Category Archives: U.S.

The Worrying Rise of Anti-China Discourse in the US | The Diplomat

There is no doubt that U.S.-China relations are entering a new period of tensions given reports that the United States is considering the possibility of sending naval ships and planes to challenge China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea. This U.S. move, if realized, is certainly provocative and has the potential to lead to a clash with Chinese ships and planes.

So far a lot of analysis has focused on the possible motivations behind the U.S. move and the possible consequences thereof for China-U.S. relations and Asian security. Almost all would agree that this move, whether right or wrong, is a risky one and worrying indeed.

To better understand this particular military move, one has to understand the larger background for all of the current developments in China-U.S. relations. This larger background is the new, rising anti-China discourse in various circles of the United States, including the government, academic, policy, and certainly military spheres. Three types of anti-China discourses stand out.

The Worrying Rise of Anti-China Discourse in the US | The Diplomat

America’s ‘China Consensus’ Implodes | The National Interest

“core assumptions that have guided a bipartisan China policy for eight presidencies, from Nixon to Obama are unraveling.”

In recent weeks a tsunami of papers, reports and articles have surfaced calling for a rethinking of U.S. policy toward China. They veer in all policy directions from reconciling differences and forming an Asia-Pacific community, to containment and confrontation. But they all reflect a troubling epiphany that has seized attention from policy-watchers: core assumptions that have guided a bipartisan China policy for eight presidencies, from Nixon to Obama are unraveling. One prominent China scholar has even boldly pronounced that we are witnessing is “the beginning of the end of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Regardless of which assessment is correct, there appears a growing view that the current U.S.-China relationship, one partly cooperative and partly competitive may not be sustainable. Whether Washington and Beijing can find pathways that tilt the relationship more toward the cooperative than the competitive elements of the relationship is really part of a larger challenge facing the United States: how to accommodate U.S. interests to a transforming world in a static international system but an increasingly polycentric world where power is diffused.

America’s ‘China Consensus’ Implodes | The National Interest

There is little indication that Washington and Beijing are anywhere close to moving toward a more cooperative relationship. If anything, the opposite is true. The US is moving to confront China’s naked sea grab of the South China Sea by building its own islands. And apparently China is responding by increasing the number (to three) of nuclear warheads on many of its ICBMs. This will probably increase China’s warheads capable of hitting the US from about 400 to 800. And that assessment could potentially be 10 times too low because no one knows how many missiles China really has.

Let us not forget, because I certain don’t, that revenge burns in the heart of many Chinese. Revenge for western and Japanese treatment of China during the last 150 years. And this burning revenge does not exactly promote the idea of cooperation now that China is passing (economically) the US. Now the student is the master.

Now we have reached a tipping point where even the experts are finally starting to understand: Hey, what we are doing is not working. Maybe we need to try something else.

US showdown with Beijing looms over Chinese military build-up | The Australian

Momentum is building strongly in Washington for the US to confront China over its construction of military capable runways on ­artificial islands as part of massive land reclamation projects in disputed territories in the South China Sea, according to senior Washington sources.

The Abbott government would be almost certain to provide diplomatic support to such an American move, which would inevitably provoke new tensions in Can­berra’s relations with Beijing.

The Americans are planning a freedom of navigation exercise that would involve one or more US ships sailing within 12 nautical miles of territory in the South China Sea which Beijing claims. It could also involve US aircraft flying over the artificial islands.

The US would do this to establish freedom of navigation and freedom of the air and to demonstrate that it rejects the militarisation of the South China Sea implied by Beijing’s construction of the airstrips, including one of 3000m length, in disputed territory.

US showdown with Beijing looms over Chinese military build-up | The Australian

China warns U.S. surveillance plane – CNNPolitics.com

“He added that China’s aggressive growth hints at a broader trend as the Asian economic superpower continues to expand its influence and strength – one that Morell said could “absolutely” lead to war between the U.S. and China.”

