worse? Take a good look at the Spanish Flu from 1918-19 for contrast: 50 million deaths out of a population of 1.5 billion. That's a pandemic. That is exactly why you won't hear anything about it and why only the last hundred years is the data range. Even 50 million deaths today would still by 1/5 times the rate.

Posted by: anon48 | Nov 21 2020 2:53 utc | 134

@ Posted by: anon48 | Nov 21 2020 2:53 utc | 134

Researchers now believe the primary cause of death in the 1918-1919 flu pandemic which killed between 20 and 100 million people was bacterial pneumonia.

There were no known and widely used antibiotics then.

Posted by: suzan | Nov 21 2020 3:21 utc | 135

@Stephen Laudig | Nov 18 2020 20:03 utc | 8
People also flocked to Imperial Rome, etc. because that is where the Imperial loot and pillage went.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Nov 21 2020 3:33 utc | 136

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 19 2020 13:50 utc | 88 -- " I tell you this not to criticize or belittle you but rather to provide you with actionable information that you can use to try and correct your problem."

Wow, tough love in practice. Nice.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Nov 21 2020 5:34 utc | 137

Posted by: lysias | Nov 19 2020 19:48 utc | 108 -- "Gene Sharp, who was the author of the color revolution manual, was in Peking at the time of the Tiananmen crackdown. At the time, the recently appointed U.S. ambassador in Peking was an old CIA hand. Of course Tiananmen was a CIA operation."

Thank you, lysias.

At that time, we did not know the term 'colour revolution'. We didn't have good internet. Neither did we know the term "fake news", and not even the term "MSM".

We were a generation raised to believe that if it was on TV, or in the newspaper, then it must of been real. Heck, we even believed that the US sent humans to the moon! LOL

My, how far have I run away from that gaslighting loony farm that is the MSM!!!

Posted by: kiwiklown | Nov 21 2020 8:08 utc | 138

Heard around the water cooler — a true story:
An older lady, above 70, walks into the dentist office complaining about tooth aches, saying she gnashes her teeth at night. The dentist then asks her why, are you stressed out?
The woman says, yes very much so. I am scared of socialism.
How should the dentist handle this?

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Nov 21 2020 15:41 utc | 139


I included the reference to contrast pandemics. You can call me a skeptic but this from the CDC says a lot. It lists death in the US for all states updated weekly, breaks out the causes and even coniders death from Covid as a primary cause and comorbid deaths:


Posted by: anon48 | Nov 21 2020 19:25 utc | 140

Sakineh Bagoom @139--

Dentist: Are you afraid to go to the shrine and perform religious rites with others?

Old Lady: No. I'm very comfortable there.

Dentist: Well, that's a communal activity shared by our society. It's a basic form and function of socialism, which is essentially about the community pulling together as one to uplift the entire community. So, it's a very natural activity and nothing to be feared.

OLd Lady: Thanks so much Mr. Dentist! You explain it so differently than those within the government and media, and I see how my other social activities are similar.

Dentist: Yes, it should feel very natural since humans are social animals and thrive best within healthy, active communities.

Old Lady: Oh, thanks so very much! I'm no longer fearful of socialism, but now I distrust what members of government and media tell me as clearly fear of socialism is a lie.

Socialism is the oldest form of human societal arrangement, humans being social animals, and that arrangement is held together by culture, which itself is made up of mores and norms. What's even more amazing is humans have the facility prior to birth to learn any possible language used by the society they're born into--Universal Grammar. The same applies to rhythm and thus music--Universal Rhythm. All of which suggests the human species is all of one sort--there are no separate "races"--thus, there should be no such thing as racism, race being a completely artificial construct. Unfortunately, those coveting the power to control others have adopted the scheme of dividing people into differing groups so they can manipulate their supposed differences and thus control both--or however many--groups. Thus the reason behind trying to paint Socialism in a bad light--to control others one otherwise couldn't control.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 21 2020 21:10 utc | 141

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 21 2020 21:10 utc | 141
Thanks karlof1. Now, both you, and the dentist have put a smile on my face.
Thanks for that.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Nov 21 2020 21:41 utc | 142

Sakineh Bagoom @142--

My Pleasure!

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 21 2020 22:13 utc | 143

@141 karlof1

That is an amazingly concise paragraph that you created to follow the tale of the Dentist and the Lady - a story told in a leisurely way yet also racing unerringly to its target.

High praise for the wordsmithing. Many thanks. The whole comment is a keeper - and was just kept :)

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 21 2020 23:44 utc | 144

The fact that the NYT is advertising at all is indicative of their decline.
You'd think they would have dozens of applications all ready on file being 'the paper of record'. That journalists would be clamouring to get their foot in the door.

