Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 09, 2021

Claims Of Chinese 'Debt Trap Diplomacy' Are Propaganda - (Told You So)

In June 2018 we debunked a New York Times piece which accused China of 'financial imperialism'.

China's Port In Sri Lanka's Is Good Business - The NYT's Report On It Is Propaganda

The core of the NYT piece was about the Chinese financed development of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka:

'China's financial imperialism' is a relatively new genre in western journalism. China is providing loans to other countries to build infrastructure. If those countries can not pay back the loans, China offers to lease and manage the infrastructure built with its money. That somehow is supposed to create a "debt trap for vulnerable countries".

Yesterday the New York Times lamented about Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port Development Project:
The port is in a strategic location right alongside the shipping lines between Asia and the Middle East and Africa.


There were several inconsistencies in the NYT piece. It used old statistics to claim that the port was rarely used. However up-to-date statistics proved the opposite. It also lied about Sri Lanka's debt burden only 10% of which was to China.

Thirty two months after Moon of Alabama debunked the piece, and twenty nine months after Peter Lee (aka Chinahand) did similar in greater detail, The Atlantic sets out to do the same:

The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Is a Myth
The narrative wrongfully portrays both Beijing and the developing countries it deals with.

It notes that the New York Times anti-China propaganda piece was often used by the Trump administration to attack that country:

The Trump administration pointed to Hambantota to warn of China’s strategic use of debt: In 2018, former Vice President Mike Pence called it “debt-trap diplomacy”—a phrase he used through the last days of the administration—and evidence of China’s military ambitions. Last year, erstwhile Attorney General William Barr raised the case to argue that Beijing is “loading poor countries up with debt, refusing to renegotiate terms, and then taking control of the infrastructure itself.”

But the NYT's central claim of 'finance imperialism' was completely wrong:

Our research shows that Chinese banks are willing to restructure the terms of existing loans and have never actually seized an asset from any country, much less the port of Hambantota. A Chinese company’s acquisition of a majority stake in the port was a cautionary tale, but it’s not the one we’ve often heard. With a new administration in Washington, the truth about the widely, perhaps willfully, misunderstood case of Hambantota Port is long overdue.

The Atlantic piece is well researched and it thoroughly destroyed the case the New York Times had tried to make. It also caught the NYT in an outright lie. The original NYT piece had claimed in its second paragraph:

feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work


The Atlantic authors however found two studies that said the opposite:

It was the Canadian International Development Agency—not China—that financed Canada’s leading engineering and construction firm, SNC-Lavalin, to carry out a feasibility study for the port. We obtained more than 1,000 pages of documents detailing this effort through a Freedom of Information Act request. The study, concluded in 2003, confirmed that building the port at Hambantota was feasible, and supporting documents show that the Canadians’ greatest fear was losing the project to European competitors.
We reviewed a second feasibility report, produced in 2006 by the Danish engineering firm Ramboll, that made similar recommendations to the plans put forward by SNC-Lavalin, arguing that an initial phase of the project should allow for the transport of non-containerized cargo—oil, cars, grain—to start bringing in revenue, before expanding the port to be able to handle the traffic and storage of traditional containers.


They also found, just like MoA did, that the port debt to China was not relevant for Sri Lanka's payment problems:

Sri Lanka owed more to Japan, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank than to China. Of the $4.5 billion in debt service Sri Lanka would pay in 2017, only 5 percent was because of Hambantota. The Central Bank governors under both Rajapaksa and Sirisena do not agree on much, but they both told us that Hambantota, and Chinese finance in general, was not the source of the country’s financial distress.

The authors of the Atlantic piece, who are professors at John Hopkins and Harvard, conclude that there is no Chinese 'financial imperialism'. The whole concept is wrong:

The notion of “debt-trap diplomacy” casts China as a conniving creditor and countries such as Sri Lanka as its credulous victims. On a closer look, however, the situation is far more complex. China’s march outward, like its domestic development, is probing and experimental, a learning process marked by frequent adjustment. After the construction of the port in Hambantota, for example, Chinese firms and banks learned that strongmen fall and that they’d better have strategies for dealing with political risk. They’re now developing these strategies, getting better at discerning business opportunities and withdrawing where they know they can’t win. Still, American leaders and thinkers from both sides of the aisle give speeches about China’s “modern-day colonialism.”

'Financial imperialism' and 'modern-day colonialism' is what the U.S. exercises when it blocks IMF and Worldbank loans or binds them to political conditions. China is so far not known for doing such.

Thanks to The Atlantic for debunking that anti-China dreck the NYT had put on its frontpage.

Just one question: What took you so long?

h/t Ian Goodrum

Posted by b on February 9, 2021 at 18:20 UTC | Permalink


projection at it's finest/worst. think IMF,USAID etc.etc.

See "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"

The Book in Three Sentences

The United States is engaging in a modern form of slavery by using the World Bank and other international organizations to offer huge loans to developing nations for construction projects and oil production. On the surface this appears to be generous, but the money is only awarded to a country if it agrees to hire US construction firms, which ensures a select few people get rich. Furthermore, the loans are intentionally too big for any developing nation to repay and this debt burden virtually guarantees the developing nation will support the political interests of the United States.

