Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani on US-China Competition

Kishore Mahbubani, a prolific writer, speaker and former Singaporean diplomat, believes that the western domination of the world over the last 200 years is "aberrant" when seen in the context of the last several thousand years of human history.  In his book "Has China Won", he writes that "we are also moving away from a black-and-white world". "Societies in different parts of the world, including in China and Islamic societies, are going to work toward a different balance between liberty and order, between freedom and control, between discord and harmony". 

Kishore Mahbubabi


In a recent interview, Mahbubani made the following points about US-China competition: 

1. The United States with about 240-year history likes to pass judgement on China which has over 2,400 year history. What makes the US think China would listen to the American advice? 


2. The West is in the habit of judging everyone, including the Chinese. The Chinese have just had the best 30 years of their history. Would the Chinese listen to the American advice on "democracy" and political freedoms after they have seen what happened to Russia when the Russians decided to adopt democracy in the1990s and their economy collapsed? 

3. More than 120 million Chinese tourists go to other countries freely and willingly return to China every year. Would they return freely if China was an oppressive stalinist regime? The fact is that while political freedoms have not increased there has been an explosion of personal freedoms in China over the last 30 years.

Global Power Shift Since Industrial Revolution


A recent post-COVID survey conducted by the Washington Post shows that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government has jumped to 98%. Their trust in local government also increased compared to 2018 levels — 91% of Chinese citizens surveyed now said they trust or trust completely the township-level government. Trust levels rose to 93% at the county level, 94% at the city level and 95% at the provincial level. 

An earlier 2018 World Values Survey reported that 95% of Chinese citizens said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the national government. Comparatively, about 69% felt the same way about their local government. 

Here's a video of Mahbubani's interview:

https://youtu.be/KaPFmYxWMzI




Comments

Riaz Haq said…
A recent post-COVID survey conducted by the Washington Post shows that Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government has jumped to 98%. Their trust in local government also increased compared to 2018 levels — 91% of Chinese citizens surveyed now said they trust or trust completely the township-level government. Trust levels rose to 93% at the county level, 94% at the city level and 95% at the provincial level.

An earlier 2018 World Values Survey reported that 95% of Chinese citizens said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in national government. Comparatively, about 69% felt the same way about their local government.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated that the western style elections and democracy are not the only means to earn legitimacy in the eyes of the people. It has shown that it is far better to deliver results to earn "performance legitimacy".


https://www.riazhaq.com/2021/07/ccp-centennial-chinese-economic-miracle.html
Riaz Haq said…
#China's #Huawei accused of stealing trade secrets.#US #software company Business Efficiency Solutions has sued Huawei in #California federal court for allegedly stealing its trade secrets while working together on a project for the #Pakistani government. https://www.reuters.com/legal/transactional/huawei-accused-stealing-trade-secrets-spying-pakistan-2021-08-12/
Riaz Haq said…
How Britain stole $45 trillion from India
And lied about it.
Jason Hickel
Academic at the University of London and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2018/12/19/how-britain-stole-45-trillion-from-india

There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of India – as horrible as it may have been – was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long – the story goes – was a gesture of Britain’s benevolence.

New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik – just published by Columbia University Press – deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.


It’s a staggering sum. For perspective, $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom today.

How did this come about?

It happened through the trade system. Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way – mostly with silver – as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade.

Here’s how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.


It was a scam – theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. Had it been the same person, they surely would have smelled a rat.

Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain’s industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.

On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they “bought” them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100 percent of the original value of the goods but also the markup.

After the British Raj took over in 1858, colonisers added a special new twist to the tax-and-buy system. As the East India Company’s monopoly broke down, Indian producers were allowed to export their goods directly to other countries. But Britain made sure that the payments for those goods nonetheless ended up in London.

How did this work? Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills – a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were “paid” in rupees out of tax revenues – money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded.


Meanwhile, London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports.
Riaz Haq said…
#British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace: "It is obvious that Britain is not a superpower. But a superpower that is also not prepared to stick at something isn’t probably a superpower either. It is certainly not a global force" #USA #Afghanistan #superpower https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/britain-is-not-a-superpower-an-interview-with-ben-wallace

Britain’s 2007 decision to build and deploy two aircraft carriers — now accompanying the Americans in the Pacific — has been seen by many in the military as an absurd overstretch from a country in denial about still being a global power. Wallace sees it differently. ‘I think it really goes to what the definition of what a global power is,’ he says. ‘It is obvious that Britain is not a superpower. But a superpower that is also not prepared to stick at something isn’t probably a superpower either. It is certainly not a global force, it’s just a big power.’

Britain, meanwhile, can act with others. ‘I take the view that the future of foreign policy around the world will involve more bilateral than trilateral alliances depending on the problems we face. So, West Africa may be a more French/British thing, East Africa may be the same.

‘Britain hasn’t been able to field a mass army for 50 years — if not longer.’ At the back end of the Cold War, he says, he was in the British Army of the Rhine. 'It was always part of a massive international effort — so I think our defence paper is in exactly the right space.’ Britain, he says, still has ‘a huge range of tools at our disposal: from soft to hard power, economic power, scientific power and cultural power’.

Military intervention will still play a role. ‘Some countries in Africa are on the edge of being failed states.’ Stopping them from collapsing, he says, could stave off other conflicts. ‘What you need is an armed forces that can help the resilience of the [African] governments so things don’t get so acute that you end up having a proper fight,’ he says. ‘Fundamentally, I think that is what we need to be doing in the world.’ An important question is whether the intervention-weary public would be so keen for British forces to shore up African governments.

The United Nations, Wallace says, has been noticeable by its absence in Afghanistan and elsewhere. ‘If the UN isn’t for helping failed states, then what is it for?’ The question also arises in West Africa. ‘The anti-corruption, the deradicalisation, the education, all of the things the UN signed up to in the Algeria agreement haven’t been delivered. You don’t stop terrorism and security unless you deal with the other stuff.’

Difficult questions are also facing Europe. ‘We have risen to America’s challenge: to spend more on defence. I think the question is actually for Europe: is Europe prepared to put its money where its mouth is? To be fair to Donald Trump, he was straight as a die on that. There’s a difference between taking America for granted and depending on America. I think historically we have taken America for granted and that means we now need to step up to invest. The Prime Minister has made the biggest investment since the Cold War and we will continue to do that. Let’s hear what the others do.’

The other issue is staying power. ‘The question for the West — whether it is Ukraine, whether it is the South China Sea or upholding international laws — is resolve. That is the question: do we have resolve?’ Like Tony Blair, he dislikes the phrase ‘forever war’. ‘I think standing up for the values you believe in, standing up to protect your interests, is a forever commitment. It’s unending — so be prepared.’

He recently visited the Korean War memorial in Seoul, which is marked by the words ‘Freedom is not free’. ‘That is absolutely right — freedom is not free. Of course, we hope that standing up for it doesn’t involve the lives of our men and women. But when your adversary is constantly challenging you, then you have to constantly stand up for what you believe and constantly enable the defence of it. And that will be forever.’
Riaz Haq said…
As extreme #poverty returns, #India sees surge in #child #slavery. Among many gains lost to the #COVID-19 #pandemic, child labour shows resurgence, worsened by inadequate rescue efforts. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia_in_india https://aje.io/y7puts via @AJEnglish

Across the rural countryside in states such as Bihar that rank low on the Human Development Index, as families strained against widespread loss of livelihoods, India’s already fatigued child-protection mechanisms found more and more children rendered vulnerable to trafficking.

The government of India confirmed that the financial year 2020-21 recorded a small rise over the previous year in the number of children rescued from illegal work.

Children in destitute families are more vulnerable to trafficking than ever.



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When 13-year-old child labourer Shashikant Manjhi died in May 2020, his body could not be transported to his family’s brick-and-mud home in the eastern state of Bihar, 1,126km (700 miles) from Rajasthan state’s Jaipur, where the boy had worked for over a year.

Lockdown restrictions made it impossible, explained the policeman who telephoned the news of the death to the boy’s family, promising to cremate the child respectfully.


Days later, Shashikant’s mother Sahuja Devi conducted the final rites of her last-born on an open field a few hundred metres away from their home. She used a doll fashioned out of paddy husk to represent the child she was consigning to the flames.

In one of a handful of telephone conversations, her son had told her he was bone-tired from placing sequins, stones and glitter on metal bangles for 14-15 hours a day. He was yearning to return.

“For weeks, his employer would not let him speak to us on the phone,” Sahuja told Al Jazeera, seated on the mud floor of her house.

She was stirring a large, blackened aluminium pot of rice that would be lunch for five adults and six children, with a tiny cup of watery dal.


Flies hovered over a small bowl of chopped bittergourd beside the wood-fired mud hearth.

Then her eldest son Mithilesh, 30, took ill and the family needed cash. They managed to get Shashikant on the phone.

“Photan said he would convince his employer to send money,” said Subbidevi, Mithilesh’s wife, using the whimsical name given to Shashikant by the employer.

“Photan’s money didn’t come, only the call came announcing his death.”

No cause of death was given. The family had no way of knowing if the body bore injuries, but they suspected that the child may have insisted upon money being wired home and been injured in an ensuing scuffle.

The employer was in a Jaipur jail briefly, they said, and subsequently released.

In Bhimpur Tola where they live, adjoining Sondiha village and 32km (20 miles) from the nearest town of Gaya, even getting more information would have meant an expensive day trip to Konch police station, 13km (8 miles) away.

“There wasn’t a rupee at home. Unless Photan sent us money, we had nothing,” said Subbidevi.

Shashikant was one of tens of thousands of trafficked child labourers who continued to work during the coronavirus lockdown, their traffickers and employers accustomed to ducking the law enforcers.
Riaz Haq said…
What Comes After the War on Terrorism? War on China?

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/07/opinion/china-us-xi-biden.html

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after a failed 20-year nation-building exercise has left many Americans and analysts saying, “If only we knew back then what we know now, we would have never gone down that path.” I am not sure that’s true, but it nevertheless raises this question: What are we doing today in foreign policy that we might look back 20 years from now and say, “If only we knew back then what we know now, we would never have gone down that path”?

My answer can be summed up in one word: China.

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Nader Mousavizadeh, founder and C.E.O. of Macro Advisory Partners, a geopolitical consulting firm, suggests that if we are now going to shift our focus from the Middle East to an irreversible strategy of confronting China, we should start by asking three foundational questions:

First, Mousavizadeh says: “Are we sure we understand the dynamics of an immense and changing society like China well enough to decide that its inevitable mission is the global spread of authoritarianism? Especially when this will require a generational adversarial commitment on the part of the United States, engendering in turn a still more nationalistic China?”

Second, says Mousavizadeh, who was a longtime senior adviser to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan: If we believe that our network of alliances is “a uniquely American asset, have we listened as much as we’ve talked to our Asian and European allies about the reality of their economic and political relationships with China — ensuring that their interests and values are embedded in a common approach to China? Because without that, any coalition will crumble.”

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The third question, Mousavizadeh argues, is if we believe that our priority after a 20-year war on terrorism must now be “repair at home — by addressing yawning deficits in infrastructure, education, incomes and racial equity” — is it more useful or more dangerous to emphasize the China threat? It might light a fire under Americans to get serious about national renewal. But it might also light a fire to the whole U.S.-China relationship, affecting everything from supply chains to student exchanges to Chinese purchases of U.S. government bonds.
Riaz Haq said…
ASEAN needs more Belt and Road money, say ministers - Nikkei Asia

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/ASEAN-needs-more-Belt-and-Road-money-say-ministers

Meeting online at a Belt and Road Summit, ASEAN ministers said the region has benefited from the infrastructure and digital connectivity already brought about by BRI, but new initiatives are needed to create opportunities amid pandemic-induced uncertainties.

"I am of the view that there are many tangible aspects that could be derived from the multinational partnership and cooperation under the BRI," said Sansern Samalap, Thailand's vice minister for commerce.

Sansern gave the example of the BRI flagship $5.75 billion China-Thailand high-speed railway project that will promote investments in the Greater Mekong Subregion, which includes Cambodia and Laos as part of the China-Indochina economic corridor.

Finally signed last October after numerous delays over terms and conditions, the initial 253 km line will connect Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, the gateway to northeastern Thailand. Phase one of construction has already begun, and is slated for completion in late 2026. The final 873 km line will carry on up to Vientiane, the Laotian capital, and from there continue north to Kunming in China's Yunnan Province.

"Investors can grab this business opportunity and use Thailand as the gateway into the subregion and ASEAN," said Sansern.

Top Chinese officials participated in the summit, including Gao Yunlong, vice chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Commerce Minister Wang Wentao.

The BRI was unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013. In 2020, China signed BRI cooperation agreements with nearly 140 countries to promote connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa, mainly through infrastructure projects.

Tan See Leng, Singapore's minister for manpower, told the summit that accelerating ASEAN development plans has become more important if countries are to overcome the current economic slowdown,

"In such times, the BRI plays an even more important role in strengthening regional and multilateral cooperation by promoting connectivity in infrastructure, in finance and in trade," said Tan.