Posted by: CD Waller | Nov 22 2020 0:21 utc | 145

@ Posted by: anon48 | Nov 21 2020 19:25 utc | 140

My post was not to undermine what you are saying re mortality rates based on data (esp age and heath condition) at CDC but merely to correct, for others if perhaps not for you, the misunderstanding about why there was such a high death rate in the 1918-1919 pandemic.

Without antibiotics all these flu bugs can cause death, not because of the virus but because of the bacterial infections of the lungs which follow in their wake.

Posted by: suzan | Nov 22 2020 0:30 utc | 146

Grieved @144--

Thanks very much for the complement, Grieved!! I added it to my VK Space so not to lose it. The sad part is that prose should've been composed long ago when Chomsky proved the existence of Universal Grammar.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 22 2020 19:29 utc | 147

Stephen Laudig | Nov 18 2020 20:03 utc | 8

So in a plague, war maybe, flooding, famine, fires, the totalitarians will be more effective. So what?

Would I be correct in guessing that you are not one of the US Citizens, who is unemployed and living in the street?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 22 2020 20:41 utc | 148

Antonym | Nov 19 2020 3:51 utc | 66

Xi Jinping's foreign aggression and national freedom suppression.

Care to give an example or two?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 22 2020 21:35 utc | 149

Edward | Nov 19 2020 13:24 utc | 86

More recently, the Chinese government has undertaken several anti-corruption drives. A while ago, maybe 10-15 years ago, the current leader was challenged by a reformer for the leadership and the challenger was put in jail.

Now show that the challenger was not corrupt.

(Nearly all previous Israeli PMs are or have been in jail.)

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 22 2020 21:55 utc | 150

Edward | Nov 19 2020 19:17 utc | 106

As far as I can tell, the tweet just lays out how the Chinese government works in theory, not what actually happens in practice.

So what evidence do you have that the Chinese government does >I>not work as it is supposed to in practice? Can you show evidence that the Shanghai Panda was lying? If so, What do you think really happens?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 22 2020 22:22 utc | 151

lizzie dw | Nov 20 2020 14:05 utc | 125

So what happened in China? They treated it seriously. They locked down a whole province and various other cities. They worked out what it was they were fighting. When the existing hospitals got overloaded they built more. (The plans for them were already in existence from the MERS and SARS outbreaks.) When Hubei ran short of medical staff, to look after all the very sick, the moderately sick the possibly infected and the contacts, they drafted in 40,000 medics from other parts of China and the military to help. They told the big restaurants that had been closed down by the epidemic to act as the hospitals' kitchens. They organized groups of volunteers to fetch people who were locked down, the food and other things they needed. They organized others to go round checking that people who were locked down had what they needed and that they were all right and arranged for their removal to hospital if they were not. They also organized additional supplies of needed PPE.
In this way they broke the chain of infections and the virus died out. When it was considered safe to do so, they ended the lockdown and instituted massive testing and treating around the few small outbreaks they have had since.

The Chinese government, unlike many others, understood that without a healthy people you cannot have a healthy economy. So they put saving peoples' health first and left the economy largely, to look after itself (or to suffer.) Having seen off the disease, they were in a good position to revive the economy.

By contrast, most governments though having much more time to prepare than the Chinese, have been slipshod and half-hearted in their approach to this very serious problem. The UK and US governments have given me the impression that they were amateurs, caught on the hop or even that they wanted to kill off as many old people as possible. Trump almost said as much.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 22 2020 23:06 utc | 152

Krapotkin [1862-1921] in one of his autobio writings related incident where, having not-legally crossed into China and steaming south from the Amur River system, their survey mission turned around to north, and got sand-barred to dead stop. Failure persisted, whereupon nearby locals began wading-in to pull the ropes and push from behind...still not able to release the vessel.

Then a murmured Volga-boatmen=like chant arose and everyone, Russian and Chinese without explanation, just naturally heaved in rhythm and the vessel was freed...followed by spontaneous, joint celebration.

Krapotkin later wrote decisively on Mutual Aid as a key to survival [vis-a-vis individual effectiveness].

Once, I worked briefly in Switzerland at a factory and, daily it seemed, spmeone would remark [Zusammen gats besser], translated "Together goes better". It seemed a natural summation to problem solving. [In the morning I would hear
[Gruetzi Mittenand1 or approximately "Greetings everyone together"].

Posted by: chu teh | Nov 23 2020 0:26 utc | 153

suzan @65--

Sorry I missed your comment previously! We're certainly on the same page. Today on another thread I wrote that China has won as it just announced its triumph over Poverty in the wake of the many Summits and RCEP trade treaty. China's population is greater than all the major Neoliberal nations combined, all of whom have glaring issues with chronic poverty caused by their system they'll never overcome unless they change course. That the Chinese triumphed while the Soviets failed will make excellent material for a book dealing with the post-war era that compares the experiences of them plus the Outlaw US Empire. Based upon China's past, I have great expectations for its future and that of humanity's.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 25 2020 22:14 utc | 154

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