Monday, July 15, 2019

America, as seen from Beijing

A fly-on-the-wall account of what China tells visiting American bigwigs

A bit late, China’s leaders are starting to accept that their trade war with President Donald Trump is only one element of a larger crisis in relations with America—and not the most dangerous one. The leaders understand that their critics within America’s foreign-policy and national-security machine—meaning aides to Mr Trump, members of both parties in Congress and officers in the State Department, Pentagon, spy agencies and beyond—want China to change its ways. They also believe (or hope) that Mr Trump wants something different, and perhaps less painful for them: to show voters the spectacle of China losing a trade fight with him.

China’s rulers now accept that they face more than a Trump problem. They concede that bipartisan suspicion of China in America will intensify in the run-up to the elections of November 2020, and will continue afterwards, whoever wins. They absorbed that message during visits by high-ranking Americans, including Mr Trump’s officials, business bosses and veterans of Republican and Democratic governments. Dismayingly, they show no sign of accepting that China’s own actions are in any way to blame.

Chinese leaders believe that America’s policy machine wants them to change principles that have guided China’s rise for 20 years. They protest that these demands cut to the heart of China’s model of development. They are not entirely wrong. Such figures as the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, have drawn up a charge sheet of Chinese norms and practices deemed intolerable now that China is so large, and so competitive in so many fields. Mr Lighthizer has allies in Congress, from both parties. They want China to abandon its model of state capitalism, with its subsidies for local champions, arm-twisting transfers of technology, curbs on market access and politicised regulation. Mr Lighthizer has proposed enforcement and verification mechanisms that Chinese figures indignantly compare to the inspections that underpinned cold-war arms-control agreements. No Chinese leader, it is said, could accept such a humiliation—any more than they will tolerate American moves to strangle Huawei, a telecommunications giant that is central to China’s plans to become a standard-setting tech superpower.

There is much Chinese grumbling about security hawks working for Mr Trump, from his national security adviser, John Bolton, to military commanders. The hawks are accused of breaking understandings about support for Taiwan, the democratic island that China claims as its own. The Chinese side thinks that Mr Trump was bullied by hawks into walking out on North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, at their summit in Hanoi in February. It is no accident that China’s president, Xi Jinping, decided to pay a state visit to North Korea, shortly before attending a G20 summit in Japan which Mr Trump will also join. Chinese officials gasped when Mr Trump threatened to slap extra tariffs on China if Mr Xi did not agree to meet him on the G20’s sidelines. Japan’s prime minister might swallow an American insult like that, growl Chinese sources, but not us. By visiting Pyongyang first (he arrived on June 20th), Mr Xi reminded Mr Trump that China’s leader is an indispensable diplomatic actor, not a junior partner in a trade dispute.

Chinese policy types obsess over the idea that Team Trump is not engaged in a sincere negotiation, but is seeking to contain a rising China. They complain about shifting American demands. At first China was told that the problem was the trade balance, and offered to buy American goods. Then economic rules and norms were called the crux of the dispute. So China prepared to negotiate, drawing up a 150-page draft agreement. Then, as the Chinese side tells it, Mr Xi realised that America’s plan amounted to an assault on Chinese sovereignty, rejected it and has since been cheered within his own system for his stand. There is muttering, in contrast, about Mr Xi’s chief economic aide and trade envoy, Liu He. Mr Liu, a deputy prime minister, is accused of lacking political sense.

Mr Trump is not a leader in thrall to principles. That is why the Chinese side hopes, in essence, that he could accept a trade deal which breaks Mr Lighthizer’s heart, and a North Korean pact that leaves Mr Bolton miserable, as long as those deals bring him applause from voters. Mr Xi, it is said, believes that Mr Trump does not want to decouple America’s economy from China’s—except in the production of some sensitive technology. But Mr Xi does worry that America’s president could be hijacked by hardline advisers. If no reasonable deal can be struck, Chinese hosts tell Americans, Mr Xi will wait for the election in November 2020 to produce a different president. They express confidence that relief will come sooner, because Mr Trump needs votes from farm states hurt by the tariff wars, and is desperate to keep the stockmarket roaring.

Imperialists never change

Doubts lurk amid the bluster. In public Chinese officials say that Mr Trump needs a deal to win in 2020. In private they ask whether, perhaps, American voters might prefer to see him fight on. They admit to bafflement over some of Mr Trump’s sallies, such as when he told Fox News that he could not accept a “50-50 deal” with China, but had to come out ahead. To Chinese ears, that was fantastically unhelpful. It recalled the “unequal treaties” imposed by 19th-century powers which every Chinese schoolchild is taught to hate. Mr Trump has said that he will not let China become the world’s largest economy in his lifetime. Does he mean these things, Chinese hosts ask, or is this all domestic politics?

