“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."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

China at Our Back

Is the US, and now Europe, waking up to the fact that China is a rigidly controlled Communist dictatorship? The West thought by encouraging Chinese involvement in the World trading system that they would become capitalists and democrats. It did not quite work out that way.

A Chinese democracy is never going to happen as long as the Communists rule and the Communists will continue to rule. The Chinese Communist Party is ruthless, determined and brutally efficient in maintaining control. It is also very very rich, courtesy of the US and Europe.

China has masterfully manipulated the world trade system and is now in a position to dictate profound changes to the real New World Order. The US and Europe handed the keys to the farm to the Chinese and now are beginning to squirm in discomfort as they realize the predicament that they have created for themselves.

It is very true that the economic relationship has been very beneficial to the West. The Chinese have willingly provided product after product to replace what was once produced in a closed western factory. All of this has been in the name of economic efficiency. Now the Chinese are creating national super funds to apply capital to projects and acquire resources on a scale without historic precedent.

For some time I have feared the potential consequences could be devastating to the US and Europe. At a minimum, the Chinese will be making the decisions and the Chinese are dictated to by a secret and powerful dictatorial party.

My fears have not decreased. All evidence points to a China on the long march to a goal, somewhere in the future, at a place and time of their choosing.

Heat on China as trade gap with Europe SOARS

By Fergal O'Brien Independent, Ireland
Saturday October 20 2007

Europe's soaring trade deficit with China is heightening tensions over the weakness of the yuan ahead of a meeting of the Group of Seven nations today.

The euro-area trade gap with China widened 25pc to a record €59.9bn ($85.6bn) in the seven months through July, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said yesterday. Imports from China rose 21pc, outpacing the 15pc gain in European shipments in the opposite direction.

The widening deficit may add to friction between China and Europe as the G7 meets in Washington. China's currency, the yuan, has fallen 4pc against the euro this year, which EU officials say makes their exports less competitive, while the EU has criticised Chinese import tariffs and below-cost sales.


"We are concerned -- very concerned -- with the huge trade deficit between Europe and China,'' European Commission president Jose Barroso said yesterday in Lisbon, where he is attending a meeting of EU leaders.

"We have received some commitments'' from the Chinese "to work with us to correct those imbalances,'' he said. "So far we have not seen enough results in this area.''

The yuan has gained almost 10pc versus the dollar since the Chinese government ended a strict peg to the US currency in July 2005; it has dropped more than 6pc against the euro in that period. Chinese central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan yesterday said China will make the yuan freely convertible "eventually,'' and currently has no timetable for the plan.

Europe is "unlikely to hasten the pace of yuan appreciation,'' said Kimberley Forkes, an economist at Moody's in London. "China will let the yuan appreciate in its own time, not rapidly, and certainly not in any way that's going to discourage domestic growth.''

While France has led the charge against the strength of the euro, other countries added their voices in recent weeks, concerned that the currency's gains will further impede an economy already confronted by a rise in credit costs and record oil prices. A delegation including European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet will travel to China later this year to discuss the yuan.

The EU also has become increasingly vocal about Chinese trade practices, saying barriers such as import tariffs unfairly limit European shipments to the Asian nation while charging that Chinese exporters break rules by selling goods such as chemicals, bicycles and frozen strawberries below the cost of production.

"We need to address the trade deficit ahead of the summit at the end of November,'' Peter Power, a spokesman for EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, said in Brussels.


"If China does not pull its weight, we will inevitably be faced with calls for a different approach'' that "would clearly be a more protectionist approach''.

ECB governing council member Yves Mersch yesterday highlighted both benefits and difficulties of the euro's rise, noting that it helps counter some of the impact of rising oil prices, which reached a record $89 a barrel this week.

"In order to have planes flying you also need to import oil, and a high euro greatly makes oil prices cheaper,'' Mr Mersch said in Prague.

"I would not deny that a strong euro could potentially harm weaker exports to trading partners.''

While a degree of consensus has emerged on the yuan, officials can't agree on how to respond to the euro's advance against the dollar. The euro rose to an all-time high of $1.4310 yesterday and was at $1.4291 by the close.

While French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants the ECB to do more to tackle the currency's rise against the dollar, ECB president Trichet has urged politicians to show "verbal discipline'' when discussing currencies.

The euro area's trade surplus with the US narrowed 7.6pc in January-July to €37.5bn, according to yesterday's figures. The surplus with the UK, the region's biggest trading partner, soared 35pc as exports rose 6pc and imports fell.

"We have not a problem in terms of trade with the United States, but we have really a problem with China,'' the Mr Barroso said.

The euro region posted a trade surplus of €4.3bn in August, compared with an €800m surplus in July, which was revised from a €600m deficit reported earlier. The aggregate data is published a month ahead of the figures for individual trading partners.

- Fergal O'Brien


  1. China's Vice-President Loses Post BBC

    Zeng Qinghong was appointed vice-president in March 2003

    Three of China's most senior leaders, including Vice-President Zeng Qinghong, have stepped down from office, the official Chinese news agency has said.

