Thoughts as I Watched the Revolution in Egypt…(Update 1X)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE  4/27/11

Well, Egypt  isn’t turning out so great…It’s all so predictable, isn’t it?  Any whiff of hope anywhere gets squelched real fast. 
And we’re now involved with Libya.  Meanwhile, the powers in Syria seem to be emulating the Libyan approach to dealing with protesters.

It’s like watching one disheartening train wreck after another.

Some personal train wrecks have taken me away from this blog…but, a rest still is in order.  It takes a lot of energy to fight the world these days!

One real positive is that our photovoltaic solar system is now up and running and yes, the meter is running backwards!  Have lots of pics and details which I hope to post one of these days!

*****

Nothing profound here to say, only an urge to write about my feelings as I’ve been sitting glued to Al Jazeera for days on end.

Today, I was clapping and cheering for the people of Egypt. A rush of feelings and memories flashed by.  I remembered 2000 as our elections were completely corrupted. (Some satisfaction as George W.  Bush is unable to go to Switzerland…war criminal that he is!)  I was thinking of the lies that led to the Iraq War and thought about the report I heard this morning on NPR about how there are fears that something may coalesce as the heat arrives and the electricity remains on only 2 hours a day. Protests percolating already around Iraq, and I say, go for it!

I’m finding myself coming back over and over again to about how the U.S. is perhaps going to get its ass kicked and deservedly so. They utter hypocrisy of the “democracy talk” as we sit here supporting repressive regimes all over the world.  We are a fraud when it comes to democracy.

My mind dwells on the right wing religious freaks and the Republican Party that has become their home who continue to attempt to screw women out of their rights and their independence as human beings, who basically are out to screw anything that helps people. And I’m supposed to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood while I live in a country that has it’s own brand of the Taliban roaming the halls of Congress??

I think of John Lennon. A site has “Revolution” up but I’m thinking of “Power to the People.” Is that the right title? I don’t know, but I can hear John singing it. Who really killed John Lennon? I’ve seen enough and read enough to figure it wasn’t just another “lone gunman.”

I’m sitting here, having celebrated my 60th birthday a few days ago….reflecting on the marches for women’s rights, the power of the movement, and how every time a fucking Republican comes along…with fake Democrats who assist…how every time we go BACKWARDS! And how backwards we have gone!  I think about the type of  “leadership” we have in this country…there are no real thinkers leading these days.  Between the servants of the bankers,  the increasingly shrill Republicans and passive Democrats…Jeebus, am I supposed to look at the Palins, Gingriches, Romneys and that Jeb Bush lurking in the corner and feel optimistic??  When I see how skillfully a Chris Christie can take a state like New Jersey and divide people into camps and blame all ills on teachers  and the people who do the day to day work to keep the place running?….disgusting!  Lying thuggery personified…and just the tip of the iceberg, I’m afraid. And Obama pontificating on democracy after Mubarak’s demise…what a load of crap.

I think about how we were supposed to get some “community radio” but all I hear is right wing shit talk radio all over the dial. People getting very little true news follow these propagandists for the right as they go about their highly-paid work to divide and conquer and sow the seed of intolerance and hate.

Yeah, I’m watching Egypt and cheering them on….but knowing full well that the arm of the IMF will probably soon reach in and grab them by the throat. Hell, we fund it and guess what? The IMF is talking about the dollar no longer being the reserve currency for the world. I’m just surprise all this is happening so quickly…Between the IMF and the Fed, Americans do not know how the world is getting screwed and how it’s going to come back to bite them.

Fat and unaware Americans will soon wake up to find that they are being ground down to a pulp.  Your dollars will be worthless soon.

We wrote a lot in the past about the impending disaster that was going to befall lthis nation.  There are many wonderful sites out there trying to wake people up. I read them every day…and spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to save my own financial neck.

Start stocking up on food, go to ChrisMartenson.com to start to try to prepare yourself (in right sidebar links).

And to the Egyptian people…stay strong, stay proud. I’m rooting for you…you’re starting fresh while the U.S. is rotting from the inside.  Note to the women there…get loud and don’t let them steamroller you…

“Hope and Change, Change and Despair” as Costa Rica Gets Crossed Off My List of Possible Escape Routes…

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Costa Rican Cloud Forest...Paradise Lost?