Posted by: Gazza | Feb 9 2021 18:29 utc | 1

Anyone paying attention recently is fully aware that the New York Times is often wrong. Now, the question becomes if the errors are just sloppy journalism or intentional misreporting with an agenda.
The fact that errors are rarely corrected and always seem to skew a certain direction leads to intentional misreporting.
Western media have become propaganda and serve to give readers their "two minutes of hate" at the enemy du jour.
But, many times the false reporting is psychological projection and accuses Russia and China of malicious actions actually committed by the west.
It is actually western habit to employ debt-trap diplomacy and to bankrupt entire countries through the IMF, World Bank et al. in order to seize natural resources and enslave the local population.
It is brilliant of China to deny the west their usual victims by offering a far better alternative and make money in the process.
The targeted countries are thankful to China for saving them and China expands their economic empire. A win/win for everyone but Wall Street and London.

Posted by: Mar man | Feb 9 2021 18:40 utc | 2

You want an example of recent "debt trap"? Here you go:

Ecuador: reversing the pandemic slump?

As the Ecuador economy deteriorated, Moreno took an IMF loan accompanied by stringent austerity measures. The IMF had done the same thing as it did with the right-wing administration in Argentina, offering money in exchange for austerity and pro-business measures. This provoked a massive protest movement in 2019 that eventually forced Moreno rescind some of the terms of the IMF package. Moreno’s popularity plummeted and he decided not to stand in these elections.


[With COVID-19 pandemic] Moreno’s solution to the slump was to take yet another IMF loan ($6.5bn), in return for the deregulation of the central bank and a hike in gasoline and diesel to world market prices. He also took a bilateral loan of $3.5bn from the Trump administration in return for privatising a major oil refinery and parts of the country’s electrical grid and to exclude China from its telecommunications development. Moreno also responded with ‘emergency’ $4bn spending cuts included liquidating the national airline and closing embassies.


Even after $7 billion in multilateral loans last year, Ecuador will need another $7.6 billion in new financing in 2021, according to an IMF report from December. And this assumes the country will agree to slash its government budget deficit to a target of $2.8 billion this year from $7.2 billion in 2020. Let me quote directly from the IMF on its conditions: “Discretionary spending cuts which would include wage restraint (0.6 ppts of GDP) and moderation of capital spending (0.7 ppts of GDP). Together with savings from the ongoing fuel subsidy reform and the roll-back of pandemic-related spending when the crisis subsides” And, “continued commitment to reducing deficits is needed to ensure sustainable public finances over the medium-term and lower the debt burden on future generations. Anchoring the medium-term path on the 57 percent of GDP debt limit in COPLAFIP entails a reduction of the NOPBS deficit by 5.5 ppt of GDP between 2019-2025, and of the overall NFPS balance by 5.3 ppt. Achieving these ambitious, yet realistic, goals requires a combination of a progressive tax reform— with permanent revenue yield of 2½ percent of GDP from 2022—and sustained expenditure rationalization.”

To achieve these targets, the IMF wants VAT hiked and measures to make the labour market ‘more flexible’ ie “maintaining the flexibility provided by those measures, such as shorter work weeks, more flexible shift and remote work arrangements, could support the labour market and the recovery.”

Posted by: vk | Feb 9 2021 18:46 utc | 3

@ b who wrote
Just one question: What took you so long?

Kudos to you b but my question would be why at all? Admitting the existence of propaganda is a slippery slope I would posit.

What incentive does The Atlantic have for calling BS? I would think the owners would get a visit from some 3-letter agency politely asking them to support their country......

So when is some media organization/journalist going to take on the cult of global private finance? This Atlantic piece is an attempt but is focusing on the other end of the finance spectrum...the public/humanist meme.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 9 2021 18:52 utc | 4

Anyone paying attention recently is fully aware that the New York Times is often wrong.

Posted by: Mar man | Feb 9 2021 18:40 utc | 2

And after a day or two these hit pieces are faithfully republished in Australian papers with their faces buried deep in their US masters ass.

It's all part of a concerted demonization and consensus building effort to desensitize the populace when call for a selective renege of bonds and asset held by China comes. Oh and the draft will probably come right after that.

Posted by: A.L. | Feb 9 2021 19:03 utc | 5

The Atlantic is this the same group as the Neocon Atlantic Council or are they different. If they are the same group then why would they ever have a good article, the purge has not been completed yet?

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Feb 9 2021 19:12 utc | 6

French economist, Eric Toussaint, is the leading analyst of the Third World debt trap:

Literally everything the USG says is projection.

Posted by: Prof K | Feb 9 2021 19:32 utc | 7

The port in Sri Lanka would have already been quite profitable for the country if the Modi government didn't align with the US and scrap BCIM.

