“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

China and Russia Weave a Web of Dollars

Gulliver taking it in the shorts.

The US trade deficit and foreign oil dependence is a national security threat of unprecedented historical impact. The combination has invigorated China and Russia, two natural and hostile enemies of the US. A Republican, Richard Nixon, started the process with China and a Republican, George W. Bush, misread the intentions of Putin's Neo-Soviet Russia. Hardly a day goes by without news of a Russian military revival played to the background music of a Chinese economic and security web being weaved globally and particularly in the Americas. The benign neglect of American interests by the Bush Administration in trade and energy policy is particularly troubling and will require a massive re-think by future political leaders.

From the Washington Times:

Chavez signals satellite plans
By Martin Arostegui
September 13, 2007

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his nation plans to launch "the Simon Bolivar satellite" now being built in China as part of plans to develop an integrated ground- and space-based air defense — presumably against the United States.

"We have 100 satellite technicians training in China who be back in the next few months. The radars, tracking stations and air defenses are being installed right now," Mr. Chavez said this week on his television talk show, "Hello President."

With the Chinese ambassador present for the performance, Mr. Chavez made extensive comments on Venezuela's growing ties with China in areas such as oil exports and national defense.

"In less than a year, we will be launching the Simon Bolivar satellite with China" he said.

His statements highlight China's expanding military ties with Latin America at a time of increasing concern about Chinese capabilities to wage electronic warfare.

"The U.S. needs to be alert to rapidly expanding Chinese capabilities particularly in the field of intelligence, communications and cyber-warfare and their particular application in the region," said former U.S. assistant secretary of defense for the Western Hemisphere, Roger Pardo Maurer, in recent congressional testimony.

"We would encourage other nations in the hemisphere to take a close look at how such activities can be used against their own countries and the United States," the Pentagon official said.

China has moved into a vacuum created with the election of leftist, anti-American governments throughout Latin America, Venezuela being the most prominent example.

Close ties have been forged with Venezuela through repeated visits by senior Chinese officials who have expressed support for Mr. Chavez's efforts to establish a socialist one-party state.

China has developed space programs with Brazil and Argentina and a military exchange program with Ecuador, whose president, Rafael Correa, wants to close the U.S. base in Manta.

Beijing also is cultivating military ties with Mexico, Peru, Chile and various Caribbean countries. In addition, it operates an electronic eavesdropping station in Cuba.

Mr. Chavez said that once the Venezuelan engineers return from China, they will operate air defenses being built with Chinese and Russian technology.

Venezuela has purchased Chinese JYL-1 mobile air-defense radars that would interface with satellites to monitor the airspace around Venezuela, reaching nearly 250 miles into the Caribbean, Colombia and Panama, Mr. Chavez said.

He said the system that will be integrated with anti-aircraft missiles and become completely operational in two years.

Mr. Chavez, who claims the U.S. has attempted to assassinate him and often warns of an Iraq-style U.S. invasion of Venezuela, already has the most powerful air force in South America with his recent acquisition of 24 Sukhoi Su-30 fighters from Russia.

He also is negotiating the purchase of nine Russian submarines.

Some analysts argue that China's new defense relationship with Latin America also is geared toward protecting its growing commercial and economic interests in the area.

China has invested heavily in Venezuela's oil industry as part of efforts to gain ever greater access to energy sources.

They are jointly planning a pipeline through Panama to pump 800,000 barrels of oil a day to Pacific ports. This would allow a vast increase in Venezuelan exports to China at the possible expense of the U.S.


  1. A Jihadist Has Been Arrested In Dearborn, MI

    from his webpage:
    "The Start of My Personal Jihad (in the US)"

    Man with AK-47 assault rifle arrested after leaving Dearborn’s Hemlock Park

    DEARBORN - Houssein Zorkot, a 26-year-old Dearborn resident, was arraigned Tuesday in 19th District Court on multiple felony charges, including carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent — a five-year felony.

    Zorkot, a third-year medical student at Wayne State University, was allegedly armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and dressed in black clothing with camouflage paint covering his face when he was arrested Saturday in Hemlock Park.

    According to police, Zorkot was observed attempting to leave the park in a black SUV after officers had received reports of a man carrying a rifle in the area. He was placed under arrest and is scheduled to undergo a preliminary examination at 9 a.m. Sept. 21 in 19th District Court.

    Zorkot has also been charged with one count of possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and one count of felony firearm. He remains in custody on a $1 million bond (cash, no 10 percent).

  2. The Chinese are going to build their own, new, pipeline across the Americas, as well?

    The Panamax tankers AND a pipeline ...
    Say goodbye to that one point one million barrels of Venezuelan crude, that the US imports each day.

  3. One pipeline flowing east, one pipeline flowing west
    Each full 24/7/365

    Million barrels a day, 5% of daily consumption, off the US market, not to return, ever.

    44 million gallons, per day. The output of two "big" ethanol distilleries, annually.

    The Chinese are building the infrastructure to handle Hugo's crude. We are not building the infrastructure to replace it.

    Again, the US cedes the intitive, allows itself to be buffetted by events. Events of such great lead times and telegraphed intentions that self imposed ignorance is the only excuse.

    That or hubris.

    Or both.

  4. DR: The Panamax tankers AND a pipeline ...
    Say goodbye to that one point one million barrels of Venezuelan crude, that the US imports each day.

    We want China dependent on Venezuelan oil. Because Hugo's ass is ours anytime we want it. The majors and captains in Iraq today will be the generals and colonels in the Venezuelan occupation of the 2020's.

  5. DR wrote:

    "Again, the US cedes the intitive, allows itself to be buffetted by events. Events of such great lead times and telegraphed intentions that self imposed ignorance is the only excuse.

    That or hubris.

    Or both."

    ...or a political system that rewards opaque vested interests granted by politicians with a very near term time frame.

  6. Uh, not ezactly, guys. We, currently, have 6 Billion, 650 Million gallons/yr under construction.