I haven’t posted in awhile…Life does get in the way sometimes.  And, quite frankly, I’m pretty turned off by what’s going on in this country.  Hope and Change got us Republican Lite;  now, we’re probably going to Change and Despair as the Republicans run on some sort of platform to “fix” what they had a large part of creating in terms of the bleak economic outlook for this country.

So, what’s person to do?  During the Bush years I longed to get the hell out of here.  During the Obama years, with debt crises all over the globe, there are few places that are worth looking at that would truly be considered “an escape.”  In the latest surge of desire to get out of this political hellhole of a country corporate  state (with way too many religious nutcases running around in D.C. and the military), I took the next step–I subscribed to International Living magazine after getting their dreamy free e-mail newsletter for years.

The folks over at IL actually discover places that are ripe for development that can lure Americans to the good life overseas.  One of the hottest places has been Costa Rica, which is now going  to be developed in the northern part of the country, complete with highway and airport, to facilitate the influx of ex-pats.

Costa Rica’s selling points are many:  lots of ecological areas preserved for eco-tourism; varied terrain, from beaches to mountains, temperate climate to tropical jungles; excellent healthcare (one facility has a direct link to Johns Hopkins back in the States), a commitment to renewable energy and a pacifist society which hasn’t used its resources to maintain a standing army.

Perfect!!!  HOWEVER, it seems the Mexican drug cartels are on the march in Costa Rica and….guess who may be offering “help”??

I haven’t gotten a mailing for ages from Truthout.org, but one popped in my box today with the story:

What the Heck Are US Marines Doing in Costa Rica? Obama’s Tilt to the Right on Latin America

Friday 06 August 2010

by: Nikolas Kozloff, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

SNIP

Perhaps, Costa Rica’s drug problem could be addressed through a combination of poverty alleviation and coastal interdiction. Indeed, for some time, Costa Rica has collaborated with the US Coast Guard. However, under the new arrangement, other branches of the American armed services are to be deployed. The US force which is called for is massive: a virtual flotilla of 46 warships accompanied by 7,000 Marines and five planes. Take a look at this footage of the USS Makin, and consider whether this huge aircraft carrier is best suited to combat drug trafficking or perhaps some other end.

According to the Navy’s own web site, the fearsome vessel “will also have secondary missions of sea control and power projection by helicopter and fixed-wing vertical short take-off and landing aircraft.” The euphemism “power projection” caught my attention in this instance. To be sure, the cartels are a menace, but there is also an increasingly inflammatory geopolitical context to consider. In light of military developments in Costa Rica, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder whether the US might have some kind of ulterior agenda.

The author has suspicions about the Obama Adminstration’s policies in Central America that echo what has happened in Latin America:

Moves to bring the US Navy to Costa Rica have sparked widespread suspicions that Washington is looking for a justification to remilitarize the Central American region.

“Power projection.” Doesn’t sound good to me…

Things are shifting down south…

For a brief moment, it might have looked like South America’s Pink Tide would sweep through Central America, propelling significant social and political change in the process. But with the South American left now facing its own significant challenges and internal problems, it’s unclear whether Central America’s social movements will get much of a long-term boost. Meanwhile, whatever Oliver Stone might claim about Obama’s true intentions, the US continues to play its same age-old game in Central America.

Sensing weakness, the pro-business right wing has made significant electoral inroads in Panama, Honduras and, now, Costa Rica. Allied to the military old guard and the US, this resurgent right poses a thorny problem for the left. You don’t need to tell that to Central American social movements, who recently met in the Nicaraguan capitol of Managua. There, activists denounced the “silent invasion” of US troops in Costa Rica, declared their opposition to worker repression in Panama and criticized the Lobo government in Honduras for its clampdown on the opposition.

So the question becomes, when does the “silent invasion” become something else? And Panama…well, that’s another haven that I seem to have to cross off my list…

Hey, I’m not a pot smoker, but if California does legalize marijuana use, I may have to move there and become one…it may be the only feasible way to escape!

Hope and Change; Change and Despair….seems to be all over the place these days…

***

Related Info:

U.S. Department of State section on Costa Rica

The Real Costa Rica (Blog by an ex-pat)

Costa Rica Photos from TrekEarth (gallery)

China is Iraq’s New Buddy–Writing off Iraq’s Debt and Getting Invited to Help Rebuild (And Don’t Forget–Their Oil Companies Are There, Not Ours)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

As the U.S. tries  to pull out the last of our troops in Iraq, here’s the irony of all ironies.  From Gulf News:

China could scrap Iraq’s $8.5b debt

Baghdad seeks investments from Beijing

Baghdad : China may write off all of Iraq’s $8.5 billion (Dh31.2 billion) of debt accrued under the rule of Saddam Hussain, Iraqi finance minister Baqer Al Zubaidi said yesterday.