As it stands, the port will probably remain unprofitable until the completion of CMEC, that is assuming the new coup government doesn't do a similar turn like Modi.

Posted by: Sid Victor Cattoni | Feb 9 2021 19:53 utc | 8


This is example number 6,666,666 of American Psychological Projection at its very finest.

There is a pathological quality to America and its obsessive instinct to accuse its geopolitical opponents of what the United States is guilty of to the umpteenth degree. Future scientists will have a field day trying to psychoanalyze the USA.

The New York Times in particular is such a shining example of this pathological deceit that it now makes its former Pentagon stenographer, Judith “Iraqi WMDs” Miller, seem like Julian Assange in comparison.

Financial imperialism and modern-day colonialism are precisely what America's brand of Neoliberal Capitalism (aka the Washington Consensus) and US Dollar Super-Imperialism are--a parasitic American system that has lasted decades to this very day and spans the entire planet.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

Super-Imperialism at the Pentagon

Posted by: ak74 | Feb 9 2021 21:35 utc | 10

So, could it be the sign that part of the establishment seeks to reduce tensions with China? Or at least that some in the mainstream media feels they can now do their job at least when it comes to China (it will take longer with Russia...) ? One can hope, we surely don't need another Cold war that lasts for decades, or another World War.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 9 2021 21:40 utc | 11

Personally, I feel that Chinese foreign policy is amazingly good-natured -- considering the power they wield.

It doesn't mean that it's ruled by angels, obviously, but nevertheless.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Feb 9 2021 22:07 utc | 12

Of course, Chinese financial imperialism exists, it is very real. BUT the question is what is it and how it is bad. As Ecuador is currently in the middle of elections (counting votes, there will be second ballot for president), I checked this and that. This is from Wikipedia "Economy of Ecuador":

Ecuador’s access to global financial markets also had been limited by its 2008 default on $3.2 billion in debt to global lenders.[60] Consequently, the Correa government turned to nontraditional allies, such as China, for external finance.[60] From 2005 to 2014, Chinese banks provided almost $11 billion of financing to Ecuador.[60] The Correa government also asked China for an additional $7.5 billion in financing in early 2015 as crude oil prices—the nation’s biggest export—weakened further.[60] China agreed to the financing request and began to disburse funding, including nearly $1 billion in May and June 2015.[60] Ecuador successfully returned to the international capital market in June 2014 with a $2 billion bond issue followed by additional smaller bond issues in 2015.[60] President Moreno later discovered loans made by China over the years currently require that Ecuador pay China back with almost 500 barrels of crude oil—or roughly three years of the country’s oil production.[60]
Note: the last sentence is a joke of the kind: DID YOU READ IT AT ALL???? 500 barrels of crude oil, roughly three years of the country's oil production, means that one year of oil production is 500/3/7 = 25 tons, one tanker truck. No problemo to pay it, right?
From the point of view of benevolent observers in USA (the total number of observers is rather small, I guess), institutions like IMF try to steer the borrowing countries toward beneficial policies, like privatization of utilities, eliminating subsidies, balancing the budget, keeping the expenditures like health and education within reasonable limits, lest the budget deficit grows too much etc.

This beneficent advise gets some teeth when the borrower has to extend the payment period on the loans from IMF (and cooperating international financial institutions). But what to do when the borrower is obstinate, and instead of complying, borrows from China? (1) Gnash teeth, and (2) Engineer the change of government. In the case of Ecuador, unsuccessful change was attempted in 2010, Wiki: on 30 September 2010, when elements of the National Police blockaded highways, occupied the National Parliament, blocked the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito[1] and the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil,[2] and took over TV Ecuador's station... ... the opposition Pachakutik Movement published a press release asking for Correa to resign or be dismissed <-- The head of Pachakutik will probably run against a friend of Correa in the runoff in few weeks, benevolent sources like The Guardian cannot have enough praise for them (but they try hard!).

But the coordination with armed forces was poor and Correa remained as a President. What worked is the election in which vice-president of Correa won and proceed with repressions of all "Correistas", Assange, Wikileakers that could fall in his hands, and best of all, he was replacing Chinese loans with IMF. Thus Chinese financial imperialism was repelled, we will see for how long. As the traditional reactionary party is electorally disappointing, there is an operation to replace "typical Latin American left", hostile to USA and everything that is good and decent, with Pachakutik which is are almost as nice as Labour under Starmer (I cannot imagine more nice and obedient leftist party than Labour under Starmer, unlike American Democrats they actually purge unruly wrong left).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 9 2021 22:24 utc | 13

Clueless Joe @ 11:

I should think self-interest is behind the reason that parts of the political establishment appear to want to tamp down tensions with China. They may have investments in China that they fear might be seized by Beijing. (Not that Beijing would want to do that but they imagine that Beijing would retaliate in exactly the same way the US would retaliate if threatened or boxed into a corner - because they can't imagine that a major power could have behave in any other way.)