The Asian Development Bank recently downgraded its growth forecast for Asia to 7.2% from the 7.3% projected in April, citing the recent rapid spread of COVID-19 and low vaccination levels in Asian countries.

Tan said Singapore will partner China on some investments in BRI projects. Companies from the two countries are collaborating in various sectors, including logistics, e-commerce, infrastructure, finance and legal services.

Jerry Sambuaga, Indonesia's vice minister for trade, said BRI projects have boosted connectivity and created business opportunities.

"We must maintain this mutually beneficial partnership amidst uncertain global challenges," Sambuaga said. He called for more collaboration on Indonesian tourism projects that benefit local communities, and for the BRI to complement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation agreement.

RCEP, a 15-country multilateral free trade deal signed in 2020 by ASEAN along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, is due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Some analysts expect a delay, however, as not all governments have ratified the agreement in their national legislatures.

Singapore's Tan said today that the city state expected the "timely" implementation of RCEP on schedule.

"We look forward to the implementation of the RCEP in order to realize the benefit to businesses [and] to people while contributing to Asia's economy recovery and strengthening of confidence in the longer-term economic prospects of Asia," he said.
Riaz Haq said…
Is the world ready for the continued decline of the West?
By Song Luzheng

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234036.shtml


What happened in Afghanistan last month has twice shocked the world - the Taliban's rapid victory and takeover of Afghanistan, and the US' chaotic withdrawal from the country.

Both events have proved the failure of the US. The country could no longer afford the war in Afghanistan and had no choice but make peace with the Taliban. This has kicked off unimaginable dominoes. The US' final withdrawal would have been an even greater calamity had the Taliban not kept their word.

The decline of the US-led alliance is not a new topic. Following the 2008 global financial crisis, Brexit, Donald Trump's election as president, and Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan, the West has shown one thing in common: It is ready to abdicate responsibility. What has happened in Afghanistan reinforces it.

The UK has turned its back on a troubled EU to fend for itself. Trump has turned its back on the world by quitting international groups to shore up his "America First," or even "US only." US President Joe Biden has categorically abandoned Afghanistan by insisting on the withdrawal.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the West scrambled for anti-epidemic materials around the world in the early stage by making use of their financial advantages. Later they rushed to stockpile vaccines. Some of them were found to have illegally intercepted masks that were planned to be transported to third countries. Canada ordered vaccines for more than twice its population. Now the West has begun to promote a third dose of vaccine despite the protests of the WHO. However, only around 3 percent of Africa's population is fully vaccinated.

During its decline, the US-led alliance has worried the world by abdicating its responsibility. More importantly, it has also been unwilling to share power with the vast number of developing countries. This is utter selfishness. More than that, it has even clamped down on high-performing emerging countries.

China's Huawei is a typical example of this. The US government has cracked down on Huawei baselessly. This seriously violates the principles of market and rule of law broadly advocated by the West.

The US' crackdown on Huawei is an assault on China's tech industry. Its attempt to lure and divide developing countries while playing geopolitical game with China has destabilized the world order and also endangered world peace. For example, the world has seen the US actively involved in the South China Sea. It has courted China's neighboring countries, but everyone knows that US' move is only to serve its own interests. It will abandon the region if needed, just as it did in Afghanistan.

The current West-dominated international order is unsustainable with the West's continuing move of shifting responsibility. It is refusing to share power with developing countries.

Riaz Haq said…
The Biden administration has been unusually circumspect about revealing its contacts and discussions with Pakistan. While Pakistan’s actions often appear at odds with the United States, it nonetheless is a nation with links to the Afghan Taliban whose cooperation on fighting terrorism can be helpful. It’s also a nuclear-armed country American officials would prefer not to lose entirely to Chinese influence.

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/02/us-pakistan-afghan-crisis-509157


In the past month, as the Taliban made rapid gains across Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke directly only once to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, according to what’s been made public by the State Department. Readouts of these diplomatic calls are usually so bland as to be useless to observers and the press, but this one, from Aug. 16, was unusually devoid of detail.

About a week earlier, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Pakistan’s Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with his Pakistani counterpart, Moeed Yusuf, in late July — a meeting confirmed via a Sullivan tweet but no White House readout.

“It’s clear that the Biden administration from the top levels seems to have pretty deep reservations about Pakistan, born of years of experience, and is not willing to either give Pakistan a pass or kudos for anything that Pakistan might like,” said Daniel Markey, a South Asia specialist who served at the State Department from 2003 to 2007.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as the United States invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime at the time, U.S. officials leaned on Pakistan for help. Pakistan cooperated to some degree, especially in late 2001, but critics say it has played a double game ever since.

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Former officials say that, among other reasons for its support, Pakistan sees the Afghan Taliban as a partner in any future fight against rival India. Pakistan also helped deliver Afghan Taliban leaders to peace talks with the United States and the now-fallen Afghan government, even as Islamabad has long officially dismissed the idea that it actively supports the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan has been more helpful to the United States in its fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, but even that cooperation has been questioned. It was in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after all, that the United States found and killed Al Qaeda chief and Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011. The Pakistani government denied knowing he was there.

That said, Pakistani help in tracking down and targeting terrorist targets in Afghanistan now that the U.S. has withdrawn troops would be “useful, if you can get it,” a former senior U.S. diplomat said. Getting humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the future may require using supply lines that run through Pakistan, the former diplomat added.

The Afghan Taliban’s triumph in August may not prove a long-term victory for Pakistan. The win has emboldened groups like the Pakistani Taliban, who have long used terrorist attacks and other means to try to overthrow the Pakistani government. The refugee crisis sparked by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, too, is sure to test Pakistan, which already hosted numerous people displaced from the neighboring country.

The meeting between Massinga and Khan took place on Aug. 26, the day that some 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops were killed in a bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, which the U.S. was using to help evacuate at-risk Afghans, Americans and others. U.S. officials blamed the attack, which also wounded many people, on ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State terrorist organization and a rival of the Afghan Taliban.

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“Acknowledging the tragedy, Massinga underscored the mutual interest Pakistan and the United States have in targeting ISIS-K and al-Qa’ida,” the description states. In response, the Pakistani ambassador “acknowledged ISIS-K was a common enemy for the Taliban as well.”
Riaz Haq said…
#China's Xi Jinping ignored #US President Biden’s suggestion of f2f summit. People briefed on the call said Xi did not use abrasive language but his overall message to #Biden was that the US must tone down its rhetoric. https://www.ft.com/content/81376b8c-6d97-4d19-b124-6656f27ce976


Joe Biden suggested he hold a face-to-face summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping during a 90-minute call last week but failed to secure an agreement from his counterpart, leading some US officials to conclude that Beijing is continuing to play hardball with Washington.

The US president proposed to Xi that the leaders hold the summit in an effort to break an impasse in US-China relations, but multiple people briefed on the call said the Chinese leader did not take him up on the offer and instead insisted Washington adopt a less strident tone towards Beijing.

The White House had portrayed the call — which took place at Biden’s request seven months after their first telephone conversation — as a chance to test if Xi was willing to engage seriously after several diplomatic meetings between US and Chinese officials garnered little progress.

Five people briefed on the call said that while Xi had used less abrasive language than his top diplomats had done this year, his overall message to Biden was that the US must tone down its rhetoric.

Biden has taken a harsh line on China, criticising its treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and its military activity around Taiwan. Beijing has responded by accusing the Biden administration of interfering in China’s core strategic interests.


A sixth person familiar with the situation said Biden had floated the summit as one of several possibilities for follow-on engagement with Xi, and that the US president had not expected an immediate response.

One US official briefed on the conversation said that while Xi did not engage with the idea of a summit, the White House believed this was partly due to concerns about Covid-19. Xi has not left China since he went to Myanmar in early 2020 before the outbreak of the pandemic.

The US had considered the G20 gathering in Italy in October for a possible summit, but Chinese media have suggested that Xi may not attend. He will also not attend the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation meeting this week in Tajikistan, where China, Russia, India, Pakistan and central Asian countries will discuss Afghanistan.


Another person familiar with the Biden-Xi call said it was conceivable that the Chinese president just did not want to commit at this particular point in time. A different person said it was possible that the two sides could agree to a video call — a step up from a phone call — around the time of the G20. But three people said the US was disappointed with Xi’s apparent lack of interest in a summit.

The White House declined to comment before publication of this article but Biden later told reporters who asked if he was disappointed that Xi did not want to meet that it was “not true”, according to Reuters.

The president made the comments after Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, had said the account of the Biden-Xi call was not accurate. “This is not an accurate portrayal of the call. Period,” Sullivan said in a statement. “As we’ve said, the presidents discussed the importance of being able to have private discussions between the two leaders, and we’re going to respect that.”

Chinese accounts of the call emphasised that it had been initiated by Biden, and quoted Xi as saying that US policies had caused “serious difficulties”. They also noted that the US “looks forward to more discussions and co-operation” with China, in language that implied Washington was pushing harder for engagement than Beijing.

Riaz Haq said…
#China's new #hypersonic #missile test: The #nuclear-capable rocket that circled the globe took #US #intelligence by surprise. Top #American general sees it as "significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning & attack assessment”. https://www.ft.com/content/ba0a3cde-719b-4040-93cb-a486e1f843fb


Five people familiar with the test said the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle which flew through low-orbit space before cruising down towards its target.

The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than US officials realised.

The test has raised new questions about why the US often underestimated China’s military modernisation.

“We have no idea how they did this,” said a fourth person.

The US, Russia and China are all developing hypersonic weapons, including glide vehicles that are launched into space on a rocket but orbit the earth under their own momentum. They fly at five times the speed of sound, slower than a ballistic missile. But they do not follow the fixed parabolic trajectory of a ballistic missile and are manoeuvrable, making them harder to track.

Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese nuclear weapons policy who was unaware of the test, said a hypersonic glide vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead could help China “negate” US missile defence systems which are designed to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.

“Hypersonic glide vehicles . . . fly at lower trajectories and can manoeuvre in flight, which makes them hard to track and destroy,” said Fravel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Fravel added that it would be “destabilising” if China fully developed and deployed such a weapon, but he cautioned that a test did not necessarily mean that Beijing would deploy the capability.

Mounting concern about China’s nuclear capabilities comes as Beijing continues to build up its conventional military forces and engages in increasingly assertive military activity near Taiwan.

Tensions between the US and China have risen as the Biden administration has taken a tough tack on Beijing, which has accused Washington of being overly hostile.

US military officials in recent months have warned about China’s growing nuclear capabilities, particularly after the release of satellite imagery that showed it was building more than 200 intercontinental missile silos. China is not bound by any arms-control deals and has been unwilling to engage the US in talks about its nuclear arsenal and policy.

Last month, Frank Kendall, US air force secretary, hinted that Beijing was developing a new weapon. He said China had made huge advances, including the “potential for global strikes . . . from space”. He declined to provide details, but suggested that China was developing something akin to the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” that the USSR deployed for part of the Cold War, before abandoning it.

“If you use that kind of an approach, you don’t have to use a traditional ICBM trajectory. It’s a way to avoid defences and missile warning systems,” said Kendall.

In August, General Glen VanHerck, head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a conference that China had “recently demonstrated very advanced hypersonic glide vehicle capabilities”. He warned that the Chinese capability would “provide significant challenges to my Norad capability to provide threat warning and attack assessment”.

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian #Defense Analyst @BharatKarnad: #Nuclear-wise, #India is seriously lagging. #China has tested Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS)/ hypersonic glide vehicle. Top #US general has compared it to "Sputnik". #Pakistan has tested MIRVs. https://bharatkarnad.com/2021/10/28/nuclear-wise-india-is-seriously-handicapped-by-govt/

A decision approving a series of test firings of the Agni-5 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) has been pending for the last 10 years. When it was finally taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi it was done, it seems, again on a one-off basis, and with some reluctance. As to why this should be so is one of those mysteries only Modiji can unravel. It is clear the trigger for the test launch of Agni-5 was not some longview calculation in the wake of the news of the spectacular Chinese test of a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) in the guise of testing a hypersonic glide vehicle, but an attempt by India, a nuclear minnow, to say: Hey, notice me — I’m in the game too!!

Just how far ahead China is may be guaged from the Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, calling the Chinese achievement “significant” and a near “Sputnik moment” for America.

First re: Milley’s Sputnik ejaculation. The US was startled out of its wits when the Soviet Union in October 1957, launched the first man-made satellite — the 80kg, football-sized, orbiter — Sputnik-1, which event the History Division of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), heralds as the “Dawn of the space age”. Incidentally, NASA was created by the stirred and much shaken Eisenhower Administration in 1958. It led, in that period, to the US handily winning the space race by landing Neil Armstrong on the moon in May1969, and meeting President John F Kennedy’s May 1961 challenge to the American science & technology community and industry to do so by the end of that decade.