“The Chinese government expressed readiness to write off $8.5 billion of debts owed by Iraq,” Al Zubaidi said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website yesterday.

Iraq is keen to see China play even a bigger role in the reconstruction of the war-torn country, the country’s top envoy to Beijing told the China Daily in an interview last week.

“After 2003, China has supported us very much and reduced Iraqi debts by 80 per cent, which is greatly appreciated,” Iraqi Ambassador to China, Mohammad Sabir Esmail, told the paper, referring to a $6.8-billion debt cut announced by China last month.

Esmail also invited Chinese companies to invest and operate in the country.

“I call on all Chinese companies to come and take up projects in rebuilding Iraq,” he told China Daily.

“China has many giant companies qualified to participate in rebuilding Iraq and… our country will remain a big workshop in the next 20 years,” he said.

Some Chinese firms, mainly in the energy and retail sectors, are already operating in Iraq.

These companies include oil giants such as PetroChina, Sinochem, CNOOC and Sinopec subsidiary Addax Petroleum.

MORE

Well, how about them apples?  All that killing of civilians, torture, multiple tours of duty, brain-traumatized U.S. soldiers returning home…and the Chinese are strolling into Iraq?

This comes on the heels of U.S. companies being shut out of oil contracts in December 2009:

U.S. Companies Shut Out as Iraq Auctions Its Oil Fields

By Vivienne Walt Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009

Those who claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 to get control of the country’s giant oil reserves will be left scratching their heads by the results of last weekend’s auction of Iraqi oil contracts: Not a single U.S. company secured a deal in the auction of contracts that will shape the Iraqi oil industry for the next couple of decades. Two of the most lucrative of the multi-billion-dollar oil contracts went to two countries which bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion — Russia and China — while even Total Oil of France, which led the charge to deny international approval for the war at the U.N. Security Council in 2003, won a bigger stake than the Americans in the most recent auction

So, it looks like Iraq has a budding friendship with China which continues to grab commodities with its masterful use of “soft diplomacy” (already doing the same thing in Africa) and now has a nice firm foothold right in the center of the action in the Middle East.

So, after seven years of mayhem and the draining of our national treasury, that’s the result.

Good work, Bush, Cheney, Rummy and Condi.

Condi is now regretting that the U.S. didn’t work more closely to rebuild Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam, but states that she’d still “liberate” the Iraqis and that George W. will be vindicated for his actions in the future.

More irony: she made her comments during a talk on “The Future of Asia” at the Chinese University of Hong Kong…

Sublime…

First Rumblings About Retirement Savings Plan in the State of the Union Address Tonight?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I won’t be watching the SOTU address tonight…sort of got out of the habit during the Bush years because I found him unbearable to watch and these days, the same thing applies to Obama…

A few days ago on an NPR report on the possible content of the SOTU speech I heard a passing reference to something about “retirement.” Having just completed two posts on the subject of IRAs and the talk about “encouraging workers” to sign up for a new savings program, my interest was piqued.

The New York Times also offered a preview of the speech and lo and behold!  there was a similar reference…in the first paragraph and later on (my bolding).

Obama to Offer Aid for Families in State of the Union Address

Published: January 24, 2010

WASHINGTON — President Obama will propose in his State of the Union address a package of modest initiatives intended to help middle-class families, including tax credits for child care, caps on some student loan payments and a requirement that companies let workers save automatically for retirement, senior administration officials said Sunday.

snip

Another of the president’s proposals, a cap on federal loan payments for recent college graduates at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, would cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion. The expanded financing to help families care for elderly relatives would cost $102.5 million — a pittance in a federal budget where programs are often measured in tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. And the automatic paycheck deduction program would simply be a way to encourage workers to save, and would include tax credits to help companies with administrative costs.

Might one of those companies be AIG?   See the previous posts on the matter, links below.

Now, of course, the reporter follows up this paragraph immediately with this (which sort of sounds like a bit of editorializing, no?):

Such programs are, notably, much less far-reaching than Mr. Obama’s expansive first-year agenda of passing an economic recovery package, bailing out the auto industry, overhauling the health care system, passing energy legislation and imposing tough new restrictions on banks. That agenda has left him vulnerable to criticism that he is using the government to remake every aspect of American society.