The Atlantic may be looking for an entrée into the Biden government's good books. Atlantic Monthly editor Jeffrey Goldberg had a lot of access to Barack Obama during the latter's Presidency. At the same time it's distancing itself from The New York Times and what The Atlantic perceives to be The NYT's agenda with respect to US-Chinese relations, in the hope of picking up NYT readers disillusioned with that newspaper.

What took The Atlantic so long? Self-interest.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 9 2021 22:26 utc | 14

When looked at objectively, both China and Russia are in a class by themselves in comparison with the West which is reduced to lies, smears, distortions, and continuous propaganda to keep its people in the dark. On the week-in-review, I just posted a long comment about Russia's Science Day which serves as an excellent example proving my assertion. Sure, the West has more Million- and Billionaires, but then isn't that a big part of the West's problems. The West is clearly too childish in its degree of maturity to accept that it no longer commands obedience and its mythic exceptionalism is even more invalid than at any time before. But no nation took its rattle and doll away; the West's behavior proves they still have them and have yet to outgrow them.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 9 2021 22:33 utc | 15

The West is clearly too childish in its degree of maturity <-- Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 9 2021 22:33 utc | 15

One can say that stupidity exhibited by Western elite is a measure of its success. They do not need to be clever to thrive. There are prehistorical examples:

"Although the ratio of brain size to" body mass was very small for T. rex, it was larger than most other dinosaurs. T. rex's brain was larger than the human brain, but the cerebrum (the part of the brain that we use to think) was tiny."

As long as the conditions did not change drastically, T. rex was doing very well. Spot a tasty critter like a Triceratops, chase it, deliver few good kicks and munch.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 9 2021 22:46 utc | 16

It's amazing how a Government that starts wars, invades, bombs, threatens, sanctions and has been overthrowing socialist Governments for the best part of a century and replacing them with brutal right wing dictatorships, insists on pointing fingers at one that does none of the above and actually helps finance and build roads, railways and bridges all over the world instead.

Posted by: Et Tu | Feb 9 2021 22:48 utc | 17

The idea of anyone in the United States pointing the finger of blame for "Financial Imperialism at any country is just hilarious...

Posted by: A. Pols | Feb 9 2021 23:27 utc | 18

@ Piotr Berman | Feb 9 2021 22:24 utc | 13... yeah 500 barrels of monkeys is what they may as well have said.. the person who wrote the report quoted by wikimukia is probably a cia stooge.. i see she or he reports for all of ''latin america'' and i am sure she/he gives the usa spin as needed... here is the report it is coming from - total rah rah usa bullshit -

my problem with the nyt and taking it apart is it is endless.. it is like the joke someone brought up the other day on the old karl rove quote - ''we just make it up as we go'' or something to that effect.... why bother spending time showing how the nyt are constantly caught up in lies?

as for your question at the end - why did it take you so long?? maybe some chinese billionaire gave the atlantic a big bonus for writing a piece that contradicts the official paper of ill repute?? anything is possible where money is involved... sorry for the cynicism... it could just as easily be an american billionaire hiding behind some corporation that wants to curry favour with china for all i know.... nothing is ever as it seems.. this is my response to @11 clueless joe too a wee bit..

Posted by: james | Feb 9 2021 23:33 utc | 19

@ A. Pols | Feb 9 2021 23:27 utc | 18.. pot calling kettle black.. you know the drill, lol...

Posted by: james | Feb 9 2021 23:34 utc | 20

A.L. #5

The bunya nut republic has found itself kissing the USAi arse perpetually except for one brief moment in the early 1970's.

I fought the first draft and their dirty war tooth and nail and likely will miss the next.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 9 2021 23:38 utc | 21

Piotr Berman @16--

Look at the trajectories of the West versus the Eurasian Bloc and tell us which is the better place for humans to live and have an opportunity to see what they're made of, what they can accomplish when given an even break. Within one lifetime, the metrics have reversed, although some remain the same, like the West's massive immorality and fealty to Greed. Following on the Roman model, the Outlaw US Empire is failing and will succumb from its own poison before the century's out. The EU at least has an opportunity to redeem itself and its populous by joining the Eurasian Bloc, that is if its leaders ever get their collective heads out from Uncle Sam's rectum and finally learn from Rome's failure. The future reality for people living in the West is bleak. If I were a parent with young children knowing what I know, I'd have them learn Russian along with myself and spouse and emigrate. But alas, I'm too old and my only child now nearing forty chose the right path to see her through the coming malaise. We matured and evolved, and we're much better for that.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 10 2021 0:10 utc | 22


Russia is going to end up as a very junior, and poorer, partner to an advanced China. Its need to move away from primary industry dependence (fossil fuels, metals, minerals, food etc.), and the oligarchs dependent on those industries, to develop will really hold it back. Any young children should be learning Mandarin and Chinese history and philosophy. They will have a huge advantage over their clueless compatriots.