The shock in a complacent Washington at China’s successfully testing FOBS is as great as when a doubting US was rendered aghast at the Soviet Union’s pulling off a Sputnik some 65 years ago. We can now expect a full-fledged arms race in space to get underway with American companies being pushed, pulled, prodded and incentivised to, as soon as possible, have the US military not just field an array of FOBS, but also technology to neutralize hypersonic glide weapons able to home in on targets at 21 kms per second (Mach 5 to Mach 7 speeds) after transiting through space and re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

The Chinese FOBS occasioned the 5,000 km Agni-5 IRBM test, which was a sort of small, “me too” reaction by India. There’s no parity, of course, because DRDO’s hypersonic programme is having the usual kind of troubles with this tech relating to the design of the glide vehicle (for smooth reentry) as also with the propellant mix for the initial and terminal phases of hypersonic flight. It may not be like for like, but Agni-5 is the only weapon available to India to blunt Beijing’s tendency to show India up as a strategic nonentity and to prevent nuclear bullying of the kind the Indian army, in the conventional arena, routinely suffers at the hands of the PLA on the disputed border.


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Pakistan mocking India’s nuclear posture by continuing to play the terrorism card and by speedily building up its stock of tactical nuclear weapons whose first use, it surmises and the record bears it out, has clearly deterred India from exploiting its conventional military edge.

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Even Pakistan tested a MIRV a few years ago, who knows why India still hasn’t done so, would be a real game changer against China.

Riaz Haq said…
What the Thucydides Trap gets wrong about China

https://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/geopolitics/2022/01/what-the-thucydides-trap-gets-wrong-about-china

The alarming possibility of a major conflict between the US and China has been framed as a likely consequence of a pattern of great power behaviour first identified by the fifth-century BCE historian Thucydides. In his study of the Peloponnesian War, the Greek wrote: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” This argument is now most associated with the Harvard academic Graham Allison, who claims to have identified 16 instances in which a dominant power has sought to suppress an emerging rival before they became too strong. He notes, disconcertingly, that 12 of these ended in war.

Allison first presented his thesis of the “Thucydides Trap” in the Atlantic in 2015, and developed it in a book, Destined for War, in 2017. Since then, Allison’s argument that the relationship between the US and China is growing increasingly volatile has gained even more credibility with tensions over trade, the South China Sea and Taiwan.

But Allison’s notion of the Thucydides Trap – the tendency towards war when a rising power threatens to displace an existing one – fails to address the risks involved in conflict and the reasons why wars occur. The story told by Thucydides is much more complicated than the “Trap” suggests. The notion of inevitable conflict between Athens and Sparta elides the fact that the Athenian leader Pericles made poor strategic calls. Different decisions would have avoided war.

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The “Trap” argument is also undermined when you consider the view held by many experts that China’s power may have already peaked. The nation is facing a series of system problems that may halt its rise, including an unbalanced economy, an ageing population, environmental degradation and political dysfunction resulting from President Xi Jinping’s authoritarian turn. Indeed, recent war scares start from the assumption that the leadership in Beijing might want to invade Taiwan before China’s power wanes.

The risk of war in the Indo-Pacific region cannot usefully be understood as the result of an upstart power challenging the established global hegemon for supremacy. Issues of interest and alliances are as important as power balances, and all need to be watched carefully if conflict between the world’s preponderant forces are to be addressed and, hopefully, avoided.
Riaz Haq said…
#China warns #US over #Russia’s ‘legitimate security concerns’. Speaking to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, #Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Russia’s security concerns over growing tensions in #Europe over #Ukraine should be “taken seriously”. https://aje.io/xft7p4


China has thrown its political weight behind Russia as fears of it potentially invading Ukraine grows, pointing to Moscow’s “legitimate security concerns” in a call to US officials.

Speaking to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Russia’s security concerns over growing tensions in Europe over Ukraine should be “taken seriously”.


“All parties should completely abandon the Cold War mentality and form a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism through negotiation,” China’s top diplomat said on Thursday, according to a foreign ministry statement.

In a nod to Moscow’s concerns about the expansion of the NATO alliance in Europe, Wang added that “regional security cannot be guaranteed by strengthening or even expanding military blocs”.

He also said China opposes “external interference” in how other countries are run.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been stationed at the border with Ukraine in recent weeks.

In response, the US and other NATO member states have been conducting intense diplomacy with Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent days, as well as providing military reinforcement to Ukraine.

According to the State Department’s readout of the call, “Secretary Blinken underscored the global security and economic risks posed by further Russian aggression against Ukraine and conveyed that de-escalation and diplomacy are the responsible way forward”.

The US and its NATO allies have said they are ready for any eventuality.

Russia has fuelled a rebellion in the former Soviet republic’s east that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

That year, it annexed Crimea following the overthrow of a government in Kyiv that had resisted efforts to move closer to Europe.

Moscow has denied planning to invade Ukraine but that it wants guarantees the country will not join NATO.

Wang also warned the US to “stop interfering” in the Winter Olympics, which Beijing hopes to turn into a soft-power triumph.

“The most urgent priority right now is that the US should stop interfering in the Beijing Winter Olympics,” the foreign minister said.

The lead-up to next week’s Games has been clouded by a US-led diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record, particularly towards its Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region.

Wang added that Washington must also “stop playing with fire” on the issue of Taiwan, an island China claims as its own territory.


Riaz Haq said…
As #US Pulls Back From #Mideast, #China Leans In. For #Beijing, the turmoil in neighboring countries like Afghanistan & #Kazakhstan has reinforced its desire to cultivate stable ties in the region, after #American military’s withdrawal from #Afghanistan https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/world/middleeast/china-middle-east.html?smid=tw-share

Chinese state-backed companies are eyeing investments in a maritime port in Chabahar, Iran. They have helped to finance an industrial park in the port of Duqm, Oman, and to build and operate a container terminal in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates’ capital, as well as two new ports in Israel.

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Beijing deals with governments that Washington spurns. Syria, whose leaders are under heavy sanctions for atrocities committed during its civil war, just joined the Belt and Road Initiative. And Iran has become heavily reliant on China since the United States withdrew from the international deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed sanctions that have crippled its economy.

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In January alone, five senior officials from oil-rich Arab monarchies visited China to discuss cooperation on energy and infrastructure. Turkey’s top diplomat vowed to stamp out “media reports targeting China” in the Turkish news media, and Iran’s foreign minister pressed for progress on $400 billion of investment that China has promised his country.

As the United States, fatigued by decades of war and upheaval in the Middle East, seeks to limit its involvement there, China is deepening its ties with both friends and foes of Washington across the region.

China is nowhere near rivaling the United States’ vast involvement in the Middle East. But states there are increasingly looking to China not just to buy their oil, but to invest in their infrastructure and cooperate on technology and security, a trend that could accelerate as the United States pulls back.

For Beijing, the recent turmoil in neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Kazakhstan has reinforced its desire to cultivate stable ties in the region. The outreach follows the American military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years, as well as the official end of its combat mission in Iraq. That, along with the Biden administration’s frequent talk of China as its top national security priority, has left many of its partners in the Middle East believing that Washington’s attention lies elsewhere.

Riaz Haq said…
#China celebrates record #Winter #Olympics #medals haul, beating #US. Traditionally much stronger in the Summer Games, China earned an unprecedented nine gold medals during its home-hosted winter edition after the state ploughed resources into training.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220220-china-celebrates-record-winter-olympics-haul-and-beating-us

China celebrated a record gold medal haul as the Beijing Winter Olympics concluded Sunday, narrowly beating out chief geopolitical rival the United States to rank third in the medal count.

Traditionally much stronger in the Summer Games, China earned an unprecedented nine gold medals during its home-hosted winter edition after the state ploughed resources into training.

By Sunday afternoon, at least four trending hashtags related to China's best haul had received almost 200 million views on the Twitter-like platform Weibo.

Much of that commentary was as pleased about beating the United States by one place as it was China's best winter finish.

"Last year the US surpassed China by one gold medal in the Summer Olympics, this year China surpassed the US by one medal," read one comment liked more than 2,800 times.

The Chinese team won 15 medals in total -- nine golds, four silvers and two bronzes.

Figure skating duo Han Cong and Sui Wenjing secured the country's last Olympic gold -- and broke a previous world record -- in an emotional pairs event on Saturday evening.

Winter powerhouse Norway was in first place with 16 gold medals and a total of 37. Runner-up Germany received 12 golds and 27 medals in total.

Beijing sees the Winter Games as a propaganda showpiece with which to burnish its international image and project soft power abroad.

But the event has been clouded by political controversies.

The United States led a diplomatic boycott of the Games over China's human rights record, which was joined by multiple Western countries.

The Games also saw a doping scandal involving a teenage Russian athlete and growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, Chinese medal-winners have been lionised as national heroes by state media, while Chinese social media has been flooded with patriotic comments.

"I am so proud of the Chinese team's achievements," 32-year-old tech worker Min Rui told AFP on Sunday as she shopped with two girlfriends near an Olympic countdown clock in one of Beijing's central districts.

"The winter sports industry is still in its infancy and many athletes were chosen from other sporting disciplines. So coming third in the medal tally, ahead of countries like the US and Canada, is a real achievement."

Beijing's investment in developing winter sports has nurtured a new generation of breakout stars.

Among them are teenage snowboarding champion Su Yiming and Chinese-American skier Eileen Gu, who is the most decorated Chinese athlete with two golds and one silver medal.

Gu switched to compete for China over the United States in 2019.

China won one gold and a total of nine medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

It had never won more than three gold medals in Winter Games history.
Riaz Haq said…
How the West Can Win a Global Power Struggle
In an economic Cold War pitting China and Russia against the U.S. and its allies, one side holds most of the advantages. It just has to use them.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-west-can-win-a-global-power-struggle-11647615557?mod=Searchresults_pos1&page=1

Of course the East plays a central role in the global economy. As recent market turmoil illustrates, Russia is a key supplier of not just oil and gas but metals such as palladium, used in catalytic converters, and nickel. China dominates manufacturing of countless goods whose value became abundantly clear during the pandemic, when demand for some, such as protective personal equipment, skyrocketed.

To a great extent these strengths reflect Russia’s comparative advantage in geology and China’s in factory labor. The West’s comparative advantage is in knowledge. That’s why Russia and China court Western investment. For example, to develop a complex liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Arctic, Russia relied on Norwegian, French and Italian contractors for essential expertise, research firm Rystad Energy notes.

Catching up with the West is no easy task, as semiconductors illustrate. Western companies dominate all the key steps in this critical and highly complex industry, from chip design (led by U.S.-based Nvidia, Intel, Qualcomm and AMD and Britain’s ARM) to the fabrication of advanced chips (led by Intel, Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung ) and the sophisticated machines that etch chip designs onto wafers (produced by Applied Materials and Lam Research in the U.S., the Netherlands’ ASML Holding and Japan’s Tokyo Electron ).

Russia and China have made efforts to reduce this dependence. Russia developed locally designed microprocessors called Elbrus and Baikal to run data centers, cybersecurity operations and other applications. Though neither has achieved significant market share, they “represent the pinnacle of local design capability,” said Kostas Tigkos, principal at Jane’s, a defense intelligence provider. Russia hoped that they would eventually displace chips made by Intel and AMD, he said. “This would not only have been the foundation for diversifying their installed base, but a stepping stone for exports of those processors to other friendly nations.” But without manufacturers like TSMC to make the chips, Russia is facing “the complete disintegration of their aspirations to develop their own industry.”

China has a much bigger semiconductor industry than Russia, and its partly state-owned national champion, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co. (SMIC), could in theory make Russia’s chips, but that would take at least a year, Mr. Tigkos said. Moreover, its efforts to catch up to its Taiwanese competitor have been set back by sanctions. In 2020 the U.S. required companies using American technology to obtain a license to sell to SMIC. This effectively limited its ability to acquire advanced equipment from Netherlands’ ASML, which is critical for “any country that wants to have a competitive semiconductor industry,” Mr. Tigkos said.

Why does all this matter to the outcome of the geopolitical contest? Over time economic weight, strength and vitality are what allow countries to sustain military capability, achieve and maintain technological superiority, and remain attractive partners for other countries.

Yet GDP does not automatically equate to strategic influence. To win a Cold War, it’s not enough for the West to hold the best economic cards, it has to know how to play them. Economic statecraft, as this is called, does not come naturally to the West: Its institutions are built on the assumption that companies are private enterprises, not instruments of the state. They do business wherever it’s profitable, regardless of their home countries’ strategic interests.
Riaz Haq said…
A total of 143 Chinese companies (vs 122 US companies) have made it to the list of world's top 500 enterprises measured by business revenue, making China top the ranking for a second consecutive year, according to the Fortune Global 500 list for 2021 released on Monday.

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-08-03/China-tops-Fortune-Global-500-list-again-with-143-companies-12q3nFwUYow/index.html

China's Xiaomi Group, JD.com, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings are among the seven internet-related companies on the list this year, while the other three are from the U.S., namely Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.

Among the seven internet giants, Xiaomi saw the largest increase in the rankings, rising by 84 places, the list shows.

China had 133 companies on the list last year, surpassing the United States for the first time.

There are 122 U.S. companies on the list this year, up by one from last year, while Japan holds steady with 53.