Well, it remains to be seen whether this “encouragement” will be “much less far-reaching” than the New York Times writer assumes.

As I mused in the last post I did on the subject, the idea may be a good one in theory, BUT…the devil is in the details. And those details involve how much money is involved and which companies will be getting all those tax credits.  It seems to me that we might be looking at lots of nice credits being passed around as well as lots of fees that will cut into the amount of money that actually gets saved.    Sort of like Medicare Part D wound up…companies charging a bundle so we can have the honor of a prescription “plan” that often winds up charging about the same than what someone paid with a discount card and no premiums before Big Pharma got involved!

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this in the future, unless it’s stuck in another bill somewhere where the sun don’t shine…

RELATED POSTS

The Next Shoe to Drop: IRA Grab Being Set Up NOW–Heads Up! (UPDATE 1X) January 14, 2010

More on the Possible IRA Grab–What the Vision Is and Who’s Behind It January 19, 2010

// //

‘Tis the Season for a Senate Full of Pissed-off People and Obama’s “Parody Of Leadership”

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

The irony is just too much to ignore!  In this season of “joy” and “love” many of us are pissed off, including the jerks in the U.S. Senate.  Of course, the bigger irony is Mr. Hope and Change, who ran against all that nasty partisan rancor, has exhibited such a lack of leadership that the crap has mushroomed into a state of more partisanship than ever!

And it’s clear enough even for The New York Times, which published this story a couple of days ago:

Senate Debate on Health Care Exacerbates Partisanship

Published: December 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — Nasty charges of bribery. Senators cut off midspeech. Accusations of politics put over patriotism. Talk of double-crosses. A nonagenarian forced to the floor after midnight for multiple procedural votes.

In the heart of the holiday season, Senate Republicans and Democrats are at one another’s throats as the health care overhaul reaches its climactic votes. A year that began with hopes of new post-partisanship has indeed produced change: Things have gotten worse.

Enmity and acrimony are coursing through a debate with tremendous consequences for both sides as well as for the legislative agenda in the months ahead.

Should Democrats prevail, it will put an exclamation point on an eventful first year of their control of Congress and the White House and leave Republicans on the Napoleonic side of what one predicted could be President Obama’s Waterloo. A Republican victory would invigorate an opposition party that was back on its heels at the beginning of 2009 and would strike a crushing blow to Democrats and their claims to governing.

The toxic atmosphere is evident on the floor, on television talk shows and in the hallways of the Capitol.

Poor Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter is lamenting the horrible atmosphere (as well as his own probable regrets that he didn’t stay a Republican?)…

Obama has let the whole affair turn into a food fight.  Aloof  through months of this unfolding mess, probably really crapping in his pants now about the state of his Presidency.

So, we’re all just plain stuck in the morass of a country that is a shell of what it was.

Sigh.

On the subject of leadership, Robert Samuelson has a column excoriating our beloved leader. From The Washington Post (my bolding):

Passing health reform could be a nightmare for Obama

By Robert Samuelson

Monday, December 21, 2009

Barack Obama’s quest for historic health-care legislation has turned into a parody of leadership. We usually associate presidential leadership with the pursuit of goals that, though initially unpopular, serve America’s long-term interests. Obama has reversed this. He’s championing increasingly unpopular legislation that threatens the country’s long-term interests. “This isn’t about me,” he likes to say, “I have great health insurance.” But of course, it is about him: about the legacy he covets as the president who achieved “universal” health insurance. He’ll be disappointed.

snip

So Obama’s plan amounts to this: partial coverage of the uninsured; modest improvements (possibly) in their health; sizable budgetary costs worsening a bleak outlook; significant, unpredictable changes in insurance markets; weak spending control. This is a bad bargain. Health benefits are overstated, long-term economic costs understated. The country would be the worse for this legislation’s passage. What it’s become is an exercise in political symbolism: Obama’s self-indulgent crusade to seize the liberal holy grail of “universal coverage.” What it’s not is leadership.

Not just a “nightmare” for Obama, Mr. Samuelson. I don’t know what you would put in it’s place, but I agree, this is just a load of crap.