China’s alarming creation of entirely new territory in the South China Sea is one part of a broader military push that some fear is intended to challenge U.S. dominance in the region. Beijing is sailing its first aircraft carrier; equipping its nuclear missiles with multiple warheads; developing missiles to destroy us warships; and, now, building military bases far from its shores.

That’s exactly what Morell warned may be coming if China continues down its current path. He warned on CNN that “there’s a real risk, when you have this kind of confrontation, for something bad happening.”

He added that China’s aggressive growth hints at a broader trend as the Asian economic superpower continues to expand its influence and strength — one that Morell [Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell] said could “absolutely” lead to war between the U.S. and China.

Exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane – CNNPolitics.com

America in 2015: An Aristocracy?

In the 2014 federal elections, a staggering 96% of all incumbents were reelected, despite the fact the body had a disapproval rating of 83% heading into the vote.  How can this be?  If the people are so dissatisfied with their representatives and the people have the power to vote them out of office, why would they choose to reelect virtually all of them?

In a word: Money.

With only rare exceptions, the only people who are able to compete to serve in our nation’s legislature are those who are independently wealthy or are able to make successful financial appeals to the “Political One Percent of the One Percent.”  Everyone else is excluded.  Dictionary.com defines aristocracy as “a government or state ruled by an…elite or privileged upper class.”  Given the set of facts that govern our political system today, by definition the United States is not a representative democracy.  As distasteful as it is for us to contemplate, we must admit “aristocracy” comes closer to the mark, as a small elite, privileged class does presently rule the U.S. electoral system.

America in 2015: Democracy, Republic or Aristocracy? | The National Interest Blog

Is American democracy headed to extinction? – The Washington Post

Behind dysfunctional government, is democracy itself in decay?

It took only 250 years for democracy to disintegrate in ancient Athens. A wholly new form of government was invented there in which the people ruled themselves. That constitution proved marvelously effective. Athens grew in wealth and capacity, fought off the Persian challenge, established itself as the leading power in the known world and produced treasures of architecture, philosophy and art that bedazzle to this day. But when privilege, corruption and mismanagement took hold, the lights went out.

In Athens, democracy disintegrated when the rich grew super-rich, refused to play by the rules and undermined the established system of government. That is the point that the United States and Britain have reached.

The lesson from Athens is that success breeds complacency. People, notably those in privilege, stopped caring, and democracy was neglected. Six years after the global economic crisis, the signs from the model democracies are that those in privilege are unable to care and that our systems are unable to learn. …

Is American democracy headed to extinction? – The Washington Post

The problem is not just money. The media is a big problem too.

Pat Caddell Says: Media Have Become an “Enemy of the American people”

“I think we are in our most dangerous time in political history in terms of the balance of power that the media plays in whether or not we will maintain a free democracy or not.”

Patrick Caddell is a Democratic pollster. He served as pollster for President Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and others.

Is America About to Make a Fatal Mistake in the South China Sea? | The National Interest

An already tense and dangerous situation in the South China Sea threatens to become even worse.  The latest development focuses on reports that the United States is considering plans to initiate systematic military patrols with ships and planes in that volatile area. Without even waiting for confirmation that the reports are accurate, Beijing expressed its great displeasure regarding such a step.

If this actually comes to pass, Washington is about to deepen its involvement in a bitter, multi-sided territorial dispute.  The underlying issues are murky and complex.  Based on dubious interpretations of both history and international law, China claims an oceanic boundary that would convert some 80 percent of the South China Sea—and the small islands dotting itf—from international waters into Chinese territorial waters.  Beijing has begun to enforce its claims with air and naval patrols and major reclamation projects to build serviceable artificial islands (in one case, even including an runway) from nearly submerged reefs. Several neighboring countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, not only challenge Beijing’s claim, they assert significant territorial ambitions of their own. Vietnam has even commenced a more limited artificial island construction of its own.

Is America About to Make a Fatal Mistake in the South China Sea? | The National Interest

Could U.S. Brinksmanship in the South China Sea Mean War with Beijing? | National Review Online

The security world is buzzing over a Wall Street Journal article yesterday that the Obama administration is considering sending U.S. naval vessels and military planes into the 12-mile territorial limit of China’s newly reclaimed islands in the South China Sea.