Total revenue for the world's largest companies dropped by 4.8 percent to $31.7 trillion in 2021, the first decline in five years.

Due to the COVID-19 impact, cumulative sales in energy and automotive sectors fell by over 10 percent, while all six airlines on last year's list failed to make the cut this year.

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Hua Chunying 华春莹
@SpokespersonCHN

China government official
In 1989, only one Chinese company made it into the #Global500.
In 2021, the number reached 143, ranking first in the world.

https://twitter.com/SpokespersonCHN/status/1527662503849000960?s=20&t=zob4-mvF5nOcTCT-qm_c-w
Riaz Haq said…
The Fortune Global 500 is now more Chinese than American
BY ALAN MURRAY AND DAVID MEYER

https://fortune.com/2020/08/10/fortune-global-500-china-rise-ceo-daily/

The Fortune Global 500 list is out this morning, and you can find it here. Walmart once again tops the list, followed by three Chinese companies—Sinopec, State Grid and China National Petroleum. The big story is this: for the first time, there are more Fortune Global 500 companies based in Mainland China and Hong Kong than in the U.S.–124 vs. 121. Add in Taiwan’s companies, and the Greater China total jumps to 133.

It’s hard to overstate the significance of the change in the global economy that represents. As Fortune Editor-in-Chief Cliff Leaf points out, when the Global 500 list first came out in 1990, there were no Chinese companies on the list. In the intervening three decades, the Chinese economy has skyrocketed, powered by a global trade boom that expanded from 39% of global GDP to 59%.

So now what? That’s the question Geoff Colvin explores in his piece here. The U.S. and Chinese economies are intertwined in so many ways, it’s hard to imagine them ever truly “decoupling.” Yet powerful political forces on both sides seem to be propelling them in that direction.

It’s worth noting that the Global 500 ranking is based on revenues, and many of the Chinese companies on the list—like the three mentioned above—earned their spot not necessarily because of their business dynamism, but because they are state-supported monopolies in the world’s largest market.

And by the way, being on the list is no guarantee of profitability. The five biggest losers on this year’s list—Pemex, Schlumberger, Softbank, the U.S. Postal Service and Nissan—lost $52 billion in 2019. (Sixth and seventh in the money losers’ ranking were Deutsche Bank and General Electric, which together lost another $11 billion.) Saudi Aramco, on the other hand, netted $88 billion in profits and is Fortune Global 500’s most profitable company for the second consecutive year.

Riaz Haq said…
Chinese Views of the US and Russia After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
A new survey taken after the Russian invasion of Ukraine finds that the Chinese are very negative about the U.S., very positive about Russia – and very confident about China.



By Richard Q. Turcsanyi
May 14, 2022
https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/chinese-views-of-the-us-and-russia-after-the-russian-invasion-of-ukraine/



Among the 25 countries respondents were asked about (Figure 1), Russia was the most positively perceived country with 80 percent of respondents saying they viewed Russia in a positive light while only 12 percent held negative views. The United States, on the other hand, was the most negatively viewed country in China with slightly more than 60 percent of respondents perceiving it negatively and 31 percent holding positive attitudes.

The other very positively perceived countries among Chinese respondents were Pakistan (73 percent), Singapore (66 percent), North Korea (62 percent), and Germany (61 percent). In turn, other very negatively perceived countries included India (56 percent), Japan (54 percent), Vietnam (48 percent), South Korea (47 percent), and Ukraine (46 percent).

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To get a more nuanced picture of the perceptions of the United States and Russia, we asked two open-ended questions in which the respondents provided their first associations with the respective country, and also a reason for why their image of the U.S. or Russia got better or worse.

In terms of the U.S. (see Figure 2), the most common association was “hegemon,” while other frequent expressions were “advanced,” “developed,” and “powerful,” but also “bossy,” “war,” “bandit,” and “sowing discord.”

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In the Russian case, the most common association was “warrior nation,” followed by words such as “Putin,” “vodka,” “vast,” “bears,” “powerful,” “war with Ukraine,” and “Sino-Russian friendship.”

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The picture we are getting is that both the United States and Russia are seen as powerful, but American power is seen mostly in negative terms, while Russia’s is almost exclusively positive. It may be noteworthy, however, that perceptions of Russia among the Chinese seem to be somewhat stereotypical and linked to the current leader, and might be lacking deeper social roots. Hence, these perceptions may be easily open to change.

When asked about how positively or negatively the respondents assess the foreign policy of major powers (Figure 4), only Russia (besides China) was seen positively, while the U.S. topped the negative ranking, ahead of India, Japan, and the European Union.



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Another major finding of the survey is Chinese people’s confidence in China. When asked about how militarily and economically powerful they perceive relevant major powers, China was seen as the most powerful one, while China’s culture was also perceived as the most attractive and Chinese universities were the most recommended ones.

We also asked how willing the respondents would be to get a COVID-19 vaccine produced by various countries. Again, Chinese vaccines were far more trusted than any other. This seems to be a result of two-plus years of propaganda painting the Western response to the pandemic in negative colors, presenting Western vaccines as ineffective, and even suggesting theories about the virus originating as a U.S. bioweapon. This may be a problem now, however, as Chinese vaccines don’t seem to be working as efficiently against the newer variants of COVID-19 as some Western ones.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/


Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a clear and present threat. In attacking Ukraine three months ago, he also attacked the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, enshrined in the UN Charter, to protect all countries from being conquered or coerced. That’s why so many countries have united to oppose this aggression because they see it as a direct assault on the foundation of their own peace and security.

Ukraine is fighting valiantly to defend its people and its independence with unprecedented assistance from the United States and countries around the world. And while the war is not over, President Putin has failed to achieve a single one of his strategic aims. Instead of erasing Ukraine’s independence, he strengthened it. Instead of dividing NATO, he’s united it. Instead of asserting Russia’s strength, he’s undermined it. And instead of weakening the international order, he has brought countries together to defend it.

Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order – and that’s posed by the People’s Republic of China.

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it. Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.

China is also integral to the global economy and to our ability to solve challenges from climate to COVID. Put simply, the United States and China have to deal with each other for the foreseeable future.

That’s why this is one of the most complex and consequential relationships of any that we have in the world today.

Over the last year, the Biden administration has developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy to harness our national strengths and our unmatched network of allies and partners to realize the future that we seek.

We are not looking for conflict or a new Cold War. To the contrary, we’re determined to avoid both.

We don’t seek to block China from its role as a major power, nor to stop China – or any other country, for that matter – from growing their economy or advancing the interests of their people.

But we will defend and strengthen the international law, agreements, principles, and institutions that maintain peace and security, protect the rights of individuals and sovereign nations, and make it possible for all countries – including the United States and China – to coexist and cooperate.

Now, the China of today is very different from the China of 50 years ago, when President Nixon broke decades of strained relations to become the first U.S. president to visit the country.

Then, China was isolated and struggling with widespread poverty and hunger.

Now, China is a global power with extraordinary reach, influence, and ambition. It’s the second largest economy, with world-class cities and public transportation networks. It’s home to some of the world’s largest tech companies and it seeks to dominate the technologies and industries of the future. It’s rapidly modernized its military and intends to become a top tier fighting force with global reach. And it has announced its ambition to create a sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific and to become the world’s leading power.

China’s transformation is due to the talent, the ingenuity, the hard work of the Chinese people. It was also made possible by the stability and opportunity that the international order provides. Arguably, no country on Earth has benefited more from that than China.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/



China’s transformation is due to the talent, the ingenuity, the hard work of the Chinese people. It was also made possible by the stability and opportunity that the international order provides. Arguably, no country on Earth has benefited more from that than China.

But rather than using its power to reinforce and revitalize the laws, the agreements, the principles, the institutions that enabled its success so that other countries can benefit from them, too, Beijing is undermining them. Under President Xi, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad.

We see that in how Beijing has perfected mass surveillance within China and exported that technology to more than 80 countries; how its advancing unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, undermining peace and security, freedom of navigation, and commerce; how it’s circumventing or breaking trade rules, harming workers and companies in the United States but also around the world; and how it purports to champion sovereignty and territorial integrity while standing with governments that brazenly violate them.

Even while Russia was clearly mobilizing to invade Ukraine, President Xi and President Putin declared that the friendship between their countries was – and I quote – “without limits.” Just this week, as President Biden was visiting Japan, China and Russia conducted a strategic bomber patrol together in the region.

Beijing’s defense of President Putin’s war to erase Ukraine’s sovereignty and secure a sphere of influence in Europe should raise alarm bells for all of us who call the Indo-Pacific region home.

For these reasons and more, this is a charged moment for the world. And at times like these, diplomacy is vital. It’s how we make clear our profound concerns, better understand each other’s perspective, and have no doubt about each other’s intentions. We stand ready to increase our direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues. And we hope that that can happen.

But we cannot rely on Beijing to change its trajectory. So we will shape the strategic environment around Beijing to advance our vision for an open, inclusive international system.

President Biden believes this decade will be decisive. The actions that we take at home and with countries worldwide will determine whether our shared vision of the future will be realized.

To succeed in this decisive decade, the Biden administration’s strategy can be summed up in three words – “invest, align, compete.”

We will invest in the foundations of our strength here at home – our competitiveness, our innovation, our democracy.

We will align our efforts with our network of allies and partners, acting with common purpose and in common cause.

And harnessing these two key assets, we’ll compete with China to defend our interests and build our vision for the future.

We take on this challenge with confidence. Our country is endowed with many strengths. We have peaceful neighbors, a diverse and growing population, abundant resources, the world’s reserve currency, the most powerful military on Earth, and a thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that, for example, produced multiple effective vaccines now protecting people worldwide from COVID-19.

And our open society, at its best, attracts flows of talent and investment and has a time-tested capacity for reinvention, rooted in our democracy, empowering us to meet whatever challenges we face.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/


First, on investing in our strength.

After the Second World War, as we and our partners were building the rules-based order, our federal government was also making strategic investments in scientific research, education, infrastructure, our workforce, creating millions of middle-class jobs and decades of prosperity and technology leadership. But we took those foundations for granted. And so it’s time to get back to basics.

The Biden administration is making far-reaching investments in our core sources of national strength – starting with a modern industrial strategy to sustain and expand our economic and technological influence, make our economy and supply chains more resilient, sharpen our competitive edge.

Last year, President Biden signed into law the largest infrastructure investment in our history: to modernize our highways, our ports, airports, rail, and bridges; to move goods to market faster, to boost our productivity; to expand high-speed internet to every corner of the country; to draw more businesses and more jobs to more parts of America.

We’re making strategic investments in education and worker training, so that American workers – the best in the world – can design, build, and operate the technologies of the future.

Because our industrial strategy centers on technology, we want to invest in research, development, advanced manufacturing. Sixty years ago, our government spent more than twice as much on research as a percentage of our economy as we do now – investments that, in turn, catalyzed private-sector innovation. It’s how we won the space race, invented the semiconductor, built the internet. We used to rank first in the world in R&D as a proportion of our GDP – now we’re ninth. Meanwhile, China has risen from eighth place to second.

With bipartisan congressional support, we’ll reverse these trends and make historic investments in research and innovation, including in fields like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing. These are areas that Beijing is determined to lead – but given America’s advantages, the competition is ours to lose, not only in terms of developing new technologies but also in shaping how they’re used around the world, so that they’re rooted in democratic values, not authoritarian ones.

The leadership – Senator Romney and others – the House and Senate have passed bills to support this agenda, including billions to produce semiconductors here and to strengthen other critical supply chains. Now we need Congress to send the legislation to the President for his signature.

We can get this done, and it can’t wait – supply chains are moving now, and if we don’t draw them here, they’ll be established somewhere else. As President Biden has said, the Chinese Communist Party is lobbying against this legislation – because there’s no better way to enhance our global standing and influence than to deliver on our domestic renewal. These investments will not only make America stronger; they’ll make us a stronger partner and ally as well.

One of the most powerful, even magical things about the United States is that we have long been a destination for talented, driven people from every part of the planet. That includes millions of students from China, who have enriched our communities and forged lifelong bonds with Americans. Last year, despite the pandemic, we issued more than 100,000 visas to Chinese students in just four months – our highest rate ever. We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen to study in the United States – we’re lucky to have them.


Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/



One of the most powerful, even magical things about the United States is that we have long been a destination for talented, driven people from every part of the planet. That includes millions of students from China, who have enriched our communities and forged lifelong bonds with Americans. Last year, despite the pandemic, we issued more than 100,000 visas to Chinese students in just four months – our highest rate ever. We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen to study in the United States – we’re lucky to have them.

And we’re lucky when the best global talent not only studies here but stays here – as more than 80 percent of Chinese students who pursue science and technology PhDs in the United States have done in recent years. They help drive innovation here at home, and that benefits all of us. We can stay vigilant about our national security without closing our doors.

We also know from our history that when we’re managing a challenging relationship with another government, people from that country or with that heritage can be made to feel that they don’t belong here – or that they’re our adversaries. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chinese Americans made invaluable contributions to our country; they’ve done so for generations. Mistreating someone of Chinese descent goes against everything we stand for as a country – whether a Chinese national visiting or living here, or a Chinese American, or any other Asian American whose claim to this country is equal to anyone else’s. Racism and hate have no place in a nation built by generations of immigrants to fulfill the promise of opportunity for all.