    Zeng and two other politicians, Luo Gan and Wu Guanzheng, were dropped from the Communist Party's central committee at its five-yearly congress, Xinhua said.

    The announcement is seen as the first stage in a widely expected reshuffle in favour of a new generation of leaders.

    The three men cannot now be elected to the standing committee on Monday.

    The nine-member standing committee is the country's supreme decision-making body. A fourth member, Huang Ju, died in the summer and will also be replaced.

    The congress also decided to include President Hu Jintao's "scientific concept of development" in the party constitution.

    President Hu is widely expected to be given a second term as general secretary of the party when the central committee meets on Monday.

  2. Couldn't just let a sleeping dragon lie, no, we had to wake it up, then feed it.

    All so they can pollute their country, with those factories, while we'll supersize burgers to gain a competitive edge.

    Their "Old Guard" shuffles to retirement, the "Young Guns" now are on their own "Long March".

    Not needing quarterly returns.

    Workers lining up for $3 dollars a day and a cot in the barracks. Millions of them.

    As to our misplaced nuclear devices ...

    They just had a forklift operator make a mistake. Picked up the wrong pallet, that's all ...


    Constant combat, a war without end.
    No victory or defeat possible.

    A war so existentially dangerous, that there is no enemy that can be identified.

    We have met the Enemy
    He's us.

  3. I mean, just look at our people, of course we can compete with $3 dollar a day wage slaves.

    Just look at our team

    Pass me another one, not like the other one.

    America Home of the ... burp...

  4. Special Forces Ops in Iran

    Britain’s Sunday Times reports that British SAS and American and Australian Special Forces have been engaged in operations inside the Iranian border to interdict weapons shipments.

  5. Border ambushes or strikes within Iran?

    The story reads like ambushes, the headline reads like there are clandestine strikes within Iran.

    Deniability still foremost, by both sides.

  6. DR: A war so existentially dangerous, that there is no enemy that can be identified.

    First the enemy was just a handful of "Baathist dead-enders". Remember those? Then it was Syrian and Iranian "foreign infiltrators". Then it was al-Qaeda. We were magically able to look at a pile of dead bodies and say, "47 members of al-Qaeda were killed today!" Lieberman came out and said the enemy in Iraq was the same people who hit us on 9-11. Meanwhile, all along, the Iraqi people squirmed under an occupation where (entities such as Blackwater could shoot their families with impugnity) and joined the resistance. Well guess what? All occupations are met by resistance.

  7. Yes, Ms T, those Baathist "dead enders" are now the "Allies of Anbar".

    We didn't even miss a beat, the Enemy became allies, but we cannot admit that aQ has been whupped, in Iraq, because ...

    There may be another attack, somewhere, sometime.

    Or the "War" must march on, it's gonna be a "long march".
    Especially when no wants to tell US where we are going.

    We are the World
    Stay the course or say the curse

  8. Makes his daddy look like Reagan in comparison.
    Even boners live lives more in touch with the real world in those days than this dufus.

  9. Suffered extreme oxygen deprivation while being reborn, I believe.

  10. Mountain Rose writes:

    I am so fed up with the Lefties having taken over the state of "Collie-fornia," as Governor Benedict Arnold Schwartzen-Traitor would say.

    I am sick and tired of the Gover-
    Traitor making sparklie eyes at Los Angeles Mayor Villa-La-Raza as they plan to shove "Collie-fornia" right off the map and replace it with a Marxist State.

    I am sick of illegal immigrants getting preferential treatment, and REAL Americans getting kicked to the curb.

    Joe Arpaio needs to come here and run for Governor, and clean this place up before it is too late.

  11. "Even boners LIVED lives more in touch with the real world in those days "

  12. Meanwhile Dufus can't wait to sign our rights away to the United Nations/kyoto via the
    Law of the Sea Treaty, or whatever the f... it's called.

  13. Iran's top nuclear negotiator has resigned:

    "...Larijani believed a political solution to the standoff was possible and worked closely with European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. His efforts were often hindered by Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric, said Ismail Gerami Moghaddam, a reformist lawmaker.

    "Larijani's talks with Solana were promising and could have led to a political settlement but Ahmadinejad and his group are seeking adventurism and didn't want talks to succeed," he said.

    The move also suggests that the nation's ultimate arbiter, Khamenei, has tilted toward Ahmedinejad and away from his former protege Larijani.

    The Iranian government announced Saturday that its top nuclear negotiator had resigned, a move seen as a victory for hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that could bring about an even tougher stance in ongoing talks. Government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham, said Saeed Jalili, a little-known deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, was to succeed Ali Larijani as lead negotiator effective immediately.

    Iran has periodically raised alarms over the possibility of war, particularly when the West brings up talk of sanctions over Tehran's rejection of U.N. Security Council demands that it halt uranium enrichment.

    On Saturday, Gen. Mahmoud Chaharbaghi, the missile commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the country was capable of firing 11,000 rockets into enemy bases within a minute of any attack.