Well, “he’ll be disappointed.”  He won’t be any more disappointed that all of us who watched this fiasco in it’s nascent stages during the 2008 primaries and on to the White House.  His and the Democrats’ “goals” basically boil down to further entrenching our “business-oriented, non-system,” with a stamp of approval on crapping on women thrown in for good measure,  and who the hell cares about health care??  Republicans see it as a great way to win back power, but you think they would change much for YOUR benefit???  HAH!!  (See what’s going on in New Jersey with Republican governor-elect Christie?  Sounds EXACTLY like Bush…)

What a complete waste of a golden opportunity, post-Bush.

Do Democrats ALWAYS have to screw it up??

China Solar Panel Maker (Who Already Has Installed a Solar Farm On a U.S. Military Base), Now Sets Up 1st U.S. Plant

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I just watched a BBC America show about the reticent Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and over the last couple of days on NPR radio, the Stardate segments have been devoted to the anniversary of  the Apollo 12 mission when Pete Conrad (the third man to make that walk) and Alan Bean made a pinpoint landing of the lunar module to test  “precise landing techniques” that would be used in future missions.

"The Surveyor 3 spacecraft sits silently in a small lunar crater, with the Apollo 12 lunar module on the crater's rim in the background. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean landed just a few hundred feet from Surveyor 3 in November 1969 to test the precise landing techniques that would be needed for future missions."--Stardate.org

We can’t do solar panels here?

***

Early last week I posted this comment by Zachary Karabell, who appeared on CNBC (See: Larry Kudlow Has a Fit as Obama the “Declinist” Opens His Mouth in Japan; Says Obama is “Not His President”):

And he said that if we want China to continue to “hitch” themselves to us more, we’re not supposed to freak out if China wants to buy businesses HERE and not have a “knee-jerk xenophobic response.”

Well, here’s a story that will not make people happy, even though it may help us ultimately less dependent on foreign oil. Of course, we may become dependent on NEW environmental technology from foreign sources, but…

From Business Week (my bolding):

China Solar Panel Maker Sets First U.S. Plant

Suntech Power aims to boost its share of the U.S. market with a solar-panel manufacturing plant to be built in Arizona

China’s Suntech Power Holdings (STP) is no newcomer to the U.S. Last May, President Barack Obama toured the U.S.’s largest solar panel installation at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. There, row upon row of shiny black Suntech panels account for about a third of the 14-megawatt solar farm.

Suntech landed that project the same way it has raced to the top of the fast-growing global solar market: by focusing on price and scale. Now the world’s largest supplier of solar panels is boosting its stake in the U.S. market.

On Nov. 16 in Beijing, the company announced its first American manufacturing plant. The facility, to be located in the Phoenix area, will begin production by next October. “The U.S. market is on the cusp of greatness,” says Steven Chan, Americas president and chief strategy officer for Suntech. With the announcement, Suntech becomes the first major Chinese cleantech player to bring factory j obs to the U.S.

MMMM...wonder how many MORE major Chinese players will be arriving? And on U.S. military bases? (Of course, wasn’t there a flap over Bill Clinton selling military technology to China way back when?)

Now, there are some in Congress that are afraid our home-grown “green manufacturing jobs” won’t get a chance to get off the ground if this sort of thing happens on a regular basis. Sure, the Chinese are manufacturing here, but the factory jobs are THEIR creation, not jobs created by  a  home-grown company.

Obama’s visit to China focusing on collaboration in green technologies. Suntech’s move may soften criticism from U.S. lawmakers worried that low-cost factories in China will snare new green manufacturing jobs before they even have a chance to take root in the U.S. “[Suntech’s] decision to bring manufacturing here to the U.S. is a great sign of the increasingly important collaboration between Chinese and American leaders in the renewable-energy industry,” said Dan Kammen, a professor in the energy and resources group at the University of California at Berkeley, in a statement provided by Suntech.

Gee…that Berkley prof can’t write his own statement??

According to the article, most of the grants the U.S. issues for “cleantech” is winding up overseas:

Suntech’s investment comes as anxieties are rising in Washington over foreign domination of the U.S. cleantech space. In late October the announcement of a Chinese-U.S. consortium planning to build a wind park in Texas using imported Chinese turbines led to calls that federal subsidies should be pulled from the project.The same month, a report from the Investigative Reporting Workshop found that in the wind sector, where foreign manufacturers dominate the market, overseas companies have received 84% of more than $1 billion in federal clean-energy grants released since Sept. 1. The study did not focus on solar energy, but the majority of solar panels are also produced by European and Asian companies.

Texas?  Well, naturally…I’d bet that the George Bushes I & II are involved somehow, what with their long-time ties to China…Between them and their heir Barack Obama, things are proceeding very nicely…

In light of my previous post about growing U.S. unemployment, pardon me if I query: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??

(Well, we’re going to build electric cars with the Chinese, for one thing…)

***

Editor’s Note: I loved the space program and now live where Pete Conrad lived…and remember when this irrepressible spirit, who shouted “Whoopee” as he hopped around the moon’s surface, died in a motorcycle crash in California 10 years ago this past July (pictures on this memoria page). (He also rode 2 Gemini missions and Skylab I.)

China Called “The Biggest Risk to the World Economy” But History Shows that War Can Always Straighten This Sort of Situation Out (Update 1X: China Missile = “No-Go Zone” for U.S.?)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We’ve be writing later about the strength of China, but lately there has been some talk rising about a possible bubble being created in China.  In the Telegraph (U.K.),  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has written a piece which looks at what’s going on titled China has now become the biggest risk to the world economy.

This article shed a totally different light on the views of Larry Kudlow that I wrote about in my previous post, Larry Kudlow Has a Fit as Obama the “Declinist” Opens His Mouth in Japan; Says Obama is “Not His President”.

Evans-Pritchard argues that China is not going to take over as the growth engine of the world economy.  I’ve heard quite often that China cannot pull the world out of its economic troubles.  The stats that I’ve seen indicate that China, no matter how robust, simply is still too small an economy to accomplish this.

Evans-Pritchard has concluded that China’s policies” continue to play havoc with global trade and risk tipping the world into a second leg of the Great Recession.”

Why?  According to the piece, there’s plenty of overcapacity in China.  I saw a report the other day showing empty structures, built for basically no use.  The article explains:

“The inherent problems of the international economic system have not been fully addressed,” said China’s president Hu Jintao. Indeed not. China is still exporting overcapacity to the rest of us on a grand scale, with deflationary consequences.

While some fret about liquidity-driven inflation, Justin Lin, World Bank chief economist, said the greater danger is that record levels of idle plant almost everywhere will feed a downward spiral of job cuts and corporate busts. “I’m more worried about deflation,” he said.

Paul Krugman is quoted in this piece and he explains that China’s policy to hold the value of the yuan down versus the dollar is basically “stealing American jobs” as it relies on cheap exports to stave off massive unemployment. And other Asian countries must do it, too.

Of course, our capitalists use the cheap labor in China and, as the author says, “then lobby Capitol Hill to prevent Congress doing anything about it. This is labour arbitrage.”

But, China doesn’t hold all the cards, although it seems that way.  Evans-Pritchard writes:

Washington can bring China to its knees at any time by shutting markets. There is no symmetry here. Any move by Beijing to liquidate its holdings of US Treasuries could be neutralized – in extremis – by capital controls. Well-armed sovereign states can do whatever they want.

So, what’s the situation in China?  Their much-heralded stimulus has been spent building up more capacity to ship more goods and they’ve been investing in property and stocks. There is a huge credit explosion and production is booming.  BUT, Evans-Pritchard reveals:

Once you know that Hunan authorities have torn down two miles of modern flyway so that they can soak up stimulus by building it again, or that the newly-built city of Ordos is sitting empty in Inner Mongolia, you know what must come next.

A crash, right??

The Chinese consumer is supposed to be the solution to all this overcapacity and oversupply, but it won’t happen overnight.  Meanwhile, China’s central bank is tightening and fewer loans are being issued.

Evans-Pritchard concludes:

The world economy is still skating on thin ice. The West is sated with debt, the East with plant. The crisis has been contained (or masked) by zero rates and a fiscal blast, trashing sovereign balance sheets. But the core problem remains. The Anglo-sphere and Club Med are tightening belts, yet Asia is not adding enough demand to compensate. It is adding supply.

My view is that markets are still in denial about the structural wreckage of the credit bubble. There are two more boils to lance: China’s investment bubble; and Europe’s banking cover-up. I fear that only then can we clear the rubble and, very slowly, start a fresh cycle.

In my earlier post, I included the quote by Obama that Kudlow ridiculed:

While he also talked of multilateral cooperation and human rights, he came to Asia to deliver the message that the rapidly growing export-driven economies can no longer count on the U.S. consumer to keep them afloat.