Posted by: Roger | Feb 10 2021 1:38 utc | 23

"I'd have them learn Russian along with myself and spouse and emigrate. "

Once I stumbled upon a YouTube account of a young woman commenting on her experience and other issues, it was somewhat interesting, although it seems inactive. In one video the young woman examined "which country is better for work", considering Poland and Germany. One issue in Germany is that for work permit they require knowledge of German, and there is no such requirement in Poland. Even so, knowing the language of the country is beneficial in many ways. Here Poland has a decisive advantage: Polish is much easier to learn! There are phonetic differences, but in short time you can speak understandably without making people laugh. Most importantly, grammar is easy to learn, the sentence structure is mostly the same -- while following German sentences is very hard, and composing them is even harder. Symmetrically, for me immigrating to Belarus or Russia is much easier than to Germany (the young women is from Brest in Belarus, the videos were in Russian, and if you know Polish and Russian, Belorussian is easy, unlike tongue twisting Ukrainian).

For an American, Argentina and Uruguay could be a good choice. The language is much easier to learn, culture is OK, political climate seems sane, sufficiently distant from USA, the cost of living is OK, and the purchasing power of salaries is probably comparable to Russia.

Re: China. Quizzing Chinese student on their history and philosophy does not suggest that "they have a huge advantage". There are oddballs who know a lot, same with Americans (engineering students). Luckily, one can learn about it without knowing Chinese.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 10 2021 2:03 utc | 24

Just exactly how does the mysteriously rainbow and warm fuzzy feeling filled central banking system work in China, under the gentle and loving oversight of the CCP work again?
Because, last I heard, it works so very very well that it no longer wishes to be bothered by such trifles as having to so much as print fake ass paper reciepts as proof of transactions or any damned thing else.

Posted by: Josh | Feb 10 2021 2:35 utc | 25

At the risk of sounding unenlightened, I might suggest that such sounds 'mysteriously' like the ECB's 'master plan'.
So, you know, maybe someone could look into that.

Posted by: Josh | Feb 10 2021 2:37 utc | 26

Also, in case anyone was wondering, all fiat 'paper currency' is in the fucking first place, is a written reciept, like the one you get at the grocery store.

Posted by: Josh | Feb 10 2021 2:58 utc | 27

@ Posted by: Josh | Feb 10 2021 2:35 utc | 25

It's irrelevant, because China is investing in USD in those foreign countries. The Chinese Central Bank cannot print USD.

Posted by: vk | Feb 10 2021 3:14 utc | 28

Using the "China Debt Trap" card. Vijay Prashad JANUARY 24, 2021

"US rescue of Ecuador from Chinese debt is a trap - South American country is the most recent success of the US policy to edge out Beijing's business interests"

"Part of the assault on China by the US government has been to paint its loans to Ecuador as predatory. These loans, the US officials say, create a “debt trap” and Boehler said they leave Ecuador at the mercy of a “single authoritarian country.”

Evidence for either the “debt trap” or of Chinese “influence” on Ecuador is non-existent. In fact, over the last six months of 2020, Chinese banks have been willing to put loan payments on hold until 2022 (this includes a delay on repayment on the $474 million loan to China’s ExIM Bank and on the $417 million loan to the China Development Bank).

Ecuador’s Finance Ministry says that, for now, the plan is for repayment to start in March 2022 and to end by 2029.

Moreno took to Twitter to announce these two delays. There were no aggressive measures taken by these two banks nor from any other Chinese financial entity.

Ecuador took on debt worth around $5 billion from Chinese banks to finance several major infrastructural projects, including the construction of hydroelectric dams. These projects began when oil prices were high. President Correa leveraged oil income to help the transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy.

The collapse of oil prices, the pressure on the country from the oil giants (particularly Chevron), and the political chaos in the country damaged Ecuador’s ability to advance these projects. Chinese banks, over this period, have accommodated the difficulties faced by Ecuador’s government to finance these debts.

Yet it is based on the very existence of these loans that the US government has made sinister claims about Chinese influence on Ecuador. It is well worth pointing out that China only holds 10% of Ecuador’s total external debt, but it is this debt that has been the focus of attention.

It allows the US to prosecute its rivalry with China and at the same time camouflage the real source of indebtedness, namely the IMF loans and loans to Western banks. Neither the IMF nor the Western banks has been as generous about their credits as the Chinese banks.

Chinese banks lent money for the construction projects. These funds came with no conditions. The US government money, on the other hand, came with substantial claims on the government of Ecuador’s policy orientation.

Quito has had to sign up for Washington’s “Clean Network,” a US State Department project to force countries to build telecommunications networks without a Chinese telecom provider involved in them. This particularly applies to the high-speed fifth-generation (5G) networks. Ecuador pre-emptively joined the Clean Network in November 2020. This opened the door for the DFC loan to Ecuador.

The deal with Ecuador is not seen as a one-time arrangement. Boehler said this “novel model” can be used by other countries to “eject” China from the hemisphere. If Arauz becomes the next president of Ecuador, he will face the challenge of this US-imposed conflict against China as one of the first obstacles to a fresh start for his country."