    Chaharbaghi did not specifically identify the bases or the enemy and did not refer to arch foes Israel or the United States by name. But the U.S. has 160,000 troops in Iraq, another 60,000 in Mideast waters and the Persian Gulf and 24,000 in neighboring Afghanistan.

    Elham said Iran's policies would not change and the meeting between the nuclear negotiator with Solana, scheduled for Tuesday in Rome, would still take place.

    Solana's spokeswoman Cristina Gallach, also confirmed that meeting would go ahead, "regardless who is the negotiator." But she said Larijani and Solana "had a good working relationship, even though they have not been able to move very far."

    John Bolton, the Bush administration's former point man on the Iran nuclear issue, said Larijani's resignation was "a clear victory for Ahmadinejad" and shows that "the leadership is determined to continue with nuclear program" including uranium enrichment.

    Bolton said the conflict between Larijani and Ahmadinejad is "part of the larger struggle for power after Khamenei dies."

  14. Arnaud de Borchgrave has an interesting column at The Washington Times

    ...One of Mrs. Bhutto's trusted intelligence contacts in Pakistan, a retired ISI field grade officer, sent her a grim report before her departure about the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), seven tribal agencies that form most of the 1,400-mile frontier of craggy mountains with Afghanistan. The report's main points:

    • FATA is ungovernable and out of control.

    • The army still faces high casualties. The toll is now well more than 1,000 killed and 3,000 wounded. Of the 245 Pakistani soldiers captured by Taliban fighters after they were ambushed in a narrow pass and surrendered without a fight, 100 were released. But an unknown number have been Talibanized and joined the insurgency.

    • The army feels strongly this has been a U.S.-ordered military campaign imposed on Mr. Musharraf.

    • Foreign Secretary Khurshid Kasuri has said as much in conversations with several foreign ambassadors.

    • There are several thousand Uzbek, Tajik and Arab fighters in FATA who have married local women and are more loyal to al Qaeda than Taliban.

    • The local FATA population refuses to assist the army.

    • The only political party that has been allowed to operate in FATA is MMA. It is important to open FATA to Pakistan's principal political parties. This would promote growth of "moderate" Talibans, weaning them away from the hard-lining core.

    • Madrassa reform has still gotten nowhere after several years of U.S. aid to promote change in these Koranic schools that have turned out several million youngsters since September 11, who have learned Arabic and the Koran by rote, as well as the conviction that America and Israel are crusading powers whose only objective is the destruction of Islam.

    • A former ISI general heads the Education Ministry and U.S. aid has not altered the bleak outlook for some 12,000 madrassas.

    • The Valley of Swat, once a princely state under the British Raj, is a previously moderate region slowly being Talibanized through private FM radio stations that sing the praises of Taliban jihadis.

  15. Ambassadors come, ambassadors go ...

    The interests of Nations march on.

    If "Larijani's resignation was "a clear victory for Ahmadinejad" "...

    Then who in the US "won" when Mr Bolton left the US Government?

    Which of the factions within the US Governemt had gained favor when Mr Bolton was replaced by Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad.
    Which lost?

    How did Mr Bolton leaving the UN change US policies, how will Mr Larijani's departure change Iran's?

    The short answer, it won't.

  16. Great map, Rat! That is exactly what I noticed on my summer trip. The further east we got, the more tubbys we saw. And Montana was the thinnest too, come to think of it. My powers of observation are still in gear. But, then, hell, you couldn't miss it.

  17. suffered extreme oxygen deprivation while being reborn


  18. Cleavage and the Casa Rosada Finally, a politician that doesn't kiss babies.

    There seems to be something of a growing Christian movement in China these days, though it's hard to know what to make of it. It's odd though, a growing Christian movement, and few western missionaries hanging around. Maybe they'll all become Mormons:) I can't see China ever becoming anything resembling a democracy. It's just too dang big, and populous, for them ever to develope a meaningful democracy.

  19. Bye, Bye, Blank-O:
    Jindal becomes Youngest Governor

    An Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants has won the Louisiana governor's election, becoming America's youngest and the first non-white to hold the state's post since the 1870s.

    Bobby Jindal, 36, carried more than half the vote against 11 opponents. With about 87% of the vote in, Jindal had 53% with 588,002 - more than enough to win outright and avoid a November 17 run-off.

    Jindal, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, had lost the governor's race four years ago to Kathleen Blanco. He won a congressional seat in conservative suburban New Orleans a year later, but was widely believed to have his eye on the governor's mansion.

    Blanco opted not to run for re-election

  20. Blank-o was Louisiana edukated, far ass I kould tell.

  21. What the hell is this? I ask my wife, showing her deuce's post. Well, you're being screwed with, maybe, she answers. There's your answer, deuce.

  22. Robert Frost asked whether things would end in fire or ice. But we might end in the Big Rip

  23. Rip van Winkle came back from the other world with nothing to show for his trip but his whiskers. Then he formed a Realty Company in good American fashion.