We have profound differences with the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Government. But those differences are between governments and systems – not between our people. The American people have great respect for the Chinese people. We respect their achievements, their history, their culture. We deeply value the ties of family and friendship that connect us. And we sincerely wish for our governments to work together on issues that matter to their lives and to the lives of Americans, and for that matter the lives of people around the world.

There’s another core source of national strength that we’ll be relying on in this decisive decade: our democracy.

A hundred years ago, if asked what constitutes the wealth of a nation, we might list the expanse of our land, the size of our population, the strength of our military, the abundance of our natural resources. And thankfully, we’re still wealthy in all of those attributes. But more than ever, in this 21st century, the true wealth of a nation is found in our people – our human resources – and our ability to unleash their full potential.

We do that with our democratic system. We debate, we argue, we disagree, we challenge each other, including our elected leaders. We deal with our deficiencies openly; we don’t pretend they don’t exist or sweep them under the rug. And though progress can feel painfully slow, can be difficult and ugly, by and large we consistently work toward a society where people from all backgrounds can flourish, guided by national values that unite, motivate, and uplift us.

We are not perfect. But at our best, we always strive to be – in the words of our Constitution – a more perfect union. Our democracy is designed to make that happen.

That’s what the American people and the American model offer, and it’s one of the most powerful assets in this contest.


Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/



We are not perfect. But at our best, we always strive to be – in the words of our Constitution – a more perfect union. Our democracy is designed to make that happen.

That’s what the American people and the American model offer, and it’s one of the most powerful assets in this contest.

Now, Beijing believes that its model is the better one; that a party-led centralized system is more efficient, less messy, ultimately superior to democracy. We do not seek to transform China’s political system. Our task is to prove once again that democracy can meet urgent challenges, create opportunity, advance human dignity; that the future belongs to those who believe in freedom and that all countries will be free to chart their own paths without coercion.

The second piece of our strategy is aligning with our allies and partners to advance a shared vision for the future.

From day one, the Biden administration has worked to re-energize America’s unmatched network of alliances and partnerships and to re-engage in international institutions. We’re encouraging partners to work with each other, and through regional and global organizations. And we’re standing up new coalitions to deliver for our people and meet the tests of the century ahead.

Nowhere is this more true than in the Indo-Pacific region, where our relationships, including our treaty alliances, are among our strongest in the world.

The United States shares the vision that countries and people across the region hold: one of a free and open Indo-Pacific where rules are developed transparently and applied fairly; where countries are free to make their own sovereign decisions; where goods, ideas, and people flow freely across land, sky, cyberspace, the open seas, and governance is responsive to the people.

President Biden reinforced these priorities this week with his trip to the region, where he reaffirmed our vital security alliances with South Korea and Japan, and deepened our economic and technology cooperation with both countries.

He launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the region. It will, in the President’s words, “help all our countries’ economies grow faster and fairer.” IPEF, as we call it, renews American economic leadership but adapts it for the 21st century by addressing cutting-edge issues like the digital economy, supply chains, clean energy, infrastructure, and corruption. A dozen countries, including India, have already joined. Together, IPEF members make up more than a third of the global economy.

The President also took part in the leaders’ summit of the Quad countries – Australia, Japan, India, the United States. The Quad never met at the leader level before President Biden took office. Since he convened the first leaders’ meeting last year, the Quad has held four summits. It’s become a leading regional team. This week, it launched a new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, so our partners across the region can better monitor the waters near their shores to address illegal fishing and protect their maritime rights and their sovereignty.

We’re reinvigorating our partnership with ASEAN. Earlier this month, we hosted the U.S.-ASEAN Summit to take on urgent issues like public health and the climate crisis together. This week, seven ASEAN countries became founding members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. And we’re building bridges among our Indo-Pacific and European partners, including by inviting Asian allies to the NATO summit in Madrid next month.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/




We’re enhancing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific; for example, with the new security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS.

And we’re helping countries in the region and around the world defeat COVID-19. To date, the United States has provided nearly $20 billion to the global pandemic response. That includes more than 540 million doses of safe and effective vaccines donated – not sold – with no political strings attached, on our way to 1.2 billion doses worldwide. And we’re coordinating with a group of 19 countries in a global action plan to get shots into arms.

As a result of all of this diplomacy, we are more aligned with partners across the Indo-Pacific, and we’re working in a more coordinated way toward our shared goals.

We’ve also deepened our alignment across the Atlantic. We launched the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council last year, marshaling the combined weight of nearly 50 percent of the world’s GDP. Last week, I joined Secretary Raimondo, Ambassador Tai, and our European Commission counterparts for our second meeting to work together on new technology standards, coordinate on investment screening and export controls, strengthen supply chains, boost green tech, and improve food security and digital infrastructure in developing countries.

Meanwhile, we and our European partners set aside 17 years of litigation about aircraft; now, instead of arguing with each other, we’re working to secure a level playing field for our companies and workers in that sector.

Similarly, we worked with the European Union and others to resolve a dispute on steel and aluminum imports, and now we’re coming together around a shared vision on higher climate standards and protecting our workers and industries from Beijing’s deliberate efforts to distort the market to its advantage.

We’re partnering with the European Union to protect our citizens’ privacy while strengthening a shared digital economy that depends on vast flows of data.

With the G20, we reached a landmark deal on a global minimum tax to halt the race to the bottom, make sure that big corporations pay their fair share, and give countries even more resources to invest in their people. More than 130 countries have signed on so far.

We and our G7 partners are pursuing a coordinated, high-standard, and transparent approach to meet the enormous infrastructure needs in developing countries.

We’ve convened global summits on defeating COVID-19 and renewing global democracy, and rejoined the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO, the World Health Organization.

And at a moment of great testing, we and our allies have re-energized NATO, which is now as strong as ever.

These actions are all aimed at defending and, as necessary, reforming the rules-based order that should benefit all nations. We want to lead a race to the top on tech, on climate, infrastructure, global health, and inclusive economic growth. And we want to strengthen a system in which as many countries as possible can come together to cooperate effectively, resolve differences peacefully, write their own futures as sovereign equals.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/




Our diplomacy is based on partnership and respect for each other’s interests. We don’t expect every country to have the exact same assessment of China as we do. We know that many countries – including the United States – have vital economic or people-to-people ties with China that they want to preserve. This is not about forcing countries to choose. It’s about giving them a choice, so that, for example, the only option isn’t an opaque investment that leaves countries in debt, stokes corruption, harms the environment, fails to create local jobs or growth, and compromises countries’ exercise of their sovereignty. We’ve heard firsthand about buyer’s remorse that these deals can leave behind.

At every step, we’re consulting with our partners, listening to them, taking their concerns to heart, building solutions that address their unique challenges and priorities.

There is growing convergence about the need to approach relations with Beijing with more realism. Many of our partners already know from painful experience how Beijing can come down hard when they make choices that it dislikes. Like last spring, when Beijing cut off Chinese students and tourists from traveling to Australia and imposed an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley exports, because Australia’s Government called for an independent inquiry into COVID’s origin. Or last November, when Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons to stop a resupply of a Philippine navy ship in the South China Sea. Actions like these remind the world of how Beijing can retaliate against perceived opposition.

There’s another area of alignment we share with our allies and partners: human rights.

The United States stands with countries and people around the world against the genocide and crimes against humanity happening in the Xinjiang region, where more than a million people have been placed in detention camps because of their ethnic and religious identity.

We stand together on Tibet, where the authorities continue to wage a brutal campaign against Tibetans and their culture, language, and religious traditions, and in Hong Kong, where the Chinese Communist Party has imposed harsh anti-democratic measures under the guise of national security.

Now, Beijing insists that these are somehow internal matters that others have no right to raise. That is wrong. Its treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, along with many other actions, go against the core tenets of the UN Charter that Beijing constantly cites and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all countries are meant to adhere to.

Beijing’s quashing of freedom in Hong Kong violates its handover commitments, enshrined in a treaty deposited at the United Nations.

We’ll continue to raise these issues and call for change – not to stand against China, but to stand up for peace, security, and human dignity.

That brings us to the third element of our strategy. Thanks to increased investments at home and greater alignment with allies and partners, we are well-positioned to outcompete China in key areas.

For example, Beijing wants to put itself at the center of global innovation and manufacturing, increase other countries’ technological dependence, and then use that dependence to impose its foreign policy preferences. And Beijing is going to great lengths to win this contest – for example, taking advantage of the openness of our economies to spy, to hack, to steal technology and know-how to advance its military innovation and entrench its surveillance state.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/



So as we make sure the next wave of innovation is unleashed by the United States and our allies and partners, we’ll also protect ourselves against efforts to siphon off our ingenuity or imperil our security.

We’re sharpening our tools to safeguard our technological competitiveness. That includes new and stronger export controls to make sure our critical innovations don’t end up in the wrong hands; greater protections for academic research, to create an open, secure, and supportive environment for science; better cyber defenses; stronger security for sensitive data; and sharper investment screening measures to defend companies and countries against Beijing’s efforts to gain access to sensitive technologies, data, or critical infrastructure; compromise our supply chains; or dominate key strategic sectors.

We believe – and we expect the business community to understand – that the price of admission to China’s market must not be the sacrifice of our core values or long-term competitive and technological advantages. We’re counting on businesses to pursue growth responsibly, assess risk soberly, and work with us not only to protect but to strengthen our national security.

For too long, Chinese companies have enjoyed far greater access to our markets than our companies have in China. For example, Americans who want to read the China Daily or communicate via WeChat are free to do so, but The New York Times and Twitter are prohibited for the Chinese people, except those working for the government who use these platforms to spread propaganda and disinformation. American companies operating in China have been subject to systematic forced technology transfer, while Chinese companies in America have been protected by our rule of law. Chinese filmmakers can freely market their movies to American theater owners without any censorship by the U.S. Government, but Beijing strictly limits the number of foreign movies allowed in the Chinese market, and those that are allowed are subjected to heavy-handed political censorship. China’s businesses in the United States don’t fear using our impartial legal system to defend their rights – in fact, they’re frequently in court asserting claims against the United States Government. The same isn’t true for foreign firms in China.

This lack of reciprocity is unacceptable and it’s unsustainable.

Or consider what happened in the steel market. Beijing directed massive over-investment by Chinese companies, which then flooded the global market with cheap steel. Unlike U.S. companies and other market-oriented firms, Chinese companies don’t need to make a profit – they just get another injection of state-owned bank credit when funds are running low. Plus, they do little to control pollution or protect the rights of their workers, which also keeps costs down. As a consequence, China now accounts for more than half of global steel production, driving U.S. companies – as well as factories in India, Mexico, Indonesia, Europe, and elsewhere – out of the market.

We’ve seen this same model when it comes to solar panels, electric car batteries – key sectors of the 21st century economy that we cannot allow to become completely dependent on China.
Riaz Haq said…
Biden Administration’s Approach to the People’s Republic of China - United States Department of State by Sec of State Tony Blinken

China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it.


https://www.state.gov/the-administrations-approach-to-the-peoples-republic-of-china/




We’ve seen this same model when it comes to solar panels, electric car batteries – key sectors of the 21st century economy that we cannot allow to become completely dependent on China.

Economic manipulations like these have cost American workers millions of jobs. And they’ve harmed the workers and firms of countries around the world. We will push back on market-distorting policies and practices, like subsidies and market access barriers, which China’s government has used for years to gain competitive advantage. We’ll boost supply chain security and resilience by reshoring production or sourcing materials from other countries in sensitive sectors like pharmaceuticals and critical minerals, so that we’re not dependent on any one supplier. We’ll stand together with others against economic coercion and intimidation. And we will work to ensure that U.S. companies don’t engage in commerce that facilitates or benefits from human rights abuses, including forced labor.

In short, we’ll fight for American workers and industry with every tool we have – just as we know that our partners will fight for their workers.

The United States does not want to sever China’s economy from ours or from the global economy – though Beijing, despite its rhetoric, is pursuing asymmetric decoupling, seeking to make China less dependent on the world and the world more dependent on China. For our part, we want trade and investment as long as they’re fair and don’t jeopardize our national security. China has formidable economic resources, including a highly capable workforce. We’re confident that our workers, our companies will compete successfully – and we welcome that competition – on a level playing field.

So as we push back responsibly on unfair technology and economic practices, we’ll work to maintain economic and people-to-people ties connecting the United States and China, consistent with our interests and our values. Beijing may not be willing to change its behavior. But if it takes concrete action to address the concerns that we and many other countries have voiced, we will respond positively.

Competition need not lead to conflict. We do not seek it. We will work to avoid it. But we will defend our interests against any threat.

To that end, President Biden has instructed the Department of Defense to hold China as its pacing challenge, to ensure that our military stays ahead. We’ll seek to preserve peace through a new approach that we call “integrated deterrence” – bringing in allies and partners; working across the conventional, the nuclear, space, and informational domains; drawing on our reinforcing strengths in economics, in technology, and in diplomacy.