Posted by: daffyDuct | Feb 10 2021 3:19 utc | 29

As usual, the US loudly accuses its intended target of the very behavior it itself is engaged in; thereby, putting the target on the rhetorical defensive, which never really looks all that good in public fora. And when confronted with irrefutable evidence of this the US just harumphs, "communist propaganda; we're 'merica! Where truth, justice, and your mom's pie are registered trademarks ;)"
Farcical, tragic, and in the end, very dangerous to the planet.
Thanks, b.

Posted by: robjira | Feb 10 2021 3:52 utc | 30

@Piotr Berman | 16

As long as the conditions did not change drastically, T. rex was doing very well. Spot a tasty critter like a Triceratops, chase it, deliver few good kicks and munch.

Until T-Rex encountered a band of much smaller but determined & coordinated Velociraptors. Sure, their palaeontology didn't coincide, but the idea is useful.

Posted by: jacksonian | Feb 10 2021 5:28 utc | 31

No piotor. We do not want any gringos in Uruguay thank you. We have had enough and would very much appreciate it if you would not throw our name around as a place to retire to or to get away from the usssa. Ok? Also its damn expensive theres too much crime were all a bunch of male chauvinist pig Italians who are drunk 24/7. In fact you will be mugged and beaten by a drunk Italian upon arrival.

Posted by: Abu Aisha | Feb 10 2021 5:54 utc | 32

NY times is gonna NY times


New app blocks NYT disinformation online…

Posted by: Dogon Priest | Feb 10 2021 6:10 utc | 33

Posted by: jacksonian | Feb 10 2021 5:28 utc | 31

In fact, T. rex probably lived till the catastrophe that ended Cretinaceous (the Age of Cretins). Probably there was a period without plant live, tasty Tricerapses died out and T. rex also succumbed to hunger. During that time worms could live on decaying plants, and small mammals could eat those worms or something like that. Thus rat-like mammals of the period survived.

Later plants revived, perhaps from seeds, but except for birds, dinosaurs were gone.

In any case, USA is well adapted to "kick, then chomp, brain to control sexual contacts" style, and perhaps something will interrupt it. Until then, we live in Cretinaceous, and brainiacs misusing their brains (lack of focus on sexual congress) may survive in their burrows, attics (like Poor Poet) etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 10 2021 6:38 utc | 34

Oh you mean THIS new york times?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 10 2021 6:40 utc | 35

Insinuating third world politicians are too stupid to judge trade deals by China is a great example of deep-rooted Western racism.

Posted by: J W | Feb 10 2021 9:52 utc | 36

@13 and @3 on Ecuador:

The nazio puppet Moreno is exactly doing what he is payed to do: privatization of the central bank

This young economist called on the members of the current National Assembly not to approve this bill because its purpose is to "privatize" the monetary policy by placing corporate-sponsored people on the board of directors of the Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE).
"We will not allow the approval of a law that will allow this government to appoint officials who will remain in office longer than the next administration," said the leftist candidate who won the highest vote in the Feb. 7 elections.
"If this pro-bankers bill is approved, the next government will not have effective instruments to make positive changes on issues such as credit management," the UNES candidate said.

Posted by: Gary | Feb 10 2021 10:12 utc | 37

@36 J W
Didn't you read the article? Third world politicians want to make their fellow third world people believe other third world politicians are the "slaves of the Chinese" despite the fact that they know very well this is not the case in order to win election campaigns against said other politicians.

The Americans are just doing the same.

Posted by: m | Feb 10 2021 11:07 utc | 38

As I can read from thread everything is going as planned. That is in th US of course, other places not so much.National debt, corona virus, collossal mitary spending and excessive unemployment can bring any giant to its knees, and is doing so right now. The US is on its way down the drain. I just wish that the people of the US bring to justice those guilty, th congress, the senate and also a few high justices; justice = Lamppost.
Make the armed forces a 100 000 one, abolish floating targets (aircraft carriers), do not meddle anywhere, no one else does, health care fore all and a universal basic income.
But that will not happen anytime soon. But if nothing happens something more sinister WILL happen, the american people will gather guts and say : ENOUGH!
It has happened before and can happen again. IF desparation leaves discussion out.

Posted by: Den lille Abe | Feb 10 2021 12:53 utc | 39

Posted by: Abu Aisha | Feb 10 2021 5:54 utc | 32

Thanks. Grumpiness index has to be considered. Combining cost of living, minus crime rate, minus grumpiness points to Belarus. But Argentina is not so bad either, and for some, linguistically easier.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 10 2021 12:56 utc | 40

@ 40 Piotr
Thanks for the advice, but I prefer Sweden.

Posted by: Den lille Abe | Feb 10 2021 13:13 utc | 41

I need severely to watch some Monty Python, I'll start with chesee shop followed by dead parrot (Trump) and then its where I end up! Camelot, the black knight, I do not know!

Posted by: Den lille Abe | Feb 10 2021 13:18 utc | 42

Den lille Abe | Feb 10 2021 13:13 utc | 41

Monty Python were keen on Finland.