It seemed a bit arrogant, particularly because Obama hasn’t really been pushing China much:

As for Obama, during the presidential campaign Obama promised to “crack down on China” but during the primaries there was chatter: “But his commitment to that point of view was thrown into doubt during the primaries when a Canadian official said an Obama adviser had privately characterized his tough stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement as political posturing.” (As an example, see: U.S. to Impose Tariff on Tires From China, Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2009.  Detractors figure that “the tariff won’t result in more jobs. Tires will simply come in from other low-cost countries, they say, and U.S. manufacturers, keep making their cheaper tires in China.”) Of course, this is classic Obama…all that “get-tough” talk and “insisting” while we have to go “hat in hand” to China…more blowing smoke.

But Evans-Pritchard comments (above) about Washington’s ability to really shove are food for thought. To repeat, “Well-armed sovereign states can do whatever they want.”

Now, I’m not suggesting Barack Obama is going to start a “real” war with China.  I don’t even think a sane Repbulican would.  (Then again, the Chosen One may just be arrogant enough????)

But, what about an INSANE Republican or Democrat, for that matter, since the elite in Washington are all about the same?  George W. Bush and his oil buddies decided to mess around in Iraq and look what we’re stuck with.  (George and his father were too busy with their long-time ties to China, so Iraq filled the bill for George II.) Barack Obama is worrying about that pipeline in Afghanistan that’s attacked so often by the Taliban that it hasn’t even been able deliver any oil yet.

But, there are lots of INSANE Republicans and Democrats around and who can trust ANY of them?

And, there’s history which shows a link between trade and wars.

Over at the RGE Monitor, Kevin O’Rourke wrote in a 2008 piece  titled Lessons of 1000 Years of Trade History: (my bolding)

Even more fundamentally, the continuation of a broadly liberal international trading environment will require that the geopolitical system adapt to the rise of China, India and other ‘Third World’ giants.  In a historical context, this represents of course the restoration of the status quo ante, the end of a “Great Asymmetry” in international economic and political affairs caused by the Industrial Revolution, which was itself in large part a product of the interactions between early modern Europe and the rest of the world.  But that is not to say that such an adjustment will be easy.  The international system has historically done a pretty poor job of accommodating newcomers to the Great Power club. German unification and industrialisation during the late 19th century led to tensions with Britain and France over colonial and armament policy, while Japan’s rise to regional prominence during the interwar period, and its search for secure sources of raw materials, ended in war against United States and its allies.  Both precedents are worrying, in that similar questions are posed today, both in terms of the rights of emerging nations to rival the established powers’ military capabilities (notably with regard to nuclear weapons), and in terms of the strategic importance to countries like China of ready access to oil supplies and other natural resources.

The last point should cause us to reflect that, Cobden and Montesquieu notwithstanding, interdependence and trade do not necessarily guarantee peace.  The world economy of the late 19th century was extremely interdependent, to the point where Norman Angell famously felt able to pronounce, on the eve of World War I, that major conflict was now unthinkable.  Interdependence implies vulnerability, and vulnerability can lead to fear, with unpredictable consequences, as Anglo-German rivalry in the run-up to the Great War, and Japanese reactions to the Great Depression and Smoot-Hawley, both indicate.

Impermanence appears to be the most enduring feature of the human condition, and if there is one lesson which we can safely learn from history, it is that history has not ended.  Hopefully it will not repeat itself.

We know that Barack Obama knows nothing about history (in fact, dismissing the entire Viet Nam experience), and I’d bet that none of our future leaders will know it either. And, even if they DO, I doubt they’d actually pay any attention to any lessons to be learned.

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UPDATE 1

Looks like China isn’t missing this military angle:

Related Story from Bloomberg News, November 17, 2009 (excerpt):

China’s New Missile May Create a ‘No-Go Zone’ for U.S. Fleet

China’s military is close to fielding the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, according to U.S. Navy intelligence.The missile, with a range of almost 900 miles (1,500 kilometers), would be fired from mobile, land-based launchers and is “specifically designed to defeat U.S. carrier strike groups,” the Office of Naval Intelligence reported.

Five of the U.S. Navy’s 11 carriers are based in the Pacific and operate freely in international waters near China. Their mission includes defending Taiwan should China seek to exercise by force its claim to the island democracy, which it considers a breakaway province.

The missile could turn this region into a “no-go zone” for U.S. carriers, said Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budget Assessments in Washington. (MORE)

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