Doubts have consequences. To prepare Chinese public opinion for a long trade stand-off, propaganda chiefs have abandoned months of restraint and told state media to start thundering about American bullying. Stoking nationalism is a familiar Chinese ploy. But it has real-world effects, too. As China reduces its own room for manoeuvre, it risks forcing Mr Trump to concede ground to China to secure a deal. Meanwhile his chaotic style is straining China’s system to its limits. The mood in Beijing is anxious, with reason.



Democrats Double Down On Hating America

Kurt Schlichter

You gotta hand it to them – it’s an innovative strategy to run for President by taking the position that your country is garbage and that its are people deplorable monsters. It’ll be interesting to see how the Democrats fare on their “America sucks!” platform. The last week has seen Team Donkey take brave stands against the flag and celebrating our military, and you would half expect them to next advocate something insanely suicidal, like taking your health insurance or forcing you to pay for illegal aliens’ doctors.

Oh wait, that happened too.

Who are these lunatics? Do they really think this is going to play in America as well as it does in Chicago, Manhattan and Scat Francisco?

They do. But it’s not.

Not that they would know it, since they don’t know any real Americans. The current Democrat Party consists of hipster geebos, race hustlers, pierced campus mutants, bitter middle-aged divorcées who teach high school, tech twerps and uninvited foreigners who shouldn’t even be here. The libs will be shocked to learn that real Americans love America.

Their platform, carried out by the carnival freakshow that is the Democrat Party and its allies in the media and in the woke corporations, is part of a greater strategy. It’s to denigrate and then destroy what makes America America, to steal our story from us and replace it with a bogus legacy of oppression and misery. They want to impose upon us a new narrative of a morally stained America unworthy of respect or gratitude, and guess who will be the heroes of that new narrative…

Not the armed Americans who shot the British king’s thugs.

Not the heroic pioneers who civilized the West.

Not the captains of industry who took a primitive backwater and made it the most prosperous and freest nation in human history.

Not the warriors who won at Gettysburg and Normandy.

Not you.

Them. Yes, the very same Social Justice Weasels who try to rip down everything that is great about America will be the new heroes of this new story. They are the ones with the courage to nag, pester, whine and complain about this country. That’s it. That’s their contribution. Our proposed new heroes are people who never made anything but fools of themselves.

Where is their parade, damnit?

Oh, and you’ll be the story’s villain.

That is, if you let them write you out of your own history. And the indications are that you’re not going to.

We saw the pushback when that cop killer-loving, commie thug-slurping, stupid hair-having bad quarterback got fussy over an old flag, and his ridiculous corporate employer went along with it. We were supposed to accept this latest ratchet left of the Overton Window of America-hating as an old version of the flag was declared “offensive” in anticipation of the predictable next move, when our 50-star Old Glory will get the same treatment. But it didn’t work this time. We laughed at them, and other companies came out with flag-themed footwear.

I went to get new gym shoes and walked right by the Nike display. The hell with them. Let them become niche kicks for jerks. And I’m not the only one. We’re not playing anymore. We’re tired of this.

On the Fourth, we were fed the lie that recognizing our military on a holiday made possible by Americans with rifles hunting oppressors for sport was some sort of prelude to dictatorship, though in fairness the Trumpian dictatorship has allegedly been descending upon America for the last two-and-a-half years, though it never seems to actually arrive. Dummy journalists journalisted about tanks in the streets of our nation’s capital, compounding their dumb by calling everything with armor and tracks a “tank.” “That’s a Bradley, not a tank” became the new “It’s a republic, not a democracy” as we merrily schooled these pompous goofs. One idiot who is a professor at Harvard, but I repeat myself, noted the eerie parallels to Tiananmen Square, which was quite a trick since there were none. We laughed at him too, and watched the President speak and the B-2/F-22 flyover and embraced the awesomeness that is America.

I think we’ve decided that we’ve had enough of this crap, but I don’t think the liberals understand how annoyed we are. Shhhh. Don’t tell them.

Instead, they are continuing to battle over the relatively tiny America-hating slice of the electorate while Trump is gathering up the patriots. Here’s a quick quiz: Name the Democrat running for president who would be willing to unequivocally say aloud what is the indisputable truth – that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth.

None of them will.

Not one.

Not the furry.

Not Chief Spitting Bull.

Not Groovy Hippie Lady.

Not Spartacus.

Not crusty Curb Your Socialism guy.

Not the political gold-digger who wants to bring back busing because of course she does.

Not even Gropey Floppy Sleepy Joe.