Chorus : Finland, Finland, Finland.
The country where I want to be,
Pony trekking or camping,
Or just watching TV,
Finland, Finland, Finland.
It's the country for me.

Verse : You're so near to Russia.
So far from Japan,
Quite a long way from Cairo,
Lots of miles from Vietnam.

Chorus : Finland, Finland, Finland.
The country where I want to be,
Eating breakfast or dinner,
Or snack lunch in the Hall,
Finland, Finland, Finland.
Finland has it all....

Posted by: DeQuincey | Feb 10 2021 13:33 utc | 43

Thanks for the advice, but I prefer Sweden.

Posted by: Den lille Abe | Feb 10 2021 13:13 utc | 41

One criterion was if the country is linguistically difficult or not. When I was in Sweden for the first time, I had a very hard time connecting what is written to what Swedes say. In my country, when you see that you are entering Pcim you know exactly how to say it. Swedes kind of sing instead of talking. So they sing "yeehtehbori" and this is Goeteborg (oe is an umlaut, in English it is Gothenburg). Then then cannot tell the difference between Berman and Bergman (sounds almost the same when they read), and Berman is simply a misspelled Bergman. So they helpfully correct the mistake. Karloff is perhaps safe...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 10 2021 15:13 utc | 44

I would recommend that MoA readers check out the latest Hudson, if they have not already: Hudson video on Super Imperialism update
Basically, Dr. Michael Hudson is updating Super Imperialism. He's bought back the rights and was commissioned to update it in Chinese, but decided to also publish the update in English.
He's talked about the World Bank/IMF at length before - it seems the update is more about how the ROTW (Rest of the world) plans to go about things differently vs. the Pax Americana model.

Posted by: c1ue | Feb 10 2021 15:21 utc | 45

Debt is inherently/potentially a trap and to be avoided.
However those who avoid debt may appear to or in fact perform less well than others.
It is a risk. Risk can be dangerous. Avoiding risk can also be risky.

Are we whatever we choose to be or are we there result of our history?

Many are well satisfied serving the status quo.
They are faithful servants of the status quo.
The battle against the status quo is the battle of principle vs want.

Posted by: jared | Feb 10 2021 16:09 utc | 46

A comment I have heard -
"You decide what you want to believe and then you select the facts which support that view."

Posted by: jared | Feb 10 2021 16:24 utc | 47

Well there is debt and super debt.
Most of the countries caught in the debt trap borrowed US dollars , something only the US can make.
Second , a lot of those countries had crooked leaders installed who took on large debt for their own benefit and not the peoples of the country.

Read Economic Hit Man.

These countries did not have a sort of equal playing field like we do when dealing with a mortgage or a loan from a bank.

Posted by: arby | Feb 10 2021 16:29 utc | 48

@44 Berman
hrmff! Well I am a dual nationality Dane /Swede and I have no difficulties pronouncing your name.You must have met some retards, although most of them are locked up in Riksdagen, some have evaded. Come and see me, next time! Then we will have sild and brændevin

Posted by: Den lille Abe | Feb 10 2021 16:32 utc | 49

Not content with inventing the concept of "debt trap", the USA has now innovated even more and is now inaugurating its brand new invention: "reverse debt trap" or "cash squeeze":

Biggest U.S. Banks Keep Lending Less and Less of Their Money

Total loans at the 25 biggest U.S. banks comprise less than 46% of their combined assets, down from 54% this time last year, according to weekly Federal Reserve data made public on Friday. At 45.8%, the share of total assets devoted to loans is the lowest figure in nearly 36 years of weekly data.

The figures provide a fresh reality check for an industry that’s been playing up its support for businesses and households as the Covid-19 pandemic ravages the economy. While the total amount that banks have loaned out has stagnated, the nation’s biggest lenders have rapidly expanded other parts of their businesses, such as their holdings of Treasuries and government-backed mortgage securities.

Loans fell just over 1% from last year to $5.5 trillion, a figure that includes new loans ultimately backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. At the same time, big-bank balance sheets expanded by more than 17% to $12 trillion after the Fed flooded the system with cash in hopes that firms would keep credit flowing to the U.S. economy. Banks have kept some of those funds as cash and used much of the rest to purchase securities guaranteed by the federal government.

The petite bourgeoisie (middle class) is now being devoured by their own masters, after centuries of serving them so well.

Posted by: vk | Feb 10 2021 16:33 utc | 50

Piotr Bergman (and anyone else) - a question -
Can Polish be represented accurately using Cyrillic? And if so, would a Russian or even a Ukrainian be able to read it, maybe understand it somewhat?

Posted by: tucenz | Feb 10 2021 16:56 utc | 51

Christian J. Chuba | Feb 9 2021 19:12 utc | 6

The Atlantic is this the same group as the Neocon Atlantic Council or are they different. If they are the same group then why would they ever have a good article, the purge has not been completed yet?