The administration is shifting our military investments away from platforms that were designed for the conflicts of the 20th century toward asymmetric systems that are longer-range, harder to find, easier to move. We’re developing new concepts to guide how we conduct military operations. And we’re diversifying our force posture and global footprint, fortifying our networks, critical civilian infrastructure, and space-based capabilities. We’ll help our allies and partners in the region with their own asymmetric capabilities, too.
Riaz Haq said…
Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium


https://mitchellglennfrommichigan.medium.com/forbes-says-the-quiet-part-out-loud-about-nato-978b1957b54d

A few months ago, I heard a very astute political analyst say that when it comes to the ‘Western’ media, the financial press is typically more accurate. The Guardians, Fox News, and MSNBCs are always sycophantically in line with the geopolitical consensus, no matter how propagandistic or inaccurate.

We’ve been seeing a lot of that ridiculously out-of-touch coverage on Ukraine and NATO — if you see the Ghost of Kyiv anywhere, let me know ’cause I want to interview that cat.

But seemingly out of nowhere, CNN did have a decent and surprisingly revealing piece back in mid-April regarding weapons sent to Ukraine. The synopsis: we don’t know what happens to them. In their words, it’s a ‘black hole.’ They also admitted the information we’re getting isn’t always accurate and will always be curated to improve the case for more military aid.

The ‘newspaper of record’ NY Times has been embarrassingly bad, but they’re admittedly starting to shift their rhetoric.

But because investors need accurate assessments, outlets like the Financial Times can’t be quite as propagandistic and have to cover things a bit closer to reality — although the Economist is a pathetic cheerleader of all things ‘West is Best.’

Forbes — bless their hearts — recently went full mask-off.

The title of this piece says it all, ‘Expanded NATO Will Shoot Billions To US Defense Contractors.’

That’s it, that’s the game, and that’s why the US is so militaristic — of course, naked neocolonialism and resource extraction play a role. But never-ending conflict is big business in itself, and so America has never met a war it didn’t like. It especially hasn’t met a proxy war it didn’t like.

Selling billions in weapons while no caskets of US service members are being flown home draped in flags is their favorite kind of business.

For that reason, Forbes says now is a great time to invest in the American corporate war machine.

The financial press like the Financial Times can’t be quite as propagandistic and has to cover things a bit closer to reality because investors need accurate assessments…

Is NATO an overall good? It’s debatable, and I’m open to hearing arguments, but I lean towards no. I understand why countries like the Czech Republic wanted to join a military alliance after centuries of oppression, especially the 1968 incursion by Soviet troops. And it makes sense for smaller nations like Lithuania to want some backup from the mafia don that is the US military.

But NATO was created to counter the Soviet Union. That union no longer exists and yet NATO is larger than ever. In the early nineties, there was talk of cooling tensions and cutting military budgets. The Red Menace had collapsed, couldn’t we all calm down? Of course not.

As Forbes rightly admits, expanding NATO shoots billions to US military contractors. Easing tensions, resolving conflicts, and reducing military budgets would have meant billions in unrealized profits. And so, NATO marched east.

Of course, if any sovereign nation wants to join, they have the right to do so, but ask the Libyans, Afghans, or Serbs if it is purely a ‘defensive’ alliance. Like America, NATO goes against the UN Security Council whenever it wants to bomb non-compliant states into oblivion and there are never any consequences.

It’s not purely defensive. That’s a fact. It is mostly about weapons sales. And as the AUKUS Submarine episode showed, America is NOT a reliable partner. Europeans always surprise me with how much they trust Uncle Sam and how little they know about his criminal record.

The US will throw any ally under the bus to make a buck at the drop of a hat. Would NATO really exert itself to back up member state Montenegro if it didn’t align with America’s self-interest? Hell no.


Riaz Haq said…
Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium


https://mitchellglennfrommichigan.medium.com/forbes-says-the-quiet-part-out-loud-about-nato-978b1957b54d


The piece by Forbes contributor John Markman that inspired this started by talking about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and how it’ll be a big win for Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. He laments how Europe has benefitted from a “peace dividend” and their governments “spent lavishly on social safety nets while forgetting the world is a dangerous place”— you know, all those big waste items like tax-payer-funded higher education, functioning healthcare systems, and civilized maternity leave.

Forbes seems to think European nations forgot about America’s appetite for global domination and conflict. Then, as Markman wrote, “images of the destruction of Ukraine changed everything.”

If allowed to join NATO, Finland and Sweden would have to spend at least 2% of their GDP on their militaries and those increases in weapons systems will need to be NATO compatible, which “directly benefits the big U.S. contractors.”

Forbes is pumped and remarked how Finland was already suckered into buying sixty-four F-35s — the worst fighter ever made and one the US military is reluctant to use — for $110 million a pop. They say that’s a nice boost to the failed fighter’s designers and manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems.

‘The market for their goods is expanding and they will face no competition for the forseeable future…In addition to the cost of the units, corresponding ground support, spare parts and maintenance, there is lock-in factor. Europe is now committed to America-made gear for decades to come. — J.M.

Read that again, “Europe is now committed to America-made gear for decades to come.”That’s the game. Finland might as well light a few billion on fire. Or immediately take the F-35s apart and sell them for parts.

In the short term, the revenue increase is going to be minimal. Defense contractors recognize sales when systems are delivered, and that can take several years. In the interim, the sector will benefit from supplementary bills passed to aid the war effort in Ukraine. President Biden signed last week a $40 billion Ukrainian war package. The United States is sending existing equipment to the war-torn country. Those systems will later be replenished at an additional cost to U.S. taxpayers. — J.M.

Is anybody else shocked Forbes is saying this all so openly?

NATO is further expanding, meaning these educated and socialized-medicine abusing Europeans will be spending more on weapons, they’re even buying billions in useless fighters from America, and, while we wait for those profits, Washington is dumping tens of billions into a black hole of a proxy war and sending all spare weapons systems which will need to be replenished at the expense of the taxpayer! Invest dudes! Let’s make bank and then get some of the devil’s dandruff and throw a coked-fueled rager!

American defense contractors are reliable technology partners. The companies are also backed-up by the largess of the U.S defense budget, a record $810 billion in 2021. There is no appetite politically to decrease military spending. And that sentiment is spreading globally, thanks to the carnage in Ukraine. — J.M.

It’s a win-win, boys! The defense budget is basically seventy cents of every dollar the federal government spends and there’s ‘no appetite politcally’ to reduce it. The Pentagon asks for a number and the freaking Congress usually increases it by 15% themselves.

And now, “that sentiment is spreading globally, thanks to the carnage in Ukraine.”

The piece then talks about the stock price of each corporate contractor and how they’re ‘inexpensive’ given the outlook of new markets in Europe.

It’s all so freaking cynical.
Riaz Haq said…
Forbes Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About NATO | by Mitchell Peterson | May, 2022 | Medium


https://mitchellglennfrommichigan.medium.com/forbes-says-the-quiet-part-out-loud-about-nato-978b1957b54d


Everybody these days is familiar with Eisenhower’s warnings regarding the military-industrial complex, and I often wonder what he’d say if he saw the state of America and the federal budget. The top marginal tax rate was freaking 91% when he was in office and the military budget was actually reduced for a few years in the 1950s. These days, the highest marginal tax rate on the richest of the rich is 37%, most billionaires and corporations pay next to nothing, and military spending will very soon surpass $1,000,000,000,000 a year.

Ike would shit himself, give a speech on the barbarity of the nation, and then get called a pansy-ass socialist and never be invited back onto mainstream television — seriously.

How the hell did Forbes write this piece? And how does America justify this level of military spending with almost third-world-level poverty and social problems domestically?

This Chris Hedges quote says it all:

The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 millionchildren who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

It’s a death spiral. Everyone can see it. And as I said, the financial press is usually more accurate when portraying it; they just do it in their own way. It’s still propagandistic, but just a little closer to reality.

Investors are moving money around and need real information so the Financial Times does its best to call balls and strikes while the other outlets are Kim-Jong-un-level home refs and say ‘we good guys are on the right side of history and winning’ no matter how detached that might be from the Newtonian reality.

It’s wise not to expect much from any of them, but they do offer a window into the mainstream ‘Western’ consensus.

And sometimes, like Forbes, they remove the mask entirely, accidentally reveal the truth, and cheerlead the orgy of profits brought on by mass death.
Riaz Haq said…
Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "Chinese Public Opinion: 73% Have Positive View of Pakistan, Second Only to Russia ":

Opinion The best China strategy? Defeat Russia.

By Fareed Zakaria


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/09/biden-administration-defeat-russia-contain-china-ukraine-war/


“We are now living in a totally new era,” said the 99-year-old Henry Kissinger, commenting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an op-ed last week, President Biden vividly outlined the stakes. “If Russia does not pay a heavy price for its actions,” he wrote, “it will send a message to other would-be aggressors that they too can seize territory and subjugate other countries. It will put the survival of other peaceful democracies at risk. And it could mark the end of the rules-based international order and open the door to aggression elsewhere, with catastrophic consequences the world over.”

In times like these, it seemed appropriate that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would deliver a major policy address, which he did late last month. Except that he chose to give the speech … on China. The talk itself contained nothing new; it was slightly more nuanced than the usual chest-thumping that passes for a China strategy these days. The real surprise was that, in the middle of the first major land war in Europe since 1945, with monumental consequences, Blinken chose not to lay out the strategy for victory but instead changed the subject. Washington’s foreign policy establishment is so wrapped up in its pre-crisis thinking that it cannot really digest the fact that the ground has shifted seismically under its feet.

Blinken declared that despite its aggression in Ukraine, Russia does not pose the greatest threat to the rules-based international order, instead giving that place to China. As Zachary Karabell suggests, this requires a willful blindness to decades of Russian aggression. Russia has invaded Georgia and Ukraine and effectively annexed parts of those countries. It brutally unleashed its air power in Syria, killing thousands of civilians. In responding to Chechnya’s desire for independence, it flattened large parts of the Russian republic, including its capital, with total civilians killed in that conflict estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Vladimir Putin has sent assassination squads to Western countries to kill his enemies, has used money and cyberattacks to disrupt Western democracies, and, most recently, has threatened the use of nuclear weapons. Does any other country even come close?
Riaz Haq said…
Opinion The best China strategy? Defeat Russia.

By Fareed Zakaria


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/09/biden-administration-defeat-russia-contain-china-ukraine-war/


Ironically, one of the people who attended Blinken’s speech was Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who during his presidential campaign in 2012 warned that Russia posed the single largest threat to the United States. Those, including myself, who dismissed his prognosis were wrong, because we looked only at Russia’s strength, which was not impressive. But Romney clearly understood that power in the international realm is measured by a mixture of capabilities and intentions. And though Russia is not a rising giant, it is determined to challenge and divide America and Europe and tear up the rules-based international system. Putin’s Russia is the world’s great spoiler.

This phenomenon of a declining power becoming the greatest danger to global peace is not unprecedented. In 1914, the country that triggered World War I was Austria-Hungary, an empire in broad decline, and yet one determined to use its military to show the world it still mattered and to teach a harsh lesson to Serbia, which it regarded as a minor, vassal state. Sound familiar?

America’s dominant priority must be to ensure that Russia does not prevail in its aggression against Ukraine. And right now, trends are moving in the wrong direction. Russian forces are consolidating their gains in eastern Ukraine. Sky-high oil prices have ensured that money continues to flow into Putin’s coffers. Europeans are beginning to talk about off-ramps. Moscow is offering developing nations a deal: Get the West to call off sanctions, it tells them, and it will help export all the grain from Ukraine and Russia and avert famine in many parts of the world. Ukraine’s leaders say it still does not have the weapons and training it needs to fight back effectively.

The best China strategy right now is to defeat Russia. Xi Jinping made a risky wager in backing Russia strongly on the eve of the invasion. If Russia comes out of this conflict a weak, marginalized country, that will be a serious blow to Xi, who is personally associated with the alliance with Putin. If, on the other hand, Putin survives and somehow manages to stage a comeback, Xi and China will learn an ominous lesson: that the West cannot uphold its rules-based system against a sustained assault.

Most of the people in top positions in the Biden administration were senior officials in the Obama administration in 2014, when Russia launched its first invasion of Ukraine, annexed Crimea and intervened in eastern Ukraine. They were not able to reverse Moscow’s aggression or even make Putin pay much of a price for it. Perhaps at the time, they saw the greatest threat to global order as the Islamic State, or they were focused on the “pivot” to Asia, or they didn’t prioritize Ukraine enough. Now they have a second chance, but it is likely to be the last.
Riaz Haq said…
The U.S. Is Losing Its Military Edge in Asia, and China Knows It

John Custer

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/15/opinion/international-world/us-military-china-asia.html

While the U.S. military is globally dispersed, China can concentrate its forces on winning a future conflict in its own neighborhood. It now has the capability. China has the world’s largest navy and Asia’s biggest air force and an imposing arsenal of missiles designed to deter the United States from projecting military power into the Western Pacific in a crisis. China’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier is nearing completion, and other new hardware is being developed or is already in service.
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To turn things around, the United States must prioritize the threat from China, reinforce its military strength in Asia and provide Australia, Japan and India more sophisticated military and technological capabilities to bolster a strategy of collective defense.

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Washington should support Australian and Japanese aims to build long-range missiles on home soil by sharing intellectual property, provide more U.S. weaponry to India and beef up foreign military financing in the region, starting with a dedicated fund to boost Taiwan’s deterrence capabilities.

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A Chinese fighter jet veered in front of an Australian military surveillance aircraft over international waters in the South China Sea last month and released metallic debris that was sucked into the Australian plane’s engines.

No one was reported hurt in the encounter, which Australia’s defense minister called “very dangerous,” but it added to a string of recent incidents that demonstrate China’s growing willingness to test the United States and its partners in Asia militarily.

China has systematically tracked U.S. warships in the region, its air force has staged intensifying incursions into Taiwanese and Japanese airspace, and its coast guard routinely harasses Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian vessels. In recent weeks, Chinese fighter pilots have repeatedly buzzed Canadian military aircraft on a U.N.-sanctioned operation — sometimes raising their middle fingers at the Canadians.

As China’s armed forces grow in strength, sophistication and confidence, U.S.-led military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific is losing its bite.

Take the United States’ military presence in the region. It has about 55,000 military personnel in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea. Several thousand more are deployed across Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Guam. This posture has barely changed since the 1950s. But plans to reinvigorate the U.S. presence have been stymied by inadequate budgets, competing priorities and a lack of consensus in Washington on how to deal with China.

The Pentagon has increased investments in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, and cyber- and space-based systems to prepare for a possible high-tech conflict with China in the 2030s. But the balance of power is likely to shift decidedly in China’s favor by the time they are deployed unless the United States brings new resources to the table soon.

President Biden this year submitted the largest defense budget ever in dollar terms, but much of the increase will be swallowed up by skyrocketing inflation. Mr. Biden, like former President Donald Trump, is thus falling short of a target of 3 percent to 5 percent real annual budget growth, a bipartisan goal set even before the Ukraine war and often cited as the minimum the Pentagon needs in today’s era of great-power competition.

Riaz Haq said…
Ex #British PM Tony Blair: #Ukraine war shows West's dominance is ending as #China rises. China's Xi has continued supporting #Russia's #Putin & criticized sanctions "abuse" by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a "strategic partnership" with China. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-war-shows-wests-dominance-is-ending-china-rises-blair-says-2022-07-17/

The world, Blair said, was at a turning point in history comparable with the end of World War Two or the collapse of the Soviet Union: but this time the West is clearly not in the ascendant.

"We are coming to the end of Western political and economic dominance," Blair said in a lecture entitled "After Ukraine, What Lessons Now for Western Leadership?" according to a text of the speech to a forum supporting the alliance between the United States and Europe at Ditchley Park west of London.

"The world is going to be at least bi-polar and possibly multi-polar," Blair said. "The biggest geo-political change of this century will come from China not Russia."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands and triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin says the West has declared economic war by trying to isolate Russia's economy with sanctions and the Kremlin says Russia will turn to powers such as China and India.

The war in Ukraine, Blair said, had clarified that the West could not rely on China "to behave in the way we would consider rational".

Chinese President Xi Jinping has continued supporting Putin and criticised sanctions "abuse" by the West. Putin has forged what he calls a "strategic partnership" with China.

China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy’s, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms it has become the world’s second-largest economy.

Its economy is forecast to overtake the United States within a decade and it leads in some 21st century technologies such as artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine and conductive polymers.

"China’s place as a superpower is natural and justified. It is not the Soviet Union," said Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007. Its allies are likely to be Russia and Iran.

The West should not let China overtake militarily, he said.

"We should increase defence spending and maintain military superiority," Blair said. The United States and its allies "should be superior enough to cater for any eventuality or type of conflict and in all areas."

Riaz Haq said…
‘My Order, My Rules’: China and the American Rules-Based Order in Historical Perspective
William M. Zolinger Fujii

https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/28/my-order-my-rules-china-and-the-american-rules-based-order-in-historical-perspective/


The similarities between the process through which the US established its hemispheric dominance and the Chinese quest to become a regional hegemon in East Asia must not be exaggerated; not only are the two regions and historical contexts vastly different, but also China’s path towards that goal is in its very early stages, rendering it impossible to be meaningfully compared to that of the United States. This notwithstanding, the patterns of Beijing’s contestations of Washington’s position in East Asia find certain parallels with the US’ challenges to European ambitions in a region it regarded as its natural ‘sphere of influence’ in the nineteenth century. If the US leadership believed their country had the divine right to establish itself as a hemispheric hegemon, the Chinese can be seen as regarding China’s regional leadership as some sort of a historical right (Bandeira, 2005; Zhao, 2016)

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Despite the substantial academic and political attention that the crisis of the liberal international order has attracted over the past decade, Latin America and the Caribbean have been largely ignored by mainstream IR literature in the English language (Long, 2018). In part, this is due to the region’s relatively low geopolitical relevance – itself resulting from the absence of a potential regional rival to the US as well as of an external power with significant influence in the region – and Washington’s hemispheric hegemony. The fact that the effects of the rise of China and the relative resurgence of Russia are negligible in a nuclear-free Latin America further reduces its relevance in the debate on the crisis of the liberal international order, although Chinese economic and political influence in the region has grown enormously in the past two decades (Chen, 2021; Noesselt and Soliz-Landivar, 2013; Pini, 2015; Vadell, 2011) At the same time, as John Mearsheimer (2010) notes, the Western Hemisphere is the most important region for the US due to its geographical proximity, having thus greater potential strategic relevance than any other area on the globe.
Riaz Haq said…
‘My Order, My Rules’: China and the American Rules-Based Order in Historical Perspective
William M. Zolinger Fujii



https://www.e-ir.info/2021/12/28/my-order-my-rules-china-and-the-american-rules-based-order-in-historical-perspective/



Indeed, the very historical process of the United States’ emergence as a great world power is indissociable from its quest to become a dominant state in its region first, which is a necessary, though insufficient, condition for a country to become a global power. Seen in this way, China’s intentions to replace the US as East Asia’s hegemon are not particularly abnormal, but rather in line with patterns of behaviour of rising world powers. As the ‘strategic backwater’ of the very superpower in whose image the current order was made, and with that status appearing secure for the foreseeable future, there seems to be little reason for the current debate on contestations of the US-led global order to pay greater attention to the region. Such a tendency, however, may overestimate the extent to which Latin American states accept the current order (Long, 2018), while simultaneously obscuring important intraregional contestations of and contributions to that system, such as the principle of non-intervention, which was largely the result of the region’s jurists’ reaction to US and European interventions in the region (Orford, 2021; Vargas, 2005). Equally importantly, the region is closely linked to the process through which the US became a dominant power in East Asia in 1945, forty-seven years after it acquired a territorial base in the region after defeating a declining Spain in the late 1800s.

The foreign policy foundation of US hemispheric ambitions was laid by the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which formalised Washington’s stance towards the European powers’ interests in the Americas, although its rationale was originally isolationist rather than expansionist (Campos, 2014; Modeste, 2020). At a time when new sovereign states were emerging throughout Ibero-America, US leaders feared a reaction from European monarchies that had been reorganised since the 1815 Congress of Vienna, which had given birth to a new, post-Napoleonic international order. Seeking to keep Europe’s perceived neocolonial ambitions at bay, US President James Monroe declared that the United States would oppose any European attempt to recolonise the Americas while accepting the existing situation as of 1823 (Bandeira, 2005). Seen from the perspective of the 1815 international order, the United States was a revisionist power. Yet, given Washington’s lack of capabilities to enforce it, the doctrine amounted to little more than a declaration of intentions instead of representing an effective policy. The world’s greatest power at the time, Britain initially welcomed the initiative because it too opposed the recolonisation of Latin America, where British capital and trade already held a dominant position without the need for direct territorial control. In that very particular sense, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2014 declaration that Asian affairs and problems should be run and solved by Asians rather than by external powers (Doshi, 2021) resembles President James Monroe’s statement made two centuries earlier

By the mid-1840s, British concerns had grown at the prospect of the US becoming a dominant hemispheric power, which led London to consider the extension of the balance of power concept to the Western Hemisphere (Murphy, 2005). Britain’s maritime dominance meant that while it acquiesced to the precepts of the Monroe Doctrine when these were directed against other European powers, it would ignore them when British interests were at stake, such as when London annexed the Malvinas Islands in 1833 or blockaded the River Plate in the 1845-1850 period. In spite of that, Britain’s aspirations failed to materialise, and by the end of 1848, the US had incorporated the Oregon Territory and annexed half of the Mexican land that corresponded to one-third of American territory (Langley, 2019).

Riaz Haq said…
U.S. Lawmakers Look to Digital Dollar to Compete With China
The Federal Reserve is considering the idea, but in no rush to join a digital-assets space race

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-lawmakers-look-to-digital-dollar-to-compete-with-china-11659925037?mod=Searchresults_pos4&page=1

Lawmakers are pushing the Federal Reserve to move swiftly toward issuing a digital dollar, to combat steps from China and others they say could one day threaten the U.S. status as the global reserve currency.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Reps. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) and French Hill (R., Ark.), has sought for the U.S. to counter global competitors launching digital versions of their currencies. The House Financial Services Committee, which both serve on, might vote on related legislation as soon as next month.

Ms. Waters has framed competition over new forms of central-bank money as “a new digital assets space race.” The Biden administration and the Fed don’t share a sense of urgency.

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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated the central bank isn’t in a rush, as it confronts inflation and a slowing economy. Mr. Powell has said it is more important to get the digital dollar right than to be first to market, in part because of the dollar’s critical global role. He has also said the Fed won’t issue a digital dollar without support from elected officials. The White House has largely remained neutral on a digital dollar, with President Biden ordering a study to determine its implications for issues such as economic growth and stability.

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Some in Congress say the U.S. is already behind the curve. Among the Group of 20 major economies, 16 are in the development or pilot phase of a digital currency, according to the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. The European Central Bank, on behalf of countries including Germany and France, is exploring designs for a digital euro and preparing to launch a test pilot.

Mr. Hill, the Arkansas Republican, said his concerns were animated in part by China, which began real-world testing of its own central-bank–issued digital currency in 2020. In an interview, he said China’s lending practices in the developing world could make it easier for the country to promote international uses of its digital currency—a potential threat to the dollar-based global economy.

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“We should be concerned about China’s predatory practices,” he said.

Chinese authorities haven’t ruled out international use of the e-CNY, the official name for the country’s digital currency, but say it is designed for small-scale domestic use by consumers.

Analysts are looking for signs that the People’s Bank of China will take concrete steps to join with central banks elsewhere to make it possible to use digital currencies between countries. The bottom line is that Beijing is uncomfortable with the outsize role the U.S. dollar plays in global commerce and in particular fears being frozen out of the dollar-based financial system, such as in response to a conflict over Taiwan.

International transactions in a digitized currency created by China, the thinking goes, could be a defensive weapon in such circumstances because they would happen beyond the reach of the U.S.

Riaz Haq said…
#China tops #US in quantity and quality of #scientific papers. #Chinese #research accounted for 27.2%, or 4,744, of the world's top 1% of most cited papers, overtaking the U.S. at 24.9%, or 4,330. #UK came in 3rd at 5.5%. #India stands 4th & #Japan 5th. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Science/China-tops-U.S.-in-quantity-and-quality-of-scientific-papers

China now leads the world both in the number of scientific research papers as well as most cited papers, a report from Japan's science and technology ministry shows, which is expected to bolster the competitiveness of its economy and industries in the future.

Research papers are considered higher quality the more they are cited by others. Chinese research accounted for 27.2%, or 4,744, of the world's top 1% of most cited papers, overtaking the U.S. at 24.9%, or 4,330. The U.K. came in third at 5.5%.

The ministry's National Institute of Science and Technology Policy compiled the report based on data from research-analytics company Clarivate. The figures represent 2019 levels, based on the annual average between 2018 and 2020 to account for fluctuations in publication numbers. The report was released Tuesday, the same day U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion bill framed as essential to winning economic competition with China through greater research.

Scientific research is the driver behind competitive industries and economies. Current research capabilities will determine future market shares in artificial intelligence, quantum technology and other cutting-edge fields, and may have a direct impact on national security as well.

China has quickly increased its footprint in advanced research in recent years. It overtook the U.S. in the total number of scientific papers in the 2020 report, then in the number of top 10% most cited papers in the 2021 report.

China published 407,181 scientific papers in 2019 according to the latest report, pulling further ahead of the U.S. at 293,434. In terms of the top 10% most cited papers, China accounted for 26.6% of publications, while the U.S. accounted for 21.1%.

"China is one of the top countries in the world in terms of both the quantity and quality of scientific papers," said Shinichi Kuroki, deputy director-general of the Asia and Pacific Research Center at the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

"In order to become the true global leader, it will need to continue producing internationally recognized research," he said.