If adopted, the U.S. moves could lead to the most direct response yet to China’s policies in Asia — but they could also spark an armed encounter between U.S. and Chinese forces pretty soon.

Now, however, both players are committed: the U.S. to showing that its words are backed up with actions, and the Chinese to showing that it is not a paper tiger that cannot defend the territory it is claiming. It is up to the Obama administration to make the first move, but if it does so, then the risks of an armed encounter with China rise significantly over the next few months. If it does not, then Asian nations will find themselves with an emboldened China pushing ever more expansionist claims. With an already boiling Middle East and Eastern Europe, East Asia may now get added to the list of crisis hotspots.
 

U.S. Gambit Risks Conflict With China – WSJ

After repeated and unheeded warnings to China to halt its massive reclamation works in the South China Sea, the U.S. is contemplating an option fraught with danger: limited, but direct, military action.

By sending U.S. warplanes over artificial islands that China is building, and sailing naval vessels close by—an option now under consideration, according to U.S. officials in Washington—America could end up being sucked more deeply into an increasingly heated territorial dispute between China and its neighbors, say regional security experts.

If such action fails to deter China, America will face a hard choice: back down and damage its credibility with friends and allies in the region, or escalate with the risk of being drawn into open conflict with China.

China immediately suggested that America would be crossing a line if it goes ahead with the plan.

U.S. Gambit Risks Conflict With China – WSJ

America’s Politicized Tax Enforcement Is a Harbinger of Decline | National Review Online

Why did Rome and Byzantium fall apart after centuries of success? What causes civilizations to collapse, from a dysfunctional fourth-century-B.C. Athens to contemporary bankrupt Greece?

The answer is usually not enemies at the gates, but the pathologies inside them.

What ruins societies is well known: too much consumption and not enough production, a debased currency, and endemic corruption.

Americans currently deal with all those symptoms. But two more fundamental causes for decline are even more frightening: an unwillingness to pay taxes and the end of the rule of law.

America’s Politicized Tax Enforcement Is a Harbinger of Decline | National Review Online

In looking at how a system behaves while in a pre-collapse state, there are diverse signs of big problems. Things just don’t seem to work like they used to.  For the US, those signs include 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, political polarization, corruption, riots and now politicized tax enforcement. These are all signs that the entire system is not working correctly.

In the following video Niall Ferguson discusses how complex systems can very rapidly move from a stable state into a crisis state. They undergo a phase transition. The key here is to notice when that system is starting to move into a phase transition. While in the middle of a phase transition things just don’t work like they used to. And that is where the US is at right now. The movement into a crisis state is now possible. The end result will be a new stable state with a new country after some kind of crisis or big collapse. The collapse process will likely include some kind of major war.

Niall Ferguson: PART 2 – Empires on the Edge of Chaos: Opening Remarks

[Article: Empires on the Edge of Chaos]

How America and Russia Could Start a Nuclear War | The National Interest

Part of the problem is that Russia now openly considers the use of nuclear weapons in any scenario in which they begin to lose to a superior force.In an ironic reversal of the situation during the Cold War, NATO is now the dominant conventional coalition in Europe, while Russia is a weak state with a large but less powerful army. The Russian Federation has no significant ability to project power far from its borders, and likely cannot sustain a major conventional engagement with a capable opponent for any prolonged period.

As a result of this imbalance, the Kremlin has embraced a doctrine of “de-escalation” in which Russia would threaten to use nuclear weapons during a conflict in order to deter an opponent from pursuing further military gains. (While China maintains a public pledge never to be the first to use nuclear arms, Beijing likely has a similar plan should war with the Americans go badly.)

How might this doctrine come into play during a crisis? There is far less at stake between Russia and the West now, and the Russians are not commanding a global empire dedicated to a revolutionary ideology. That does not mean, however, that Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, accept the outcome of the Cold War.

How America and Russia Could Start a Nuclear War | The National Interest