Even the most reactionary, sometimes make contact with reality. It does happen occasionally. Sometimes, I think they do it to increase their credibility.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 10 2021 17:36 utc | 52

@ Gary | Feb 10 2021 10:12 utc | 37... thanks for your note.. i link within your link points back to greyzone article on this equador election and how the supposed 2nd place candidate is a wolf in sheeps clothing - Yaku Pérez.... if he gets in power, it will be the same deal... for others interested here is the article..

How Ecuador’s US-backed, coup-supporting ‘ecosocialist’ candidate Yaku Pérez aids the right-wing

Posted by: james | Feb 10 2021 17:43 utc | 53

Roger @23--

You don't read much of what I post about Russia do you? Their leaders see each other as quite compatible and close to being symbiotic. Together they've closed the nuclear fuel cycle and are now getting very close to making fusion a commercial reality by the start of the next decade. Of course, those aren't the only science realms where they're working as a team. Politically, they've created the Eurasian Bloc. Oh, and Russia's economy has vastly diversified thanks to the sanctions as oil and gas revenues now account for only 14% of total state revenues. And from a viability POV, Russia's economy is stronger than China's, despite China's being larger. IMO, it's best analytically to treat Russia and China as one total entity. And a few years from now, we'll be looking at the Eurasian Bloc as one entity. It also helps to recall that two very different "games" are afoot: Win-Win versus Zero-sum. Win-Win can continue infinitely while Zero-sum is a dead-end; so, it ought to be rather easy to judge which will prevail.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 10 2021 17:47 utc | 54

@ karlof1

How is the collapse of the USA "following the Roman model" other than in a very superficial way? And are you talking about the general transition to the early medieval or specific moments of crisis like the 3rd century? Or are you talking about the failure of the republic to manage the transition from Mediterranean city-state to Mediterranean imperial capital and therefore to the rise of the Principate at the end of the 1st century BCE? Or perhaps the crisis of slavery that precipitated the emergence of the colonate from the 2nd century AD? Or religious change? Or what, other than a smug self-authorizing, but hardly historical, comparison between incommensurable historical world-systems? Maybe read Perry Anderson's Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism as a primer.

Posted by: Patroklos | Feb 10 2021 19:39 utc | 55

tucenz | Feb 10 2021 16:56 utc | 51

I asked a mother-tongue Russian speaker and she said that all except the "L with a stroke through it" character could be represented in Cyrillic. (Adding that German would be shorter written in Cyrillic.)

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 10 2021 22:03 utc | 56

Phonems is Slavic languages are similar, but not the same, so Cyrilic approximate Polish pretty well, but not exactly. Belorusian, written in Cyrillic, looks like Russian with strong Polish accent. Dark L, in Polish with slash (dash in lower case when written), is ethymogically identical to Cyrillic L (lambda), but pronounced like English "w", not like L in lick (as in Russian and Ukrainian, and in eastern Polish dialects). For example, Pcim is Пцим. Polish has two vowels that are nasal, like in French and Portuguese, but they can be approximated as -en- and -om- in Cyrillic.

About historical analogies of USA to Rome. For a while, Italy was technologically dominant in Western Mediterranean, which induced trade, import of grain and export of wine, olive oil and assorted manufactured goods, weapons, glassware, fish sauce etc. Thus in the initial centuries centralization of the late Republic and early Empire was natural. But the provinces acquired those skills, and the engineering innovations, as a result, local rebellions, say in Gaul and Iberia, could last for decades without economic pain. The technological domination of USA, very clear after WWII, started to wane quickly, but it persisted when we consider USA plus closely subjugated satellites. Now it is increasingly questionable.

Another analogical process is the replacement of citizen army with professional and much more expensive army. In effect, the military was extorting its pay, sometimes switching between emperors according to promised salaries. In USA this process is, so far, gentler but no less effective. The same could be observed in ancient China when you had dynasties that lasted long enough to go through this process until bloated ineffective military succumbed to peasant rebellions and militant northern nations.

Finally, the process of loosing advantage over adversaries. While Persians always had a parity in terms of technology and weaponry, Germanic peoples developed some innovations that made their agriculture more productive in a number of landscapes, this increased their numbers and consequently, the number of troops they could field.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 11 2021 0:48 utc | 57

The Chinese debt trap was an original concoction of the local regime at that time which was aimed at the local population as an election tactic (2015-2019) and that lie went well with the propaganda of the west. You may find Sri Lankan government "sources" in the NYT article. Those government "sources" have been making the most obvious lies to the local population for some time (while they desperately looked for the evidence, they could not find any during 2015-2019).

and the grabbing of the Hambantota port by the Chinese was an utter lie. Then regime even celebrated the leasing of the port to the Chinese as a sign of their economic wisdom. I do not know whether the Chinese demanded it but there were two offers for the port and the government choose the longest lease (99 years) instead of the shorter one.

And Sri Lanka is in trouble because of a long-duration deficit in the current account, trade imbalance and borrowings from the market.

Posted by: aka | Feb 11 2021 2:55 utc | 58

here is another joke is on the governed.

Posted by: snake | Feb 11 2021 6:52 utc | 59

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