Meanwhile, Japan is falling behind. It ranked fifth in the total number of publications and 10th in the top 1% most cited papers in the latest report after losing ground to India. It dropped to 12th place in the number of the top 10% most cited papers, passed by Spain and South Korea.

The number of universities in India have increased roughly 4.6 times from 243 in 2000 to 1,117 in 2018. Over two million receive a bachelor's degree in the sciences each year. In contrast, research Japan has slowed since the mid-2000s with no recovery in sight, stoking concerns about the effect on the country's economy and industries.

Riaz Haq said…
China’s Military Is Catching Up to the U.S. Is It Ready to Fight?
The People’s Liberation Army is emerging as a true competitor but Beijing worries about the ability of its troops
A Chinese soldier held a flag during joint military exercises in Kyrgyzstan in 2016.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-military-us-taiwan-xi-11666268994

China’s military is emerging as a true competitor to the U.S. under Xi Jinping.

The People’s Liberation Army now has hypersonic missiles that evade most defenses, a technology the U.S. is still developing. Its attack drones can swarm to paralyze communications networks. China’s naval ships outnumber America’s, and it launched its third aircraft carrier this summer, the first to be designed and built in the country. Its defense budget is second only to the U.S.’s. China’s military has more serving members, at around 2 million, compared with just under 1.4 million in the U.S.

The question for Mr. Xi, which he has raised in public, is whether those forces are ready for battle.

China hasn’t fought a war since a brief border clash with Vietnam in 1979. Unlike American forces, who have fought for most of the past two decades in Iraq and Afghanistan, China’s service members have virtually no combat experience—which some Chinese leaders have referred to as a “peace disease.” Finding a solution short of actual war has been a priority for Mr. Xi, especially as he seeks to prepare the country for a potential showdown with the U.S.

“We must comprehensively strengthen military training and preparation, and improve the army’s ability to win,” Mr. Xi said on Sunday at the opening of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress.

The issue has become more pressing for Beijing as tensions build with Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory. On Sunday, Mr. Xi reiterated that Beijing wouldn’t renounce the use of force in China’s effort to take control of the island.

“The complete unification of the motherland must be realized, and it will be realized,” he said, drawing loud applause.

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An effort to make China’s different military branches work more closely together—so-called “jointness,” which is considered crucial to modern warfare—remains untested.

“At present, there are not many commanders in the PLA who are truly proficient in joint combat,” one serving officer at the Zhengzhou Joint Logistics Support Center wrote earlier this year in a commentary in the PLA Daily, the military’s newspaper. “If this situation does not change, once there is a war, it will be very dangerous.”

Outside analysts say the PLA appears to be making progress in bringing forces together for more complex joint exercises, helped by interaction with other militaries, especially Russia’s. Since Mr. Xi took power, China has increased drills with Russia to as many as 10 a year from one or two previously.

Riaz Haq said…
Opinions | China is weaker than we thought. Will we change our policies accordingly?

We need to right-size the threat from China.

Opinion by Fareed Zakaria



https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/10/20/china-weaker-west-policies-must-adapt/

In late 1992, I started my first full-time job, as managing editor of Foreign Affairs. I remember sorting through manuscript after manuscript arguing that Japan was going to take over the world. That claim was not unusual at the time. A big bestseller of the year was Michael Crichton’s novel “Rising Sun,” a call to arms for economic war with Tokyo. In 1991, the book “The Coming War With Japan” predicted inevitable and major military conflict. During the 1992 presidential primaries, one of the pithiest campaign slogans came from Democrat Paul Tsongas. “The Cold War is over,” he would say, “and the Japanese won.”

What is striking about these words is that they all came well after the crash of the Japanese stock market, which fell from its peak in December 1989. We now mark 1990 as the year that Japan’s giddy growth era ended. But at the time, people assumed this was just a temporary interruption. They saw the data but then returned to their old thinking.

Could we be seeing something similar happening with China these days? It seems clear that China’s growth is stalling. The country that since 1978 has grown at an average of over 9 percent annually is projected to grow about 3 percent this year. Some think tanks have postponed their projections for when the country’s economy would overtake the United States to become the world’s largest economy to 2030 or later. Some experts are even suggesting that this might never happen, which is striking, given that China’s population is more than four times as much as the United States’.

There are many reasons for the new bearish mood about China: its draconian covid policy, real estate bubbles, debt and — perhaps most consequentially for the long term — a demographic collapse. (China’s fertility rate is now lower than Japan’s.) But above all looms the change of course away from the market undertaken by the Chinese government in the past 10 years.

China has grown at a stunning pace since 1978 because it embraced markets and trade. But Chinese leader Xi Jinping has moved the country to a very different model, one that views the state as the primary engine of the economy, identifying industries, providing funding and controlling the participants. And growth has stalled.

But if we can see that China is actually weaker than we had thought a few years ago, has that led us to change our conclusions accordingly? No.

Just as it is becoming clear that Xi’s embrace of the state and his “Made in China” industrial policy are not working, Washington has been busily implementing its own version of Chinese-style industrial policy. The situation is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when Americans spoke enviously of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry — a ministry that was in fact in the process of making a series of expensive bets on industries that flopped.

China doesn’t just face economic challenges. Xi’s foreign policy has mostly been a failure. His expansionism, bluster and repression have produced quantifiable results. Unfavorable views of China have skyrocketed in recent years to all-time or near-all-time highs in several countries, according to a Pew Research Center survey. From Australia to Spain, countries that were once favorably inclined have shifted away from Beijing.
Riaz Haq said…
Opinions | China is weaker than we thought. Will we change our policies accordingly?

We need to right-size the threat from China.

Opinion by Fareed Zakaria



https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/10/20/china-weaker-west-policies-must-adapt/


China’s foreign overtures have been duds, from the expensive and messy Belt and Road initiative to its effort to woo Eastern Europe. The latter project, China’s 16+1 group, is fizzling because of countries’ disappointed expectations and Beijing’s relations with Moscow. And yet, in a move reminiscent of America’s misguided efforts to counter Soviet influence anywhere — even if that meant allying with dictators in remote countries of Africa — Washington has been frantically wooing Palau (population around 18,000) and other tiny Pacific Islands from Beijing’s embrace.

The basic argument for a hyper-hawkish policy toward China has been that China was rising fearsomely and that is what made it so dangerous. Prepare yourself for a new argument: China is declining precipitously and that is why it is so dangerous! So even if the facts are the opposite of what was previously asserted, the conclusion somehow remains the same.

In fact, while declining powers do sometimes pose a threat, the general and obvious rule remains that as countries grow rich and powerful, they try to expand their political and military reach. Moscow in the 1990s, when its economy was collapsing, allowed Ukraine to become independent. Vladimir Putin, flush from a decade of high energy prices, invaded Ukraine. Scholars have tracked Chinese foreign policy and found that it turns inward in periods of weakness and stress.

Let me be clear: China, with all its limitations, still presents a powerful challenge for the United States, the most serious long-term one by far. But right-sizing this threat and understanding it correctly are crucial to formulating the best strategy to tackle it. Instead, Washington’s conventional wisdom is still filled with exaggerated fears and fantasies of an enemy that is 10 feet tall.
Riaz Haq said…
How Xi Jinping Transformed China—and His Challenges Ahead
Key findings from The Wall Street Journal’s coverage as China’s leader looks to another five-year term

https://www.wsj.com/articles/xi-jinping-china-third-term-11666439758


As Xi Jinping locks in another five years as China’s leader, The Wall Street Journal examined the changes he wrought during his first decade in power—and the risks they pose for China and the world in his third term.

Here are some of the key findings.

1. Mr. Xi is driven to ensure China can win a possible confrontation with the West.

Mr. Xi has come to see the possibility of a showdown with the West as increasingly likely, according to people familiar with his thinking. That belief has added urgency to many of Mr. Xi’s biggest initiatives, including his push to expand China’s military, reduce China’s reliance on Western technologies, and take bold foreign-policy risks—including a crackdown on Hong Kong that drew harsh criticism from across the world.

Many experts fear Mr. Xi will next try to take the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan, a move that could destabilize the region and bring China into open conflict with the U.S.

2. Mr. Xi is more powerful than ever within China—but his purges of rivals come at a cost.

Mr. Xi became China’s most formidable leader in decades through an increasingly sophisticated campaign of anticorruption purges that sidelined opponents and suppressed potential challenges to his power. Few are beyond Mr. Xi’s reach—not even one of his oldest friends, Wang Qishan, who once ran Mr. Xi’s campaigns. Over the past two years, antigraft enforcers have increasingly gone after people inside Mr. Wang’s political and personal circles, curtailing his influence.

Mr. Xi’s antigraft purges have antagonized members of the political elite and discouraged lower-level officials from making decisions for fear of running afoul of Beijing.

The unrelenting purges could make China’s political system less resilient over time by leaving senior leaders less willing to challenge Mr. Xi and debate policies.

3. Mr. Xi’s prioritization of politics over economic goals is clouding China’s long-term growth prospects.

Mr. Xi has said he wants to double the size of China’s economy by 2035—a goal that would require China’s economy to grow an average of nearly 5% annually. But many economists now believe 5% won’t be achievable.

A major challenge, they say, is Mr. Xi’s insistence on greater state control at the expense of China’s more dynamic private sector.

That shift is a reversal of former leader Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening” process starting in 1978. It’s helping Mr. Xi achieve political objectives, including a redirection of capital into industries Beijing sees as strategically important as U.S.-China tensions deepen, like artificial intelligence.

But by carving out a bigger role for less-efficient state-owned enterprises, and putting private businesses at a disadvantage, Mr. Xi is exacerbating long-term problems for China, including slowdowns in productivity and wage growth.

4. Mr. Xi has extended the state deeper into citizens’ lives. Censorship and surveillance are making it hard to express opposition publicly.

Mr. Xi’s zero-tolerance policy toward Covid has pushed his controls over society to entirely new levels. Many people start their days with government-mandated Covid tests from workers in white hazmat suits. Without proof of a negative result, public spaces are off limits, including grocery stores. People who have merely crossed paths with people infected by the virus are often forced into quarantine.

Such measures are testing people’s faith in a government that is no longer delivering the rapid economic growth that underpinned popular support for decades.


Riaz Haq said…
Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of sustainable development at Columbia University, said he’s “pretty convinced” the virus came out of a “U.S. lab biotechnology,” although he added that “we don’t know for sure.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/josep-borrell-jeffrey-sachs-adviser-china-disinformation-us-covid-origin/

The latest effort by Sachs — a long-time advocate of dismantling American hegemony and embracing the rise of China — to put blame on U.S. labs has been circulated on Chinese social media, including by the Chinese embassy to France this week.


Sachs is engaged by the European Commission as a special adviser to foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to focus on “cooperation policy.”

Chinese diplomats have repeatedly accused the U.S. of developing biotechnology that transformed into the coronavirus, a claim rejected by the EU as disinformation. The World Health Organization chief last year complained that China was not transparent enough, saying there was a "premature push" to rule out the theory that the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan.

A spokesman for the EU’s foreign policy arm sought to draw distance from Sachs.

“Jeffrey Sachs is an external unpaid adviser of the HRVP [Borrell] … The external advisers are external, independent personalities. They are not EU officials. They therefore do not speak for the HRVP, nor for the Commission. Their views are their own,” the spokesman said, stressing that Sachs’ commitment was only for 20 working hours per year.

Contradicting Sachs’ latest speculation about the coronavirus’ origin, the EU spokesman said that “a laboratory accident has been categorized as extremely unlikely” according to a WHO study.

Sachs told POLITICO the virus "quite likely emerged from a U.S.-backed laboratory research program ... A natural spillover is also possible, of course. Both hypotheses are viable at this stage."

Riaz Haq said…
Watch Professor Jeffrey Sachs describe the US as “the most violent country in the world” and then get shockingly shut down at the Athens Democracy Forum.


https://johnmenadue.com/extraordinary-intervention-by-jeffrey-sachs-at-the-athens-democracy-forum/

Sach’s argues that what matters is a country’s unique governance culture: classifying countries in political systems (“liberal democracy or not”) is oversimplifying.

He doesn’t hold back when describing the US governance culture: “A semi-democratic white-dominated hierarchical racist society that aims to preserve privilege by the elites [and founded as] a slave-owning genocidal country”. Ouch!

That’s why he argues that “the biggest mistake of president Biden was to say ‘the greatest struggle of the world is between democracies and autocracies’.”

He adds: “The real struggle of the world is to live together and overcome our common crises” under thunderous applause.


He says “the solution in [this world] is to speak with each other more […] Our political elites in the US do not speak with Chinese political elites except to point fingers or to yell at them. […] If we would seat down to speak with each other, we’d actually get somewhere.”

Last but not least, he destroys the myth that “democracies” are more peaceful: “the most violent country in the world in the 19th century was the most democratic, Britain. The most violent country in the world since 1950 is the US”.


And he gets shockingly shut down by the host.

Here is the full video from the Athens Democracy Forum. (Use the toggle on the red line to skip to Jeffrey Sachs, who starts at 15 minutes).

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