And none of them will ever take America’s side in a fight.

Euroweenies won’t foot the bill for their own NATO defense? The real problem is Trump telling them to pay up.

Chinese pillaging our intellectual property and imposing its “Heads China Wins, Tails America Loses” trade policies? The real problem is Trump fighting back with tariffs.

Iran getting uppity? The real problem is Trump wasn’t sucking up to the mullahs enough.

And Russia? The most amusing part of the last week had to be Totally Not Senile Joe explaining how the Russians had hacked our last election and how that would never have happened if he had been Veep. Oh, to be able to listen in on the voices echoing around in his head…

Poor Joe, trying to compete in the Democrat Party’s primary woke-stakes but not understanding that he can never be woke enough. There’s always someone who will go woker. “Detention camps are bad? Oh yeah, well I’ll raise you – now they’re concentration camps! And you’re racist!”

Just think if Joe had been smart, brave, and tough enough to look over at the other weirdos, losers and mutations on that stage and say, “Are you people crazy? A Biden administration will not take your health insurance. It’s not going to open the borders and it’s not going to ask Americans to pay for illegal aliens’ – yeah, illegal aliens – health care. We’re not doing reparations or free college for gender studies majors or climate panicking. Oh, and America is the greatest nation on earth.” He would immediately win over the people who have doubts about Trump but a certainty about the America-hating nimrods that AOC’s party is pushing – the certainty that these idiots can never be trusted with power.

Luckily for Trump, it won’t happen. Good-Guy-To-Have-A-Beer-With Joe is long gone, like the wrinkles he had Botoxed away in preparation for this last disastrous White House run. Joe was the Democrat’s final chance to run a major candidate who likes America and likes Americans. Now one of the two major American political parties is all-in on hating the USA and hating you.

“America is terrible!” That’s a great slogan for winning in Santa Monica and Brooklyn, but not so great for winning in America.



Anti-Trump Shoppers Call For Boycott Of Home Depot Over Founder’s Support For Trump

Political boycotts rarely achieve anything.  If they look like having an effect, members of the opposite party will rally to support of the targeted businesses.  Chick Fil A did well out of boycotts

The #BoycottHomeDepot hashtag trended on Twitter as a virtual battle erupted over the news that the company’s co-founder Bernie Marcus plans to support President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

In an interview that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published at the weekend, the 90-year-old billionaire praised Trump for having “a businessman’s common sense approach to most things.”

“Now, do I agree with every move that he makes? No, I don’t,” said Marcus, who retired from his role as chairman at the home improvement supplies store in 2002. “But the truth is he has produced more than anybody else. He has,” Marcus added. “If we look at this country, I would say that we are better off today than we were eight years ago or six years ago.”

Marcus reportedly donated $7 million to Trump’s 2016 campaign, when he also penned an essay for RealClearPolitics explaining why he stood “ready to help” the then-reality television personality “at every turn.”

That also sparked calls for a boycott.

Marcus has donated $2 billion to philanthropic causes during his lifetime, reported the AJC, and on his death some 80% to 90% of his estimated $5.9 billion fortune will be used for similar ends.

His backing of Trump has divided people on Twitter over the last week, where some people have demanded a boycott of the store and others have sprung to its defense.

A Home Depot representative told MarketWatch on Monday that Marcus “isn’t speaking on behalf of the company.”



Conservatism Healthier Than Beltway Pundits Believe

The majority of the most popular governors just happen to be Republican governors.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty recently wrote an interesting piece wherein he notes that, contrary to much of the mainstream media’s political assumptions, “conservative ideas and policies are doing just fine beyond the nation’s capital.” As evidence, Geraghty points to the increasing number of states whose Republican governors enjoy positive favorable polling numbers. Even more impressive is that three of the four Republicans with the highest approval rating are governors of blue states — Charlie Baker (MA), Larry Hogan (MD), and Chris Sununu (NH).

The reason Republican governors have been doing so well in blue states, Geraghty theorizes, is due to the nature of conservatism. Rather than seeking to push for massive government-led changes, these Republican governors tend to act more as a check against Democrat excess. Geraghty notes that some Republican governors “support and try to enact policies that are explicitly conservative,” but that “guys like Baker and Hogan act as a conservative check on more liberal state legislators.”

As far as policy goes, conservative tax policies have gained in favorability among the states, as 16 states passed large tax cuts in 2018 alone. These cuts amount to an estimated $1.7 billion in combined savings for Americans in those states.

A final interesting note is that since much of the mainstream media is so focused on the political drama in Washington, state-level policy news is often ignored. And this is where conservatism, outside the hyper-partisan spotlight, most thrives at doing the work of good governing.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: